Removing author fees can help open access journals make research available to everyone

“Publishing a journal requires money, but that amounts to only 10 to 15 per cent of what publishers charge authors to make their work open access. Author fees are disproportionate with publishing costs, and correlate to the journal’s prestige, impact and profit model.

In this environment, author fees will continue to increase so long as someone can pay for it. It also means that open access publishing privileges a certain set of researchers….”

From Mattering Press to the Open Book Collective: Interview with Joe Deville | Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM)

Corazza, F., & Fathallah, J. (2022). From Mattering Press to the Open Book Collective: Interview with Joe Deville. Community-Led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM).

As well as being the Chair of the Open Book Collective, due to launch soon, Joe Deville is one of the founders of Mattering Press, a small Open Access book publisher. We sat down with Joe to speak to him about how he became involved in Open Access publishing, some of the challenges that small publishers can face when starting up, and how his work with Mattering Press led to his involvement in the Open Book Collective.


NEW COMMUNITIES: SCHOLAR-LED PUBLISHING UND OPEN ACCESS — Aktuelle scholar-led Publishing-Initiativen und Open Access in den Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften (Teil 3) | Open Media Studies

by Tobias Steiner


«[M]ight it not be helpful to think of open access less as a project and model to be implemented, and more as a process of continuous struggle and critical Resistance?» (Adema and Hall, 2013)

«[I]f we are theorists, if we are radical, critical theorists, then our critique should aim at a transformation of the actual systems within which we work.» (Joy, 2017)


In the first part of this blog series, scholar-led publishing was classified and situated in the context of Open Access. In the second part, I worked diachronically – with a focus on journals – how scholar-led initiatives from the field of cultural and media studies created their own spaces in the digital realm at an early stage and, through these, realized their respective individual interpretations of the basic motivation that also underlies Open Access: enabling free access to knowledge. In the third part, I will present a selection of scholar-led book publishers relevant to cultural and media studies, as well as collaborations, networks, and infrastructure initiatives.


OLD TRADITIONS: SCHOLAR-LED PUBLISHING UND OPEN ACCESS — zu den Anfängen digitalen scholar-led Publishings in den Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften (Teil 2) | Open Media Studies

by Tobias Steiner

«Apparently, there are academics, and reputable ones at that, for whom the cost/benefit of the Mercedes Benz — the smart cover, prestigious logo, beautiful paper, and added-value galore — is less important than the means of quick and effective conveyance, even if it be merely a rusty old heap that runs. Academic aspirations are, in many cases, being modified by the financial realities of the day. I believe this is leading us to a more differentiated array of publications. I imagine the Internet full of curiously painted VW beetles and vans, an engaging mixture of information vehicles. If this speculation becomes reality, and if our academics and their institutions become aware that the current style of single-minded high-value publishing can lead to perishing, then we are headed for some value shifts over time.»

Anna Shumelda Okerson: Oh Lord, Won’t You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz Or, There is a There There, in: Surfaces, Bd. IV, Nr. 102, 1994, Folio 1.


For the humanities and social sciences, early scholar-led publishing projects and initiatives that emerged and experimented with the new digital medium, especially before the widespread history of OA cited in the first part, still play a role that is too little noticed in the broad sense. As Moore, for example, points out with reference to early digital journal initiatives, numerous scholar-led initiatives from the humanities and social sciences existed well before the early 2000s, which are generally regarded as the start of the OA movement. These initiatives – also as a reaction to the strong commercialization of the journal market in the 1970s and 1980s2 – had set themselves the goal of organizing the production and circulation of scholarly communication in the digital realm themselves and making it freely accessible to the public.


PLURALITIES: SCHOLAR-LED PUBLISHING UND OPEN ACCESS — zur Rolle von scholar-led publishing in den Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften (Teil 1) | Open Media Studies

by Tobias Steiner

Publikationskulturen sind im Wissenschaftsbetrieb ähnlich vielfältig wie die ihnen zugrundeliegenden Forschungskulturen. Im heutzutage oftmals normativ geführten Diskurs um Open Access besteht die Gefahr, dass diese Vielfalt zugunsten techno-solutionistischer Implementationen ins Hintertreffen gerät oder gar mittelfristig verloren geht. Im Folgenden möchte ich daher näher auf den Ansatz des scholar-led publishing eingehen und aufzeigen, welche Zusammenhänge zwischen scholar-led Initiativen und der ‹klassischen› Open Access-Bewegung bestehen.

