Dear Colleague Letter

“We would like to inform you about an upcoming major transition for the Journal of Field Robotics.

After 15 years of service, John Wiley and Sons, the publisher has decided not to renew the contract of the Editor in Chief (Sanjiv Singh) and the Managing Editor (Sanae Minick) and hence our term will expire at the end of 2020.

This comes after two years of discussions between new Wiley representatives and the  Editorial Board have failed to converge to a common set of principles and procedures by which the journal should operate. The Editorial Board has unanimously decided to resign….

While this moment calls for creativity and collaboration with the scholarly community to find new models, Wiley is intent on making broad changes to the way that the Journal of Field Robotics is operated, guided mostly by an economic calculation to increase revenue and decrease costs. To do this, they have unilaterally decided to change the terms of the contract that has been constant since the JFR was started in 2005. Wiley has confronted a similar case (European Law Journal) with similar effect— the entire editorial board has resigned in January of 2020….”

Coronavirus may be encouraging publishers to pursue open access

“The unrestricted sharing of scientific papers during the coronavirus pandemic may have hastened the shift toward more open-access publishing, scientists believe, as several leading journals move to make content publicly available….

That move has prompted the editorial board of a leading Elsevier title, Neuron, to demand a similar switch to open access.

“The writing is on the wall for journals with a paywall, and many of us can no longer serve in good faith on the board of such journals,” says the letter calling for the change, which was signed by more than 75 leading scientists….”

Letter to Elsevier re Neuron.pdf – Google Drive

“Elsevier’s flagship journal in neuroscience, Neuron, has played a vital role in contemporary neuroscience. As members of its Board, we have done our best to help it succeed, and we have collectively contributed over 1,550 papers to the journal. The times, however, have changed. Many neuroscientists in California and in Germany no longer access Neuron because their institutions will not renew their Elsevier subscription. Many neuroscientists across Europe will no longer submit to Neuron because of Plan S. A few days ago, Springer Nature agreed to comply with Plan S, setting Neuron’s key competitor Nature Neuroscience on the path to Open Access. We want Neuron to continue to thrive in the next decades. For this to happen, it must go full Open Access. If not immediately, we urge that it does so at least gradually, but with a clear timetable agreed with Plan S, and one that does not lag behind Nature Neuroscience. Otherwise, Neuron will wither. We hope you will be able to lead Elsevier to make the right decision, and make Neuron and its sister journals Open Access, just like Springer Nature has agreed to do. The writing is on the wall for journals with a paywall, and many of us can no longer serve in good faith on the Board of such journals.”

Mass resignations at Wiley journal over academic independence | Times Higher Education (THE)

“The resignation of all members of a journal’s editorial and advisory boards in a row over academic independence raises fundamental questions about “who owns” academic publications, scholars have claimed.

The mass resignations at the European Law Journal – in which a total of 20 academics linked to the Wiley publication quit – follow more than a year of negotiations with the US publisher in the wake of its alleged effort to appoint new editors-in-chief in 2018 without consulting either its board of editors or its advisory board….”

What a Journal Makes: As we say goodbye to the European Law Journal | Verfassungsblog

“On January 31st, the Editorial and Advisory Boards of the European Law Journal resigned en masse from their positions in protest after the publisher, Wiley, decided that it was not willing to ‘give away’ control and authority over editorial appointments and decisions to the academics on the journal’s Boards. We recount our small act of resistance here because we think there may be lessons for the wider academic community. We are not looking to portray ourselves as martyrs for academic freedom or principled radicals looking to overhaul the entire system of academic publishing. Indeed, the most significant aspect of our rupture with Wiley lies in the modesty of the demands they were unwilling to meet. …”

How flipping a journal became about more than just open access – Digital Scholarship @ Leiden

“On January 14, 2019 the entire editorial board of Elsevier’s Journal of Informetrics (JOI) resigned. The editorial board wanted a journal with the same scope and same scientific standards, but owned by the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI) (and not by the publisher), open access (instead of toll access) and with open citations. That is why, after resigning from JOI, they launched the new journal Quantitative Science Studies (QSS) with MIT Press [see news of the resignations and launch of the journal at the CWTS website and ISSI website respectively]. MIT Press participates in the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC).

I interviewed Ludo Waltman (professor of Quantitative Science Studies and deputy director at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University) and Paul Wouters (Dean of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, former director of CWTS and Open Science Coordinator at Leiden University) about the reasons for their decision and their views on the future of scholarly communication in general. …”

Open-Access Is Going Mainstream. Here’s Why That Could Transform Academic Life. – The Chronicle of Higher Education

“That may soon change. Smaller-scale efforts are mixing with top-down decisions — through universities’ subscription negotiations and a major European plan that mandates open-access publication for certain research — to put unusual pressure on publishers.

Don’t think these battles are confined to the library or an individual discipline. The changes have the potential to alter nearly everything about how research is disseminated — and therefore how departments spend money, researchers collaborate, and faculty careers advance….”

Editorial board mutinies: are they what’s needed or are they part of the problem?

“However, what I find striking is that the combined number of articles published by Lingua and Glossa has doubled since 2014, far outpacing the annual 4% growth in scholarly articles.

Does this mean linguistics is a burgeoning field? Or that these journals have won share from others? Or are we, perhaps, observing induced demand in action?

(Induced demand is a phenomenon where adding supply capacity prompts increased demand. A common example is new roads increasing traffic levels.) …

Twenty year ago, the authors of the Budapest Open Access Declarationthought that new, digital, forms of publishing would cost less than the traditional analogue methods. Unfortunately, as the financial travails at PLoSillustrate, we now know that digital publishing is far from low-cost. Worse, despite two decades of investment costs are increasing.

