Decrypting the Big Deal Landscape: Follow-up of the 2019 EUA Big Deals Survey Report | EUA

by Lennart Stoy, Rita Morais and Lidia Borrell-Damián

Based on the data collected for the 2019 Big Deals Survey Report, this publication aims to deliver additional transparency of the dynamics of the scholarly publishing market by providing insights and indicators on the costs, publication volumes and timelines of Big Deal contracts. The report is part of EUA’s support to universities and consortia striving to create a transparent and sustainable open access publishing system, in particular in the context of Plan S.

This has been achieved by placing EUA Big Deals data into context. Specifically, this report uses aggregate data obtained from the Web of Science by Clarivate Analytics provided by the German Competence Center for Bibliometrics and correlates it with EUA data on Big Deals. The report uses data from 26 countries and contracts with the publishers Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, Wiley and American Chemical Society collected in late 2018.

Research organisation releases publishing costs to highlight challenge of going to full open access | Science|Business

“The European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) is taking the unusual step of making the finances of four of its journals public in order to highlight the challenges of transforming subscription or part-subscription journals into fully open access titles.

EMBO wants to give funders, researchers and regulators a better understanding of how expensive it is to publish research, said the institute’s director, Maria Leptin. “People underestimate the costs of publishing,” Leptin told Science|Business. “We thought it was necessary to be transparent about how much we are spending.”

Few publishers and journals disclose their costs and charges, making it near impossible to assess the true cost of publishing a paper, according to EMBO’s report, published today.

Leptin says the EMBO data will inform the Coalition S grouping of leading science funding bodies, which are involved in a major push to make the research they fund open access on publication, under the so-called Plan S, from 2021….”

Open and Shut?: The Open Access Interviews: Edith Hall

“Why is open access so contentious? In large part, I think, because although OA began as a bottom-up revolution it was never widely embraced by researchers. However, OA advocates managed to persuade governments, funders and institutions that their colleagues should be compelled to embrace open access. This has seen a series of ever more stringent OA mandates being imposed on researchers, increasing the bureaucratic burden on them (amongst other things).

Monographs are a particularly contested area because of their length, their narrative form, and the licensing issues that this raises.


It has not helped that OA advocates promised open access would reduce the costs of scholarly communication. In reality, costs have risen.


This last point is particularly troublesome in the UK context as OA policies have been introduced without providing the necessary funding to support them. As a result, researchers can discover that they have been mandated to make their work open access but cannot afford to pay the article-processing charge (APC) needed if they want to satisfy the government’s preference for gold OA.


This has been a challenge even for researchers at wealthy and prestigious institutions. Last year, for instance, Oxford University library had to inform faculty that its OA fund had been exhausted and so they should delay submitting to journals until it had been replenished. 


At the same time, the bureaucracy surrounding OA compliance has become so complex that universities have had to recruit legions of support staff to interpret and manage the escalating number of policies (some of which have proved contradictory). Indeed, such is the complexity now that even specialist support staff can struggle to decode the rules.


In short, the UK OA policy environment is far too complex, and it is seriously underfunded. For researchers, this is frustrating and depressing….”

The open access mandate: Be careful what you wish for – Bruno Agustini, Michael Berk,

“One of the main concerns regarding a fully open-access model is the quality of open-access journals. The Directory of Open Access Journals now lists 13,505 journals, with numbers increasing fast. While some are undoubtedly excellent, a massive majority and growing number are anything but.”

The Economic Impacts of Open Science: A Rapid Evidence Assessment | HTML

Abstract:  A common motivation for increasing open access to research findings and data is the potential to create economic benefits—but evidence is patchy and diverse. This study systematically reviewed the evidence on what kinds of economic impacts (positive and negative) open science can have, how these comes about, and how benefits could be maximized. Use of open science outputs often leaves no obvious trace, so most evidence of impacts is based on interviews, surveys, inference based on existing costs, and modelling approaches. There is indicative evidence that open access to findings/data can lead to savings in access costs, labour costs and transaction costs. There are examples of open science enabling new products, services, companies, research and collaborations. Modelling studies suggest higher returns to R&D if open access permits greater accessibility and efficiency of use of findings. Barriers include lack of skills capacity in search, interpretation and text mining, and lack of clarity around where benefits accrue. There are also contextual considerations around who benefits most from open science (e.g., sectors, small vs. larger companies, types of dataset). Recommendations captured in the review include more research, monitoring and evaluation (including developing metrics), promoting benefits, capacity building and making outputs more audience-friendly.

Significant economic benefits? Enhancing the impact of open science for knowledge users | Impact of Social Sciences

“A key political driver of open access and open science policies has been the potential economic benefits that they could deliver to public and private knowledge users. However, the empirical evidence for these claims is rarely substantiated. In this post Michael Fell, discusses how open research can lead to economic benefits and suggests that if these benefits are to be more widely realised, future open research policies should focus on developing research discovery, translation and the capacity for research utilisation outside of the academy….”

University of California Battles With Global Publisher Elsevier Over Access To Research –

“The UC does a lot of both. It publishes roughly 10 percent of all research in the United States, and on average downloaded a study every three seconds last year. 

To continue at that pace under a new contract that would allow for open-access, the UC would continue to pay $11 million for access to research articles, plus an additional $15 million in publishing fees for the roughly 5,000 articles it makes available through Elsevier annually. 

Those combined fees would more than double the previous contract price. Negotiations brought that down a bit, but still pushed the price tag up by 80 percent, which was unacceptable to the system’s negotiators.

“[It’s] double dipping,” said Jeff MacKie-Mason, UC Berkeley’s librarian and the co-chairperson of the Elsevier negotiation team. “They charge the libraries reading fees, and then they charge the authors publishing fees on top of that if they want their articles open-access.”

Hersh says the company is supportive of open-access, but characterized the UC’s demands as wanting “two services for the price of one service.”

“I can be absolutely crystal clear here that Elsevier does not double-dip,” Hersh said….”

Cost-benefit analysis for FAIR research data – ENVRI community

FAIR research data encompasses the way to create, store and publish research data in a way that they are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. In order to be FAIR, research data published should meet certain criteria described by the FAIR principles. Despite this, many research performing organisations and infrastructures are still reluctant to apply the FAIR principles and share their datasets due to real or perceived costs, including time investment and money.

To answer such concerns, this report formulates 36 policy recommendations on cost-effective funding and business models to make the model of FAIR data sustainable. It provides evidence to decision makers on setting up short and long-term actions pertinent to the practical implementation of FAIR principles….”

The future of scientific publishing – Sarr – 2019 – BJS – Wiley Online Library

“The advent of social media, more recently the focus and emphasis on open access publishing, and now the unprecedented creation of open access journals, have led to many challenges and also potential opportunities for publishers, authors and even editors of established scientific journals. Although change is good, and an opportunity, serious academics should be aware of the potential ramifications of these forces if we do not attempt actively to preserve the integrity of the scientific word. This editorial will address two aspects of the current world of publishing that threaten the future of scientific investigation: first, the move to making all journals open access, and, second, the viral proliferation of open access journals and its effects, both real and theoretical….”

Easily record open access compliance and cost

A new service enabling institutions to record data relating to the publication of Open Access outputs by their academics, including both ‘Gold’ and ‘Green’ publication routes, which can then be used for reporting to funders….”