Astronomy & Astrophysics signs transformative Open Access agreement with Max Planck Society

“Paris, France 18 December 2018. Astronomy & Astrophysics (A&A) the international Journal that publishes papers on all aspects of astronomy and astrophysics and one of the leading journals in its field, has signed a two-year transformative Open Access agreement with the Max Planck Society in Germany. Under this agreement, funds previously paid by the Max Planck Digital Library for subscriptions will, instead, be converted into a publishing fund, enabling corresponding authors from the Max Planck Institutes to publish their articles open access in A&A, and at the same time, granting access to the journal’s content to all Max Planck researchers.”

Science ouverte, le défi de la transparence

From Google’s English: “A new way of conceiving scientific research, open science, was born with the computer revolution. In the wake of Open Access (free access to the results of research funded by public money), it accompanies the great ideal of transparency that today invades all spheres of life in society. This book [by Bernard Rentier] describes its origins, perspectives and objectives, and reveals the obstacles and obstacles to private profit and academic conservatism. …”

Poor Financials Pushes PLOS To Ponder Future Prospects – The Scholarly Kitchen

“2017 was not a good financial year for the Public Library of Science (PLOS).

PLOS’ most recent 2017 financial overview, released on 12 December 2018, depicts an organization trying to reinvent itself, focusing less on disruption and innovation and more on efficiency and collaboration….

Revenue at PLOS was down by nearly US $2 Million in 2017, largely the result of declines in submissions to PLOS ONE, its largest journal, according to the report.

More importantly, PLOS wrote off US $11.1M in expenses in building Aperta — a manuscript submission system that the publisher ultimately decided to abandon after years of development.

Total salaries and employee compensation were also up by 2% in 2017 despite publishing 7% fewer papers….”

DOAJ Progress Report for 2018 – News Service

“With a revised set of Principles of Transparency and Best Practice and a new mission,  DOAJ started 2018 by publishing its strategy to show the community where DOAJ is focussing its efforts: a) funding and sustainability; b) functionality, stability and scalability; c) education and outreach. 

Financially, DOAJ has seen the benefits of the SCOSS initiative, with more than 60% of all monies being donated from the public sector….

For the first time since before 2013, we do not have a backlog of applications waiting to be triaged….

The introduction of an update function allowed us to make systematic journal entry reviews more focussed and more effective. These are undertaken as each update is submitted. Further reviews are taken across our larger multi-journal accounts where, as far as possible, we have tried to establish common metadata entries across all journals belonging to the same publishing entity….”

Chinese support for Plan S ‘major blow’ to opponents | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Chinese endorsement of Europe’s Plan S open-access initiative represents a major and unexpected blow to publishers that have criticised the scheme, according to its backers….

While it was unclear whether China would simply adopt Plan S or draw up its own open-access policies, the move is significant because it challenges the image of Plan S as being purely a regional initiative.

Chinese universities attach huge significance to publication in prestigious subscription journals – offering scientists awards of up to $165,000 (£131,000) for papers in Nature and Science, according to one report – so the country had been regarded as constituting a major bulwark against making open access a global movement.

 

However, position papers published by the three Chinese bodies say that they support the vision of Plan S “to transform, as soon as possible, research papers from publicly funded projects into immediate open access after publication”. The organisations say that they “support a wide range of flexible and inclusive measures to achieve this goal”….

A key argument advanced by opponents of Plan S is that it would limit academic collaboration and opportunities for scholars if major parts of the world, such as China, did not sign up to it. This was a key plank of an open letter published last month and signed by more than 1,500 people….”

Medknow in 2018: growing fast! | Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir les savoirs communs

“Medknow is a commercial scholarly journal publisher based in India, which was acquired by Wolters Kluwer in 2011. The analysis of Medknow’s journals in 2018 shows that there has been a significant increase in number oftheir journals, with 23% increase comparing to 2017. It appears that most of Medknow’s journals are published in collaboration with different universities and societies in the filed of medical research….”

Scientific publishing is a rip-off. We fund the research – it should be free | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian

“Never underestimate the power of one determined person. What Carole Cadwalladr has done to Facebook and big data, and Edward Snowden has done to the state security complex, the young Kazakhstani scientist Alexandra Elbakyan has done to the multibillion-dollar industry that traps knowledge behind paywalls. Sci-Hub, her pirate web scraper service, has done more than any government to tackle one of the biggest rip-offs of the modern era: the capture of publicly funded research that should belong to us all. Everyone should be free to learn; knowledge should be disseminated as widely as possible. No one would publicly disagree with these sentiments. Yet governments and universities have allowed the big academic publishers to deny these rights. Academic publishing might sound like an obscure and fusty affair, but it uses one of the most ruthless and profitable business models of any industry.

The model was pioneered by the notorious conman Robert Maxwell. He realised that, because scientists need to be informed about all significant developments in their field, every journal that publishes academic papers can establish a monopoly and charge outrageous fees for the transmission of knowledge. He called his discovery “a perpetual financing machine”. He also realised that he could capture other people’s labour and resources for nothing. Governments funded the research published by his company, Pergamon, while scientists wrote the articles, reviewed them and edited the journalsfor free. His business model relied on the enclosure of common and public resources. Or, to use the technical term, daylight robbery.

As his other ventures ran into trouble, he sold his company to the Dutch publishing giant Elsevier. Like its major rivals, it has sustained the model to this day, and continues to make spectacular profits. Half the world’s research is published by five companies: Reed Elsevier, Springer, Taylor & Francis, Wiley-Blackwell and the American Chemical Society. Libraries must pay a fortune for their bundled journals, while those outside the university system are asked to pay $20, $30, sometimes $50 to read a single article….”

Aligning strategies to enable Open Access

The conference brought to light strong consensus and alignment among the diverse international communities represented around the necessity of stepping up efforts to move away from the subscription-based system of scholarly publishing to open access-based business models. A major focus was placed on transformative agreements (eg “read and publish”), which were identified as perhaps the most viable instrument at the moment to accelerate the transition to open access. As it became clear from statements made by representatives from Japan, the United States, South Africa and others, that readiness to adopt this approach is now extending beyond Europe, where it originated, and is currently being adopted in several countries; in particular, this was emphasized in a bold statement from China, the nation with the largest share of research publications.

After aligning on the goals and strategies during the first day of the conference, the CEOs of the three largest publishers of scholarly journals, Elsevier, John Wiley & Sons, and Springer Nature, were invited by the President of the Max Planck Society, Martin Stratmann, to discuss the global demand for transformative agreements on the second day. The message conveyed to the publishers was that the global research communities are committed to complete and immediate open access, to retaining author copyrights and to negotiating transformative agreements that are temporary, transitional, and cost-neutral as a means to shift to full open access within just a few years with the expectation that cost savings in scholarly communication will follow as market forces take hold. The publishers were called upon to move towards complete and immediate open access according to these principles.

It also came out that there is a strong alignment between the approaches taken by OA2020, Plan S, the Jussieu Call and other approaches dedicated to drive more open access into the system of scholarly communication….”