Subscribe to Open: Viable for your library? Survey

“Thank you for checking out MSP’s [Mathematical Sciences Publishers’] Subscribe to Open survey! It should take about 10 minutes to complete if you are familiar with the S2O model: there are 16 questions in total, and some can be skipped if you don’t know the answer.

What is Subscribe to Open? Here’s our brief description (and links to further information): http://msp.org/publications/s2o/

 

Happy sharing! Your participation is greatly appreciated….”

Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and academic publishing house Duncker & Humblot start Open Access business model “Subscribe to Open” | ZBW

Kiel/Hamburg, 15 November 2021: “Subscribe to Open” is the name of the Open Access business model which the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and the renowned academic publishing of Duncker & Humblot have started now. First off the starting block in 2022 are the economics journals “Credit and Capital Markets – Kredit und Kapital” and “Journal of Contextual Economics – Schmollers Jahrbuch”. In addition, the cooperation partners will digitise numerous back volumes of the journals and make them available in Open Access.

Equity is at Heart of Subscribe to Open Model – SPARC

“For years, advocates of Open Access have wrestled with how to openly disseminate scholarly research in an equitable and financially sustainable way. One model – Subscribe to Open (S2O) – is emerging as a promising approach that can expand the reach of journals and provide clear benefits to international audiences eager for access to life-changing knowledge.

It is a practical approach to let publishers convert journals from subscriptions to open, one year at a time, says Raym Crow, senior  consultant to SPARC for more than 20 years and architect of the S2O model. It was developed in response to the collective action problem of how to get publishers to flip their journal models to open.

S2O works by appealing to a journal’s existing subscribers. If the vast majority agree to participate, merely continuing with their current subscription, then the publisher opens the content after its threshold is met. If participation is not sufficient—for example, if some subscribers delay renewing in the expectation that they can gain access without participating—then that year’s content remains gated. 

Every year, the offer is repeated. Opening of content is contingent on sufficient participation. To motivate subscribers to participate, the publisher may offer additional content, a modest discount, or other incentives (whether the offer succeeds or not). …

Virginia Steel, university librarian at UCLA, says she has concerns about the inherent inequities of the Article Processing Charge (APC) model and S2O offers an easier way to make articles open without putting a burden on faculty to pay.  “The appeal from a library perspective is pretty straightforward. We don’t have to change our workflows in any significant way. It’s a more equitable approach,” says Steel, who has participated in the new model with a handful of journals at her institution in the past two years. …”

Astronomy & Astrophysics (A&A)

“The A&A Board of Directors has announced that their journal will move to a Subscribe-to-Open (S2O) model. If libraries renew their subscriptions, A&A will be published in full open access in 2022. Since its launch in 1969, A&A has been publishing pioneering, peer reviewed scientific content. The transition to open access will extend access of its high-quality research to a worldwide audience – furthering the field of astronomy and astrophysics. Library subscriptions, together with substantial contributions from the A&A sponsoring countries, will cover publication and editorial costs and enable content to become open access….”

KU and S2O – North American Webinar

“Please join Knowledge Unlatched’s US Sales team for a webinar discussing the Subscribe-to-Open (S2O) approach to converting scholarly journals to open access. The session, to last about 45 minutes with Q&A, will discuss S2O as an open access model in general, with added details about the four HSS and STEM Subscribe-to-Open KU offerings that are now active. Particular emphasis will be provided about this year’s new S2O offering for a package of six important journals in applied mathematics from EDP Sciences.”

Genuine open access to academic books requires collective solutions | Impact of Social Sciences

UKRI, the UK’s national research funding agency, and cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders, recently reaffirmed their commitments to delivering open access to academic books. However, whilst an open trajectory has been clearly set, how this is to be achieved remains unclear. In this post Lucy Barnes argues that for academic books to be genuinely open, an emphasis should be placed on collective funding models that limit the prospect of new barriers to access being erected through the imposition of expensive book processing charges (BPCs).

