A presentation by Jan Erik Frantsvåg at the 1st Basel Sustainable Publishing Forum September 9th 2019.
“Five years ago, we commented that “open access to medical research has become more complicated than just choosing an idealistic new journal over regressive old ones”, referring to the labyrinth of hybrid subscription and article processing charge publishing models that exists, often disingenuously crafted so as to protect the business models of for-profit publishers. This unhelpful situation prevails today and prevents access in a fashion that could honestly be described as “open”, for many readers, to a large proportion of newly published research papers. We hope that the ongoing initiative Plan S—supported by the research funder group cOAlition S—will be able to resolve this issue by 2021….”
“Currently: ? We publish two fully-OA journals, and one of these is currently sustained by article publishing charges (APC) at an article-by-article level; in addition, we publish five hybrid journals where authors may opt to pay an APC to have their article published OA. ? For titles on the hybrid model we avoid ‘double dipping’ (charging twice for the same articles) through two routes: APCs are discounted for corresponding authors based at subscribing institutions; in addition, subscription prices are set, each year, based on the number of paywalled articles in the preceding years to account for OA content published in hybrid titles. ? There are a variety of mechanisms employed by different publishers to avoid double-dipping. We are supportive of efforts to standardize and agree common principles around transparent pricing of hybrid journals that demonstrate, objectively, the avoidance of double dipping….
Looking ahead: ? We are seeking to transition our hybrid journals to full-OA in a way that supports researchers and keeps the Society financially viable. ? We strongly believe that the ability to publish research should not be linked to individual researchers’ ability to pay; we are enthusiastic about all opportunities to remove author-facing invoices from OA publishing. To enable a transition away from paywalls, we seek to offer as much APC-free OA as possible that will be supported though continuing and new partnerships with institutions, consortia and funders….
“Although it’s still not perfect, the data about scholarly output has improved over the last couple of years. We recently analyzed all 110m records in the Unpaywall data set to see if we could determine the uptake of OA at scale and set it in the context of non-OA output. The results might surprise you….
Even allowing for different methodologies, like-for-like underlying trends appear consistent. It seems that even before the effects of Plan S have fully manifested, hybrid share of output is slowing. Note that the overall number of hybrid articles continues to grow – it’s just that other content types are growing more quickly.
There could be a number of reasons for this. For example, most of the funders pushing for OA rolled out their mandates over the last few years. We may therefore be seeing a natural slow-down as localized silos of OA uptake are nearing saturation. Meanwhile, until mandates in other areas of the world change or appear, further wholesale shift is unlikely….
Further deep analysis of the data lies outside the scope of this piece. But we leave you with one thought. If hybrid share is already in decline, but transformative agreements are on the rise, then will Plan S have the effect of slowing down the very change it’s trying to accelerate?…”
“Many of you have read the news in an email: AMHP [Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance] will offer authors the opportunity to publish articles open access (OA). For a fee, when an AMHP article is published, it can be made available for free to anyone who wants to read it. Currently, only AsMA members and subscribers to the Journal can access AMHP articles for free. Others can use a pay-per-view option and authors can purchase a PDF which can be sent to those who request it (the modern version of reprints). It is important to note that we are offering OA as an option—it will not be required. Authors who do not wish to pay a fee and who are satisfied with their articles being published in the traditional manner can continue to publish that way.
There are several reasons why AMHP is becoming a hybrid (OA optional) journal. One is that some authors have reached out to us requesting permission to post their article on a website or in a repository. When this happens, we indicate to the author that content of their article can be posted (the final accepted manuscript) but not the way the article appears in the journal. The journal owns the copyright for each article as it appears as part of the serial publication. This arrangement works, but it is clear that some authors would prefer to post the published version of the paper. Allowing for an OA option can accommodate this desire….”
“We support the principles of open scholarship and believe that open access to research outputs will benefit researchers across our shared communities. We also believe that authors should retain copyright in their works with no restrictions, and that open access publication fees should be paid by funders or institutions, not by individual researchers. Ability to pay should not be linked to ability to publish. We support the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) as a driver to improve research assessment by evaluating the work itself, rather than using the venue of publication as a proxy for quality. We recognise the importance of open archives and repositories, such as preprint servers, for hosting research outputs, which we see as a fee-free complement to open access in journals.
