Journals Transitioning to Open Access May Have Limited Sustainability Absent Revenue Streams | Open Science

“As the editors of the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics have announced the termination of their contracts to Springer, the publisher behind the journal, in June 2017, it has been a move coordinated with the journal’s editorial board, to establish a rival Open Access journal Algebraic Combinatorics. The declared impetus for this transition to Open Access has been the importance of fairly priced Open Access options for the scientific community, in accordance with which the prospective journal plans to refrain from high Article Processing Charges (APCs) and profit-driven practices of the fee-based journal publisher, especially given that academic journals rely significantly on the volunteer labor of the scientific community.”

Scholarly communications shouldn’t just be open, but non-profit too

Much of the rhetoric around the future of scholarly communication hinges on the ‘open’ label. In light of Elsevier’s recent acquisition of bepress and the announcement that, owing to high fees, an established mathematics journal’s editorial team will split from its publisher to start an open access alternative, Jefferson Pooley argues that the scholarly communication ecosystem should aim not only to be open but non-profit too. The profit motive is fundamentally misaligned with core values of academic life, potentially corroding ideals like unfettered inquiry, knowledge-sharing, and cooperative progress. There are obstacles to forging a non-profit alternative, from sustainable funding to entrenched cynicism, but such a goal is worthy and within reach.”

Scholarly communications shouldn’t just be open, but non-profit too

Much of the rhetoric around the future of scholarly communication hinges on the ‘open’ label. In light of Elsevier’s recent acquisition of bepress and the announcement that, owing to high fees, an established mathematics journal’s editorial team will split from its publisher to start an open access alternative, Jefferson Pooley argues that the scholarly communication ecosystem should aim not only to be open but non-profit too. The profit motive is fundamentally misaligned with core values of academic life, potentially corroding ideals like unfettered inquiry, knowledge-sharing, and cooperative progress. There are obstacles to forging a non-profit alternative, from sustainable funding to entrenched cynicism, but such a goal is worthy and within reach.”

Assessing the Landscape of Open Access to Scholarly Publications in Ethiopia – A Consultative Workshop | Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS)

“EAS, in collaboration with Education Strategy Center and the Ethiopian Education and Research Network, organized a consultative workshop on ‘Assessing the Landscape of Open Access to Scholarly Publications in Ethiopia’. The Workshop, which was held on 04 August 2017, brought together key stakeholders to explore the status of open access publishing in Ethiopia with a view to inspiring a collaborative action towards creating/maintaining a sustainable open access platform.

Open access platforms that center Ethiopians can be valuable in spotlighting and promoting scholarship among Ethiopians and making scientific knowledge accessible to the public. Prof. Masresha Fetene, Executive Director of EAS, noted that despite the increasing consensus on the benefits of open access, Ethiopia has yet to fully tap into the global open access movement. Prof. Masresha further noted that while various institutions in Ethiopia have open access initiatives, most efforts remain fragmented. Therefore, assessing the landscape of open access publications in consultation with a wide-range of stakeholders is a critical step in identifying what has been done so far in Ethiopia, the challenges under and promoting an efficient and collaborative approach towards creating and sustaining an open access platform.”

The case for open?access chemical biology | EMBO Reports

Although the creation of new chemical entities has always been considered the realm of patents, I think that it is time for change. Novel chemical tools, most of which will not have drug?like properties, are too valuable to be restricted; they will be of far greater benefit to research if freely available without restrictions on their use. Chemical biologists would benefit from the many advantages that the open consortium model brings: rapid access to research tools; less bureaucratic workload to enter legal agreements; the ability to work with the best people through collaborations focused on the publication of results; and freedom to operate for companies, harnessing the synergies between academic freedom and industrial approaches to systematically tackle a scientific challenge. My call for open?access chemistry public–private partnerships might sound impractical, but pilot projects are already underway….The SGC is a one example of an open public–private partnership. It was created as a legal charity in 2004 to determine the three?dimensional high?resolution structures of medically important proteins. As an open consortium, the resulting structures are placed in the public domain without restriction on their use. The SGC was conceived nearly ten years ago, based on the conviction that high?quality structural information is of tremendous value in promoting drug discovery and a belief that patenting protein structures could limit the freedom to operate for academic and industrial organizations….Although it is clear that open?access chemistry is in the best interests of society, the challenge is the cost. My arguments can be defended on the macroeconomic level, but costs for assay development and for chemical screening and synthesis are incurred locally, by the institutions and from the public purse. Free release of chemical probes by academia would ultimately benefit the pharmaceutical industry and society, but the possibilities for royalty and license payments for universities would decrease. One solution is to explore models in which both the public and private sectors contribute up?front in return for unrestricted access to the results and compounds, as in the SGC. It should also be noted that an open?access model is not in conflict with the aim to commercialize, at least not in the long term. It could be argued that experience built around specific biological systems would allow commercial development at a later stage if findings by the community indicate that a particular protein or pathway is a valid target. A chemical biology centre with such experience would be in an ideal position to develop new chemistry and launch a proprietary programme….

