More Unexpected Consequences: How the Plan S Transformative Journal Route Favors Larger Incumbent Publishers – The Scholarly Kitchen

“But once you read the Transformative Journal reporting requirements, you will realize that this route is likely impossible for journals other than those from larger and wealthier publishers. Once again, a well-intentioned policy has created further inequities in scholarly communication….

Transformative Journals (TJs) are one route offered by cOAlition S “to encourage publishers to transition to immediate Open Access.” Through this route, a subscription/hybrid journal can remain compliant and eligible for Plan S authors by committing to a transition to becoming fully-OA and meeting a set of OA growth requirements each year until 2024, when support for TJs ends and they are expected to fully convert over to OA. Let’s ignore for now the OA growth requirements for TJs – DeltaThink’s recent analysis covers this well and shows how unrealistic the numbers are and how few journals are likely to progress adequately given the timelines involved…

Instead, I want to focus on the reporting requirements for TJs. Tallying up the number of OA articles published each year is easy to accomplish. The transparent pricing reporting requirements remain vague and meaningless enough that they shouldn’t prove too onerous for even smaller publishers to put together. Where things get difficult, if not impossible, is in the requirement for an annual public report to cOAlition S, a report that must include data on downloads, citations, and Altmetric scores for all papers published, and that must be sub-divided into OA papers versus non-OA papers.

For those working at larger publishing houses, this likely sounds trivial. You’d just assign your team of in-house bibliometric analysts to pull citation data from your expensive Web of Science, Scopus, or Dimensions subscription. Download information can be obtained from the usage tracking service you pay for, or perhaps it’s included from the full-service publishing platform that your organization owns or that you employ each year at significant cost. Altmetric numbers can come from your access to the paid service of the same name. Your employee bibliometricians will, of course, spend the necessary time parsing out the OA articles from everything else.

Hopefully the theme running through that last paragraph was fairly obvious – none of this is free, much of it is very expensive, and in-house bibliometric expertise is rare among smaller publishers….”

Open Access agreements with smaller publishers require active cross-stakeholder alignment, report says | ISSN

Open Access agreements between consortia/libraries and smaller independent publishers are used worldwide increasingly since 2020, signalling a potential for further growth, highlights an independent report released in June 2021 by Information Power. The report was commissioned by cOAlition S and the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) as a follow up on the outcomes of the Society Publishers Accelerating Open access and Plan S (SPA-OPS) project, published in autumn 2019.

 

Navigating the barbed wire of publisher access barriers | Plan S

“In many ways, the specific details of this situation are irrelevant. What does matter is the important points it raises:

From the baffling experiences described above, one concludes that not only is the assortment of access options confusing for readers but that major publishers are challenged to engineer and control access and authentication as they intended. Such examples validate the reasons why hybrid OA journals are problematic.

There is a significant effort associated with gatekeeping and preventing potential readers from accessing content, when research should be disseminated and read as widely as possible. This represents an increased cost in the production of publications – a cost which is ultimately borne by the subscriber or individual reader. 

There is considerable evidence that open access articles are more read than non Open access articles. Indeed, even SpringerNature, the publisher of the article example above, states that “Open approaches accelerate the progress of science…. OA is immediately accessible and highly discoverable… Previous research shows the OA advantage for researchers: OA articles are cited on average 1.6 times more than non-OA articles, downloaded 4 times more often and attract 2.5 times more attention, as measured by news and policy mentions”.

Wouldn’t it be better if the money, time and energy invested by publishers in attempting to build a complex variety of access barriers were directed towards providing a consistent approach to access? Then the money, time and energy spent by researchers and libraries in paying for and attempting to access content, via confused and confusing interfaces, could be better spent on research. If authentication and access control are so challenging, and we all, including publishers, agree that Open Access is beneficial, then we need to abandon these types of attempts at gatekeeping, and instead focus on making all research publications easily openly accessible.”

Ouvrir la Science – Deuxième Plan national pour la science ouverte

From Google’s English:  “The National Open Science Plan announced in 2018 by the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal, has enabled France to adopt a coherent and dynamic policy in the field of open science, coordinated by the Committee for Open Science, which brings together the ministry, research and higher education institutions and the scientific community. After three years of implementation, the progress made is notable. The rate of French scientific publications in open access rose from 41% to 56%. The National Open Science Fund was created, it launched two calls for projects in favor of open scientific publication and it supported structuring international initiatives. The National Research Agency and other funding agencies now require open access to publications and the drafting of data management plans for the projects they fund. The function of ministerial research data administrator has been created and a network is being deployed in the establishments. About twenty universities and research organizations have adopted an open science policy. Several guides and recommendations for putting open science into practice have been published. About twenty universities and research organizations have adopted an open science policy. Several guides and recommendations for putting open science into practice have been published. About twenty universities and research organizations have adopted an open science policy. Several guides and recommendations for putting open science into practice have been published.

