Transformative Journals: an initial assessment | Plan S

“A Transformative Journal (TJ) is a subscription/hybrid journal that is actively committed to transitioning to a fully Open Access journal. In addition, a TJ must:

gradually increase the share of Open Access content; and
offset subscription income from payments for publishing services (to avoid double payments).

Some 16 months on from publishing the formal TJ criteria, 13 publishers – large and small, for-profit, not-for-profit, society publishers and university presses – and some 2268 journals, have enrolled in this programme.

This blog provides a summary of the uptake of the programme by publishers and an analysis of the initial data TJ publishers have provided….”

Beginning of JPR’s great voyage to the open science world

“Many academic societies are currently undergoing this transition [to OA], and in the process, some major international publishers are double dipping, charging high subscription fees as well as expensive APCs. We strongly support open science initiatives and have long sought to move JPR to be a fully open journal. However, if we had continued to publish under Elsevier, moving to a fully open journal would have resulted in significant costs for both the authors and Japan Prosthodontic Society (JPS). After much discussion, we have finally made a decision regarding this crucial issue.

In 2021, JPS changed publishers, moving from Elsevier to J-STAGE, which now publishes JPR as a full-OA journal….”

Update Swiss Elsevier R&P Agreement – June 2021 | Open Access Monitoring

“After a first disillusioning analysis of the Swiss Elsevier Read & Publish Agreement (2020-2023) in August 2020, it is time for another update after 18 months of contract duration….

The low degree of exploitation is not due to the fact that Swiss authors publish less with Elsevier. Rather, many publications that could/should actually be Open Access by agreement remain Closed Access. My monitoring now shows 560 such Swiss Corresponding Author Papers, whose total APC list price amounts to €1.5 million. Publications for which Elsevier does not publish the submission date and therefore the eligibility cannot be determined with certainty are not even included in this number. Example: 10.1016/j.cagd.2021.102003

Why so many papers are closed access seems to have several reasons. I have received feedback from two authors that the option to OA was not displayed in the submission process, leading to suspicion that the affiliation identification at Elsevier is not working reliably.

 

Other authors apparently deliberately chose not to use the OA option because they feared hybrid costs. Since the Swiss OA community (and the SNSF) has been making researchers aware of hybrid and double-dipping for the past 15 years, this is actually good news….

An increase to 61% OA is without doubt a clear improvement over subscription-only. But the cost of this step is extremely high. Currently, the PAR fee for 2020 is over 6000€. If the quota is fully utilised, the PAR fee will come to 4500€ EUR….

Unfortunately, my conclusion from last year does not change much. Those responsible for this deal have quite unnecessarily embarked on something half-baked that no one can really be satisfied with (except Elsevier). It is true that the increase to 61% OA is positive, but only as long as one does not know the price. When I also learn that Swiss OA responsibles now have to chase authors when the submission did not work out with OA, we are actually at the point where we could have reached the 61% via Green Road OA without embargo with the same effort, but much less money. The millions could have been put into more worthwhile alternatives….”

Why hybrid journals do not lead to full and immediate Open Access | Plan S

“In this brief note, we formulate 6 arguments that articulate why cOAlition S Organisations will not financially support the hybrid model of publishing. We define a hybrid Open Access journal as a subscription journal in which some of the original research papers are Open Access while others are only accessible via payment or subscription. …

Argument 1: Hybrid has not facilitated a transition to Open Access (OA)…

Argument 2: The research community pays twice (double dipping)…

Argument 3: Hybrid journals are more expensive than fully OA journals…

Argument 4: Hybrid journals provide a poor quality of service…

Argument 5: Hybrid journals crowd out new, full OA publishing models…

Argument 6: Reader access: a hybrid journal is a “random OA” journal…

The arguments developed here provide the rationale for why cOAlition S Organisations have decided not to financially support hybrid journals unless these journals adopt a transformative arrangement that will lead them towards full and immediate OA by December 2024. In the meantime, these arrangements must ensure that OA publication fees are properly offset against subscription fees, so as to avoid any double-dipping. Publishers will only “bite the bullet” and start exploring new OA publishing models when they realize that the hybrid model is no longer a viable option.”

Wellcome’s support for Transformative Arrangements – 2021 to 2024

“Transformative Arrangements are strategies which encourage subscription publishers to transition to full and immediate Open Access and where fees are charged for providing publishing services rather than subscription fees for reading.

These approaches include Transformative Agreements and Transformative Journals as well as other open access publishing initiatives.

This document provides guidance for organisations in receipt of open access block grant funding when using Wellcome funds to support Transformative Arrangements for the period January 2021 – December 2024. This Guidance will be kept under review and may be updated from time to time….

By definition, TAs are transitional in nature….

Transformative Journals (TJ) are subscription/hybrid journals that are committed to transitioning to fully OA journals. Transformative Journals must gradually increase the share of Open Access content and offset subscription income from payments for publishing services thereby avoiding double payments….

