Guest Post: Do Authors Have Any Power Over Publishers? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“A goal of open access is a reduction in barriers to knowledge for no additional cost. In fact, the Budapest Open Access Initiative envisioned an open access world could be achieved at lower cost than traditional publishing. More recently, the University of California’s Pay it Forward project relies on the idea that authors will exercise their market power to put downward pressure on article processing charges (APCs). But as a scientist, my evaluation criteria are predominately centered around ‘more papers in higher ranking journals’. I am doubtful that authors have ever had much market power and, to the extent that we do, I have no expectation we will be using it to push down fees….

To the extent that authors have the power of choice in the scholarly publishing market, we are not using it to drive down APCs. In a recent study, I found no evidence that journals that increase or introduce an APC lose business in terms of article volume. In fact, tracking APCs at major commercial publishers from 2012-2018showed that higher APCs tended to predict higher article volumes – consistent with how the majority of open access papers are published in a minority of fee-charging journals.

To the extent that authors have an incentive to try and save money on APCs, it is probably trivial when compared with the imperative to publish more papers in higher ranking journals. No librarian is ever going to care more about my career than I do, so while a librarian might balk at a $3,000 subscription to the Journal of Neuroscience, I would happily spend $6,000 in research funds to put an elite journal title on my CV. As publishers are happy to point out, publishing costs are around 1% of research expenditure, so it doesn’t make much difference to a project’s overall costs if we take the more expensive option….”

The future of scholarly books is open (access) | Group | Springer Nature

“The majority of book authors support the idea that all future scholarly books should be open access (OA). This is one of the key findings of a new white paper presented by Springer Nature at the OAI-11 conference at CERN this week. Based on the responses of 2,542 book authors who were surveyed by Springer Nature in February and March 2019, the white paper provides a global view of book authors’ attitudes towards OA. The survey looks at researchers’ motivations for publishing a book, and analyses the parameters and key drivers which influence academics to publish OA or not. The white paper also identifies major obstacles to OA publication which book authors still face: from a lack of awareness of OA publishing options and low funding, to concerns about how OA books are perceived. The white paper is freely available for download. 

Other key findings include: •    Pro-OA attitudes are stronger among junior researchers, researchers based in Europe and Asia, and previous OA book authors •    Ethical reasons (equality in access) and reaching a larger audience are identified as key motivations for choosing OA for books •    The majority of authors want more financial support from funders for OA book publication •    Gold OA is the most preferred policy for OA books •    Reputation of publishers matters less to OA authors but is still the deciding factor for publication….”

Appeal from the victims of Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) | NWU

As working writers, translators, photographers, and graphic artists; as unions, organizations, and federations representing the creators of works included in published books; as book publishers; and as reproduction rights and public lending rights organizations; we oppose so-called “Controlled Digital Lending” (CDL) as a flagrant violation of copyright and authors’ rights.

The copyright infringement inherent in CDL is not a victimless crime. As the victims of CDL, we want librarians, archivists, and readers to understand how they are harming the authors of the books they love by participating in CDL projects, even if they have the best of intentions.

The attached FAQ was written to explain to authors, publishers, readers, librarians, and archivists what CDL is, how it differs from traditional and legitimate new forms of library lending, how it violates the economic and moral rights of authors, and how it makes it even harder for authors to try to make a living from writing or to afford to devote time to writing.

When writers can’t make a living, they can’t afford to keep writing, and readers lose too….”

Self-Archiving Email Templates

Authors not responding to your emails to self-archive in your institutional repository, or just getting started? Our tried and tested templates are here to help get authors enthusiastic and educated about self-archiving. There’s one template for every situation, and each template is ready to use, backed up with performance data, and designed by experimentation and experience….”

Plan S, the Verschlimmbesserung of Scholarly Information

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that Germany steered clear of signing on to Plan S. If you can create the word verschlimmbesserung to describe an attempted improvement that actually makes things worse, you are probably pretty good at spotting and avoiding a verschlimmbesserung more quickly than you can say it….

But if we widen the aperture to align with the mission of Plan S funders and consider whether Plan S is good for science, medicine, humanities, and knowledge, the focus changes, and we can see that Plan S could well actually make things worse….

Plan S undermines this complex ecosystem, making the more selective and curated subscription outlets less viable. In doing so, Plan S flattens the multitude of venues where scholarly information appears, and funnels research towards high-volume, low-cost, less-discerning outlets. …

Plan S is not really about advancing science, or OA, but about harming large commercial publishers (I made this argument here). …

[W]e may find that low-margin society publishers, who are dedicated to advancing their fields, find Plan S makes their operations unsustainable and are forced to divest their publishing assets. As a result, we may well see large commercial players become even larger, and while there be some margin compression in traversing to a Plan S-catalyzed flipped world, net profits of commercial players could well grow….”

Have you just published? Help your paper sail far and wide – Ruffell – – FEBS Letters – Wiley Online Library

It is certainly the goal of every journal to give the papers it publishes the best possible visibility, and publishers have a number of strategies to achieve this. Nevertheless, as an Author you can boost the prominence of your paper by joining forces with the Publisher to ensure that your hard work receives all the attention that it deserves….”

UC Davis and Frontiers form open access publishing agreement – Science & research news | Frontiers

The University of California, Davis supports its researchers in making their research more widely available. As part of this support, UC Davis Library has entered an institutional agreement with Frontiers. Under the terms of this agreement, UC Davis-affiliated corresponding authors will benefit from a 7.5% membership discount on article processing charges (APCs) when publishing in any of Frontiers’ open access journals, irrespective of what fund covers the APC….”

Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey 2018

“While faculty are increasingly interested in an open access publication model, traditional scholarly incentives continue to motivate their decision-making. Approximately two-thirds of respondents in this survey cycle indicated they would be happy to see the traditional subscription-based publication model replaced entirely by an open access system, which represents a greater share of respondents compared to the previous survey cycle. However, only four in ten faculty indicate open access characteristics of journals as highly influential in publication decisions.

There is substantial interest in use of open educational resources for instructional practices, particularly from younger faculty members. About six in ten respondents are very interested in using open educational resources (OER), and roughly half strongly agreed that they would like to adopt new instructional approaches with OER….”

Altruism or Self-Interest? Exploring the Motivations of Open Access Authors | Heaton | College & Research Libraries

Abstract:  More than 250 authors at Utah State University published an Open Access (OA) article in 2016. Analysis of survey results and publication data from Scopus suggests that the following factors led authors to choose OA venues: ability to pay publishing charges, disciplinary colleagues’ positive attitudes toward OA, and personal feelings such as altruism and desire to reach a wide audience. Tenure status was not an apparent factor. This article adds to the body of literature on author motivations and can inform library outreach and marketing efforts, the creation of new publishing models, and the conversation about the larger scholarly publishing landscape.

Open Access dystopia arrives at Karolinska – For Better Science

“I know of a case where an unemployed researcher saw his postdoctoral research paper blocked in limbo by Taylor & Francis after acceptance, with the demand that the author either pays the hefty APC of $2500 or formally withdraws the manuscript. All he was offered was a minor discount. Eventually, that ex-postdoc’s former employer conceded to his pleas and agreed to pay the APC. Only that it hasn’t happened yet and the accepted proofread paper is stuck for already over half a year in the Taylor & Francis black box, unpaid and unpublished. You can call it blackmail if you like. [this story has been corrected, I initially wrote the author was in luck and the university did pay.] …”