“At the recent Atypon Community meeting in Washington DC, accessibility was a topic on many customers’ minds.
This is a real shift: five years ago, very few publishers or societies were talking about accessibility. In the past, publishers’ accessibility requirements were typically driven by requests from institutions and libraries with accessibility written into their missions and their service requirements. Conversations with Atypon would often come when a publisher or society had received a voluntary product accessibility template (VPAT) and needed to know whether they were compliant. Now, with a growing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), combined with new incoming legislation and policy requirements, publishers and societies are starting to realise they need to get serious about accessibility. New requirements all content providers will need to take note of include:
The EU Directive 2019/882 (the European Accessibility Act). Coming into in effect July 2025, the Directive promotes “full and effective equal participation by improving access to mainstream products and services that, through their initial design or subsequent adaptation, address the particular needs of persons with disabilities.” Our expectation is this type of legislation will be quickly followed in the US.
The OSTP Nelson Memo (‘Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research’). Although primarily about delivering greater availability of US government-funded research through open access, the memorandum indicates that agency plans must outline “online access to peer-reviewed scholarly publications in formats that allow for machine-readability and enabling broad accessibility through assistive devices.” It therefore places a focus not only on the availability of resources, but the ability for all to access and benefit from these….”
Alberto Pepe, Matteo Cantiello, and Josh Nicholson, in their arXiv paper calling on arXiv to overhaul itself:
Disclaimer: This article has originally been written and posted on Authorea, a collaborative online platform for technical and data-driven documents. Authorea is being developed to respond to some of the concerns with current methodology raised in this very piece, and as such is suggested as a possible future alternative to existing preprint servers.
The paper doesn’t mention that Authorea is owned by Atypon, which itself is a subsidiary of publishing oligopolist Wiley. All three authors are affiliated with the Wiley-owned platform.
Which begs the question: will the arXiv of the future be nonprofit?
To make all content across the Science family of journals more integrated, discoverable, and visually compelling for the reader, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals, will move its full suite of online content to Atypon’s online publishing platform, Literatum, in the summer of 2021.
How Wiley and Sons is Positioned Against Open Access
John Wiley & Sons is a mainly digital business. According to their 2019 annual report (Pages 25-27) the plurality of their earnings come from their research division where online academic journal subscriptions are their bread and butter. In fact, their reliance on online journal subscriptions is shown by the observation that it contributes more than half of their profits for their research segment. This sector also has continuously seen a decrease over the past 2 years. This decline is likely related to the growth of the open access publishing movement going on in academia. John Wiley and Sons understands this movement as well and has taken steps to accommodate. Between 2018 and 2019, they’ve increased their open access journal revenue by 30%. Where does this money come from though? It just so happens that authors have to pay a fee to publish their papers in Wiley and Sons online journals. These fees range anywhere between $500-$2000 fee per publication. Another avenue of revenue from their open access journals is that they contain advertisements.
Regarding Open Access, Wiley currently offers two models of Open Access that is at the author’s choice. A fully open access journal or a subscription journal offering called OnlineOpen is called Gold. The other option, Green, is free to the author, but allows for a 12 to 24-month embargo period. Wiley cites in its 2019 10-K that the hybrid open access is only available to authors that are publishing in the majority of the company’s academic journals are able to make their articles available through Wiley’s OnlineOpen. This is a network effect in play, if you want to publish in a particularly respected journal, you must access it via the Wiley tollroad. Not only that, the as stated below by Wiley and Sons, the open access journals cover a wide array of disciplines as per their 2019 10-K ….”
“John Wiley & Sons, Inc., a global provider of knowledge and knowledge-enabled services that improve outcomes in research, professional practice and education, announced today it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Atypon, a Silicon Valley-based publishing-software company, for $120 million in cash. Atypon (www.atypon.com) is a trusted technology partner that enables scholarly societies and publishers to deliver, host, enhance, market and manage their content on the web. The transaction is expected to close October 1, 2016. Atypon is privately held and headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, with approximately 260 employees in the U.S. and EMEA. The company provides Literatum, an innovative platform that primarily serves the large scientific, technical, medical and scholarly industry. This sophisticated software gives publishers direct control over how their content is displayed, promoted and monetized on the web. The company generated over $31 million in calendar year 2015 revenue. Atypon’s valued customers include some of the largest and most prestigious names in the industry. Literatum hosts nearly 9,000 journals, 13 million journal articles and more than 1,800 publication web sites for over 1,500 societies and publishers, accounting for a third of the world’s English-language scholarly journal articles….”