Thread by @petersuber on “Gold OA”

“I’d put this historically. “Gold OA” originally meant OA delivered by journals regardless of the journal’s business model. Both fee-based and no-fee OA journals were gold, as opposed to “green OA”, which meant OA delivered by repositories….”


“The scholarly journal publishing market is in transition. While a great portion of publishers still operate their journals under the subscription paywall business model, open access publishing is keenly on the rise, as fully OA publishers and platforms are launched and come into maturity, scholarly publishers experiment a variety of new open access business models, and, not least, the number of research institutions and library consortia negotiating transformative agreements proliferates.

The visualizations below aim to inform the broader community of a number of key trends in the demographics and distribution of scholarly journal publishing in transition:

the relevance of publishers for scholars and scientists, as expressed in their share of scholarly articles published,
the growth of open access via transformative agreements and the impact these agreements have in enabling universal open access to the research articles produced on a local (country) and global (publisher) level, and
the costs and price points of article processing charges….”

Requiem for impact factors and high publication charges: Accountability in Research: Vol 0, No ja

Abstract:  Journal impact factors, publication charges and assessment of quality and accuracy of scientific research are critical for researchers, managers, funders, policy makers, and society. Editors and publishers compete for impact factor rankings, to demonstrate how important their journals are, and researchers strive to publish in perceived top journals, despite high publication and access charges. This raises questions of how top journals are identified, whether assessments of impacts are accurate and whether high publication charges borne by the research community are justified, bearing in mind that they also collectively provide free peer-review to the publishers. Although traditional journals accelerated peer review and publication during the COVID-19 pandemic, preprint servers made a greater impact with over 30,000 open access articles becoming available and accelerating a trend already seen in other fields of research. We review and comment on the advantages and disadvantages of a range of assessment methods and the way in which they are used by researchers, managers, employers and publishers. We argue that new approaches to assessment are required to provide a realistic and comprehensive measure of the value of research and journals and we support open access publishing at a modest, affordable price to benefit research producers and consumers.


The OA Switchboard Initiative

“Last week members of the OA Switchboard Books Working Group got together for the third time since its inception last year, to continue dialogues on how OA Switchboard can deliver on its ambition and commitment to support all types of scholarly output. Next to standing members from various stakeholder groups (Brill, Cambridge University Press, De Gruyter, Now Publishers, OAPEN, Open Book Publishers), this meeting welcomed special guests from founding partners UKRI and Wellcome Trust to pay special attention to the point of view of research funders….

Our meeting participants shared a wealth of experiences and examples, so far mostly about covering the publication cost of individual OA Books. For instance, how some authors feel strongly that they want to be involved in finding and deciding on financial resources to cover the publication charges, and how some are adamant to publish OA, but have no idea where to find the funds. Both publishers and funders recognise an administrative and tax challenge in having a third party cover charges on an individual book….”

CRKN Meets Bold Negotiation Objectives in Elsevier Renewal | Canadian Research Knowledge Network

“Members of the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) set bold negotiation objectives for the 2020 renewal with Elsevier: significantly reduce costs, increase open access, and ensure transparency of the agreement. After eleven months of negotiating, CRKN’s Content Strategy Committee (CSC) is announcing a renewal of the Elsevier ScienceDirect license, which includes:

A 12.5% reduction for 2021, followed by a 0% change for 2022, and a 2% increase for 2023. The renewed agreement maintains access to all journals in the Freedom Collection, including former Academic Press journals, and members’ subscribed titles, with no loss of perpetual access rights. This results in cost savings of US$17.4 million over three years (when compared with a three-year contract with anticipated 2% annual increases).
A 20% discount on Article Processing Charges (APCs) for both hybrid and gold open access journals. Cell Press, Lancet, and some other society-owned journals are excluded.
No confidentiality or non-disclosure clause which ensures transparency and allows the terms to be shared….”

Six Questions (with Answers!) about UC’s and Elsevier’s New Transformative Deal – The Scholarly Kitchen

“As is so often the case with transformative deals, this one is complex; it’s also somewhat controversial, and the scholarly communication discussion space has been buzzing with questions. The good news is that the UC-Elsevier MOU is publicly available and it answers quite a few of them — while also fully illustrating the complexity of the deal.

Here I’d like to focus on six questions that I’ve had about the new UC-Elsevier deal, and share the answers I was able to find….”

Open Access Publishing in the EJVES: a Hybrid Solution for a Hybrid Specialty (and How ‘Hybrid’ Helped the Dinosaurs Survive) – European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery

“Scientific publishing in scientific media such as the EJVES faces similar challenges. Funding of publishing mechanisms and accessibility of research findings have become moving targets asking for (hybrid) survival tactics.

