bjoern.brembs.blog » How publishers keep fooling academics

“Time and time again, academic publishers have managed to create the impression that publishing incurs a lot of costs which justify the outrageous prices they charge, be that US$11M p.a. for an Elsevier Big Deal subscription or an article processing charge (APC) of US$5,200 for a Nature Communications article.

This week, again, an academic publisher, SpringerNature, reaffirmed its readers that they have huge costs that necessitate the price they charge. This time, the publisher repeated their testimony from 2004 that “they have high internal costs” that amount to €10,000-30,000 per published article….

This means that what the publishers are referring to isn’t their costs for publishing at all, it is the price that they charge the public for all of their services.

It is well established that the cost of making an article public with all the bells and whistles that come with an academic article is between US$/€200-500. This is the item one would reasonably call “publication costs”. Because they are so low, this item cannot be the main reason for the price of a typical Nature branded article. SpringerNature performs additional services, some of which are somewhat related to the publication process, other not so much….”

OLH Readership and Cost Reports for 2018-2019

“That said, here are the key numbers for February 13th 2018 to February 13th 2019 for the Open Library of Humanities and the journals that we publish and fund:

  • We published 443 articles.
  • These articles were uniquely downloaded 61,155 times.
  • These articles were uniquely viewed 337,237 times.
  • Taking the USD median fee level, the cost per institution per published article was £2.41.
  • Taking the USD median fee level, the cost per institution per download was £0.02.
  • Taking the USD median fee level, the cost per institution per view was £0.003….”

Editorial board mutinies: are they what’s needed or are they part of the problem?

“However, what I find striking is that the combined number of articles published by Lingua and Glossa has doubled since 2014, far outpacing the annual 4% growth in scholarly articles.

Does this mean linguistics is a burgeoning field? Or that these journals have won share from others? Or are we, perhaps, observing induced demand in action?

(Induced demand is a phenomenon where adding supply capacity prompts increased demand. A common example is new roads increasing traffic levels.) …

Twenty year ago, the authors of the Budapest Open Access Declarationthought that new, digital, forms of publishing would cost less than the traditional analogue methods. Unfortunately, as the financial travails at PLoSillustrate, we now know that digital publishing is far from low-cost. Worse, despite two decades of investment costs are increasing.

This latter point was brought home to me when I saw a tweet about arXiv’s costs. In 2010, arXiv had 4 staff and total expenses of $420,000. For 2019, arXiv has budgeted 10 staff and $2,070,000 in expenses. So, expenses have grown five-fold over the past decade, a period which saw postings double. To put it another way, the cost per posting has risen to $14.40 from $5.80 over the past decade, a 247% increase….

One reason costs continue to climb is because digital makes possible desirable things that were impossible before. For example, digital makes it possible to publish associated datasets and to disambiguate authors, funders, and institutions and digital has led to new, complex, standards for things like content capture and metadata to improve discoverability and machine readability.

Many of these new digital things have become standard fixtures in any quality scholcom solution, setting expectations for the future. cOAlition S’ Plan S doesn’t just seek to flip journals to open access, it sets mandatory standards on how they should be published, about which many researchers agree. It’s hardly a surprise that the original 60 things publishers did in 2012 had grown to 102 by 2018, many of the additions things digital….”

The business of academic publishing: “a catastrophe” – ScienceDirect

Richard Smith, a former editor at BMJ, reviews Jason Schmitt’s film, Paywall.

As I watched Paywall: The Business of Scholarship, I was taken back 30 years to when I thought for the first time about the business aspects of academic publishing. I was an assistant editor at the BMJ, and the editor asked me to join a meeting with a group of rheumatologists who wanted a share in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, a journal we owned. “We do the research published in the journal”, said one of the rheumatologists. “We do the peer review, we edit the journal, we read it, and we store it in our libraries. What do you do?” “Tell them what we do”, said the editor to me. I was at a complete loss….”

A beginner’s guide to data stewardship and data sharing | Spinal Cord

Abstract:  Study design

A narrative review of principles, benefits and disadvantages, as well as methods of research data sharing.

Objectives

To assist prospective Spinal Cord authors and others with understanding and implementing data sharing, so that various benefits of such sharing can accrue to all spinal cord injury research stakeholders….

Methods

The medical research and health care services literature was reviewed nonsystematically for relevant articles, and web sites were explored for information and services offered by various pertinent organizations.

Results

Grant makers, professional organizations, research journals, publishers, and other entities in the research field increasingly stress the ethics as well as societal and practical benefits of data sharing, and require researchers to do so within a reasonable time after data collection ends. Sharing data, retrospectively, generally requires much time and resources, but when a data management plan is part of a research proposal from the start, costs are limited, and grant makers allow these costs to be part of a budget. There are many organizations that offer information on or even assist with preparing data for sharing and actual deposit in a data repository.

Conclusions

The requirement of data sharing is not likely to go away, and researchers interested in submitting their reports to Spinal Cord would do well to familiarize themselves with the myriad practical issues involved in preparing data for sharing.

A beginner’s guide to data stewardship and data sharing | Spinal Cord

Abstract:  Study design

A narrative review of principles, benefits and disadvantages, as well as methods of research data sharing.

