Observing the success so far of the Rights Retention Strategy | Plan S

“As someone who is independent of cOAlition S, I have been monitoring with great interest the application of the Rights Retention Strategy (RRS).

Using Google Scholar and Paperpile, I have documented over 500 works published across hundreds of different outlets using the Rights Retention Strategy language in the acknowledgements section of the work. Authors are using it to retain their rights in preprints, journal articles, conference papers, book chapters, and even posters – this makes perfect sense; the RRS language is simple and easy to add to research outputs. It’s not a burden to acknowledge one’s research funding and to add the statement: “For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission“, and so authors are doing this….

I am also pleased to observe that ALL the major publishers appear to be happily publishing works containing the RRS language, including Elsevier, ACS, Taylor & Francis, Wiley, IEEE, and Springer Nature (inc. Nature Publication Group). So, authors need not fear practising rights retention.

I note that the RRS is a tool that can be and is used across all disciplines – it works equally well for STEM and HSS. Indeed one of my favourite examples of RRS-in-action is a Wellcome Trust funded output by Dr Barbara Zipser from the Department of History at Royal Holloway, University of London. Thanks to the RRS language Dr Zipser included in her submission, there is a full-text accepted author manuscript version of her work available at EuropePMC for all to read, whilst separately the journal-published version is available from the publisher website behind a 25 euro paywall. The author accepted manuscript has undergone peer review and has been accepted by the publisher (it is not a rough preprint, from before peer review). I do not need to read a version that has publisher branding & logos. When researchers choose the “green” route to open access, people need not feel sorry for the journal publisher – individual and institutional subscribers pay handsomely to support the journal. Thus, green open access is never “unfunded“, as some publishers have tried to claim….

As a keen Wikimedian, I am delighted with another aspect of the RRS. Prior to the RRS, green OA copies of articles weren’t much used on Wikimedia Commons owing to incompatible licensing. But now, with the RRS, suddenly, RRS-using green OA copies become easier to adapt for re-use on other websites. As Wikipedia is one of the top 15 most visited websites globally, I think it is very important that academic research is not prevented from being used there by overly restrictive licensing conditions. To celebrate this openness, I have added a few figure images sourced from cOAlition S funded, CC BY licensed, author accepted manuscripts using RRS to Wikimedia Commons. These images can be re-used within suitable Wikipedia articles across all languages, helping the transmission of research information beyond the constraints of academic journals and language barriers….”

We encourage you to share your article widely – but not too much | Plan S

“Has anyone else noticed the conflict of advice that exists in the Springer Nature (SN) SharedIt initiative? On the face of it, it appears a good thing – actively encouraging authors to share their research – until you get into the weeds of what is permitted and required. [Added emphasis in quotations are all mine]

SN states that it 

“wants researchers to share content easily”

and that it wishes 

“to enable researchers to share articles of interest with collaborators and colleagues. We also wish to enable authors to share their research articles widely” 

and proudly trumpets that using its SharedIt initiative 

“links to view-only, full-text subscription research articles can be posted anywhere – including on social media platforms, author websites and in institutional repositories – so researchers can share research with colleagues and general audiences.” 

For now, let’s skate over the fact that this initiative is ‘read only’. As a SN author at this point, you might think – great. Unfortunately, it is not that simple.

Those pesky Terms & Conditions

You have been sent the SharedIt link to your article and are excited because you’re told that you:

“Can post shareable links to view-only versions of [your] peer-reviewed research paper anywhere, including via social channels, institutional repositories and authors’ own websites as well as scholarly collaborative networks.”

It says ‘anywhere.’ Excellent. Then you read the SharedIt Terms & Conditions (Ts & Cs). 

“We support a reasonable amount of sharing of content by authors, subscribers and authorised users (“Users”), for small-scale personal, non-commercial use provided that you maintain all copyright and other proprietary notices.

This is quite a difference: only a “reasonable amount of sharing” is supported. That is a long way from “anywhere”. It certainly doesn’t sound like the “wish to enable authors to share their research articles widely” SN started out with. ‘Small-scale’ is even more limiting. I would have expected researchers might want ‘mega-scale’, worldwide interest in and access to their hard-won work….”

How might we reduce our dependency on legacy publishers such as Elsevier? | Unlocking Research: Open Research at Cambridge

To coincide with our first townhall event on the Elsevier negotiations, Professor Stephen Eglen offers his perspective on the University’s future relationship with the publishing industry. Prof. Eglen is Professor of Computational Neuroscience in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge.

