Open Access Key

“The Open Access Key, or OAK for short, is a unique, new financial platform to manage, consolidate and process publication fees incurred in Open Access Publishing. It has been designed to reduce your time, effort and expenditure and to connect individual authors to their universities, researcher funders and learned societies.

OAK is a global company delivering its services to authors, institutions and publishers around the world. It has been designed using the latest web and business softwares by a technology team based in Norway and Denmark. We built the platform engaging advice and guidance from all participants in OA Publishing. OAK is a system which meets and will continue to meet the needs of all involved….”

Springer Nature is committed to being a part of the open-access movement | by Steven Inchcoombe, chief publishing officer

“Institutions, research funding bodies and publishers must all work together to change the system in the interest of advancing research, says Steven Inchcoombe

As part of our recent IPO process, there was a regulatory requirement for Springer Nature to prepare a “prospectus”: a lengthy legal reference document intended for “qualified investors”. In the past week, some content from this 400-plus-page document has been taken out of context to make inaccurate and unfair comments about us, our plans and our business; and we want to set the record straight.

We have been accused of “paying lip service” to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). This is not true and is particularly upsetting for our colleagues who are proud to stand firmly behind DORA and who have been implementing the large-scale changes needed to fulfil our obligations. This has seen us stop using journal impact factors in isolation in our marketing (note: a prospectus is a legal document aimed at potential investors, not a marketing tool for authors or librarians). In fact, for more than 10 years, long before DORA, Nature editorials have expressed concerns about the overuse of impact factors and have set out the case for a greater variety of more suitable metrics for different purposes. We continue to see this need, and we will continue to offer our librarians, authors, readers, editors and partners other choices, especially those at article level.

We have been accused of “exploiting” impact factor to market our journals. We are not. At Springer Nature, we have increased the use of other journal-level and article-level metrics including article usage and altmetrics. This is clearly stated in the prospectus, which references the importance of other metrics such as views/downloads or mentions in social media. The fact, however, remains that authors do choose which journals to publish in partly based on their impact factors, which is why we had a duty to explain this. Indeed, their long history of being independently calculated and published means that they are an important reference point in a prospectus, which is a verifiable, fact-based document aimed at investors. In our author survey last year (completed by more than 70,000 authors from all disciplines and regions), a journal’s impact factor is one the top-four criteria when choosing where to submit their draft articles, alongside a journal’s reputation, relevance and quality of peer review, in that order.

Finally, it has been claimed that our only motivation for higher impact factors is to drive higher article-processing charges. This is also not true. Part of our commitment to developing the largest and most comprehensive range of open-access journals in the publishing industry includes a desire to have a range of community-based OA journals, sound science OA journals and selective OA journals. For example, we flipped Nature Communications many years ago to become fully OA to ensure that such a choice existed for authors, and it is now the highest-cited OA journal in the world, demonstrating its appeal to authors and readers alike….”

 

Europe’s open-access drive escalates as university stand-offs spread

“Sweden is latest country to hold out on journal subscriptions, while negotiators share tactics to broker new deals with publishers.

Bold efforts to push academic publishing towards an open-access model are gaining steam. Negotiators from libraries and university consortia across Europe are sharing tactics on how to broker new kinds of contracts that could see more articles appear outside paywalls. And inspired by the results of a stand-off in Germany, they increasingly declare that if they don’t like what publishers offer, they will refuse to pay for journal access at all. On 16 May, a Swedish consortium became the latest to say that it wouldn’t renew its contract, with publishing giant Elsevier. Under the new contracts, termed ‘read and publish’ deals, libraries still pay subscriptions for access to paywalled articles, but their researchers can also publish under open-access terms so that anyone can read their work for free. Advocates say such agreements could accelerate the progress of the open-access movement. Despite decades of campaigning for research papers to be published openly — on the grounds that the fruits of publicly funded research should be available for all to read — scholarly publishing’s dominant business model remains to publish articles behind paywalls and collect subscriptions from libraries (see ‘Growth of open access’). But if many large library consortia strike read-and-publish deals, the proportion of open-access articles could surge….”

MDPI pricing: discussion with MDPI CEO Franck Vazquez and Heather Morrison

Thanks to MDPI CEO Franck Vazquez, PhD, for permission to re-post his contributions to a discussion on APC pricing on the SCHOLCOMM listserv and my replies. This is useful information and a good model of how transparency can help to advance our understanding of how to move toward sustainability in open access.

 

Highlights: this post presents data on MDPI’s APCs and an explanation of MDPI’s business practice: new journals are free to publish in, later APCs and APC increases are based on market value. It is important for publishers and funders to understand that there is an essential conflict with funders of scholarly communication, that is, universities and their libraries, and research organizations. For these organizations,  budgets tend to be based on cost with little or no flexibility to accommodate pricing and price increases based on market value. This incompatibility of organizational strategy is equally relevant whether the revenue model is subscriptions, APC, or other production-based support.

Guest Post: From Supermarkets to Marketplaces – The Evolution of the Open Access Ecosystem – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Sven Fund. Sven is the Managing Director of Knowledge Unlatched and founder of fullstopp, a digital consulting agency serving publishers, libraries, and intermediaries. From 2008 to 2015, Sven was the CEO of Berlin-based publisher De Gruyter. Prior to that he served in different functions from Managing Director to Executive Board member at what is now Springer Nature. He is a lecturer at Humboldt University in Berlin.

