An Open Letter to MDPI publishing | Dan Brockington

“Dear MDPI,

 

Your journal publications have grown dramatically, and quite extraordinarily. But there are sceptics who suggest that this reflects low standards and distorting financial incentives. I was one of them. To prove my views I explored trends in publications of 140 journals for which data were available from 2015 onwards. But doing so proved me wrong; I could not sustain my sceptical view. Instead I think I have a better understanding of why researchers are so keen to publish with you. But my exploration also makes plain challenges that you will face in the future, that are caused by your remarkable success. In this letter I describe your growth, the lack of substance to sceptics’ criticism and the challenges which your success creates. I also describe potential solutions to them. Here is the word version of it….”

TOME – Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem

“TOME brings together scholars, universities, libraries, and presses in pursuit of a common goal—a sustainable open monograph ecosystem.

Monographs remain the preeminent form of scholarly publication in the humanities and humanistic social sciences, but the funding model is broken. TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem) seeks to address this problem by moving us toward a new, more sustainable system in which monograph publishing costs are met by institutionally funded faculty book subsidies. These publication grants make it possible for presses to publish monographs in open access editions, which increases the presence of humanities and social science scholarship on the web and opens up knowledge to a truly global readership.

TOME launched in 2017 as a five-year pilot project of the Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Association of University Presses (AUPresses). The pilot is built on a) participating colleges and universities and b) participating university presses. 

Participating colleges and universities commit to providing baseline grants of $15,000 to support the publication of open access monographs of 90,000 words or fewer (with additional funding for works of greater length or complexity). 

Participating university presses (numbering over 60) commit to producing digital open access editions of TOME volumes, openly licensing them under Creative Commons licenses, and depositing the files in selected open repositories….”

OpenMonographs.org Launches to Flip Funding Model for University Publishing – Association of Research Libraries

“The Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Association of University Presses (AUPresses) have launched a new website, OpenMonographs.org, in a bold new effort to change the landscape of scholarly book publishing in the humanities and social sciences.

AAU, ARL, and AUPresses established TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem) in 2017 as a five-year pilot project. Monographs remain the preeminent form of scholarly publication in the humanities and humanistic social sciences, but the funding model is broken. TOME seeks to address this problem by moving us toward a new, more sustainable system that meets monograph publishing costs with institutionally funded faculty book subsidies. TOME’s new website, https://www.openmonographs.org/, highlights the innovative nature of this initiative.

Colleges and universities participating in TOME commit to providing baseline grants of $15,000 to support the publication of average-length open access monographs. (Additional funding may be available for especially long or complex books.) These publication grants make it possible for presses to publish monographs in open access editions, increasing the presence of humanities and social science scholarship on the web and opening up knowledge to a truly global readership….”

The Plan S open access initiative creates more opportunities than threats for Latin America | LSE Latin America and Caribbean

“Recently, concerns have been raised about the consequences that Plan S, an initiative of the cOAlitions S consortium of research funders aiming to provide free online access to all research literature, will have for existing non-commercial and not-for-profit open access initiatives. These concerns focus particularly on the threat to Latin America’s strong tradition of open access publishing. In responding to these concerns, I argue that Plan S has many synergies with this vibrant and exemplary tradition of open access publishing, and this will create real opportunities for future development….

Another synergy between Plan S and Latin American open access publishing lies in the pledge from cOAlition S funders that it is funders and research institutions who will pay for open access publication fees (Principle 4). For funders and research institutions, paying for open access fees is the easiest way to participate in the costs of open access publishing….

The objection against a payment per publication is that in this way Plan S upholds the article-processing charge (APC) system, but this is not quite correct. The most legitimate objection against APCs is that they require authors to find the money to pay for their publications. But Plan S has eliminated this obstacle: the funder or institution pays the publisher, not the author….”

Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir les savoirs communs | Open Access Scholarship / Littérature savante en libre accès

Abstract – Open access journals have been developing in India for several decades for promoting the visibility of research done in various streams. OA to science has been encouraged by government sponsored repositories of student and doctoral proposals, and numerous Indian journals are distributed with OA. There is a need to build mindfulness among Indian scholastics with respect to publication practices, including OA, and its potential advantages, and use this methodology of distribution at whatever point doable, as in openly supported research. This research also showed that a well doing publisher in India gets acquired by  European publisher Wolters Kluwer and becomes commercialised. The number of journals with “title not found” or “risky URL”, for example leading to a scam website, is surprising as one might assume that the motivation for this publisher’s society, university and commercial partners is that such partnership would result in high quality services. Most Medknow journals do not charge publication fees. The journals with publication fees are increasing the cost up to 50%. For documentation and a link to the underlying dataset, see Morrison et al. (2019).

Addendum to the cOAlition S Guidance on the Implementation of Plan S | Plan S

“cOAlition S endorse a number of strategies to encourage subscription publishers to transition to Open Access. These approaches are referred to as ’transformative arrangements’ and include transformative agreements, transformative model agreements and transformative journals[1].

The Guidance on the Implementation of Plan S indicates an ambition of developing a framework for ‘transformative journals’. Such ‘transformative journals’ are journals that (i) gradually increase the share of Open Access content, (ii) offset subscription income from payments for publishing services (to avoid double payments), and (iii) have a clear commitment to a transition to full and immediate Open Access for all peer-reviewed scholarly articles within an agreed timeframe.

The requirements below constitute this framework.

[Here omitting 8 mandatory criteria for transformative journals and 3 suggested criteria.]

We are now seeking input from the community on this draft framework and encourage all interested stakeholders to respond. The consultation on this draft framework is open until 09.00 CET on Monday 6th January 2020. We plan to publish a final version of this framework by the end of March 2020.”

Addendum to the cOAlition S Guidance on the Implementation of Plan S | Plan S

“cOAlition S endorse a number of strategies to encourage subscription publishers to transition to Open Access. These approaches are referred to as ’transformative arrangements’ and include transformative agreements, transformative model agreements and transformative journals[1].

The Guidance on the Implementation of Plan S indicates an ambition of developing a framework for ‘transformative journals’. Such ‘transformative journals’ are journals that (i) gradually increase the share of Open Access content, (ii) offset subscription income from payments for publishing services (to avoid double payments), and (iii) have a clear commitment to a transition to full and immediate Open Access for all peer-reviewed scholarly articles within an agreed timeframe.

The requirements below constitute this framework.

[Here omitting 8 mandatory criteria for transformative journals and 3 suggested criteria.]

We are now seeking input from the community on this draft framework and encourage all interested stakeholders to respond. The consultation on this draft framework is open until 09.00 CET on Monday 6th January 2020. We plan to publish a final version of this framework by the end of March 2020.”

OA APC longitudinal survey 2019 | Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir les savoirs communs

This post presents results of the 2019 OA APC longitudinal survey and extends an invitation to participate in an open peer review process of the underlying data and its documentation. One thing that is not changing is that most OA journals in DOAJ do not charge APCs: 10,210 (73%) of the 14,007 journals in DOAJ as of Nov. 26, 2019 do not have APCs. The global average APC in 2019 is 908 USD. This figure has changed little since 2010, however this consistency masks considerably underlying variation. For example, the average APC in 2019 for the 2010 sample has increased by 50%, a rate three times the inflation rate for this time frame. The tendency to charge or not to charge, how much is charged and whether prices are increasing or decreasing varies considerably by journal, publisher, country of publication, language and currency. One surprise this year was the top 10 countries by number of OA journals in DOAJ. As usual, Europe, the US and Latin America are well represented, but Indonesia is now the second largest country in DOAJ and Poland, Iran, and Turkey are among the top 10, perhaps reflecting the work of the DOAJ ambassadors. Pricing per journal shows mixed trends; most journals did not change price between 2018 and 2019, but there were price decreases as well as increases. The UK’s Ubiquity Press as having a relatively low APC (a fraction of Oxford’s, another UK-based publisher) and no price increases.