Dazu beginne ich mit einer kurzen Diskurseinordnung und leite dann diachron ab, wie scholar-led Initiativen aus den Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften – und mit ihnen aus den Kultur-, Medien- und Kommunikationswissenschaften – schon früh und parallel zu den weithin rezipierten Entwicklungen aus dem medizinisch-naturwissenschaftlichen Bereich der 1990er Jahre auf eigene Weise wichtige Impulse zur Öffnung von Publikationskulturen setzten. Im zweiten Teil stelle ich dazu ein Spektrum von scholar-led Journal-Initiativen vor, während der dritte Teil sich scholar-led Buchverlagen sowie scholar-led Netzwerken im weiteren Sinn zuwendet.



Open access research repositories provide diversity and innovation publishers can’t match. They have a critical role in archiving, preserving and sharing the diverse content produced by universities. | Plan S

“Where there is a lack of consensus is in how open access should be achieved. The majority of governments, international bodies such as UNESCO, institutions, researchers, and publishers along with groups such as Open Access Australasia (the group I work for), and prominent international organisations such as COAR and SPARC are committed to a diverse ecosystem of open publishing supported through a variety of means, nicely summed up in the phrase “bibliodiversity”.

Yet a minority of commercial publishers, especially and most recently articulated by Springer Nature’s Steven Inchcoombe insist that the only route to open access should be through journals, and not just any journals, but specifically hybrid journals, which of course are the journals that make up the bulk of the journals that Springer Nature and other large publishers still rely on for revenue….

The consolidation of infrastructure and services that underpin scholarly communication is perhaps even more alarming. Whereas journals changing hands does not generally lead to them being shut down or amalgamated into other journals, for services the reverse is true….

Institutional and disciplinary repositories offer a community-owned, robust alternative. Their very distributed state gives a degree of stability and flexibility of approach that publishers simply can’t replicate. Repositories provide access to publications, but also an array of unique content including theses, research reports, audiovisual-content, code and data. They also support the retention of rights by authors, as the recently updated UNSW OA policy enshrines. Yet, publishers decry repositories, claiming that “Green [repository based open access] doesn’t offer the benefits of higher citations and increased downloads that come with gold [journal based] open access; it isn’t the version that researchers want, and is not sustainable for publishers”. However, the facts simply don’t support these arguments and fail to recognise the huge use of and, increasingly, innovation happening within the repository system.

Repositories have a critical role in archiving, preserving and sharing the diverse content produced by universities so it can be used by others and have the greatest impact on our society. Repositories such as QUT’s, for example, see a huge volume of downloads of their content — more than 1.3 million downloads so far this year of its just over 122,000 items. In Latin America, there is a distributed network of national repositories, La Referencia which hold more than 2.3 million articles as well as more than 400,000 doctoral theses. And repositories are now at the forefront of non-commercial innovation in open access, aligning with services such as overlay journals that review and distribute content held by repositories, interoperability that links outputs across the whole research lifecycle, and open peer review….”

A Possible Fix For Scientific (and Academic) Publishing | Peer Review – News and Blog

“This is a proposal for a software platform that may help the academic community solve these problems, and more….

Peer Review [the proposed platform] allows scholars, scientists, academics, and researchers to self organize their own peer review and refereeing, without needing journal editors to manually mediate it. The platform allows review and refereeing to be crowdsourced, using a reputation system tied to academic fields to determine who should be able to offer review and to referee.

The platform splits pre-publish peer review from post-publish refereeing. Pre-publish review then becomes completely about helping authors polish their work and decide if their articles are ready to publish. Refereeing happens post-publish, and in a way which is easily understandable to the lay reader, helping the general public sort solid studies from shakey ones.


Peer Review is being developed open source. The hope is to form a non-profit to develop it which would be governed by the community of academics who use the platform in collaboration with the team of software professionals who build it (a multi-stakeholder cooperative)….”