I’m often asked why I single out Elsevier when discussing spurious publishing practices*. The simple reason is that they are the single largest publisher that most institutions deal with. Other legacy publishers adopt similar practices, outlined below, that I disagree with. However, given that Elsevier tends to take about 40% of our journal subscription costs, it is worth focusing on. Even finding out these costs required an extensive set of FOI requests over several years, revealing a large disparity in costs between UK Universities. However, I do not blame Elsevier for the current situation – they are a successful business with shareholders to satisfy. Their consistent high operating margins (~ 30%) indicate that they are very capable. However, this comes at a price, e.g. their current median gender pay gap in 2020/21 was 36%, compared to 11.1% at the University of Cambridge, and 7.3% at Springer Nature.

[…]

How might we reduce our dependency on legacy publishers such as Elsevier? | Unlocking Research: Open Research at Cambridge

To coincide with our first townhall event on the Elsevier negotiations, Professor Stephen Eglen offers his perspective on the University’s future relationship with the publishing industry. Prof. Eglen is Professor of Computational Neuroscience in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge.

I’m often asked why I single out Elsevier when discussing spurious publishing practices*. The simple reason is that they are the single largest publisher that most institutions deal with. Other legacy publishers adopt similar practices, outlined below, that I disagree with. However, given that Elsevier tends to take about 40% of our journal subscription costs, it is worth focusing on. Even finding out these costs required an extensive set of FOI requests over several years, revealing a large disparity in costs between UK Universities. However, I do not blame Elsevier for the current situation – they are a successful business with shareholders to satisfy. Their consistent high operating margins (~ 30%) indicate that they are very capable. However, this comes at a price, e.g. their current median gender pay gap in 2020/21 was 36%, compared to 11.1% at the University of Cambridge, and 7.3% at Springer Nature.

[…]

UKRI’s new open access policy will hinder open science | Times Higher Education (THE)

“The final published version – known as version of record, or VOR – is not some artificial construct of publishers. We know from our recent research with 1,400 researchers, as well as an analysis of article usage, that it is overwhelmingly the VOR that researchers want to read and cite – and it is also the VOR of their own research that, as authors, they want others to read and cite. They find the VOR easier to read, more reliable, and more authoritative and credible because of the reassurance provided by peer review and the stamp of credibility provided by proof of publication in a recognised journal.

Researchers also highlighted the value added to the VOR through the publication process, compared with earlier article versions (the submitted manuscript or the accepted manuscript), including copy-editing and typesetting. Critically, VORs include figures and links to relevant open data, open code and open protocols. This facilitates open science for the whole research system – which is the main goal of making research articles OA in the first place.

Green OA typically revolves around posting the accepted manuscript, but the cost of creating these is, in essence, borne by library subscriptions given that they are created as part of the process of being published in paywalled journals. This is a problem in itself: OA should be about removing paywalls, not becoming dependent on them. Attempts to make accepted manuscripts more widely available do not reflect researchers’ needs and could set back the transition to full (gold) OA and the realisation of the benefits of open science.

Second, as good as transformative agreements are, they have their limits. The industry-standard contract stipulates that a paper’s eligibility for gold OA depends on whether the corresponding author’s institution is part of the agreement. But the UKRI OA policy applies to all co-authors it funds in whole or in part. This is significant. We estimate that between 30 and 40 per cent of papers that have at least one UK author do not have a UK corresponding author and therefore wouldn’t be covered by existing transformative agreements. Those co-authors risk of being left without a viable funded OA publishing route….”

 

cOAlition S statement on Open Access for academic books | Plan S

Academic books – defined here to include monographs, book chapters, edited collections, critical editions, and other long-form works – are an important mode of publication for scholars, especially in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Several studies have pointed out the benefits of Open Access (OA) book publishing. In 2019, Science Europe published five principles for OA to academic books and recommendations for six types of research stakeholders.  Springer Nature has recently shown that OA books receive 2.4 times more citations and are downloaded 10 times more than non-OA books.

Principle 7 of Plan S acknowledged that the timeline to achieve Open Access for books requires a separate and due process. The Implementation Guidance specified that “by the end of 2021, a statement on Plan S principles would be issued as they apply to monographs and book chapters, together with related implementation guidance”.

