News & Views: Can open access be made more affordable? – Delta Think

“One of many ideas being discussed is basing fees upon what is affordable locally, rather than pricing them at an identical level for customers irrespective of their geographic location. Precedents exist, such as the tiered pricing of vaccines….

The APC barrier effect suggests that “APCs impede researchers with fewer resources in publishing their research as OA”. Transformative Agreements (TAs) and Read & Publish (R&P) deals, which may base their pricing on APCs, can bring similar problems of affordability to those of APCs themselves. The expense of subscriptions too, even for the wealthy, has been discussed at length, and their cost is one of the drivers behind advocacy of a move to OA. Affordability is an issue whatever the business model.


Waivers are the usual fix, but they can be problematic. Their implementation varies, and they may be perceived as patronizing or undermining the dignity of those receiving them (“Waivers are a charity; why can we not pay in our own way with our own money?”). Waivers are typically applied based on World Bank income categories, but, as our analysis of its data shows, these may not match affordability….

At first glance, exploring a PPP [Purchasing Power Parity]-based pricing model is attractive. It strikes at the heart of affordability, by accounting for participants’ ability to pay. However, as we have seen, it is not that simple. A move to PPP, in most cases, causes price increases for many (some of which are unexpected) to subsidize the others that need more affordable options. This may result in some controversial changes. That impact would be magnified if publishers attempted to adjust prices upwards overall to counteract market value shrinkage.

A PPP based pricing system, while attractive in principle, would need to be carefully implemented in practice. Prices or pricing tiers would need to account for more than the raw numbers. Optics would need to be carefully considered. There will be winners and losers. And, like William Gibson’s view of the future, they will be unevenly distributed.”

Pensoft’s statement on the European Union’s Conclusions on OA scholarly publishing

“On behalf of Pensoft Publishers, we express our support for the Conclusions on high-quality, transparent, open and equitable scholarly publishing, recently published by the Council of the European Union. We do share all concerns articulated in the document that highlight major inequities and outstanding issues in the scholarly publishing environment.

In our opinion, it is of utmost importance to promptly address the existing issues in the publishing system, where healthy competition can thrive and contribute to a reality safe from potential mono-/oligopolies and corporate capture.

We firmly believe that only an industry that leaves room for variously-scaled pioneers and startups is capable of leading a long-awaited shift to a high-quality, transparent, open and equitable scholarly publishing landscape aligning with the principles of FAIRness….”

The Corporate Capture of Open-Access Publishing

“As the heads of progressive university presses on two sides of the North Atlantic, we support open and equitable access to knowledge. If history is any guide, however, the new policies may unintentionally contribute to greater consolidation in academic publishing — and encourage commercial publishers to value quantity over quality and platforms over people. Unless the new open-access policies are accompanied by direct investment from funders, governments, and universities in nonprofit publishers and publishing infrastructure, they could pose a threat to smaller scholarly and scientific societies and university presses, and ultimately to trust in published knowledge….

Without meaning to, many putatively open-access policies could further privatize the results of academic research….

The open-access movement has its roots in the practice of self-archiving (also called “Green” open access), wherein scholars deposit prepublication versions of their work in university repositories or community-owned preprint servers that function (to the extent possible) outside the economic strictures of formal publishing. Publishers effectively co-opted the movement by promoting instead models in which authors or their institutions pay publishers for the privilege of openness (also called “Gold” open access). As a result, open-access policies that enforce openness at any cost, under any model, have paradoxically, and against the intentions of policymakers, furthered the commodification of knowledge….

With paid open access, the academy is being asked, in effect, to subsidize the commercial sector’s use of university-research outputs with no reciprocal financial contribution….

Questions about academic freedom, widening inequality, the impact on smaller publishers, and the applicability of science-based policy for the arts, social sciences, and humanities have long been overlooked in conversations about open access….

The answers, we propose, lie somewhere in that overlooked, undervalued middle ground of nonprofit or fair-profit university-press publishing, mission-aligned with the academy. Many of those presses have been leaders in findings ways to meet the goals of providing both equitable access to knowledge and equitable participation in the creation of new knowledge. These are the publishers that universities should protect, invest in, and make deals with. Perhaps an international network of university-based publishers, libraries, and other public-knowledge providers could work together, balancing paid-for and open research content in a way that is sustainable rather than extractive, and that still values the research itself. Such a network could face down the likes of….”

