Subscribe to Open: A Mutual Assurance Approach to Open Access  – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Annual Reviews announced today that the 2020 volume of the Annual Review of Cancer Biology has been published open access and that the back volumes of this journal are also now available for free reading. As the pioneer of the Subscribe to Open model, congratulations are due on achieving their first open title. The 2020 articles are published copyright to Annual Reviews with a CC-BY license. The backfiles do not carry a CC license. Annual Reviews developed their Subscribe to Open model in partnership with Raym Crow, Managing Partner, Chain Bridge Group, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As interest in Subscribe to Open grows based on the experiences of early innovations, publishers and libraries need to develop an understanding of the various approaches to Subscribe to Open and the benefits and limitations of the model….

Subscribe to Open is an example of an assurance approach to addressing a collective action challenge. In the Subscribe to Open model developed by Annual Reviews, each subscribing library is motivated to continue to subscribe (because they have been a subscriber and as such have already made a decision that the content is worth paying for) by a discount that is built into the Subscribe to Open offer. The model is two-fold. First, if all libraries continue to subscribe, then not only will those libraries have access to the content for their users, but Annual Reviews will also make the content openly available to non-subscribers as well and apply a CC-BY license to the articles. Second, if all libraries do not continue to subscribe, then those that do will still receive the discount — as well as access to the content — but the content will not be made available to non-subscribers. In either scenario, the subscribing libraries receive a discount and access to the content. Essentially, this is a no-risk opt-in for the subscribing institution. Martin Paul Eve has outlined a similar possible model for society publishers but with a three year rather than annual timeframe. …”