Despite having these principles and ambitions in common with Plan S, we have concerns about the Plan, as it is currently written, and have detailed these below. As a group of societies that publish journals, we share a common aim of transitioning to open access in a sustainable way, and we seek to engage with funders, institutions and consortia to find a way forward within the spirit of the Plan’s principles; to this end, we have also included some suggestions of how cOAlition S can help to ensure that a transition is potentially achievable….”
Understanding the growth of open access (OA) is important for deciding funder policy, subscription allocation, and infrastructure planning. This study analyses the number of papers available as OA over time. The models includes both OA embargo data and the relative growth rates of different OA types over time, based on the OA status of 70 million journal articles published between 1950 and 2019. The study also looks at article usage data, analyzing the proportion of views to OA articles vs views to articles which are closed access. Signal processing techniques are used to model how these viewership patterns change over time. Viewership data is based on 2.8 million uses of the Unpaywall browser extension in July 2019. We found that Green, Gold, and Hybrid papers receive more views than their Closed or Bronze counterparts, particularly Green papers made available within a year of publication. We also found that the proportion of Green, Gold, and Hybrid articles is growing most quickly. In 2019:- 31% of all journal articles are available as OA. – 52% of article views are to OA articles. Given existing trends, we estimate that by 2025: – 44% of all journal articles will be available as OA. – 70% of article views will be to OA articles. The declining relevance of closed access articles is likely to change the landscape of scholarly communication in the years to come.
“cOAlition S aims to work with publishers, societies, consortia, and other stakeholders to accelerate the transition to Open Access. One of the current priorities is to develop clearer approaches to transformative arrangements towards full and immediate Open Access. Today an independent report and toolkit are launched to do just this.
This work was commissioned by Wellcome and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – two UK members of cOAlition S – in partnership with the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP). Information Power were appointed to lead the project.
The resulting report and toolkit are designed to help support learned society publishers to accelerate their transition to Open Access, and enter into transformative agreements that unlock a multi-year transitional pathway compliant with Plan S for hybrid Open Access titles. All outputs are available under a CC-BY licence at: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4561397 …”
Abstract: The release in September 2018 of Plan S has led many small and society publishers to examine their business models, and in particular ways to transform their journals from hybrids into pure Open Access (OA) titles. This paper explores one means by which a society publisher might transform, focused specifically on the institutional set-price Publish & Read package being developed by the Microbiology Society based on assessments of: the geographic diversity of our author and subscriber bases; trends in article numbers, article costs and revenues; the administrative complexity of the options; and the reputational and financial risks to the Society associated with the package. We outline the process we followed to calculate the financial and publishing implications of Publish & Read at different price points, and share our view that these kinds of packages are a stop on the way to new models of OA that do not rely on Article Processing Charges (APCs). Our hope is that in sharing our experience, we will contribute to a collective best practice about how to transform society publishing.The release in September 2018 of Plan S has led many small and society publishers to examine their business models, and in particular ways to transform their journals from hybrids into pure Open Access (OA) titles. This paper explores one means by which a society publisher might transform, focused specifically on the institutional set-price Publish & Read package being developed by the Microbiology Society based on assessments of: the geographic diversity of our author and subscriber bases; trends in article numbers, article costs and revenues; the administrative complexity of the options; and the reputational and financial risks to the Society associated with the package. We outline the process we followed to calculate the financial and publishing implications of Publish & Read at different price points, and share our view that these kinds of packages are a stop on the way to new models of OA that do not rely on Article Processing Charges (APCs). Our hope is that in sharing our experience, we will contribute to a collective best practice about how to transform society publishing.
“Several publishers are concerned about the timeline for implementing Plan S, the European initiative that will make all research papers free to access (see Nature 561, 17–18; 2018). Their main concern is whether their markets will be ready for a ‘pay to publish’ model by 2024, when funders’ support for transformative agreements ends. As co-chairs of the implementation task force of the international research-funder consortium cOAlition S (see www.coalition-s.org), we wish to clarify our position with regard to financially supporting the important transition to full open access after 2024….
After 2024, we will be encouraging institutional libraries and large consortia to switch from ‘read and publish’ agreements with publishers to ‘pure publish’ deals for portfolios of subscription journals that have become open-access journals. The cOAlition S funders will contribute to financing such deals, which will be more cost-effective and have fewer transaction costs than a single-paper charging system. The financial transaction would then no longer be between the author and the editor or journal, removing any concerns about perverse incentives for lax quality control….”