Accelerating open access: cOAlition S takes bold action to propel change – The Publication Plan for everyone interested in medical writing, the development of medical publications, and publication planning


cOAlition S plans to drop 1,589 titles from its transformative journal programme due to insufficient progress towards open access.
The move highlights the growing importance of accelerating the shift to open access in the scientific community….”

Wiley journal editors resign en masse, fired chief editor speaks – Retraction Watch

“Two-thirds of the associate editors of the Journal of Biogeography, a Wiley title, have resigned in a dispute with the publisher, and more resignations are likely, according to those involved. 

Most of the resignations, reported first by Times Higher Education, were effective immediately, but a portion of the associate editors set August 28 as their effective date in hopes Wiley may negotiate with them about their concerns….

The Journal of Biogeography is not fully open access, but charges APCs of $4,800 for authors who wish to make their articles freely available.

Such fees are “excessive,” and “not affordable,” said Krystal Tolley, one of the associate editors who put in her resignation for the end of the month. Tolley is based in South Africa, and said she and other researchers in the Global South “just don’t have those kinds of funds.” 

Wiley and other major publishers often waive fees for authors in low-income countries, and “transformative agreements” in which funding agencies or universities pay publication fees rather than authors….”

Transormative Agreements: Communicating Next Phase of Library Collections

Abstract:  Open Access journals and scholarship share a new relationship as content has transitioned from a subscription commodity to rights management. As federal governments encourage and increasingly mandate sponsored research outputs be freely and widely available at the time of publication sustainability of such models led to varied ways of how OA could be made viable. Recent practices suggest successes and trials in changing the footprint of collections. Libraries accustomed to acquiring content for perpetual ownership, and those that created institutional repositories to allow authors when they didn’t retain intellectual property could distribute and repurpose their works are but examples of how collections have changed. Some disciplines expanded the preprint culture. Publishers must rethink whether to publish them after peer review. OA contributes to increased diversity as authors in developing countries and in emerging disciplines share their research findings as libraries eagerly seek this material. Disciplinary differences advance and restrict the OA marketplace and business models explore how to communicate to the next generation of authors what the future of scholarly publishing will be. Costs of knowledge creation suggest different models of transformative agreements and positions libraries and their academic affiliates with new options for submission and publication with publishers trying to offer social, economic, and sustainable incentives to maintain a competitive publishing landscape while influencing and responding to author behaviors. Instead of renewing subscriptions, many libraries seek strategies that offer how to demonstrate impact and encourage new business practices. This paper explores how libraries and publishers will communicate this evolution anticipating what changes will likely define library collections in the future. Speculating about what role transformative agreements have in libraries as they rethink the focus of collections is uncertain.


Transformative Zombies | By Every Means Necessary

by Dave Ghamandi


“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” – Antonio Gramsci



The maligned “transformative agreement” is racking up a body count. Or, more accurately, it’s helping to create zombies…zombie journals. There has been a cluster of editors and editorial boards resigning (or getting fired!) from oligopoly-owned journals this year. And even though I once referred to “transformative agreements” (TAs) as “a new monster [vomited up by the publishing oligopoly] to haunt us,” I didn’t see this connection developing. I love seeing defections because they speak to a level of consciousness, disgust, refusal, and collective action that’s all too rare.[1] In this post, I will explore who’s defecting, why, where they’re headed, and, of course, an analysis of the contradictions in motion.



Progress towards open access is slow—it’s time for a kickstart – Research Professional News

“This June marked 20 years since the academic community first agreed a set of open access (OA) research publishing principles.

Known as the Bethesda Statement, it acknowledged the pivotal role of free and open research for the creation and dissemination of new ideas and knowledge for the public benefit.

Driven by funder policy and institutional demand for a publishing ecosystem that is affordable, fair and transparent, the UK has been a leader in the transition to OA. But two decades on, overall progress in transitioning hybrid journals to fully OA and the elimination of paywalls has been slow.

We know the UK higher education institutions Jisc represents in sector negotiations with publishers are frustrated with the pace of progress. They are also keen to ensure that open access not only removes paywalls but allows everyone to participate in open scholarship.

