Frontiers 2020: a third of journals increase prices by 45 times the inflation rate | Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir les savoirs communs

A third of the journals published by Frontiers in 2019 and 2020 (20 / 61 journals) have increased in price by 18% or more (up to 55%). This is quite a contrast with the .4% Swiss inflation rate for 2019 according to Worlddata.info ; 18% is 45 times the inflation rate. This is an even more marked contrast with the current and anticipated economic impact of COVID; according to Le News, “A team of economic experts working for the Swiss government forecasts a 6.7% fall in GDP”. (Frontiers’ headquarters is in Switzerland).

Our response to the UKRI OA Review – F1000 Blogs

“To add precision to the requirements of the UKRI’s OA policy, it would be helpful for the UKRI to make clear that all types of research-based articles that are submitted for peer review at publication outlets that meet the UKRI’s qualifying standards/criteria (and for which some sort of payment is required to secure OA – predominantly though an ‘Article Processing Charge’ (APC)) are covered by the policy….

The UKRI also needs to be clear about when it will ‘pay’ to enable OA.  For example:

would the policy apply if ‘at least one author’ has UKRI HE funding? 
if there are multi-funded authors listed on an article, and one or more of the authors have access to funds to support OA, what is the role of each funder? (i.e. do they split the costs? Is there a lead? Etc) …

UKRI should require an author or their institution to retain copyright AND specific reuse rights, including rights to deposit the author’s accepted manuscript in a repository in line with the deposit and licensing requirements of UKRI’s OA policy….

 

UKRI OA funds should not be permitted to support OA publication in hybrid journals…

 

While there are some benefits around transformative agreements – not least in terms of the simplicity of achieving OA for authors! – we do worry that such ‘big deals’ can effectively reduce author choice around publishing venue, effectively lock out OA-born and smaller publishers and have the potential to create and exacerbate inequalities in access to research across the globe; this does not therefore represent good value to the public (nor does it guarantee any kind of a sustainable model of publishing).

We would advise UKRI to consider how and where transformative deals can have unintended consequences in terms of lock-ins (and potential cost tie-ins) with specific publishers (often those operating at scale) while effectively making OA-born publishers work harder to engage and access researchers. …”

Our response to the UKRI OA Review – F1000 Blogs

“To add precision to the requirements of the UKRI’s OA policy, it would be helpful for the UKRI to make clear that all types of research-based articles that are submitted for peer review at publication outlets that meet the UKRI’s qualifying standards/criteria (and for which some sort of payment is required to secure OA – predominantly though an ‘Article Processing Charge’ (APC)) are covered by the policy….

The UKRI also needs to be clear about when it will ‘pay’ to enable OA.  For example:

would the policy apply if ‘at least one author’ has UKRI HE funding? 
if there are multi-funded authors listed on an article, and one or more of the authors have access to funds to support OA, what is the role of each funder? (i.e. do they split the costs? Is there a lead? Etc) …

UKRI should require an author or their institution to retain copyright AND specific reuse rights, including rights to deposit the author’s accepted manuscript in a repository in line with the deposit and licensing requirements of UKRI’s OA policy….

 

UKRI OA funds should not be permitted to support OA publication in hybrid journals…

 

While there are some benefits around transformative agreements – not least in terms of the simplicity of achieving OA for authors! – we do worry that such ‘big deals’ can effectively reduce author choice around publishing venue, effectively lock out OA-born and smaller publishers and have the potential to create and exacerbate inequalities in access to research across the globe; this does not therefore represent good value to the public (nor does it guarantee any kind of a sustainable model of publishing).

We would advise UKRI to consider how and where transformative deals can have unintended consequences in terms of lock-ins (and potential cost tie-ins) with specific publishers (often those operating at scale) while effectively making OA-born publishers work harder to engage and access researchers. …”

Taylor & Francis input to UKRI Open Access Review – Taylor & Francis Newsroom

“We urge UKRI to focus on requiring immediate access only to the final published research output or version of record, with the certainty this OA route provides of research being trusted, validated, discoverable, curated and preserved in perpetuity. We believe that a permissive policy approach is the best way to achieve UKRI’s aims. Encouraging a diverse ecology will help support the development of innovative models and diversification of existing models, will accelerate the growth in OA and will allow new entrants to join the research communication ecosystem, encouraging competition. As we have outlined in our response, the zero embargo Green OA route is an unsustainable mechanism that implies creation of content that is not paid for. This actually runs counter to UKRI’s long term aspirations around opening up research outputs….