Since the Plan S principles for research articles were published, many cOAlition S funders have developed their own OA policies around academic books. (For an overview of cOAlition S funders with an existing OA books policy, see Annex A).  On critical elements, like embargoes and licences, policies of cOAlition S organisations have already converged. Most cOAlition S funders have adopted or advise CC licences, and embargoes range between 0 and 12 months.

cOAlition S recognizes that academic book publishing is very different from journal publishing. Our commitment is to make progress towards full open access for academic books as soon as possible, in the understanding that standards and funding models may need more time to develop. Rather than to decree a uniform policy on OA books, we have therefore decided to formulate a set of recommendations regarding academic books – in line with Plan S principles – that all cOAlition S organisations will seek to adopt within their own remits and jurisdictions.

The Subscriptionization of Everything | Clarke & Esposito

“But all that to the side [current progress toward OA], would an individual researcher pay $15 a month for access to all of Elsevier’s scholarly content? Could such a model sit alongside, or bypass entirely, the institutional site license business that has reached a point of maturity? …

While UKRI may not have made up its mind yet about supporting Transformative Journals, the program continues to advance – though some of the reporting requirements for publishers are more onerous than publishers anticipated. David wrote a piece last month for The Scholarly Kitchen about the challenges that (especially smaller, independent) publishers are having with the requirements for compliance. As described in the post, cOAlition S requires journals qualifying for “Transformative” status to provide a set of data reports that can be expensive and time consuming to develop.  

 
The rationale for the data requirements is also puzzling. The stated purpose is that they will “help determine whether open-access content has broader reach than subscription content.” The data being collected, however, will not provide that help – as so often (and frustratingly) seems to be the case when it comes to open access studies, experimental design and adequate controls are not put in place. Good experimental design eliminates or controls for confounding factors. In this case there are a lot of differences between the articles being compared beyond just their OA status. (For example, in hybrid journals, OA often comes at a significant cost which only well-funded labs can afford, so perhaps the difference in performance between the articles can be attributed to the authors’ funding levels, rather than the articles’ OA status.) These confounders can be controlled for, and if cOAlition S wants to better understand the actual impacts it is having (including on market consolidation), then it should sponsor carefully designed studies, rather than requiring the expensive and time-consuming collection of data that will likely prove inconclusive.
 
Meanwhile, the Rights Retention Strategy (RRS) continues to be a point of contention. As Shawn Khoo recently wrote, the RRS is not quite the “magic text” some believe it to be, and researchers need to take care not to sign conflicting contractual agreements, lest they put themselves in legal jeopardy.
 
Complicating the picture with regard to the RRS is the fact that publishers, understandably, do not view the scheme as a take-it-or-leave-it policy decision but rather (as we have discussed before in The Brief) an author request to be accepted or rejected on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, a publisher may accept a paper (for publication in a hybrid journal) with RRS language but only on condition of payment of an APC – which cannot be paid from cOAlition S funds but can be paid from other funding sources (in this sense, the RRS is a Plan S policy that has the result of shifting publication costs to other funding sources). In other cases, the publisher may decide to waive such an APC. In still other cases, the publisher may decide to suggest transferring the paper to a fully OA title. And of course the publisher might reject the paper entirely (and that rejection might or might not be based on inclusion of the RRS language – and if it is, the publisher might or might not state that in the rejection letter). In this regard, the RRS is similar to a (well-funded) author requesting an OA APC waiver for publication in a hybrid journal. Authors are free to ask for lots of things – waive all charges on my article, put my picture on the cover, promote my article to journalists so that I can impress my friends and family when it is covered on the evening news – but it is also within the rights of the publishing journal to decline those requests on a case-by-case basis….”

FOASAS: Fair Open Access in South Asian Studies

“Profiteering and restricted access have led to a crisis in academic publishing. The Fair Open Access movement is best promoted by mobilizing individual disciplines. With this manifesto, we, an open group of scholars of classical and modern South Asian Studies, declare our support for Fair Open Access publishing….

The following publishers and journals meet many or all FOA criteria (see §7 of the FOASAS Manifesto). …”

 

Let’s Get Creative about Licensing: Your Questions Answered about How to Retain Copyright While Allowing Others to Copy, Distribute, and Build Upon Your Work

“Are you an open scholar who would like to grant others select copyright permissions to your creative work? Are the layers of licensing options difficult to navigate? We’re here to help support you in this process and give you the fundamentals of what you need to know when choosing a license. This webinar will cover all of the frequently asked questions about choosing a license and what advantages these licenses offer to both your scholarship and the larger body of growing research.

Join moderator Joanna Schimizzi, Professional Learning Specialist at the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, along with panelists Brandon Butler, Director of Information Policy, University of Virginia Library and Becca Neel, Assistant Director for Resource Management & User Experience, University of Southern Indiana for an informative discussion on licensing your research. If you have specific concerns or questions about licensing requirements and benefits, please email them in advance and we will do our best to address them.”

