Lancet editor-in-chief calls for ‘activist’ journals | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Academic journals must become more “activist” if they are to survive, seeking to “change the direction of society” rather than “passively waiting” for manuscripts, according to the editor-in-chief of The Lancet.

The medical journal is one of a number of titles now explicitly committed to helping pursue the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which range from eradicating hunger to reducing inequalities, as titles try to carve out a new role in a world where publishing has moved online….

Instead of “sitting in our office passively waiting for manuscripts to be submitted to the journal”, Dr Horton said, The Lancet, founded in 1823, now had a mission to “gather the very best scientific evidence, [and] to then think strategically about how that evidence fits within the overall trajectory of scientific and political policy in the world”.

For example, last year the journal published a report setting out how to eradicate malaria by 2050, backed by research funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

This was one of dozens of “commissions” initiated by the journal, which bring together experts to formulate proposals on subjects ranging from defeating Alzheimer’s disease to reforming medical education for the 21st century….

Still, some journals have faced long-standing criticism that their subscription costs mean they are unaffordable for readers in developing countries – or conversely, that the price of publishing an open-access article excludes scholars from poorer university systems.

Some publishers offer discounts to academics in poorer countries. The Lancet, for example, waives open-access publishing fees for scholars whose main funder is based in a state with a low human development index….”

What is a Sustainable Path to Open Access? | SIGPLAN Blog

“The ACM OPEN plan, on the other hand, falls squarely in the second approach: mutualising costs. I think it is potentially viable, and virtuous. I say potentially because, as many pointed out (and as stated in the text of the ongoing petition), the calculations of the “cost” that is proposed to mutualise seem to include much more than the publication process alone. But also because we should think at a more global scale: this means in particular identifying the parts of the ACM publishing infrastructure that are specific, and mutualise with other entities those that are generic, bringing the overall cost down. More clarification is needed, but the recent second letter from ACM leadership lets us hope that ACM is able to listen to its members.

In any case, it’s important in this debate to have a clear sustainability plan, and analyze all the costs involved. On the one hand, one should not add to the bill costs unrelated to the publishing infrastructure. On the other hand, one must refrain from thinking that there is no cost apart from our own work as researchers/reviewers/editors/pc-chairs: even simply maintaining an online archive for the long term has a real, uncompressible cost, that we usually do not see until we have to actually run one [disclosure: I’m running one now].”

Publishing at the British Institute of Radiology: A case study – Anderton – 2020 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

“Key points

 

The British Institute of Radiology (BIR) receives more than 50% of its income from its publishing programme, vital to support its educational, outreach, and advocacy work.
Radiology has been very slow to adopt open access publishing, mostly because of the paucity of funding in the field – representing only c.5% of articles in the BIR flagship journal.
Small independent society publishers can be more flexible than larger publishers but rely on networks of support from associations and other societies and reliable suppliers.
Society publishers have a ready?made community of readers and authors who value the work of the organization and its publications….”

Towards sustainable open access: A society publisher’s principles and pilots for transition – Legge – 2020 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

“Key points

 

New partnerships are needed to move away from paywalls and avoid article publishing charge?based publishing.
It remains difficult for small societies to negotiate with consortia, and partnerships with other societies may be a route forward.
Being open to different open access routes and using different pilots are key to learning which routes will be sustainable in the future.
While the starting position for most ‘read and publish’ offerings is based on historical spend, this will need to be re?evaluated in the longer term.
The lack of independent, universal reporting mechanisms and universally adopted persistent identifiers for institutions is a barrier to establishing agreements and one that needs a cost?effective solution….”

Towards sustainable open access: A society publisher’s principles and pilots for transition – Legge – 2020 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

“Key points

 

New partnerships are needed to move away from paywalls and avoid article publishing charge?based publishing.
It remains difficult for small societies to negotiate with consortia, and partnerships with other societies may be a route forward.
Being open to different open access routes and using different pilots are key to learning which routes will be sustainable in the future.
While the starting position for most ‘read and publish’ offerings is based on historical spend, this will need to be re?evaluated in the longer term.
The lack of independent, universal reporting mechanisms and universally adopted persistent identifiers for institutions is a barrier to establishing agreements and one that needs a cost?effective solution….”

Episciences – Home

“Episciences.org is an innovative combination of the two routes of free access: the gold route by hosting journals in open access (overlay journals) and the green route where articles are submitted to these journals by depositing them in an open archive

The editorial boards of such epijournals organize peer reviewing and scientific discussion of selected or submitted preprints. Epijournals can thus be considered as “overlay journals” built above the open archives; they add value to these archives by attaching a scientific caution to the validated papers.

Open access ; free to read ; free to publish.

There is no charge to access articles published in journals hosted by the Episciences.org.