Subscribe to Progress: Advancing Equity Through Openness · Business of Knowing, summer 2021

“The open access business model Subscribe to Open (S2O) continues to capture attention from the scholarly publishing community. cOAlition S provided a recent endorsement, stating it “encourages publishers to seriously consider the Subscribe to Open Model as a model for achieving full transformation to open access publishing and Plan S compliance.” Wellcome Trust now allows its funds to be used to pay for S2O costs. And, just recently, came news that Project Muse, with funding from the Mellon Foundation, will study the viability of multiple coordinated S2O offers. If successful, they plan to move forward with the “design of a robust and multifaceted pilot program for journals in the humanities and social sciences.” This would be the largest and most ambitious implementation of S2O to date and the first time the model is applied to transition aggregated subscription content.

This all comes after an already busy year for S2O. Several publishers launched new S2O offers for 2021, including EDP Sciences, Pluto Journals, Berghahn Journals (now in its second year), and the International Water Association (IWA). Annual Reviews, who originally developed the model and launched a pilot with 5 journals in 2020, has expanded its offering by adding 3 new journals for 2021. Annual Reviews also led the launch of what has become a lively and thriving S2O Community of Practice, where publishers, librarians and funders share information in monthly meetings and on a website to support and promote the model.

This is exciting and remarkable progress for a model that is a relative newcomer to the world of scholarly publishing, and it raises some interesting questions. What accounts for S2O’s growing momentum? Why has it captured the interest of a growing number of publishers, librarians, and funders? Will it prove sustainable?…”

Collective Funding to Reclaim Scholarly Publishing · Business of Knowing, summer 2021

“The open access movement has dropped barriers to readers only to erect them for authors. The reason is the article processing charge (APC), which typically runs $3,000 to $5,000. The APC model, with its tolled access to authorship, is the subscription model seen through a camera obscura: author paywalls in place of reading paywalls.

Most scholars cannot afford the steep fees, a fact masked by the privileged segment who can: scientists in the rich industrialized world, and scholars in a handful of wealthy European countries and North American universities. The fees are often paid via so-called “read-and-publish” deals, which fold APCs into the subscription contracts that libraries negotiate with publishers.

The emerging APC regime is also re-anointing the commercial oligopolists—the same five firms that fleece universities through usurious subscription charges. Springer Nature, Elsevier, and their peers are, with every read-and-publish deal, transitioning their enormous profit margins from tolled to open—and capturing the lion’s share of library spending in the process. Librarians continue to fund the tolled system, while also—at the richer institutions—picking up the tab for their faculty’s author fees. The result is an incumbent-publisher spending lockdown, one that ratifies the APC regime….

Collective funding is an appealing idea, versions of which have been circulating since at least 2006, with important variations on the theme published since. The challenge is getting the model to work beyond a handful of successful, single-resource experiments (including the ArXiv preprint server, the Open Library of Humanities, and the SCOAP3 particle physics journals, among others). The two main hurdles are coordination and funder participation. The academic communication system involves thousands of funders and hundreds of publishers, which makes for a nightmarish coordination challenge. A related obstacle, one made much worse with lots of actors, is the free rider problem. Fee-free open access is a public good that benefits everyone, even non-payers; if enough libraries opt out, the collective funding scheme is likely to collapse….”

Collective Funding to Reclaim Scholarly Publishing | Commonplace

by Jefferson Pooley

The open access movement has dropped barriers to readers only to erect them for authors. The reason is the article processing charge (APC), which typically runs $3,000 to $5,000. The APC model, with its tolled access to authorship, is the subscription model seen through a camera obscura: author paywalls in place of reading paywalls.

Most scholars cannot afford the steep fees, a fact masked by the privileged segment who can: scientists in the rich industrialized world, and scholars in a handful of wealthy European countries and North American universities. The fees are often paid via so-called “read-and-publish” deals, which fold APCs into the subscription contracts that libraries negotiate with publishers.