Many of our readers may not be aware that the EJVES is already a Hybrid Journal!…


Where does the money come from to cover these ‘technical costs’? We have three main income streams. First, individual subscribers: Most are members of the ESVS, or of other vascular surgery societies with a linked membership with the ESVS, such as the Vascular societies of Australia/New Zealand, India, Lebanon or South Africa. Second, institutional subscribers (mainly university libraries): They subscribe to journals on behalf of their associated researchers. Such agreements may be quite complex since hundreds of scientific journals may be involved. Individual journals receive subscription fees, depending, amongst other factors, on the number of published articles and the journal impact factor (JIF). The EJVES 2019 JIF increased by 46% to 5.328,
 the 2020 JIF will be released in June 2021.

The third is Open Access publishing. What is this, and who can benefit from it? Under a subscription model, newly published articles are reserved for paying subscribers (individual or institutional, see above). Although all articles are transferred eventually to an open archive, which is free to access (for the EJVES one year after being paper published in a print issue of the journal), contents remain exclusive often for up to the 18 months that may pass between e-publication and transfer to the open archive. Many papers are “hot” and are most interesting when recently published which drives the subscription model and the motivation to become an ESVS member, for example….”


Four Concerns About the new UC-Elsevier Deal

“I can only speak for myself, but here, in a nutshell, are some key things that make me hesitate to cheer this new deal:

Elsevier does what’s best for Elsevier. The serials crisis—the slow-motion catastrophe that has seen a few journal oligopolies commandeer library budgets, crowding out other investments—is not an accident or a natural disaster. It is the result of a deliberate business strategy, implemented by commercial firms whose sole duty is not to science but to their shareholders. By far the largest and most-boycotted (to little effect) of these firms is Elsevier. That Elsevier loves this deal is enough to make me worry. That concern only deepens when we see sharp independent observers like Roger Schonfeld argue persuasively that these deals will ensure Elsevier’s continuing dominance of scholarly publishing in the open access future.

It transforms access, but caters to IF mania. Open access activism has long been focused on how commercial academic publishers use copyright to lock up and monetize research. Open access aims to remove copyright as a barrier to access to knowledge, and on those terms, the UC-Elsevier deal is a success. But copyright is only half (maybe less) of the dysfunction in academic publishing. The deeper, more insidious problem is the journal prestige economy (aka impact factor mania)—the academy’s reliance on journal reputation and metrics like journal impact factor in evaluating the quality of scholarship and of scholars. A publisher who controls a high-prestige title has a captive workforce of authors who must struggle to publish in their outlet in order to advance professionally. Transforming the copyright aspect of this system without also upsetting the prestige economy (e.g., by reforming promotion and tenure) only shifts the unsustainable cost of IF mania from readers to authors (and author-supporting institutions, like the UC).

Far from unsettling the prestige economy, the UC deal seems to cater to it, offering authors reassurance that publishing fees will not be a barrier to their participation in this system. When libraries urge faculty to embrace open access, a common rejoinder is “Then the library should pay my APCs.” When I hear that suggestion, the ensuing conversation is typically about why that’s an unsustainable model, and why more radical change is needed to address the many harms of the old system. The UC’s response, at least in this deal, is, “Sure, here you go!” That may put the rest of us in a difficult position.

It undermines the only potential upside of charging authors to publish. Shifting costs to authors is generally a disaster for them, especially authors in less-wealthy countries and those without access to grant funds to offset publication costs. But advocates for this cost-shift have long argued that this pain is good because it will give authors a reason to publish in more efficient (read: cheaper) journals. Once they have “skin in the game,” the invisible hand will lead authors to choose cheaper journals, forcing publishing charges down as journals compete on price to attract authors. But that hasn’t happened so far, and there’s little reason to believe it will. In any event, deals like the UC-Elsevier deal undermine this potential upside of charging authors by subsidizing and, if necessary, completely covering the cost on their behalf. Insulating academics from the exploding costs of their choices is exactly the 

Article processing charge may be a barrier to publishing

Abstract:  Recently most of the journals charge a fee known as article processing charge (APC) for publication of an article. These charges can vary from journal to journal. This publication fee is often paid by the author, the author’s institution, or their research funder organization. Though low- and middle-income countries are usually exempted from APC, India does not come under the category of waiver by most of the journals that ask for the APC. Most of the Indian institutes do not pay for publication and research thus individual researcher suffers huge financial burden due to APC. Hence, less affluent institutions, scholars, and students are unable to publish their work due to these barriers. These articles highlight the challenges faced by authors and solutions for publishers and journals to avoid APCs.