It’s time to take stock and decide what happens next. To kickstart this process, Jisc has launched a review of the OA landscape in the UK and its transitional agreements (TAs)….”

Jisc launches critical review of open access and transitional agreements | Jisc

Jisc launches critical review of open access and transitional agreements.

To kick start the slow shift towards fully open access academic publishing, Jisc has launched a review.

Commissioned and governed by Jisc’s strategic groups with input from Deltathink, an open access data and analytics company, the aim is to gather evidence, agitate discussion in the higher education sector and make recommendations for action.

Exploring the open access landscape in general and the particular role of transitional agreements (TAs), the review findings will be published early in 2024.

Jisc’s head of research licensing, Anna Vernon, explains why the review is necessary:

“The UK has been a leader in the transition to open access, driven by funder policy and institutional demand for a publishing ecosystem that is affordable, fair and transparent.

“However, two decades on from the first talks on open research, overall progress remains slow.

“We know the UK higher education institutions Jisc represents in sector negotiations with publishers are frustrated with the status quo.

“We hope this review will kick-start the process by supplying the evidence to drive sector consensus on what future open access publishing models should look like.”



Guest Post – The Nelson Memo and Public Access are Under Attack – Will Powerful Incumbents Come to its Rescue? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“On July 14, the Appropriations Committee of the US House of Representatives released the Fiscal Year 2024 bill for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. Section 552 of the bill, if passed into law, would effectively freeze the Nelson Memo for a year (specifically, through the fiscal year ending Sept 30, 2024)….

To restate the question: will influential incumbents now fight for the Nelson Memo and its funding? Or will they see a chance to put it on ice or water it down, as they may have when the principles of Plan S in the UK and Europe were successfully (if controversially) implemented? …”

How to make academic book reviews sustainable in a pay to publish environment | Impact of Social Sciences

“Book reviews, let alone academic book reviews, have received many premature notices of their demise. However, as Christina Lembrecht and Vassiliki Gortsas, discuss alongside a crisis in authorship, reviews also run the risk of being excluded from funding for open access publication….

In fact, four in every five (79%) of our authors said that book reviews – especially in journals – are the main way they keep up to speed with emerging scholarship in their field. Not only do book reviews serve as an important source of information, receiving them is still highly prized. The survey also found that 74% of our humanities authors judge the success of their book on the basis of how widely it gets reviewed….

As humanities scholars receive far less funding – or none at all for some types of content – the APC model could pose a major threat for the sustainability of book reviews as well as many other types of academic material….”

UC Berkeley author tips: What to do when you have to pay an open access publishing fee – UC Berkeley Library Update

“The University of California has been a long-time supporter of open access publishing—that is, making peer-reviewed scholarship available online without any financial, legal, or technical barriers. Just because the publishing outcome is open to be read at no cost, though, doesn’t mean the publishing enterprise as a whole is “free.” One of the most common ways for open access publishers to continue to finance their publishing and production of journals in the absence of selling subscriptions for access is to instead charge authors a fee to publish—moving from a publishing system based on paying to read to one based on paying to publish. Of course, not all methods of funding open access require authors to pay publication fees in this way. And in all cases (except those rare instances in which a publisher requests that you waive this right), the UC’s open access policy makes it possible for UC authors to share their author-accepted manuscript version of their articles on eScholarship, the UC’s research repository, immediately upon publication in a journal. 

But when a publisher does charge a fee to publish, we want to help you understand what UC Berkeley resources are available—whether from your grant funds or the University of California Libraries—to help with those costs. …”

The Powerful Potential of Improving User Experience in Open Scholarly Publishing | CCC

“At the recent SSP Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, a cross-functional panel considered the challenge of “Solving for OA/UX: The Powerful Potential in Improving User Experience (UX).”

Drawing on her work as a scholarly author and as Research Impact and Open Scholarship Librarian, Indiana University Bloomington, Willa Tavernier moderated an interactive session with three panelists. Together, they reflected on successful collaborations that streamline OA processes, remove unnecessary work for the researchers, and enable cross-stakeholder transparency.

A real-time audience poll first quizzed the room on their own “level of pain (experienced) in managing Open Access.” Half the room who voted said they felt moderate pain, while another quarter said they experienced very severe pain – or worse….”