MIT Press to co-publish new open-access Quantitative Science Studies journal | MIT News

The International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI) has announced the launch of a new journal, Quantitative Science Studies (QSS). QSS is owned by ISSI, the primary scholarly and professional society for scientometrics and informetrics, and will be published jointly with the MIT Press in compliance with fair open access principles.

QSS will be a journal run for and by the scientometric community. The initial editorial board will be fully constituted by the former editorial board of the Journal of Informetrics (JOI), an Elsevier-owned journal. The transition of the editorial board from JOI to QSSwas initiated by the unanimous resignation, on Jan. 10, of all members of the JOIeditorial board. The editorial board members maintain that scholarly journals should be owned by the scholarly community rather than by commercial publishers; that journals should be open access; and that publishers should make citation data freely available. The members of the board had been unsatisifed with Elsevier for not meeting their expectations, and they therefore resigned their positions.

The content for QSS will be open access and therefore freely available for readers worldwide. Funding for establishing and marketing the new journal has been provided in part by the MIT Libraries. To ensure access for authors, the MIT Press will charge a comparatively low per-article charge, which will be fully covered by the Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology for the first three years of operation, with support of the Communication, Information, Media Centre of the University of Konstanz. The funds from TIB will be managed by the Fair Open Access Alliance to ensure that the journal is operating under fair open access principles. The MIT Press is also a full participant in the I4OC initiative, which promotes unrestricted availability of scholarly citation data….”

Few Open Access Journals are Plan S Compliant

Abstract:  Much of the debate on Plan S seems to concentrate on how to make toll access journals open access, taking for granted that existing open access journals are Plan S compliant. We suspected this was not so, and set out to explore this using DOAJ’s journal metadata. We conclude that an overwhelmingly large majority of open access journals are not Plan S compliant, and that it is small HSS publishers not charging APCs that are least compliant and will face major challenges with becoming compliant. Plan S need to give special considerations to smaller publishers and/or non-APC-based journals.

Ways societies are transitioning subscription journals to OA: Interview with Mikael Laakso

“I’d say that the majority of the work that went into the report was a literature review. We were bringing together hundreds of different articles and reports about journals converting to OA. We used that from the outset to get an initial frame for understanding how, why, and when journals have converted to OA. We then approached a sample of stakeholders that we knew had interesting insights and experiences in observing and supporting these journal flips or conversions. We tried to cover most of the key areas that play a role in shaping the larger scholarly publishing landscape, so we got someone from the commercial publishing side, the research funder side, people who have been in positions in journals, and so on….

They are definitely rethinking economic models. For example, in Finland we’ve had an interesting proposal for a consortium model for funding society journals so that the flipped journals would be covered by the consortium of libraries or universities, but so far it’s been hard to get all libraries on board even though they all subscribe to opening science and they are all unified in the struggle against commercial publishers. It’s been difficult to kind of convince them that there needs to be a shift in their cost structure for supporting smaller society journals. I know that Canada is looking to do something similar, to have a consortium for flipping journals….

I personally do not think that author facing APCs are the future. That is not an effective use of time or money, and it puts many parts of the world and people at a disadvantage if they are not grant-funded or part of an academic institution….”


Cambridge University Press launches new model for scholarly publishing – STM Publishing News

Cambridge University Press has launched a new publishing model to provide an outlet for world-class research and writing that sits outside the traditional formats of book or journal article.

Work of between 50-120 pages will be published digitally and through print-on-demand as ‘Cambridge Elements’ – concise, peer-reviewed guides to key and current topics across all fields of study and research. These will be organised into focused series, edited by leading scholars….

There will also be Open Access options, in line with the Press’s commitment to help build a sustainable, responsible transition to a more open future for academic publishing….”

Comments on the interim Royal Historical Society response to Plan S | Martin Paul Eve | Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing

:The Royal Historical Society has published an interim/draft report feeding back on Plan S. Although not a historian but as someone with a keen interest in open access in the humanities disciplines – and in the spirit of open exchange, since this document has understandably caused some alarm among humanities scholars – I wanted to write up my criticisms (and one ringing endorsement where I agree with them) in public.

This report starts out well but also contains a substantial number of inaccuracies, contestable aspects, or selective interpretations of the information available about Plan S. Here are the parts where I disagreed or had comment: …

Throughout the report there are two conflations made that are very problematic. The first is that gold open access is an author-pays model of Article and Book Processing Charges (APCs/BPCs). This is not even the definition of gold open access, which merely stipulates that the publisher make it openly available. Other models are available that do not require authors to pay but that still return revenue to a publisher. These are not explored anywhere in this document.

The second problem throughout is that while early on in the report, zero-embargo green open-access is mentioned in a footnote, this actually then disappears from the rest of the report. …

[I]n this document, open access to published research is presented as a problem for systemically disadvantaged groups, rather than as something that might help them. …” » Providing recommendations for Plan S implementation

