Plan S may ‘consolidate power of big publishers’, academy warns | Times Higher Education (THE)

Speaking at London Book Fair, James Rivington, head of publications at the British Academy which funds humanities and social science research, said many journals run by learned societies may struggle to adapt to Plan S rules (which come into effect in January 2020) and may seek commercial alliances to survive….”

Plan S may ‘consolidate power of big publishers’, academy warns | Times Higher Education (THE)

Speaking at London Book Fair, James Rivington, head of publications at the British Academy which funds humanities and social science research, said many journals run by learned societies may struggle to adapt to Plan S rules (which come into effect in January 2020) and may seek commercial alliances to survive….”

Towards transition strategies and business models for Society Publishers who wish to accelerate Open Access and Plan S: An initial discussion document from the Society Publishers Accelerating Open access and Plan S (SPA-OPS) project

The SPA-OPS project was commissioned by Wellcome, UKRI, and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) to support learned society publishers successfully transition to open access (OA) and align with Plan S. Information Power Ltd was selected to undertake this work at the end of January 2019.

This project will, we hope, be useful to a broad array of learned society publishers around the world. The focus of this work, however, is on learned society publishers serving UK researchers and in disciplines relevant to UKRI and Wellcome funding areas. We are aware of related initiatives in other parts of the world and aim to share information with and to learn from these.

Wellcome and UKRI – and indeed other funders – recognise the value learned societies play in supporting researchers and contributing to a vibrant research ecosystem.  They wish to explore a range of potential strategies and business models through which learned societies could adapt and thrive under Plan S.

The SPA-OPS project is structured in the following way:

1. A short background study to identify the key issues learned societies face in the light of Plan S 

 2. A discussion document which assesses options for how learned society publishers could transition to OA and develop Plan S-compliant business models

3. Engagement with learned societies to discuss these options, identify any gaps and omissions, and determine which models are more/less credible for different types of learned society  

 4. Two pilots – ideally one in life sciences and one in humanities or social sciences – with society publishers to look at their publication costs and revenue model, to explore whether any of the alternative publishing options might be viable, and to understand what would be needed in practice to implement 

5. A summary report will be produced with recommendations on how learned society publishers can embrace the opportunities which arise from transitioning to OA and aligning with Plan S, whilst remaining financially sustainable

This paper contains the first two outputs from the SPA OPS project. The short background study to identify key issues learned societies face in the light of Plan S can be found in section 3 of this paper. Options through which learned society publishers could transition to OA and develop Plan-S compliant business models can be found in section 4 of this paper….”

Plan S end game

“Now that the Plan S comment period is over and the comments made public, we can see that there is a raging debate over whether journals ought to comply or not. So it is time to consider the possible end games, which range from a lot of journals complying, to just a bunch, to almost none. The differences are pretty stark….

Everything depends on how many journals choose to comply, which in turn may well depend on how many articles fall under Plan S. At this point China and India look like the wild cards in the game….

The abstract question for a journal is this: What fraction of submissions has to be precluded by Plan S to make it a good decision to comply? I pointed out early on that if you have an 80% rejection rate that fraction can be large before damage occurs. On the other hand, journals do not want to write off large numbers of authors as unpublishable. It is a hard choice….

The abstract question for a journal is this: What fraction of submissions has to be precluded by Plan S to make it a good decision to comply? I pointed out early on that if you have an 80% rejection rate that fraction can be large before damage occurs. On the other hand, journals do not want to write off large numbers of authors as unpublishable. It is a hard choice.

Assuming that something more than a few journals do make the leap, but many do not, we get a rather strange world in which Plan S authors can only publish in a specific subset of journals. This may be the most likely outcome, but it seems to be little discussed. The impact on the Plan S authors is probably adverse, especially if the top journals choose not to comply….”

Plan S end game

“Now that the Plan S comment period is over and the comments made public, we can see that there is a raging debate over whether journals ought to comply or not. So it is time to consider the possible end games, which range from a lot of journals complying, to just a bunch, to almost none. The differences are pretty stark….

Everything depends on how many journals choose to comply, which in turn may well depend on how many articles fall under Plan S. At this point China and India look like the wild cards in the game….

The abstract question for a journal is this: What fraction of submissions has to be precluded by Plan S to make it a good decision to comply? I pointed out early on that if you have an 80% rejection rate that fraction can be large before damage occurs. On the other hand, journals do not want to write off large numbers of authors as unpublishable. It is a hard choice….

The abstract question for a journal is this: What fraction of submissions has to be precluded by Plan S to make it a good decision to comply? I pointed out early on that if you have an 80% rejection rate that fraction can be large before damage occurs. On the other hand, journals do not want to write off large numbers of authors as unpublishable. It is a hard choice.

Assuming that something more than a few journals do make the leap, but many do not, we get a rather strange world in which Plan S authors can only publish in a specific subset of journals. This may be the most likely outcome, but it seems to be little discussed. The impact on the Plan S authors is probably adverse, especially if the top journals choose not to comply….”

cOAlition S: Response to PNAS | PNAS

The assertion is made that most society publishers—who currently make use of hybrid OA—will “likely be prohibited for authors with Plan S funders.” This is not correct since Plan S supports deposition of articles in repositories as an option for compliance. Indeed, in recent weeks we have seen several United Kingdom learned societies—including the Royal Society* and the Microbiology Society—adopt a Plan S-compliant model, by allowing authors to self-archive their author-accepted manuscript in a repository at the time of publication, with a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY)….