There is no charge to publish articles in journals hosted by the Episciences.org….”

Recommendations for transparent communication of Open Access prices and services – Information Power

“An independent report published today by Information Power aims to improve the transparency of Open Access (OA) prices and services. The report is the outcome of a project funded by Wellcome and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on behalf of cOAlition S to inform the development of Plan S. During the project funders, libraries, publishers, and universities worked together to inform the development of a framework intended to provide information about OA services and prices in a transparent, practical, and insightful way.

Imperative need for customer-centric approach

The framework provides opportunities for publishers to build better awareness of and appreciation by customers of the value of their services, and to demonstrate publisher commitment to open business models and business cultures.

And a collaborative, pragmatic approach

cOAlition S aims to help make the nature and prices of OA publishing services more transparent, and to enable conversations and comparisons that will build confidence amongst customers that prices are fair and reasonable. Addressing cOAlition S, the report emphasises that the introduction of a new reporting requirement needs to be organised with clear implementation guidelines, and a proper plan for testing, development, release, review, and refinement. It also recommends an iterative approach to implementation, with a pilot as the next step.

cOAlition S has accepted the recommendation that such a framework needs to be piloted before implementation and agreed a project extension to pilot and refine the framework during the first quarter of 2020. Participants include Annual Reviews, Brill, The Company of Biologists, EMBO Press, European Respiratory Society, Hindawi, PLOS, and SpringerNature. Other publishers are welcome and are invited to express interest in joining the pilot via info@informationpower.co.uk.

Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research at Wellcome and interim cOAlition S coordinator, said “On behalf of cOAlition S we are delighted to see all stakeholders engage in the development of this transparency pricing framework and support the idea of road-testing it through a pilot.  Based on the outcome of this pilot, cOAlition S will decide how to use this framework, or a refinement of it, together with other models for inclusion in the requirement for those journals where Plan S requirements apply.”

The project is guided by a steering group which provides expert advice and support….”

OA price and service transparency project

“This independent report is published by Information Power. It reports on a project funded by Wellcome and UKRI on behalf of cOAlition S to engage with stakeholders to develop a framework for the transparent communication of Open Access (OA) prices and services. cOAlition S aims to help make the nature and prices of OA publishing services more transparent, and to enable conversations and comparisons that will build confidence amongst customers that prices are fair and reasonable.

Ultimately, it seeks a frame work which enables publishers to communicate the price of services in a way that is transparent, practical to implement, and insightful. During the project we

consulted widely with stakeholders to gain an understanding of

concerns and needs and worked to gain the voluntary engagement and support of publishers. It was clear from the outset that mobilising this engagement and support would be crucial to success.

It was also clear that this would be a challenge. While funders, libraries, and library consortia were broadly supportive of the

work, many publishers – both mixed model and OA-only – expressed significant concerns about:

• being told what to price, how to price, or how to communicate about price ;

• greater transparency with competitors giving rise to anti-trust issues, or conflict with fiduciary duties to charity/shareholders;

• any focus on costs, because publisher prices reflect the market and the value provided and not only costs;

• usefulness, as publishers record price and service information in

different ways and costs and practices vary enormously between houses, subject areas, and titles;

• a range of negative outcomes including the imposition of price caps, downward pressure on prices, or funders and libraries ruling out of scope services that are valued by researchers or societies or that are important for business continuity and innovation….

In this report we present a draft framework and we propose ways in which it could be implemented. It consists of 24 pieces of metadata about platforms or titles providing OA publishing services. The

metadata are clustered into three sections: the first for high-level information about the title itself, the second for a range of metrics that together convey a sense of the nature and quality of the title,

and the third to indicate the percentage of the total price apportioned to publishing services….”

Eight publishers to volunteer pricing info in pilot study | Science | AAAS

“To help transition toward transparent open access (OA), eight journal publishers, including SpringerNature, PLOS, and Annual Reviews, will share anonymized pricing information with a limited group. This is part of a test of a transparency template proposed today in a report commissioned by cOAlition S, a group of funders leading a push for immediate OA to science publications. If the pilot is successful, funders may ask that publishers use a similar template to share data more widely.

The template aims not to influence pricing, but to give funders and libraries information to decide what to pay for, says Alicia Wise, director of the consulting company Information Power who co-authored a report presenting the template. “I would hope that by providing these data we can build trust and a better atmosphere,” she says.

Many discussions about publishing prices and services have been “emotive rather than constructive,” says Bernd Pulverer, head of scientific publications at EMBO Press, which will take part in the pilot with four of its five journals. Sharing information could encourage more “pragmatic” discussions, he says. “It is legitimate for the research community, funders, and taxpayers to be able to understand how taxpayer-supported research is being published,” he adds….”