The document is very clear and I support the principles behind it. The only major issue left unaddressed is the real threat of universal APC-based OA as a potential outcome. This unintended consequence is particularly pernicious, because it would merely change the accessibility of the literature (which currently is not even a major issue, hence the many Big Deal cancellations world-wide), leaving all other factors untouched. A consequence of universal APC-OA is that monetary inequity would be added to a scholarly infrastructure that is already rife with replication issues, other inequities and a dearth of digital functionalities. Moreover, the available evidence suggests that authors’ publishing strategy takes prestige and other factors more into account than cost, explaining the observation of already rising APCs. A price cap is de facto unenforceable, as authors pay any price above the cap, if they deem the cost worth the benefit. Here in Germany, it has become routine in the last decade, to pay any APC above the 2000€ cap imposed by the DFG from other sources. Hence, APCs have risen also in Germany unimpeded in the last ten years. A switch away from journal-based evaluations as intended by DORA also would lead to a change in authors’ publication strategy only after hardly any evaluations were conducted by journal rank any more, a time point decades in the future, given the current ubiquitous use of journal rank, despite decades of arguing against the practice. Thus, the currently available evidence suggests that a switch to universal APC-based OA, all else remaining equal, would likely lead to the unintended consequence of massively deteriorating the current status quo, in particular at the expense of the most vulnerable scholars and to the benefit of the already successful players. Therefore, rather than pushing access to only the literature (not a major problem any more) at all costs, universal APC-based OA needs to be avoided at all costs….”

Harvard Library and MIT Libraries provide recommendations for Plan S implementation | MIT Libraries News

“There are two good reasons to broaden the green road. First, green OA is a workable and inexpensive path to OA in all academic fields and regions of the world. Second, barriers to green OA put researchers, particularly early-career researchers, in an untenable situation. A reasonable green OA option will let researchers publish where they must in order to advance their careers, and still satisfy their funders by making their work OA. Without a reasonable green OA option, early-career researchers will be torn between the demands of their funders and the demands of their promotion and tenure committees.

A good green OA option enables authors to submit new work to the journals of their choice, and thereby answers an objection based on academic freedom. If an author’s journal of choice is not OA (or does not satisfy the Plan S criteria for eligible OA journals), then a green option would let the author comply with Plan S by making the work OA in a repository. Plan S has already expanded its original green OA option by allowing deposit of the Author’s Accepted Manuscript or the Version of Record (AAM or VOR), and by making the green OA option permanent rather than limiting it to a transition period.  These are important ways to support a viable green OA option. By adjusting a few other conditions on green OA, Plan S could fully realize its vision of openness to science and scholarship while avoiding needless and damaging barriers to  those who create that science and scholarship….”

Plan T: Scrap APCs and Fund Open Access with Submission Fees – The Scholarly Kitchen

“APCs have the unfortunate feature that the authors pay for the assessment of all the other submissions that ended up being rejected. Manuscripts rejected from multiple OA journals thus contribute to the APCs of several different authors. Is it fair for authors of good articles to pay for the peer review of others’ lower quality work? Moreover, journals that do lots of peer review to find one acceptable article have higher APCs, as illustrated by the figure below….

Breaking down an APC and how it relates to submission numbers and acceptance rates suggests another way to cover publication costs: a submission fee of $350 and a publication fee of $850 would generate the same revenue as the current APCs at these journals. (This approach has been suggested before, see herehere, and here.)…

The introduction of submission fees also affects submission patterns, most notably by steering away articles with only slim chances of acceptance. This effect would change the calculations in the figure above: fewer low quality articles arrive, so acceptance rates rise and hence reduce income from submission fees. However, a drop in submissions also means a drop in costs, as those weak articles no longer need to be processed through the system….

A drop in submissions is not fatal for the submission fee math – even a 30% fall can be accommodated by raising the submission fee to $500, or by raising the submission fee to $400 and the publication fee to $1100. Journals would adjust their submission fees within some reasonable range depending on their brand perception, current levels of submissions, and a desire to remain competitive with other journals in the field. Journals with high fees may even be able to signal the higher quality of their review and publishing process.

Submission fees have other useful properties. First, they are ‘pay as you go’ for peer review: they penalize authors who submit low quality articles over and over to different journals, and reward those who prepare their work to a high standard and submit it to the most appropriate outlet.

Similarly, submission fees counteract the perverse incentives created when authors receive financial rewards for publishing in high impact journals, which is a major driver for inappropriate submissions. If they had to pay each time, would as many authors take a wild stab at getting their incremental work published in a top journal, then working their way, journal by journal, down the Impact Factor rankings until they reach an appropriate level?

Submission fees also bring peer review into line with lots of other services that cost money regardless of whether you succeed or fail, such as professional exams or even dental check-ups. Viewed through this lens, the ‘no win, no fee’ approach of APCs seems like an anomaly….”

Should authors pay to submit their papers? · john hawks weblog

“An article by Tim Vines in The Scholarly Kitchen looks at the pay-to-submit model of open access publication: “Plan T: Scrap APCs and Fund Open Access with Submission Fees”….

The article is worth considering. Articles cost money to publish. If we insist upon journal publication, that money needs to come from somewhere. I would be happy if my university subsidized submission of papers to open-access journals instead of subscriptions to closed-access journals.

However, I tend to agree with Richard Sever, who tweeted a link to the article and commented:

Plan U: just mandate preprint deposition and let a downstream ecosystem of overlays/journals with various business models evolve in response to community needs. Side benefit: speeding up science massively… “

Some (serious) open access journals in mathematics | theHigherGeometer

“The following list was originally compiled by Thomas Sauvaget on his blog, Episodic Thoughts, now in stasis. He gave me permission to now host it here and update it as I see fit. If you feel that there is a respectable open access maths journal missing, preferably one that does not charge APCs, then let me know in the comments. Please search in the comments at Thomas’ post to see if it hadn’t already been suggested. I will edit this post as needed, and note that at present I haven’t gone through the list to double check all of these. I will place the checked list under an Creative Commons license at some point….”