EU set to snub hybrid open-access journals

“The EU’s 2021-27 R&D programme will not pay for articles to be published in hybrid open-access journals under proposals published by the European Commission.

Horizon Europe will pay article processing charges only “for purely open-access publishing venues (i.e. not ‘hybrid’ journals)” under Commission proposals published on 7 June. The current programme Horizon 2020 does support hybrid journals. The change would be controversial as it could prevent researchers from publishing in their first-choice locations….

A Commission source told Research Europe that the Commission is dropping its support for hybrid journals in part because they “do not currently appear to support a transition towards full open-access publishing models”. The source added that national funders are better placed to negotiate with publishers on the offsetting of subscription fees in hybrid models….

The Commission’s move will force researchers funded by Horizon Europe to publish either in fully open-access journals or through the green model if they want the programme to foot the bill.

Steven Inchcoombe, chief publishing officer at Springer Nature, said the decision was “likely to decrease open-access publication overall and risk a significant regression in open-access uptake” because hybrid journals “play an important role in aiding the transition to open access”. Springer Nature reported last month that it published about 3,900 articles with UK-based corresponding authors in its hybrid journals in 2017, compared with about 4,450 articles in its fully open-access journals….”

 

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….”

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.”

Why the term ‘Article Processing Charge’ (APC) is misleading – Green Tea and Velociraptors

“The term ‘article processing charge’, or APC, is ubiquitous in discussions about Open Access. It refers to the author-facing charge levied by many publishers in order to make an article freely available on their website. Now, putting aside the fact that this system actively discriminates against less-wealthy authors and institutes, I think that the term APC itself is incredibly misleading. Furthermore, I believe that this misdirection occurs in favour of publishers, to the detriment of all other parties. Hopefully in this post, I can explain why, and offer a potential solution to it.”

News & Views: Trendspotting in OA Spending – Delta Think

“The findings in the report are not surprising: they match closely with Delta Think’s numbers from October, and with those in similar reports. Open access is established; it now covers significant minority share of output, but its growth is slowing:

  • Globally, publishers offer OA options mainly through hybrid journals: 72% of journals are hybrid, 19% fully OA, and 9% of journals are subscription only.
  • Uptake, in terms of articles suggests that 19% of all articles published are available immediately on publication as OA, split between 15% in fully OA journals and just under 4% in hybrid journals.
  • The report explores delayed OA options, giving a read on Green OA, with an uptake of just under 5% in the year of publication.
  • The 2017 update reduces its OA estimates slightly compared with its 2015 version. The results are summarized in the table below. The variations speak to the challenges in gathering data, and the necessity to keep refining models over time….”
  • APCs now form a significant additional expense. For the payments that universities make to the seven largest publishers, the ratio between subscriptions and APCs is 5:1. This equates to a 17% share of revenue compared to a 31% share of output. As we have discussed in our previous market analyses, on average the revenue generated by OA is proportionately less than its share of output.
  • More than half the expenditure on APCs in 2016 went to the three major publishing groups, Elsevier, Springer Nature, and Wiley, with a particularly sharp rise for Elsevier since 2014.
  • The report confirms the well-known finding that APCs for hybrid journals are more expensive that those in fully OA journals: 28% higher on average in 2016.
  • But, this gap may be closing: hybrid prices paid rose by 14% in the three years from 2013 (to £2,095 on average), but by 33% for fully-OA journals (to £1,640) in the same period. Delta Think’s market models suggest that, whilst hybrid prices are higher, they also bear higher discount levels, so it would appear that the gap between fully OA and hybrid prices is closing….
  • The number of APCs paid by a sample of 10 UK universities rose more than fivefold.
  • The average cost of an APC rose by 16% (as compared with a rise of 5% in the consumer price index; the CPI.)
  • Spending on subscriptions for the report’s sample rose by 20%.
  • Nuances within hybrid spending show the same quadrupling of APCs, with combined APC & sub spending up by one third…in other words, APC spending is eating share. The ratio between subscription and hybrid APC spending has fallen to 6:1 in 2016 from 19:1 3 years previously….”

Springer Nature is delivering on open access and calls for continued partnership | WebWire

“Today the leading open access publisher Springer Nature announces that it has achieved a milestone in advancing discovery through open research, with over 70% of corresponding authors from four European countries now publishing via gold open access….This achievement has been made possible through a unique environment in these markets, with support from governments and institutions who back open access, funders who fund APCs, authors who are willing to publish via open access, and a publisher providing authors with a range of publishing options, making open access a reality.  Globally, 27% of all research published by Springer Nature is now published under an immediate gold open access model. Most of this is in pure OA journals but in the four countries above increased hybrid OA take-up means offsetting is occurring there while more generally more article growth is being funded outside of library budgets….”

Springer Nature’s Report Demonstrates the Viability of Open Access Transitions for both Journals and Countries | Open Science

“As its recent data demonstrate, in some European states between 70% and 90% of Springer’s newly published articles are in Open Access, which indicates that the journal- and country-level adoption of Open Access becomes increasingly mainstream, even though it depends on author fee funding availability….”

Releasing 1.8 million open access publications from publisher systems for text and data mining

Text and data mining offers an opportunity to improve the way we access and analyse the outputs of academic research. But the technical infrastructure of the current scholarly communication system is not yet ready to support TDM to its full potential, even for open access outputs. To address this problem, Petr KnothNancy Pontika and Lucas Anastasiou have developed the CORE Publisher Connector, a toolkit service designed to assist text miners in accessing content though a single machine interface. The Connector aims to solve the heterogeneity among publisher APIs and assist text miners with data collection, provide a centralised point of access to all openly available scientific publications, and provide a high-performance, constantly updated access interface.

UK research funders target hybrid open access charges | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Wellcome Trust and UK Research & Innovation launch reviews of policies that require funded papers to be made freely available…

[T]he Wellcome Trust highlighted that 71 per cent of its £5.7 million outlay on article processing charges in 2015-16 had been spent with hybrid open access journals. These are subscription periodicals that allow papers to be made freely available in return for the processing fee.

Significantly, average article processing charges for hybrid open access titles stood at £2,209 that year, 34 per cent higher than the average for a fully open access paper (£1,644).

Robert Kiley, head of open research at Wellcome, said that part of the rationale for the review came from “increasing costs”, particularly from hybrid journals.

Compliance with Wellcome’s open access policy now stands at more than 75 per cent, and it is thought that addressing cost issues would push this even higher….

A recent Universities UK report found that higher education institutions’ journal subscription costs had increased by 20 per cent in three years despite the shift to open access, with the dual income streams of hybrid journals a major concern….”