The emerging APC regime is also re-anointing the commercial oligopolists—the same five firms that fleece universities through usurious subscription charges. Springer Nature, Elsevier, and their peers are, with every read-and-publish deal, transitioning their enormous profit margins from tolled to open—and capturing the lion’s share of library spending in the process. Librarians continue to fund the tolled system, while also—at the richer institutions—picking up the tab for their faculty’s author fees. The result is an incumbent-publisher spending lockdown, one that ratifies the APC regime.

Any alternative to the prevailing scholarly communication system must be built atop a different funding model, one that excludes neither readers nor authors. In broad strokes, that model will center on direct support for publishing, drawn from funds currently allotted to subscription and APC spending. The same funders who finance the tolled-and-APC system—libraries but also foundations and government agencies—will, on this approach, redirect budgets to underwrite a diverse, community-led publishing ecosystem. Call it the collective funding model, predicated on open access for both readers and authors.

[…]

Project MUSE – An Open Access Scholarly Encyclopedia for Music: A Call to Action

Abstract:  While the idea of reference sources has become synonymous with the internet, online scholarly encyclopedias in music are currently only accessible to those affiliated with institutions that can afford expensive annual subscriptions and to those individuals who purchase costly personal subscriptions. Meanwhile, backup print copies have been inaccessible in libraries closed for the COVID-19 pandemic or closed to unaffiliated visitors. An open access scholarly music encyclopedia could solve these access problems while increasing the visibility and relevance of music scholarship and expanding the possible modes of digital analysis. This paper considers existing models of open access and identifies some potential paths forward for an open access scholarly subject encyclopedia, including leveraging Wikipedia, creating a new encyclopedia, or lobbying publishers to convert existing music encyclopedias to open access using a “subscribe to open” funding model.

 

 

Subscribe to Open (S2O): An Interview Post in Two Parts (Part 2) – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Today’s post continues the exploration of Subscribe to Open (S2O) as an open access business model from yesterday’s Part One.

Voices included here are: Curtis Brundy (Associate University Librarian, Iowa State University), Larry Howell (Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Academic Vice President, Brigham Young University), Judith Russell (Dean of University Libraries, University of Florida), Rick Anderson (University Librarian at Brigham Young University and Scholarly Kitchen Chef), Tom Ward (Professor of Mathematics and Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education), Newcastle University), Richard Gallagher (President and Editor-in-Chief, Annual Reviews), Michael Levine-Clark (Dean of the University of Denver Libraries)….”

EMS Press Announces 7 new Titles to Join Subscribe To Open Programme for 2022

EMS Press, the publishing house of the European Mathematical Society, has today announced that 7 new titles will be joining its Subscribe To Open (S2O) programme for 2022, bringing the total number of journals published under S2O to 17. The new additions include journals from the national societies such as the Portuguese Mathematical Society, Swiss Mathematical Society and the Royal Spanish Mathematical Society, and the Institut Henri Poincaré in France.

[…]

Subscribe to Open (S2O): An Interview Post in Two Parts (Part 1) – The Scholarly Kitchen

“The AMS is not bucking the open access trend — indeed, we are launching a major new electronic-only, Diamond Open Access journal – Communications of the AMS (CAMS) – a research journal that sits at the interface of theoretical and applied mathematics. The journal is donor funded and will be endowed to ensure the journal succeeds in perpetuity.

However, we are looking for other ways to avoid reliance on article processing charges (APCs) for revenue. One of the most intriguing options is Subscribe to Open (S2O) – or at least it seems that way. But then again, there are pros and cons to a model that is philosophically appealing, but may not be sustainable in the long term….