We encourage future OA policy in the UK to support a variety of publication venues, including those most preferred by their communities, irrespective of their open access model, as they are the vehicles that drive research, being used and trusted by their communities. We are exploring options for hybrid journals other than the APC-OA model that will allow them to make their publications more widely available. We are keen to explore with UKRI, other funders, and researchers how we can best support these journals as they move to OA, and how we can offer sustainable publication venues across disciplines….”

Taylor & Francis input to UKRI Open Access Review – Taylor & Francis Newsroom

“We urge UKRI to focus on requiring immediate access only to the final published research output or version of record, with the certainty this OA route provides of research being trusted, validated, discoverable, curated and preserved in perpetuity. We believe that a permissive policy approach is the best way to achieve UKRI’s aims. Encouraging a diverse ecology will help support the development of innovative models and diversification of existing models, will accelerate the growth in OA and will allow new entrants to join the research communication ecosystem, encouraging competition. As we have outlined in our response, the zero embargo Green OA route is an unsustainable mechanism that implies creation of content that is not paid for. This actually runs counter to UKRI’s long term aspirations around opening up research outputs….

We encourage future OA policy in the UK to support a variety of publication venues, including those most preferred by their communities, irrespective of their open access model, as they are the vehicles that drive research, being used and trusted by their communities. We are exploring options for hybrid journals other than the APC-OA model that will allow them to make their publications more widely available. We are keen to explore with UKRI, other funders, and researchers how we can best support these journals as they move to OA, and how we can offer sustainable publication venues across disciplines….”

On the overhead of ‘business models’ | Martin Paul Eve | Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing

“All of this is to say that running a business model is expensive in terms of time and money. There is a point at which it is cheaper to sink the volunteer labour and not to bother investing in revenue generation that may be more appropriate for small organizations. Once you start taking money, you need to set aside a portion of that income just to sustain the revenue-generating activities, rather than using the revenue to perform the original publishing activities that you wanted to do.”

Supporting Open Access Monographs: Ingredients for a Prototype? – University of Westminster Press blog

“Calls to support public publishing infrastructure, ‘new’ ‘business’ models and alternative approaches to monograph publishing are popular. With the work of COPIM progressing well and building on established ventures like the Scholar-Led consortium, OBP and OLH (in journals) here are some thoughts about what a ambitious pilot scheme could look like. Caveats abound. Agreement between parties, governance and practicalities would be difficult in context. But could it be useful to think of values in the sector and consider the merits of a carrot- rather than stick-based approach? 

I have called it COUL after a long search for an upbeat acronym. 

Collective Open University Library – ­UK (Monographs Publishing) ….”

Speeding Up the Dissemination of Scholarly Information  | Ithaka S+R

“The concept of scholarly record is broadening. There is an increasing emphasis on sharing various outputs from the initial investigation to the final dissemination stage. Understanding how ideas evolve into knowledge in a systematic and timely manner is critically important as we promote  replicability and transparency. The COVID-19 pandemic has further underscored the importance of speedy sharing of research results. It accentuated the role of preprints in sharing results with speed, but also compounded the questions about accuracy, misconduct, and our reliance on the “self-correcting” nature of the scientific enterprise. As scientists and health care professionals, as well as the general public, look for information about the pandemic, preprint services are growing in importance. I hope that this brief will lead to further reflections on such critical questions….”

Redux Online Webinar – “Open Access: Sales – Open Access Business Models for Books and Journals”

“Building upon strong bases of support, consortium or subscriber-funded projects seek to open content, like invited review articles not suitable for APC charges, or even to flip entire disciplines. Other new initiatives see grant or government funding as the best way to get new regional projects off the ground….”

Is a software revolution on the cards? | Research Information

“New research outputs also create new software challenges as a wide variety of formats must be integrated into existing information and knowledge systems. In fact, one of the main reasons researchers are not sharing data at scale are because they don’t know where to share it and lack incentives from the community to do so.

Existing tools, such as institutional repositories, content workflow or discovery services, do not put user experience or innovative discovery and dissemination concepts at the forefront, nor do they target specific formats such as pre-published research. As such, software services that can make content easily discoverable and useful for researchers are becoming all the more relevant and have a massive business opportunity in the scholarly ecosystem….

Having access to new kinds of highly relevant and useful software services helps businesses achieve success and accelerate their growth by providing a tailor-made solution to their needs.

There’s evidence that a similar shift is underway in scholarly publishing. The research workflow and the way that content is shared, discovered, and analysed is being reinvented to invigorate processes that are often decades-old….

Supporting researchers to do their best work while ensuring research is more accessible is a win for science and a win for sustainable business models.”