This latter point was brought home to me when I saw a tweet about arXiv’s costs. In 2010, arXiv had 4 staff and total expenses of $420,000. For 2019, arXiv has budgeted 10 staff and $2,070,000 in expenses. So, expenses have grown five-fold over the past decade, a period which saw postings double. To put it another way, the cost per posting has risen to $14.40 from $5.80 over the past decade, a 247% increase….

One reason costs continue to climb is because digital makes possible desirable things that were impossible before. For example, digital makes it possible to publish associated datasets and to disambiguate authors, funders, and institutions and digital has led to new, complex, standards for things like content capture and metadata to improve discoverability and machine readability.

Many of these new digital things have become standard fixtures in any quality scholcom solution, setting expectations for the future. cOAlition S’ Plan S doesn’t just seek to flip journals to open access, it sets mandatory standards on how they should be published, about which many researchers agree. It’s hardly a surprise that the original 60 things publishers did in 2012 had grown to 102 by 2018, many of the additions things digital….”

Transitioning journals to open access: Guidance from and for the field – Office of Scholarly Communication

One key objective of University of California’s Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) is to coordinate and offer educational resources related to scholarly publishing. On the OSC website, authors can find guides to copyright, open access (OA), research impact, peer review, and more. In real life, OSC members are also “out in the field” at our respective libraries and university presses, offering consultations and support for UC scholars and authors on a multitude of publishing issues.

Over the past two years, we have engaged in an increasing number of discussions with journal editors interested in transitioning their journals to open access. We have also learned a few lessons in the process–particularly regarding the specific issues that any OA-aspiring journal must address, e.g., choosing publishing platforms, funding models, copyright and licensing policies, and communications strategies.

Given OSC’s mission to make educational materials about publishing more widely available, we are excited to have distilled these recent experiences into a practical toolkit aimed at supporting journal editors and publishers and the organizations or libraries that work with them. This toolkit, which you can find on our new OSC page Transitioning Journals to OA, includes a variety of resources for those interested in the OA transitioning process…”

Checklist for Consultations About Transitioning Journals to OA

“Scholarly society and journal editorial boards interested in transitioning their journals from subscription-based to open access (OA) publishing may need community support in identifying their needs, understanding publishing options, and planning next steps. We developed this checklist for libraries and institutions who engage in consultations with journal boards and editors about these issues. The checklist should help facilitate conversations about journal operations, finances, and strategies—so that journal boards and editors can come away from the conversation with a clearer understanding of how to proceed with an OA transition….”

Guide to Transitioning Journals to Open Access Publishing

“Open access (OA) journal publishing — whereby articles in a given journal are made immediately and freely available online without any financial, legal, or technical barriers — can dramatically increase the reach and visibility of scholarship, facilitate sharing and reuse, and position authors to retain copyright in their works. If OA fits your journal’s mission, because you would like your published content to reach its maximum audience and achieve its greatest potential impact, with time and attention you can find the right business model to make this possible. UC’s Office of Scholarly Communication would like to support your efforts to transitioning your journal to OA. That’s why we have developed this guide. This guide is aimed at anyone, but it is specifically designed for scholars (faculty, students, professional researchers) from all disciplines who are involved in editing or managing journals and are considering transitioning their affiliated journals to OA, by either: (a) Converting (sometimes called “flipping”) an existing subscription journal to OA, or (b) Stepping away from responsibilities at an existing subscription journal to create a new, open access journal in its place….”

Journal editor hopes mass walkout quickens open access progress | Times Higher Education (THE)

The editor of a journal whose editorial board staged a mass walkout has said that he hopes that the decision encourages others to do the same.

After more than a year of crisis talks, the full editorial board of The Journal of Informetrics, a quarterly, peer-reviewed title published by Elsevier, resigned on 12 January, citing immovable differences over the publisher’s lack of progress towards open access….”

MIT Press to co-publish new open-access Quantitative Science Studies journal | MIT News

The International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI) has announced the launch of a new journal, Quantitative Science Studies (QSS). QSS is owned by ISSI, the primary scholarly and professional society for scientometrics and informetrics, and will be published jointly with the MIT Press in compliance with fair open access principles.

QSS will be a journal run for and by the scientometric community. The initial editorial board will be fully constituted by the former editorial board of the Journal of Informetrics (JOI), an Elsevier-owned journal. The transition of the editorial board from JOI to QSSwas initiated by the unanimous resignation, on Jan. 10, of all members of the JOIeditorial board. The editorial board members maintain that scholarly journals should be owned by the scholarly community rather than by commercial publishers; that journals should be open access; and that publishers should make citation data freely available. The members of the board had been unsatisifed with Elsevier for not meeting their expectations, and they therefore resigned their positions.

The content for QSS will be open access and therefore freely available for readers worldwide. Funding for establishing and marketing the new journal has been provided in part by the MIT Libraries. To ensure access for authors, the MIT Press will charge a comparatively low per-article charge, which will be fully covered by the Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology for the first three years of operation, with support of the Communication, Information, Media Centre of the University of Konstanz. The funds from TIB will be managed by the Fair Open Access Alliance to ensure that the journal is operating under fair open access principles. The MIT Press is also a full participant in the I4OC initiative, which promotes unrestricted availability of scholarly citation data….”

Editorial board of Journal of Informetrics resigns and launches new journal

Today, the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI) announces the launch of the new journal Quantitative Science Studies (QSS), published by MIT Press. The editorial board of QSS consists of the members of the former editorial board of Journal of Informetrics (JOI), an Elsevier journal. The members of the editorial board of JOI, which include CWTS researchers Nees Jan van Eck, Anthony van Raan, and Paul Wouters, have unanimously resigned and have moved to QSS. An important reason for the resignation is Elsevier’s lack of support for the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC). Disagreements about journal ownership and open access policies have played a role as well….”