To help learned societies explore alternative revenue streams and business models, the Wellcome Trust, in partnership with United Kingdom Research and Innovation and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, has just funded a consultancy to work with learned societies to help them adapt and thrive in a Plan S world….”

 

Reply to Kiley and Smits: Meeting Plan S’s goal of maximizing access to research | PNAS

“Thank you for recognizing the value that scholarly societies bring to the research ecosystem and the scientific enterprise as a whole—and for recognizing the importance of their financial viability (1).

And thank you for clearly stating your goal for Plan S (2). A much simpler route toward achieving your goal of maximizing access to research and allowing for artificial intelligence and text and data mining is Plan U, in which funders require that grantees deposit manuscripts on a preprint server under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) before submission and peer review in a journal.* Plan U avoids the tremendous overhead and infrastructure needed to implement, monitor, and enforce Plan S—which entails vetting thousands of individual journals, various journal platforms, and repositories—and eliminates the need to further refine Plan S implementation guidelines, which have to date raised more questions than they answer.

Plan U would establish a far more uniform policy across a much larger group of researchers, while avoiding the need to cap article processing charges or ban hybrid journals. Such a policy is not only more inclusive, but more likely to achieve global buy-in….”

David Worlock | Developing digital strategies for the information marketplace | Supporting the migration of information providers and content players into the networked services world of the future.

The Springer Nature announcement that they were working with ReseachGate on a fair sharing policy has elements that run right through the tracery of fissures . It tells us that commercial players have no commercial reason to do anything but compete , and that Springer Nature , Thieme , CUP and in time others want to be seen as more user supportive in this regard than , others . This is not for me a new form of permitted “syndication “ – simply a gracious concession to license what users were doing anyway and remove some friction. It also says that in the games yet to be played , many people see tracking usage of the traceable communication as an important source of information , and potentially of revenues . The pressures felt by players like Springer Nature and Wiley as they at once try to differentiate themselves from the very clear stance of a market leader like Elsevier while trying to protect their service integrity at the same time are similarly shown in the Projekt DEAL developments . Market leaders get trapped and isolated in market positions they cannot give up , while the rest dissociate and differentiate themselves as best they can , while trying hard not to lose revenue margins in the process . Then sit down and read the reactions to Plan S – Springer Nature were paragons of moderation and reason . The loudest squeals came from those with most to lose – scholarly societies with journal revenue dependence. …

So what can the market leader do about this change as they face increasing user criticism ? The traditional answer always was “ push intransigence as far as it will go , and if those who would change the terms of trade do not come to heel , change your CEO as a way of changing your own policy without losing face “ . It may of course be an entire co-incidence that Elsevier’s CEO Ron Mobed retired last week without prior indication that he was about to go , and has been replaced by a very experienced RELX strategy specialist , Kumsal Bayazit . She is warmly welcomed and deserves a good chance to rethink the strategies that have backed Elsevier into a corner with Projekt DEAL and with the University of California . The people who work at Elsevier are , to my certain knowledge , as dedicated as any group I know to the objectives of their customers and the improvement of scholarly communications : they know that at the end of the dy the customer has the final say . And let’s think about what the power of a market leader now really means : 20 years ago companies like Elsevier demanded that authors surrendered their copyrights on the grounds that only the publisher was powerful enough to protect them , while today no publisher is powerful enough to shutter SciHub….”

Plan S advice for learned societies | Research Information

“Wellcome, in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), have engaged Information Power to explore a range of potential strategies and business models through which learned societies can transition to an open access landscape and adapt to Plan S. 

As the number of researchers covered by Plan S-compliant funding increases it will, in time, put pressure on the business models of many learned societies, which rely on hybrid journal publishing to cover their publishing costs, and to generate revenue for other important activities they undertake such as hosting meetings/conferences and awarding fellowships and other grants. 

Robert Kiley, head of open research at Wellcome said: ‘Wellcome and UKRI recognise the value learned societies play in supporting researchers and contributing to a vibrant research ecosystem. We are keen for them to be successful in transition to OA in line with Plan S.  We are delighted to partner with ALPSP to explore – via the team at Information Power – a diverse array of potential strategies and business models through which learned societies can adapt and thrive to this changing landscape.’

The team – including Alicia Wise, Lorraine Estelle, and Hazel Woodward at Information Power, plus additional expert Yvonne Campfens – will document and develop a range of transition approaches and business models for Learned Society publishers to consider.  These will be developed in dialogue with society publishers, libraries and consortia, funders, society members, and society publishing partners. …”

Open-access pioneer Randy Schekman on Plan S and disrupting scientific publishing

Nobel laureate Randy Schekman shook up the publishing industry when he launched the open-access journal eLife in 2012.

Armed with millions in funding from three of the world’s largest private biomedical charities — the Wellcome Trust, the Max Planck Society and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute — Schekman designed the journal to compete with publishing powerhouses such as NatureScience and Cell. (Nature’s news team is independent of its journal team and its publisher, Springer Nature.)

eLife experimented with innovative approaches such as collaborative peer review — in which reviewers work together to vet research — that caused ripples in scientific publishing.

And for the first few years, researchers could publish their work in eLife for free. That came to an end in 2017, because the journal needed more revenue streams to help it to grow….”