Ashley Farley | Plan S

“[Q] If you had the power to pass an international law concerning Open Access, what would that be?

[A] Through Open Access work, I have learned so much about copyright, Creative Common’s licenses, and author’s rights. If I had the power to pass an international law, I would require that authors retain the rights to their work. To enhance this, I would encourage the use of the most liberal of CC licenses to ensure that the research community itself has the inherent right to interact with that knowledge.”

UKRI’s support for green open access is the right way forward | Times Higher Education (THE)

New guidelines have rightly rejected publisher claims that gold is the only sustainable path for open access, say Stephen Eglen and Rupert Gatti

Major UK science funder unveils strict open-access policy

“From April 2022, scientists must make papers supported by Britain’s national research-funding agency free to read immediately on publication, the funder UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) announced today in a keenly awaited revision to its open-access (OA) policy. As expected, the details closely match those laid out in Plan S, the bold pledge by many funders to publish all science outside paywalls. The British agency was an early supporter of the plan.

However, it has not yet decided whether it will pay the per-paper OA publication fees charged by a particular category of journals [namely, hybrid journals] that includes Nature and other Nature-branded titles. This decision will be put out to consultation, the funder says….”

 

UKRI announces new Open Access Policy | UKRI

UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) new policy will increase opportunity for the findings of publicly funded research to be accessed, shared and reused.

Following extensive consultation with the sector, UKRI has published a single Open Access Policy for research publications that acknowledge funding from its councils.

UKRI’s updated policy requires immediate open access for peer-reviewed research articles submitted for publication from 1 April 2022.

Monograph requirement

It also includes a new requirement for monographs, book chapters and edited collections published from 1 January 2024 to be made open access within 12 months of publication.

UKRI will provide increased funding of up to £46.7 million per annum to support the implementation of the policy.

UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said:

The new UKRI Open Access Policy is an important step towards realising our vision of a more open and transparent research culture, which is widely shared across the research and innovation community.

I am grateful to the many people and organisations who contributed their views during the development of the policy and we look forward to continuing to work together to implement open access.

Access, share and reuse research outputs

Professor Sir Duncan Wingham, UKRI Executive Champion for Open Research, who has overseen the policy development, said:

The UKRI Open Access Policy will ensure increased opportunities to access, share and reuse the outputs of research across all of the disciplines UKRI funds, benefiting the research community and generating greater social and economic impact.

Through the increased funding we are providing in support of the new policy we aim to ensure researchers and research organisations are sustainably supported to implement open access and achieve value for money.

Amanda Solloway, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, said:

Opening up the UK’s research system so that it is accessible to all will be crucial in underpinning collaborative, world class research and accelerating new discoveries, as highlighted in our new R&D People and Culture Strategy.

I’m delighted that UKRI’s new Open Access Policy will enable UK researchers to share their expertise and findings more easily, ensuring that the benefits of their research are felt across industry and all parts of our society.

Supporting actions

UKRI aims for the new policy to be as easy as possible to implement for all stakeholders and will put in place supporting actions including:

policy guidance
stakeholder engagement
support to help up-take of open access journal agreements.

Monitoring and reporting will be more automated and light-touch. UKRI has worked with the higher education funding bodies to ensure that any open access policy within a future research assessment exercise will seek commonality with the UKRI policy.

UKRI recognises the importance of international coordination to increase open access to research and our new policy aligns closely with those of other international funders, including other members of cOAlition S.

Requirements of the new policy

For peer-reviewed research articles, key requirements of the new policy include:

immediate open access for research articles submitted for publication on or after 1 April 2022
either via the version of record in a journal or publishing platform, or by depositing the authors accepted manuscript (or if permitted by the publisher the version of record) in an institutional or subject repository
CC BY licence and CC BY ND by exception, including a requirement to notify publisher of licensing at the point of submission.

Key requirements of the new policy for monographs published on or after 1 January 2024 include:

the final version of a publications or accepted manuscript being made open access via a publisher’s website, platform or repository, within a maximum of 12 months of publication
CC BY licence preferred, but NC and ND licences are permitted.

The UKRI Open Access Policy will replace the existing research councils Policy on Open Access, which applies to peer-reviewed research articles acknowledging research council funding and was published in 2013.

The policy is the outcome of the UKRI open access review, which commenced in autumn 2018. UKRI consulted on a draft position during spring 2020, receiving 350 responses.