Learned Societies, the key to realising an open access future? | Impact of Social Sciences

“Plan S, a funder led initiative to drive open access to research, will have significant impacts on the ways in which academics publish and communicate their research. However, beyond simply changing the way academics disseminate their research, it will also influence how learned societies, the organisations tasked with representing academics in particular disciplines, operate, as many currently depend on revenues from journal subscriptions to cross-subsidise their activities. In this post Alicia Wise and Lorraine Estelle explore this issue and provide an update from the first phase of the SPA-OPS [Society Publishers Accelerating Open access and Plan S] project that has been tasked with assessing the options available for learned societies to make the transition to open access….

A significant finding from our study was that only a small proportion of all the models we assessed involved APC payments. There are numerous other business models, many of these are more promising, and all are aligned with Plan S. Whilst the APC is the best known route to delivering open access journals, at least 1000 society journals have already flipped from a hybrid to full OA model, we believe this approach has become over-conflated with open access. If society publishers are realistically going to make an open transition, then they need to transform their existing revenue streams to support OA publishing….”