For an independent academic society, I can see many advantages in S2O. I see the pros of a collective approach to openness that in principle is sustainable. Yet, I do see risks. Right now, there is an ethical force that sits beyond the boundary of logical institutional expenditure. Ongoing financial support requires university administration to accept the idea that their school should subscribe so that others may not need to. Will this approach work globally? Is this how an institution’s Provost or VP of Research sees sensible institutional spend going forward? On the one hand, usage may grow, but it is hard to see how there could be subscription, or financial growth with such a model – perhaps this is the point – but a publisher has to consider these issues….

Rather than letting all this keep me awake at night, I thought I would turn to a few experts with a few burning questions, asking them to help me navigate my way through this complexity.

As you read the thoughtful responses below, I am interested to know what you think. My take-away is that there is a symmetry and determination to S2O that appears to defy the logic of unsustainability. It is also clear that we need to know more over a period of time to see if S2O will work or not. The question I pose on Creative Commons Licensing appears to be an afterthought for many, and indeed the answers below solidify my sense that there is no clear link between S2O and the use of Creative Commons licensing, or if there is, it needs to transparently be the authors’ decision

Voices included here are: Curtis Brundy (Associate University Librarian, Iowa State University), Larry Howell (Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Academic Vice President, Brigham Young University), Judith Russell (Dean of University Libraries, University of Florida), Rick Anderson (University Librarian at Brigham Young University and Scholarly Kitchen Chef), Tom Ward (Professor of Mathematics and Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education), Newcastle University), Richard Gallagher (President and Editor-in-Chief, Annual Reviews), Michael Levine-Clark (Dean of the University of Denver Libraries)….”

Opening Access to AAA’s Publishing Future | Society for Cultural Anthropology

“The American Anthropological Association (AAA) publishing contract with Wiley comes to term in 2022. In light of this pressing deadline, several journal editors and section presidents have been meeting to uncover the common ground in our commitments and to determine what collective action might keep AAA’s expression of values front and center in our publishing practices and decisions.

We share AAA’s commitment to five “bedrock values” for our publishing program: quality, breadth, sustainability, access, and equity. Open access (OA) can be compatible with all five values, and should be a strategy that AAA considers deliberatively. We also advocate that in this moment of transition, AAA takes stock of ways in which all our interactions around publishing can become more democratic. We want more transparency around the publishing contracts and valuations that govern sections’ relative capacities. We want more input from editors as a collective in publishing decisions. And we want equitable labor practices that benefit our community.

We know from the 2020 AAA Editors Survey that there’s wide interest in and strong support for OA across AAA sections and journals. In June 2021, we carried out our own survey of twenty-seven journal editors and publishing section leaders, representing at least twenty-two AAA sections. We found that respondents had disparate understandings of what OA is and what it means for authors and journals. Nonetheless, 9 out of 24 respondents (37.5 percent) indicated that “if the AAA decides to renew its (previously 5-year) contract with Wiley and postpones discussion of Open Access publishing,” then “Yes,” their journal would “be interested in pursuing alternative means of going OA in the next year or so,” with another 13 (54 percent) indicating openness to the possibility (“Maybe”). Only 2 said “No.” We recognize that the questions OA raises about funding and revenue are significant. We further believe that once one learns more about the current academic publishing and OA landscape, these concerns are no longer as daunting….”

EDP Sciences and Knowledge Unlatched announce a Subscribe-to-Open collaboration

“An Open Access initiative to sustain the barrier-free availability of EDP Sciences’ complete mathematics portfolio

Paris / Berlin, June 10, 2021. In May 2021, EDP Sciences announced that its complete mathematics journal portfolio of six subscription titles—including the flagship journal “ESAIM: Mathematical Modelling and Numerical analysis”— transitioned to Open Access (OA) under the innovative Subscribe-to-Open (S2O) model. In partnership with Knowledge Unlatched (KU), EDP Sciences will be asking libraries and institutions currently subscribing to any of the six journals to renew for 2021 and beyond on a S2O basis, thus contributing to maintaining these journals Open Access in years to come….”