Building new societies: Insights and predictions from the 5th Wiley Society Member Survey – Roscoe – 2020 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

“Ten years ago, research conducted by the Biosciences Federation found that 60% of responders said they read OA journals, and 25% said that they published in them. Although a minority had claimed to have published in more than one OA journal, ‘they were not always able to distinguish between (fully or optionally) OA journals and other resources’ (Morris & Thorn, 2009). In fact, 31% of the journals mentioned were not OA journals at all. Over the course of our annual surveys, we have seen the understanding and significance of OA increase. In this year’s survey, 80% recognized the description of open research and 78% open science, for example, and only hybrid OA received the relatively low recognition rating of 61%. OA has moved from being a side issue to one of central importance, particularly among students, ECRs, and those in Africa and Central Asia. In last year’s survey, supporting OA was the sixth most important thing a society should do (65%), far behind publishing a journal (89%) and providing education and training (83%). In the current survey, it is the top service of which members want to see more. There is less interest in the USA (47%) and among senior members (61%), but if you are a student (85%) based in Africa (84%) or have less than 5?years’ experience (75%), then increased OA publishing is a major motivation towards society membership (see Fig. 6)….”

Building new societies: Insights and predictions from the 5th Wiley Society Member Survey – Roscoe – 2020 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

“Ten years ago, research conducted by the Biosciences Federation found that 60% of responders said they read OA journals, and 25% said that they published in them. Although a minority had claimed to have published in more than one OA journal, ‘they were not always able to distinguish between (fully or optionally) OA journals and other resources’ (Morris & Thorn, 2009). In fact, 31% of the journals mentioned were not OA journals at all. Over the course of our annual surveys, we have seen the understanding and significance of OA increase. In this year’s survey, 80% recognized the description of open research and 78% open science, for example, and only hybrid OA received the relatively low recognition rating of 61%. OA has moved from being a side issue to one of central importance, particularly among students, ECRs, and those in Africa and Central Asia. In last year’s survey, supporting OA was the sixth most important thing a society should do (65%), far behind publishing a journal (89%) and providing education and training (83%). In the current survey, it is the top service of which members want to see more. There is less interest in the USA (47%) and among senior members (61%), but if you are a student (85%) based in Africa (84%) or have less than 5?years’ experience (75%), then increased OA publishing is a major motivation towards society membership (see Fig. 6)….”

The insanity (and probably illegality) of transformative agreements (including Plan S and Project Deal) – An Open Letter to Libraries and Coalition S | Gunther Eysenbach’s random research rants

“The reality is that libraries are used to negotiate with legacy publishers about subscriptions, and there has been no historic need to negotiate with OA publishers about anything, as they already do exactly what librarians or Plan S/Coalition S and other government entities want them to do – but open access publishers do need support, and need it more than those “poor” publishers like Springer-Nature who wants the transformative deals (all APCs covered) but is screaming and kicking having to abandon their hybrid journals which allows them to double-dip (getting paid for subscriptions AND article processing fees). Why are we spending public tax money to “help” commercial entities to switch to a different business model because they didn’t understand the sign of times 20 years ago? The situation is similar to a government wanting to switch from Internal Combustion Engine cars to electroc cars nationwide, and not subsidizing the costs for buying from Tesla, but only throwing money at GM and BMW to fund their costs to switch production.

In my 20 years of publishing fully open access journals, we have not once received a single dime (or $) of funding from libraries (other OA publishers, like Frontiers, MDPI, Plos, have more muscle and may have institutional agreements, but as niche publisher we simply do not have the market size and staff to negotiate with hundreds of universities/libraries)  – rather than being paid by libraries, it  is all our authors paying from their research grants. The only exception is our recent deal with the University of California (which frankly seems to be the only institution having the vision to support native OA publishers) – but it remains to be seen if other libraries/consortia replicate this model (our emails to Project Deal and other libraries who made transformative deals and are coveering the APC of large publishers, asking them to match the conditions they gave to Wiley and Springer have not been responded to at all). And to be clear, if you want to go with the “quality argument”, keep in mind that 4 out of the 8 leading health informatics journals are published by us.

If the general model changes in the future from APCs being paid by authors/research grants towards libraries picking up these costs, libraries/funders must ensure an “open-access first” policy, where APCs of native open-access publishers and their journals are equally paid or even paid first (i.e. transformative agreements should only be made for journals where no OA journal are in existence and where there is significant demand to publish in a former subscription/hybrid journal). And by the way, don’t use Web of Science or Scopus for these assessments (rather use DOAJ)….”

Will the Hybrid Journal Be Transformed by Plan S? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“In the “Guidance on the Implementation of Plan S”, cOAlition S committed to “consider developing a potential framework for ‘transformative journals’ where the share of open access content is gradually increased, where subscription costs are offset by income from payments for publishing services (to avoid double payments), and where the journal has a clear commitment to transition to full open access in an agreed timeframe.” In late November, cOAlition S released a draft framework for transformative journals and began a consultation (open for comment until 9:00 CET on January 6, 2020). 