The steps already taken and the evolution of the international context invite us to extend, renew and strengthen our commitments by adopting a second National Plan for Open Science, the effects of which will be deployed until 2024. With this new plan, France is continuing the ambitious trajectory initiated by the law for a digital republic of 2016 and confirmed by the research programming law of 2020, which includes open science in the missions of researchers and teacher-researchers.

This second National Plan extends its scope to source codes resulting from research, it structures actions in favor of the opening or sharing of data through the creation of the Research Data Gouv platform, it multiplies the levers of transformation in order to generalize open science practices and it presents disciplinary and thematic variations. It is firmly in line with a European ambition and proposes, within the framework of the French Presidency of the European Union, to act to take effective account of open science practices in individual and collective research evaluations. It is about initiating a process of sustainable transformation in order to make open science a common and shared practice…”

Open Access in Indonesia

Abstract:  Despite the absence of funding pressures that explicitly mandate a shift toopen access (OA), Indonesia is a leader in OA publishing. Indonesia subscribes to a non-pro?t model of OA, which differs from that promoted by Plan S. The penetration of bibliometric systems of academic performance assessment is pushing Indonesian scholars away from a local non-pro?t model of OA to a model based on high publication charges. This article consider swhether Plan S promotes or undermines the ability of Indonesian scholars to develop systems of OA adapted to local resource constraints and research needs.

Plan S Archives – iRights.info – Kreativität und Urheberrecht in der digitalen Welt (Open skimming: How scientific publishing changes in the transition to open access)

From Google’s English:

“Access to scientific texts free of charge and freely – this should soon become the standard. Scientific publishers are also trying to take advantage of the transition to Open Access, for example with fees for authors and data tracking. Tilman Reitz analyzes what the open access transformation means for science and what design options there are.”

VIDEO RECORDING and Slides: LIBER 2021 Session #2: Powering Sustainable Open Publishing Platforms

Slides are available here:

https://zenodo.org/record/5036195#.YONQY-gzY2w

Description

Vanessa Proudman presents the results of ‘The Diamond Open Access Study’, a research study commissioned by cOAlition S. In her presentation, a new understanding of the OA Diamond sector and its maturity with respect to editorial quality assurance practices and Plan S technical requirements will be shared. Additionally, she will discuss key perceived challenges of OA Diamond journal editors and the current financial sustainability of the sector. Most importantly, she will be presenting the new OA publishing Commons, which seeks to bring together the world’s community-driven/governed journals and platforms, connect them and technically support them in a new, increasingly coordinated and sustainable way.

Next, Natalia Grygierczyk discusses an innovative model for Diamond Open Access scientific publishing, explaining not just its theoretical foundations, but also how it is actually implemented in the newly started OA Radboud University Press (OA RUP). Within the new cooperative model, the OA RUP aims to enable, guide, and support academic editorial boards in the transition process to Diamond Open Access. This presentation provides an overview of the new publishing model, its operational activities, and financial aspects. It concretely describes the collaborative process with various service providers, how the OA RUP is financially sustainable in the long term and how cost-effectiveness is achieved in the transition to Open Access.

Finally, Rebecca Wojturska provides insight into the world of launching a library-based Open Access book-hosting service. The presentation will reflect on the timeline, successes and learning points of the current University of Edinburgh library project and provide recommendations and conclusions to attendees. It will also discuss how to grow a book-hosting service and how it is useful in supporting teaching and learning. Finally, it will consider the technical requirements of such a project and share anecdotal evidence from academic and student users to document the successes of the University of Edinburgh library project and launch. As such, the primary audience for this presentation is the librarian who is beginning their own book-hosting service, or who is considering it, as well as those interested in Open Access publishing.

 

 

 

Interview with Beth Bayley, Karger Publishers – DOAJ News Service

“A very important aspect of our strategy is to embrace, contribute to and promote Open Science, which naturally means a major emphasis on a sustainable transition to open access (OA). Besides ensuring that our policies and services support OA, we’re also working with institutions to innovate flexible Publish and Read agreements (a.k.a. transformative agreements), launching OA journals, flipping journals and adopting the Transformative Journal model for some journals….