Impact of Social Sciences – Increasingly collaborative researcher behaviour is the real threat to the resilient academic publishing sector

“Traditional academic publishing has been rumoured to be imperilled for decades now. Despite continued criticism over pricing and a growing open access movement, a number of recent reports point to the sector’s resilience. Francis Dodds suggests this is partly attributable to the adaptability of academic publishers but also highlights attitudes of researchers surprisingly committed to the status quo as another key factor. However, other aspects of researcher behaviour may prove more disruptive in the long term, with greater collaboration leading to the growing informal use and exchange of free material between researchers….”

Harvard Library Publishes Report on Converting Subscription Journals to Open Access | Harvard Library

“The Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC) is pleased to announce the release of a comprehensive literature review on strategies for converting subscription journals to open access.

In the spring of 2015, the OSC commissioned the research from David Solomon, Mikael Laakso, and Bo-Christer Björk, who completed it in the spring of 2016. We posted a preliminary draft online for a four month public-comment period, and asked a distinguished panel of 20 colleagues to add their own comments. 

The authors identified 15 journal-flipping scenarios: 10 that depend on article processing charges (APCs) and 5 that dispense with APCs. For each one they give examples, evidence, and their assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. The examples come from all scholarly niches by academic field, regions of the world, and economic strata….

This comprehensive review of diverse approaches is the report’s strength. Not every flip was a success, and not all the flips that were successful using one scenario would have been successful with a different scenario. But there were successes under every scenario and in every scholarly niche. Journals that picked a scenario that fit their circumstances were able preserve or enhance their readership, submissions, quality, and financial sustainability….”

Access Statement from International Association of STM Publishers

The statement in its entirety:

At a strategy meeting of our members last year [2010] STM developed new positions on access which inform all our policies going forward:

  • Publishers are committed to the wide dissemination of, and unrestricted access to, their content
  • We support any and all sustainable access models that ensure the integrity and permanence of the scholarly record
  • We do not support unfunded mandates that constrain scholarly authors or affect the sustainability of the publishing enterprise
  • Services that publishers provide must be paid for in some way

We believe that a level playing field with light touch regulation is the quickest and best way to realise the goals of widening access we ALL share

Reimagining the Digital Monograph Design Thinking to Build New Tools for Researchers

“Digital scholarly book files should be open and flexible. This is as much a design question as it is a business question for publishers and libraries. The working group returned several times to the importance of scholarly book files being available in nonproprietary formats that allow for a variety of uses and re-uses…. Another pointed out that the backlist corpus of scholarly books in the humanities and social sciences is an invaluable resource for text-mining, but the ability to carry out that research at scale means that the underlying text of the books has to be easy to extract. “It’s so important to be able to ‘scrape’ the text,” one participant said, using a common term for gathering machine-readable characters from a human-readable artifact (for example, a scanned page image)….Whether a wider group of publishers and technology vendors will feel that they can enable these more expansive uses of a book file without upending the sustainability of the scholarly publishing system is a larger question than this project sought to answer….Our working group also pointed to other challenges for the future of the monograph that have little to do with its visual representation in a user interface: for example, what might be a viable long-term business model for monographs, and whether a greater share of the publishing of monographs in a free-to-read, open-access model can be made sustainable….As interest continues to grow in extending the open-access publishing model from journals to scholarly books, publishers and librarians are working to understand better the upfront costs that must be covered in order to operate a self-sustaining open-access monograph publishing program—costs that have been complicated to pin down because the production of any given scholarly book depends on partial allocations of staff time from many different staff members at a press, and different presses have different cost bases, as well….”

Open Access Must-Reads for Spring 2017 – Copyright Clearance Center

“Together with the Association for Learned and Professional Publishing (ALPSP), Copyright Clearance Center is excited to introduce the inaugural post of our “Open Access Must-Reads” series – a thoughtfully curated selection of important articles from the past few months that expound upon “can’t miss” developments in the world of Open Access.”