The concept of “transformative journals” was initially proposed by Springer Nature in May 2019 in a response to the draft of the Plan S implementation guidelines.  At the time, I expressed skepticism that the idea would find a receptive audience given the coaition’s position on hybrid journals. As such, I will admit that I was rather surprised to see that cOAlition S incorporated the notion of transformative journals into the final guidelines and signaled the possibility of re-thinking the acceptability of hybrid journals and expanding the conditions under which they would be considered Plan S compliant. …”

Will the Hybrid Journal Be Transformed by Plan S? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“In the “Guidance on the Implementation of Plan S”, cOAlition S committed to “consider developing a potential framework for ‘transformative journals’ where the share of open access content is gradually increased, where subscription costs are offset by income from payments for publishing services (to avoid double payments), and where the journal has a clear commitment to transition to full open access in an agreed timeframe.” In late November, cOAlition S released a draft framework for transformative journals and began a consultation (open for comment until 9:00 CET on January 6, 2020). 

The concept of “transformative journals” was initially proposed by Springer Nature in May 2019 in a response to the draft of the Plan S implementation guidelines.  At the time, I expressed skepticism that the idea would find a receptive audience given the coaition’s position on hybrid journals. As such, I will admit that I was rather surprised to see that cOAlition S incorporated the notion of transformative journals into the final guidelines and signaled the possibility of re-thinking the acceptability of hybrid journals and expanding the conditions under which they would be considered Plan S compliant. …”

cOAlition S reaction to Springer Nature’s Open Letter on Transformative Journals | Plan S

“Thank you for sharing your open letter outlining your concerns about Transformative Journals.

cOAlition S has now reviewed your letter and would like to make the following points.

1- As we made clear when we published the Transformative Journals (TJ) framework, we consider this a draft and we look forward to receiving the views from all actors and stakeholders who respond to the consultation. Once the consultation closes (6th January 2020) we will then assess how the concept of TJs can best be implemented.

2- TJs have been developed to help the transitioning of journals that are committing to full OA, outside of Transformative Agreements. We expect this option may be useful to journals which have high costs – which may make it more difficult to include these titles in Transformative Agreements, at least in the short term – or where publishers (like scholarly societies) wish to offer a global OA option, but are not yet able to flip to full OA without some support during a transition period to reduce risks.

3- The SN letter argues that year on year growth can only increase at the rate in which funders mandate gold OA publishing and provide the necessary funding. However, data from SN’s own journal Nature Communications provides clear evidence that the volume of published papers can increase year on year, even without a corresponding increase in the number of funder mandates….

4- The SN letter also suggests that journals can only flip to full OA, once 90% of publications are OA. However, publication data from Nature Communications – which started publishing as a hybrid journal – shows that the decision to flip this title was taken when slightly less than 50% of the content was OA (see Table 2).Considering this finding it is difficult to give much credence to Springer Nature’s statement that “we cannot place authors in a situation where they could be unable to publish in the most suitable journal, purely for financial reasons”….

5- No data is presented to support the assertion that “international collaboration will be negatively impacted”. As funders we are keen to encourage collaboration between researchers, recognising the benefits which can arise. We are working with our partners to encourage other funders from around the world to join cOAlition S. We anticipate that support will continue to grow and that funders will increasingly adopt consistent approaches. Many international groups will still want to work with the world-class researchers we fund. The desire to join forces to address shared research questions should supersede any considerations over where the resulting work can be published. We have also established a Task Force to monitor the effects of Plan S, including its impact on early career researchers and international collaborations.

6- The alternative model for TJ that is proposed in the Springer-Nature letter provides no clearly defined timeframe for transitioning journals to full Open Access, other than when a threshold of 90% OA uptake has been reached. For all intents and purposes, this proposal is nothing more than an attempt to perpetuate the hybrid model, which less and less funders are willing to support. The hybrid model has clearly failed to achieve the transition to OA and there are absolutely no reasons to believe that things will be any different in the future. This is a tactic to stall progress. For cOAlition S, TJs are considered as a means for publishers to really deliver on their promise of transitioning their journals to full OA in a smooth way, but within a defined timeframe. Our proposed deadline is the 31st December 2024 – 5 years from now. We are not aware of any other area of economic activity where businesses are given 5 years to change their models to meet demands (with support from funders). Native OA publishers (who are competing with Springer-Nature in the market) do not claim that they can only run full OA journals under the condition that all funders worldwide must commit to fund Gold OA. The line of argumentation that the transition to OA can only happen at the rate that funders commit to finance Gold OA is futile. We could as well argue that funders will only commit to fund OA at the rate that publishers transition to OA. But there should be no mistake: we prefer zero-embargo Green OA over hybrid journals.

7- In conclusion, we hope journals and publishers will see this as an opportunity to take the bold step of changing their business model, and we are looking forward to receiving more inputs to our open consultation on Transformative Journals by January 6th 2020.”

AN OPEN LETTER FOLLOWING THE CONSULTATION ON TRANSFORMATIVE JOURNALS

“While we are supportive of the vast majority of the criteria proposed in the consultation, we are concerned that, if the transformative journal concept as envisaged by the cOAlition is applied in full, Transformative Journals will not deliver the full transition we believe is possible. We feel duty bound, having proposed this approach, to share our concerns with you now in an open way.