Ideologically, OA seems like a no-brainer. In a perfect world, there would be no barriers to lifesaving and enhancing knowledge based on where, or under what circumstances, people are born. However, the challenges to making all high-quality research openly accessible—with all the essential tools to make it discoverable and useful, and everything else publishers do—are real. I think platinum OA, where there is no charge for reading or publishing, could go far to reduce inequity so I’m especially excited about our platinum OA journals, which we call Partner Publications. They help make sure organizations have a voice in the global conversation and remove barriers to readers and authors….”

AAAS Plan S Compliance Policy: Staying Committed to Subscriptions – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Back in January, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced a pilot to allow authors funded by cOAlition S organizations that have adopted the Plan S Rights Retention Strategy to place a CC BY or a CC BY-ND license on their accepted manuscripts and to share them without embargo. 

Specifically, the AAAS License to Publish states that 

“AAAS licenses back the following rights to the Author in the version of the cOAlition S Funded Work that has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication, (the “Accepted Version”) but not the final, copyedited and proofed version published by AAAS (the “Final Published Version”): The right to self-archive and distribute the Accepted Version under either a CC BY 4.0 license or a CC BY-ND license, including on the Author’s personal website, in the Author’s company/institutional repository or archive, and in not for profit subject-based repositories such as PubMed Central, without embargo but only following publication of the Final Published Version.” …

The announcement of the pilot policy was widely reported on and was welcomed by cOAlition S in a special statement. Since that time, representatives of cOAlition S have repeatedly praised the AAAS policy in webinars and the like. This celebratory response has been a bit puzzling to me. Plan S aims to flip the publishing system to gold open access, with its various leaders often decrying the lack of progress in the two decades since the Budapest Open Access Initiative statement. Specifically, Plan S states that, “the subscription-based model of scientific publishing, including its so-called ‘hybrid’ variants, should therefore be terminated.” 

Yet in this case, cOAlition S is praising a publisher that is holding fast to the subscription-based model of closed publishing. And doing so even though this AAAS pilot policy is not a comprehensive route to compliance for Plan S since not all funders in the coalition have adopted the Rights Retention Strategy. Elsewhere I’ve observed that, over time, the implementation of Plan S has been marked by policies that “rehabilitate” journals into compliance. Is this another case of rehabilitation? …”

 

 

Delta Think OA News & Views

“This month we look at Transformative Journals (TJs). We examine what their measures of compliance mean and how the criteria for growing OA in TJs compares with the typical growth of OA in hybrid journals.

We have previously analyzed the proportions of papers that might be affected by Plan S, the European-led initiative “to make full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality.” Researchers funded under the initiative must publish via one of four routes, which lay down rules for allowed access types. One allowed route is a Transformative Journal.

Join us to learn more about Plan S definitions and scenario modeling of Transformative Journals….”

Transformative Journals – Delta Think

“This month we look at Transformative Journals (TJs). We examine what their measures of compliance mean and how the criteria for growing OA in TJs compares with the typical growth of OA in hybrid journals….

The data suggest that historically, the OA proportion of journals’ output has not grown as fast as TJ requirements require:

Over the last three years, the total number of papers published across all journals currently marked as TJs is growing at roughly half the rate needed for them to continue to enjoy TJ status.
The number of journals meeting TJ requirements of OA growth is small. Only a dozen or so (out of around 2,000) have met TJ targets for each of the last three years. However, around two thirds have met TJ targets for at least one year out of the last 3.

The data also showed that only 20 or so journals (less than 1%) had over 75% OA uptake, while two thirds (68%) had 20% OA uptake or less. Smaller journals show the fastest growth in OA. Most of the larger ones appear to be virtually static….

The data suggest that the OA growth criteria for TJ status are aggressive, but not impossible. The current crop of TJs are on average growing OA proportions at around half the pace needed to be in compliance. (The average growth in OA uptake of hybrid journals from major publishers follows broadly similar patterns.) Many journals have previously met TJ targets for one year or even two, suggesting the challenges lie in adding to existing momentum, rather than building OA uptake from scratch.

 

However, the biggest caveat is timing. Support for TJs is due to be withdrawn completely in 2024, but two thirds of current TJs have less than 20% OA uptake. So many could meet their TJ targets, but still have only around one third OA uptake in 2024. Publishers would then be faced with a tough choice: flip minority-OA journals to fully OA, risk at least one third of output as zero-embargo Green impacting subscriptions … or fall out of Plan S compliance completely and lose one third of their submissions.”