Open access (OA) is undergoing yet another metamorphosis. So far, the space has been dominated by author-pays (via Article Processing Charges – APCs) models, both hybrid and “pure”. And while funders like Wellcome and the German Research Foundation are reviewing their policies – many of them a decade old by now – it is becoming ever clearer that APCs will not be the future of OA, at least not uniquely. With their normative approach of flipping traditional acquisition budgets, Ralf Schimmer, Kai Geschuhn and Andreas Vogler have been advocating in principle that which is now becoming reality: i.e. that in order to really shake up the academic publishing market, other transactional models are necessary….

To make OA really work, libraries have to cooperate and co-spend in order to shift the market-shaping from publishers to themselves. Publishers are structured like supermarkets: They operate as global consortia around their own products, generating demand, shouldering financial risk and investments and in the process generating profit. As long as libraries or other agents are not prepared to supersede this role with a better structure, the underlying problem will remain….”

The Race to the Bottom – Short-term Bargains versus Long-term Vitality – The Scholarly Kitchen

“It’s tempting to blame faceless corporate overlords for this, but I believe consumers are the actual culprits (and, in a sort of justice, victims). By being cheapskates, they have driven the bargains, supported the leaders, and tolerated the deals that are now coming back to haunt them….

In the midst of this short-term thinking is a set of irreconcilable ideas, namely the idea that publishers have to charge less and do more — manage more business models, deal with endless mandates and the related compliance complexity, review and reject more papers, invent and validate new impact measures, create and promulgate more and better technology, and support every little notion about research outputs academia can dream up, from text- and data-mining to open data….”

Bullied Into Bad Science: Leading individuals and institutions in adopting open practices to improve research rigour

“We are postdocs and a reader in the humanities and sciences at the University of Cambridge. We are concerned about the desperate need for publishing reform to increase transparency, reproducibility, timeliness, and academic rigour of the production and dissemination of scholarly outputs (see Young et al. 2016Smaldino & McElreath 2016).

We have identified actions that institutions and managers can take to better support ECRs (below). These actions are crucial for our success because we are eager to publish openly and at places that keep profits inside academia in accordance with many modern online publication venues (Logan 2017). However, ECRs are often pressured into publishing against their ethicsthrough threats that we would not get a job/grant unless we publish in particular journals (Carter et al. 2014Who is going to make change happen?Kent 2016; usually these journals are older and more familiar, have a print version, a high impact factor, and are not 100% open access). These out of date practices and ideas hinder ECRs rather than help us: evidence shows that publishing open access results in increased citations, media attention, and job/funding opportunities (McKiernan et al. 2016). Open dissemination of all research outputs is also a fundamental principle on which ECRs rely to fight the ongoing reproducibility crisis in science and thus improve the quality of their research.

To support ECRs in this changing publishing landscape, we encourage funders, universities, departments, and politicians to take the following actions (below) and to announce these actions in public statements….”

Publishers Support Sustainable Open Access | AAP

“Approved by PSP Executive Council February 6, 2012

Publishers are committed to the widest possible dissemination of and access to the content they publish. We support any and all sustainable models of access that ensure the integrity and permanence of the scholarly record. Such options include ‘gold’ open access, whereby publication is funded by an article publishing charge paid by the author or another sponsor, a subscription-based journal, or any one of a number of hybrid publishing options. Most publishers now offer open access options and publish open access journals, and work closely with funders, institutions and governments to facilitate these developments. Gold open access provides one approach toward our shared goal of expanding access to peer-reviewed scientific works and maximizing the value and reuse of the results of scientific research. 

We believe that authors should be able to publish in the journal of their choice, where publication will have the greatest potential to advance their field. Institutions and funders have a key role to play in ensuring that public access policies allow for funding of peer reviewed publication and publishing services in whatever journal that an author chooses. Publishers look forward to working with all stakeholders to achieve this goal and to advance scholarly communication.”

Wellcome ‘disappointed’ over fall in open-access compliance

“The Wellcome Trust has announced it will keep a vigilant eye on how Oxford University Press complies with open-access policies, after data showed that the publisher’s adherence fell significantly last year….

The data show that overall compliance with the fund’s policies has fallen from 91 per cent in 2016 to 87 per cent in 2017….

In particular, compliance by Oxford University Press fell “significantly”, according to the trust, because the publisher has been experiencing problems with converting outputs to a format that is compliant with Europe PubMed Central’s technical requirements.

Wellcome said it would monitor the situation over three to six months, to ensure that it was resolved, and seek compensation from the publisher “for the poor service delivered to researchers, institutions and funders over the last 12 months”, it said.

A total of 34 per cent of articles paid for by the Charity Open Access Fund in 2016-17 and published by Oxford University Press were non-compliant—compared with 5 per cent the previous year. The second and third-most non-compliant publishers were Elsevier at 11 per cent and Wiley at 10 per cent….

Overall, the trust calculates that the cost of open-access publishing has seen “a significant increase”, and that the average cost of journal article-processing charges has risen by 11 per cent since last year….”

OA2020-DE – What to do with funds after subscriptions with Elsevier are cancelled? | National Contact Point Open Access

“At the start of 2017, fifty German universities and libraries cancelled their license agreements with Elsevier, and a further 90 or so have announced that they, too, will let their agreements expire at the end of 2017. As allotted funds in subscription budgets must be employed or lost, many librarians in Germany are faced with the decision of how best to use the monies liberated from their Elsevier deals.

OA2020-DE, the German constituency of the Open Access 2020 Initiative, proposes that institutions seize the funds that were destined to Elsevier renewals and reinvest them, at least in part, in publishing initiatives that support the open access transformation. …”