To make ‘open science’ a reality, key issues must be advanced – International Year of Basic Sciences for Development

“To make open science a reality, three key issues, as a priority, ought to be advanced globally, according to Peter Gluckman, President of the International Science Council (ISC).

The shaping of the open science paradigm has largely been achieved through the work of national academies, international scientific unions and associations, and related bodies that are represented in the membership of the International Science Council (ISC). National and regional funders of science have increasingly supported the open science imperative by investing in supportive infrastructures and promoting open access publishing as a condition of funding.

Now, UNESCO has taken a stance to formalize these trends at the international level through its Recommendation on Open Science. Despite the gaps in this document, it could have some important positive outcomes….”

FREE UKSG webinar – Library funding for Open Access at KU Leuven | UKSG

“At KU Leuven we believe that it is essential to apply library budgets to foster a greater diversity in the market of academic publishing. With this purpose in mind we have founded the KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access, which is exclusively devoted to stimulating the development of non-profit and community-led publishers, infrastructures and initiatives. During this presentation I will share some insights about the operation of such a fund, the type of open scholarship infrastructures and OA programmes we support, and explain our decision to cease financing article processing charges, even in a Fair OA business model….”

The Radical Open Access Collective: Building Better Knowledge Commons | David Bollier

The general public may not give much thought to how scientists and scholars publish their work, but please know that it matters. Like so much else in the world, corporate markets have colonized this space, which means that turning business profits is the primary goal, not the easy, affordable sharing of knowledge.

Commercial academic publishers have long privatized and monetized academic research, which over time has resulted in an oligopoly of a few publishers able to charge exorbitant prices for their books and journal subscriptions. The impact has been greatest on researchers in the Global South and at smaller, less affluent colleges and universities, where it is harder to access and share the latest scientific and scholarly research.

The most spirited response has come from the open access publishing movement. Open access, or OA, got its start twenty years ago as a way to publish academic books, journals, and other research that can be readily shared and copied. This was a break from the traditional publishing models that allowed major corporations to take researchers’ copyrights and convert the fruits of academic commons into expensive proprietary products.

Open access not only helps scientists, scholars, and students build on the work of those who came before them. It assures a basic fairness — to the academic fields that generated the knowledge in the first place, and to taxpayers who often pay (via the government) for research in science, medicine, and the humanities. Why should corporate publishers get to own the copyrights and privatize the gains of publicly funded research and public universities?

To explore the state of open access publishing today, I spoke recently with Sam Moore, an organizer with the Radical Open Access Collective on my Frontiers of Commoning podcast (episode #25). Moore is also a scholarly communications specialist at Cambridge University Library in England, and a research associate at Homerton College.

My interview digs into the oligopoly control of academic publishing, the high prices of academic journals and books, the lack of choices among many scientists and scholars, the limited leadership of university administrations, and some open-access innovations now being developed.

Digitales Publizieren und die Qualitätsfrage – AuROA

From Google’s English:  “The two-day interdisciplinary event deals with digital publishing in the humanities. The thematic priorities are quality criteria in humanities publications in connection with and as a result of open access, digital publishing and scholar-led publishing as well as current problems of scientific publishing such as reputation building mechanisms, peer review and data tracking.

A theoretical part deals with sociological, scientific-theoretical and political issues relating to open access in the humanities. The different disciplinary perspectives of humanities scholars are brought together through common problems and interests. The specification of quality criteria and the current publication practice leads to the controversial topic of peer review.

In the practical part, the goal is the joint development of position papers on problem areas and task-oriented requirements for quality assurance in the humanities (in book format). Current examples of the implementation of academic and library-organized publishing are presented and discussed.

The third part focuses on other current problems of scientific publishing, such as data tracking….”

Stakeholder-Workshop mit dem Die nicht-profitorientierte Perspektive auf Open Access (Stakeholder workshop with the The non-profit perspective on Open Access) | Open4DE – Open Access Blog Berlin

Von Martina Benz, Malte Dreyer und Maike Neufend

Open-Access-Strategien, die auf staatlicher Ebene verankert sind, bewirken dynamische Diskurse rund um das Thema Open Access, sie positionieren Länder gegenüber global operierenden Wissenschaftskonzernen und haben nicht zuletzt eine Leitbildfunktion für die Einrichtungen und Wissenschaftler*innen des betreffenden Landes. Dennoch hat Deutschland bislang, anders als viele andere europäische Staaten, keine nationale Open-Access-Strategie.