Will Plan S support or pervert Open Access ? | Ouvertures immédiates / Immediate openings

“From its inception, the open access movement has postulated that publishing costs should be controlled by research institutions and funded by redirecting resources after canceling journal subscriptions. In reality, things have proved more complex. Although « transformative agreements” that cover both publishing and reading have rapidly increased the percentage of articles published in open access in some institutions, the details of these agreements are generally kept secret and so their scope is difficult to compare.

Nevertheless, it is clear that making most articles open access but for a fee, if tariffs are not a realistic reflection of actual costs, will explode university library budgets (Harvard estimates this increase at 71%) and mark large differences in the ability to publish. Indeed, this could create a vicious circle whereby well-funded researchers publish more, gain more visibility as well as recognition and, as a result, get more funding.

If Plan S does not explicitly monitor and maintain, within the terms of its open publication requirement, an insurmountable ceiling on publication costs, these perverse effects of budget explosion will be inevitable. This is now where the challenge of communicating public research lies….”

Good News: Academics Can Make Their Articles Published In Top Journal Nature Freely Available As Open Access. Bad News: They Must Pay $11,000 For Each One | Techdirt

“The research will indeed by freely available to the world, but the authors’ institutions have to cough up the massive sum of $11,000 for every article. That will make Nature compliant with Plan S, while ensuring that loads of money continues to roll in. It also means that educational institutions won’t be saving any money when their researchers can read some Nature publishing papers for free, since they must pay out huge sums for their own academics to appear in these titles. This is a classic example of double-dipping — what is more politely called “hybrid open access.” Nature the publisher will get paid by institutions to make some articles freely available, but it will continue to be paid by subscribers to access material that has already been paid for. Plan S may mean that Nature and other publishers make even more money….”

Stony Brook University Author Perspectives on Article Processing Charges

Abstract:  INTRODUCTION The purpose of this study is to gain an understanding of Stony Brook University (SBU) author perspectives on article processing charges (APCs). Publishing an article without restrictions, also known as open access publishing, can be a costly endeavor. Many publishers charge APCs ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars to publish an article without access restrictions. Authors who cannot obtain funding from grant agencies or their institution must pay APCs on their own. Do APCs fundamentally impact how authors choose their preferred publication venues? METHODS A cross-sectional survey was designed to learn SBU author perspectives on, and concerns about, APCs. RESULTS Responses mainly came from the sciences. Many SBU authors preferred to publish in a prestigious journal or journal of their choice rather than in an open access journal. Most authors published their articles in open access journals even if they were required to pay APCs. Many authors found that it was difficult finding funding for APCs and some expressed their concerns about the double charging practice. DISCUSSION SBU authors might believe that publishing in established and prestigious journals could secure their career’s advancement. Authors who chose to pay open access journals with APCs might be following publishing criteria. Libraries can encourage authors to negotiate with publishers to obtain a discount or waiver of APCs, when possible. Institutions should negotiate shifting journal subscription costs toward hybrid open access publishing. CONCLUSION Data will be used to inform how the SBU Libraries can help authors locate funding opportunities for APCs.

 

cOAlition S publishes updated criteria for Transformative Journals | Plan S

“Following a review of the responses to a public consultation, and cognisant of the ambition to provide researchers funded by a member of cOAlition S with the opportunity to continue publishing results in a wide variety of journals, whilst ensuring that the version of record is fully Open Access, we have made several changes and simplifications to the way we define a Transformative Journal. Specifically, we have:

changed the threshold when a journal must flip to full Open Access from 50% of to 75% and removed the commitment to flip by December 2024. In making these changes, however, we have stressed that publishers must explicitly state their commitment to transition to full Open Access and that our support for this model (in terms of paying for publishing services in subscription journals) will cease at the end of 2024;
reduced the annual growth target for the proportion of content which must be published in Open Access from 8% to at least 5% in absolute terms and at least 15% in relative terms, year-on-year;
simplified the guidance and removed all the “recommended additional criteria”. As such, the guidance is now expressed in just six paragraphs….”

cOAlition S publishes updated criteria for Transformative Journals | Plan S

“Following a review of the responses to a public consultation, and cognisant of the ambition to provide researchers funded by a member of cOAlition S with the opportunity to continue publishing results in a wide variety of journals, whilst ensuring that the version of record is fully Open Access, we have made several changes and simplifications to the way we define a Transformative Journal. Specifically, we have:

changed the threshold when a journal must flip to full Open Access from 50% of to 75% and removed the commitment to flip by December 2024. In making these changes, however, we have stressed that publishers must explicitly state their commitment to transition to full Open Access and that our support for this model (in terms of paying for publishing services in subscription journals) will cease at the end of 2024;
reduced the annual growth target for the proportion of content which must be published in Open Access from 8% to at least 5% in absolute terms and at least 15% in relative terms, year-on-year;
simplified the guidance and removed all the “recommended additional criteria”. As such, the guidance is now expressed in just six paragraphs….”

Subscribe to Open: A Mutual Assurance Approach to Open Access  – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Annual Reviews announced today that the 2020 volume of the Annual Review of Cancer Biology has been published open access and that the back volumes of this journal are also now available for free reading. As the pioneer of the Subscribe to Open model, congratulations are due on achieving their first open title. The 2020 articles are published copyright to Annual Reviews with a CC-BY license. The backfiles do not carry a CC license. Annual Reviews developed their Subscribe to Open model in partnership with Raym Crow, Managing Partner, Chain Bridge Group, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As interest in Subscribe to Open grows based on the experiences of early innovations, publishers and libraries need to develop an understanding of the various approaches to Subscribe to Open and the benefits and limitations of the model….

