Exploring Possibilities for Transforming Established Subscription-based Scientific Journals into Open Access Journals

Abstract:  Background: Based on today‘s information and communication technologies the open access paradigm has become an important approach for adequately communicating new scientific knowledge. Objectives: Summarizing the present situation for journal transformation. Presenting criteria for adequate transformation as well as a specific approach for it. Describing our exemplary implementation of such a journal transformation. Methods: Studying the respective literature as well as discussing this topic in various discussion groups and meetings (primarily of editors and publishers, but also of authors and readers), with long term experience as editors and?/or publishers of scientific publications as prerequisite. Results: There is a clear will, particularly of political and funding organizations, towards open access publishing. In spite of this, there is still a large amount of scientific knowledge, being communicated through subscription-based journals. For successfully transforming such journals into open access, sixteen criteria for a goal-oriented, stepwise, sustainable, and fair transformation are suggested. The Tandem Model as transformation approach is introduced. Our exemplary implementation is done in the Trans-O-MIM project. It is exploring strategies, models and evaluation metrics for journal transformation. As instance the journal Methods of Information in Medicine will apply the Tandem Model from 2017 onwards. Conclusions: Within Trans-O-MIM we will reach at least nine of the sixteen criteria for adequate transformation. It was positive to implement Trans-O-MIM as international research project. After first steps for transforming Methods have successfully been made, challenges will remain, among others, in identifying appropriate incentives for open access publishing in order to support its transformation.