Objectives

To assist prospective Spinal Cord authors and others with understanding and implementing data sharing, so that various benefits of such sharing can accrue to all spinal cord injury research stakeholders….

Methods

The medical research and health care services literature was reviewed nonsystematically for relevant articles, and web sites were explored for information and services offered by various pertinent organizations.

Results

Grant makers, professional organizations, research journals, publishers, and other entities in the research field increasingly stress the ethics as well as societal and practical benefits of data sharing, and require researchers to do so within a reasonable time after data collection ends. Sharing data, retrospectively, generally requires much time and resources, but when a data management plan is part of a research proposal from the start, costs are limited, and grant makers allow these costs to be part of a budget. There are many organizations that offer information on or even assist with preparing data for sharing and actual deposit in a data repository.

Conclusions

The requirement of data sharing is not likely to go away, and researchers interested in submitting their reports to Spinal Cord would do well to familiarize themselves with the myriad practical issues involved in preparing data for sharing.

The Cost of the Open Journal of Astrophysics | In the Dark

“Our recent publication of a paper in the Open Journal of Astrophysicscaused a flurry of interest in social media and a number of people have independently asked me for information about the cost of this kind of publication.

I see no reason not to be fully `open’ about the running costs of the Open Journal, but it’s not quite as simple as a cost per paper.

The Scholastica platform we use (which is very nice, simple and easy to use) costs $99 per month. That includes professional website hosting with a custom domain, a built-in website editor (so the site itself can be easily customized), integrated PDF viewer, indexing through e.g. Google scholar, fully searchable metadata, and readership analytics. That amounts to $1188 per annum, regardless of how many submissions we receive or how many articles get published.

On top of that we pay for the Peer Review service, which amounts to $10 for each submission (subject to an annual minimum of $250). We pay that whether or not a submission is published. So far we have rejected significantly more than we have accepted. This system provides automated emails, deadline reminders, an interface for searching sorting and assigning submissions to editors, file versioning & blindness control, a reviewer database, metrics to track performance, etc.

The final charge is only for papers that are accepted: we pay a fee to Crossref to register the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). That costs a princely $1….”

Five Reasons Why Publishing Science for Profit Will Endure

[Access may require registration.]

Big Deals Are Actually a Good Deal….

Prestige Matters….

Boycotts Are Largely Symbolic….

Preprint Archiving Is Not Universal….

Publishing Quality Science Is Difficult and Expensive….

Is open access affordable? Why current models do not work and why we need internet?era transformation of scholarly communications – Green – 2019 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  Progress to open access (OA) has stalled, with perhaps 20% of new papers ‘born?free’, and half of all versions of record pay?walled; why? In this paper, I review the last 12?months: librarians showing muscle in negotiations, publishers’ Read and Publish deals, and funders determined to force change with initiatives like Plan S. I conclude that these efforts will not work. For example, flipping to supply?side business models, such as article processing charges, simply flips the pay?wall to a ‘play?wall’ to the disadvantage of authors without financial support. I argue that the focus on OA makes us miss the bigger problem: today’s scholarly communications is unaffordable with today’s budgets. OA is not the problem, the publishing process is the problem. To solve it, I propose using the principles of digital transformation to reinvent publishing as a two?step process where articles are published first as preprints, and then, journal editors invite authors to submit only papers that ‘succeed’ to peer review. This would reduce costs significantly, opening a sustainable pathway for scholarly publishing and OA. The catalyst for this change is for the reputation economy to accept preprints as it does articles in minor journals today.

 

Key points

 

  • We are still failing to deliver open access (OA); around a fifth of new articles will be born free in 2018, roughly the same as in 2017.
  • Librarians, funders, and negotiators are getting tougher with publishers, but offsetting, deals, and Plan S will not deliver OA or solve the serials crisis.
  • The authors of Budapest, Bethesda, and Berlin OA declarations foresaw three changes with the coming of the internet, but flipping to a barrier to publish article processing charges from a barrier to read (subscriptions) was not one of them.
  • A digital transformation of scholarly communications based on internet?era principles is needed if OA is to succeed.
  • Accepting preprints into the reputation economy could be the catalyst to solve the serials crisis, afford OA, and drive out predatory journals.
  • A model where journal editors invite submissions from authors whose preprint articles have gained attention may offer a cost?effective model for OA….”

Is Open Access Affordable? More to the point, is scholarly publishing affordable?

Progress to open access (OA) has stalled, with perhaps 20% of new papers ‘born?free’. After two decades trying to flip to open access, one has to ask the question: why is it taking so long?

In this paper, I review what happened in 2017-2018: librarians showing muscle in negotiations, publishers’ Read and Publish deals, and funders determined to force change with initiatives like Plan S. I conclude that these efforts will not work. I argue that the focus on OA makes us miss the bigger problem: today’s scholarly communications is too expensive for today’s budgets. So, OA is not the problem, the publishing process is the problem. To solve it, I propose using the principles of digital transformation to reinvent publishing as a two?step process where articles are published first as preprints, and then journal editors invite authors to submit only those papers that ‘succeed’ to peer review. This would reduce costs significantly, opening a sustainable pathway for scholarly publishing and OA. The catalyst for this change is for the reputation economy to accept preprints as it does articles in minor journals today….”