Subscribe to Open is an example of an assurance approach to addressing a collective action challenge. In the Subscribe to Open model developed by Annual Reviews, each subscribing library is motivated to continue to subscribe (because they have been a subscriber and as such have already made a decision that the content is worth paying for) by a discount that is built into the Subscribe to Open offer. The model is two-fold. First, if all libraries continue to subscribe, then not only will those libraries have access to the content for their users, but Annual Reviews will also make the content openly available to non-subscribers as well and apply a CC-BY license to the articles. Second, if all libraries do not continue to subscribe, then those that do will still receive the discount — as well as access to the content — but the content will not be made available to non-subscribers. In either scenario, the subscribing libraries receive a discount and access to the content. Essentially, this is a no-risk opt-in for the subscribing institution. Martin Paul Eve has outlined a similar possible model for society publishers but with a three year rather than annual timeframe. …”

Double dipping and other bad manners

“So in this context, double dipping is when an article is published open access – that is, an author’s fee has been paid for it to be read for free around the world – but the publisher then charges other users to read that article through a subscription. Now, if that were truly the case, the publisher would be paid twice for the same article.

Bad manners indeed!

Yes, but at Elsevier, we do not double dip. We have two models of compensation for an article: through an open access fee or through a subscription – but we are never paid for the same article twice.

But how do you ensure that? How is that managed?

This is managed through our business accounting. Fully gold open access journals, for example, have no subscription price, and therefore no pricing for those journals is included in any licensing contract. Customers are never charged a subscription fee for gold open access journals.

Ok, that makes sense. But what about hybrid journals that publish both gold open access as well as subscription articles?

Yes, I see how this could be confusing. We manage this by maintaining separate accounting streams. If an author selects to publish open access, the article publishing fee is collected and that article is published as open. Done. Those revenues are kept separate from the revenues of the subscription articles. So when pricing for each subscription journal is determined, revenue from the open access articles does not play into that evaluation. We maintain separate accounting and evaluation processes….”

 

The insanity (and probably illegality) of transformative agreements (including Plan S and Project Deal) – An Open Letter to Libraries and Coalition S | Gunther Eysenbach’s random research rants

“The reality is that libraries are used to negotiate with legacy publishers about subscriptions, and there has been no historic need to negotiate with OA publishers about anything, as they already do exactly what librarians or Plan S/Coalition S and other government entities want them to do – but open access publishers do need support, and need it more than those “poor” publishers like Springer-Nature who wants the transformative deals (all APCs covered) but is screaming and kicking having to abandon their hybrid journals which allows them to double-dip (getting paid for subscriptions AND article processing fees). Why are we spending public tax money to “help” commercial entities to switch to a different business model because they didn’t understand the sign of times 20 years ago? The situation is similar to a government wanting to switch from Internal Combustion Engine cars to electroc cars nationwide, and not subsidizing the costs for buying from Tesla, but only throwing money at GM and BMW to fund their costs to switch production.

In my 20 years of publishing fully open access journals, we have not once received a single dime (or $) of funding from libraries (other OA publishers, like Frontiers, MDPI, Plos, have more muscle and may have institutional agreements, but as niche publisher we simply do not have the market size and staff to negotiate with hundreds of universities/libraries)  – rather than being paid by libraries, it  is all our authors paying from their research grants. The only exception is our recent deal with the University of California (which frankly seems to be the only institution having the vision to support native OA publishers) – but it remains to be seen if other libraries/consortia replicate this model (our emails to Project Deal and other libraries who made transformative deals and are coveering the APC of large publishers, asking them to match the conditions they gave to Wiley and Springer have not been responded to at all). And to be clear, if you want to go with the “quality argument”, keep in mind that 4 out of the 8 leading health informatics journals are published by us.

If the general model changes in the future from APCs being paid by authors/research grants towards libraries picking up these costs, libraries/funders must ensure an “open-access first” policy, where APCs of native open-access publishers and their journals are equally paid or even paid first (i.e. transformative agreements should only be made for journals where no OA journal are in existence and where there is significant demand to publish in a former subscription/hybrid journal). And by the way, don’t use Web of Science or Scopus for these assessments (rather use DOAJ)….”

OA, renewals, and a 3% price drop for package A subscribers | Publishing blog | Royal Society

“As many green open access journals accept increasing numbers of paid OA articles, librarians have rightly pointed out that it’s not appropriate for publishers to charge for both subscriptions and APC’s; the so-called ‘double dipping’.

Here at the Royal Society we do not double dip. We account for changes through our transparent pricing mechanism. This means that as we publish more open access articles, we charge less for our subscriptions to ensure that the cost to our readers remains stable.

For 2020 an increase in open access articles means that the list price of Package A, which covers all our physical sciences and cross disciplinary articles, will drop by 3%….”