1. The timelines proposed and the rates of OA transition are unworkable and could be counterproductive In our earlier responses to Plan S, we repeatedly and publicly committed ourselves to transitioning all of our journals, our hybrid portfolio of 1900 journals (Springer Nature-owned and society-owned) along with Nature itself and all other Nature-branded journals, to immediate, full OA for all primary research and we will do everything we can to make this a sustainable reality in the shortest possible time. But the speed by which this can happen is not solely in our hands; it is also hugely dependent on the rate at which other funders, institutions and consortia commit to supporting Gold OA, as a zero embargo green OA approach will undermine the sustainability of journals as they transition and hamper the move to open science. …

2. The waiver requirements are unsustainable 

At Springer Nature we have established waiver policies already in place6 for researchers unable to access APC funding and for those authors based in the world’s lowest income countries as defined by the World Bank. As the largest OA publisher we have given more waivers than anyone else. For obvious reasons, this applies only to authors seeking to publish in one of our 600 fully OA journals. For authors without OA funding and seeking to publish in one of our other journals, they are able to do so for free via the subscription route….

We propose the below as an alternative timeframe and workable set of metrics:

1. Year-on-year growth of OA content at the same rate as the increase in global research supported by funders and institutions committed to funding Gold OA.

2. Journals to be flipped when OA content reaches 90%.

3. Progress to be reviewed in 2024, as per cOAlition decision to review progress more widely, and commitments adapted accordingly then in light of progress to date….”

Alternative conditions needed in order for cOAlition S’s proposal for Transformative Journals to succeed | Group | Springer Nature

“As the largest OA publisher, and the publisher that first floated the idea of Transformative Journals, Springer Nature is appealing to cOAlition S in an open letter not to lose the opportunity Transformative Journals offer to speed up the transition to OA. Unless changes are made to the conditions being proposed the publisher believes it would be unable to commit to its journals participating.

Commenting, Steven Inchcoombe, Chief Publishing Officer Springer Nature, said:

“Springer Nature remains committed to moving more quickly towards OA and is proud to be the publisher of almost a quarter of all fully OA articles ever published. We first floated the idea of Transformative Journals in May as we believed that, by harnessing the investment, track record, editorial expertise, and the trust the research communities have in these long-standing journals, the transition to OA could be significantly accelerated and enable many of these journals, including highly selective ones such as Nature, to get on the path to OA.”

“We are concerned, however, that the thresholds proposed by cOAlition S could have unintended consequences. Authors of research funded by cOAlition S members are likely to see their journal choice severely restricted, organisations committed to OA could see a doubling of the content they need to fund, and ultimately many journals may have to rule themselves out, resulting in a slowdown of the very transition we both want to see.”

While Springer Nature is supportive of the vast majority of the criteria proposed in the consultation, the company has significant concerns regarding:

the proposed timelines and metrics which would place conditions on publishers to not only grow OA content at a faster rate than the growth of funders willing to fund immediate OA but to do this at a time when the global share of cOAlition S funded research is effectively declining, and
the requirements for waivers which would see much more research published for free, undermining the sustainability of those journals. This could lead to those organisations that are committed to Gold OA having to support twice the content they were funding at the point of the flip, which is not fair, reasonable or sustainable….”

‘Transformative journal’ rules allow titles Plan S reprieve | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Previously, Plan S had said it would still allow academics to publish in journals that are not fully open access until the end of 2024, provided their publishers have signed what are called “transformative agreements” committing to switch fully to open access.

Now, under new plans out for consultation unveiled on 26 November, individual journals can also be designated as “transformative”, provided they hit certain criteria to prove they genuinely plan to become fully open.

Such journals need to increase the share of open access content by at least eight percentage points a year, according to the criteria.

They also need to commit to going fully open access either before the end of 2024, or when at least half of content has become open access.

Journals also need to make this transition “cost neutral” and provide “transparent pricing” to show libraries exactly what content they are paying for.

One big concern for Plan S backers has been to avoid propping up so-called “hybrid” journals, a mixture of open access and paywalled articles paid for by subscriptions. They fear these journals can charge universities double – through subscriptions, and through article processing charges for open access papers….”

‘Transformative journal’ rules allow titles Plan S reprieve | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Previously, Plan S had said it would still allow academics to publish in journals that are not fully open access until the end of 2024, provided their publishers have signed what are called “transformative agreements” committing to switch fully to open access.

Now, under new plans out for consultation unveiled on 26 November, individual journals can also be designated as “transformative”, provided they hit certain criteria to prove they genuinely plan to become fully open.

Such journals need to increase the share of open access content by at least eight percentage points a year, according to the criteria.

They also need to commit to going fully open access either before the end of 2024, or when at least half of content has become open access.

Journals also need to make this transition “cost neutral” and provide “transparent pricing” to show libraries exactly what content they are paying for.

One big concern for Plan S backers has been to avoid propping up so-called “hybrid” journals, a mixture of open access and paywalled articles paid for by subscriptions. They fear these journals can charge universities double – through subscriptions, and through article processing charges for open access papers….”