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?…”

Leave a Reply