Um Vorschläge für die Gestaltung des Politikprozesses und die Inhalte einer Open-Access-Strategie für Deutschland zu erarbeiten, planen wir im Projekt Open4DE: Stand und Perspektiven einer Open-Access-Strategie für Deutschland eine Serie von Stakeholder-Workshops. Den Anfang machte am 28. Januar 2022 ein 60-minütiger Workshop mit dem

Das diskutiert und artikuliert Interessen der im deutschsprachigen Raum operierenden, von Wissenschaftler*innen geführten Publikationsprojekte. In ihrem 2021 veröffentlichten Manifest treten sie unter anderem für eine Vielfalt von Publikationsformaten, nachhaltig und öffentlich finanzierte Publikationsinfrastrukturen und eine Community-basierte Entwicklung des non-profit Publikationsökosystems ein: ideale Anknüpfungspunkte für die Diskussion über Anforderungen an eine bundesweite Open-Access-Strategie.

Der Workshop teilte sich in zwei Phasen. Im ersten kollaborativen Teil sammelten wir auf einem virtuellen Whiteboard Aspekte, die unter die im Manifest genannten Handlungsfelder – Vernetzung, Finanzierung und Bibliodiversität – fallen. Der Workshop startete also mit der Frage, welche konkreten Herausforderungen aus Sicht der Teilnehmer*innen als besonders bedeutsam für einen bundesweiten Policy-Prozess empfunden werden. Die Antworten aus dieser Diskussion wurden nach Wichtigkeit bewertet und daraufhin im zweiten Teil des Workshops in drei Kleingruppen vertieft und aufbereitet.


English translation via

OA strategies that are anchored at the state level generate dynamic discourses around the topic of OA, they position countries vis-à-vis globally operating science corporations and, last but not least, have a guiding function for the institutions and scientists of the country in question. Nevertheless, unlike many other European countries, Germany does not yet have a national OA strategy. In order to develop proposals for shaping the policy process and the content of an OA strategy for Germany, we are planning a series of stakeholder workshops in the project Open4DE: Status and Perspectives of an OA Strategy for Germany. The first was a 60-minute workshop with the on 28 January 2022. The discusses and articulates the interests of scholar-led publication projects operating in German-speaking countries. In their manifesto published in 2021, they advocate, among other things, a diversity of publication formats, sustainable and publicly funded publication infrastructures and a community-based development of the non-profit publication ecosystem: ideal starting points for the discussion on requirements for a nationwide Open Access strategy. The workshop was divided into two phases. In the first collaborative part, we collected aspects on a virtual whiteboard that fall under the fields of action mentioned in the manifesto – networking, funding and bibliodiversity. The workshop thus started with the question of which concrete challenges the participants felt were particularly significant for a nationwide policy process. The answers from this discussion were rated in terms of importance and then discussed in greater depth and processed in three small groups in the second part of the workshop.



Scholarly Journals: A Modest Proposal

Therefore, I am instead suggesting that colleges and universities strategically invest directly in the publishing process and industry through various forms of sponsorship, partnership, or even outright ownership. Today, with outsourcing and partnerships becoming the norm, why shouldn’t scholarly output follow suit? Why not expend campus resources in ways that give institutions more control over costs and modes of distribution? Doing so could begin to erode the commercial publishing conglomerates’ stranglehold on scholarly output and put at least some of that control back into the hands of those who produce this output. Perhaps this could be characterized as extending the Diamond approach of institutional funding to underwrite free and open access in a strategic way that provides more direct benefit to the funding academic institutions and, just as importantly, increased power in the marketplace.

A significant number of institutions are already paying extra to make their faculty publications OA. Why should these institutions waste funds on up-front fees that fail to move us any closer to universal OA and that keep commercial publishing monopolies in control of the marketplace? If more colleges and universities were to take up the charge and invest in at least one high-quality OA journal through sponsorship, partnership, or ownership, the academic community could begin to take charge of its own intellectual property and change the scholarly journal marketplace. Crazy idea? Perhaps. Who would be willing to invest, why would they do so, what would be the result, and how would it happen?