Half-life is half the story | Unlocking Research

This week the STM Frankfurt Conference was told that a shift away from gold Open Access towards green would mean some publishers would not be ‘viable’ according to a story in The Bookseller. The argument was that support for green OA in the US and China would mean some publishers will collapse and the community will ‘regret it’.

It is not surprising that the publishing industry is worried about a move away from gold OA policies. They have proved extraordinarily lucrative in the UK with Wiley and Elsevier each pocketing an extra £2 million thanks to the RCUK block grant funds to support the RCUK policy on Open Access.

But let’s get something straight. There is no evidence that permitting researchers to make a copy of their work available in a repository results in journal subscriptions being cancelled. None.

The September 2013 UK Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Fifth Report: Open Access stated “There is no available evidence base to indicate that short or even zero embargoes cause cancellation of subscriptions”. In 2012 the Committee for Economic Development Digital Connections Council in The Future of Taxpayer-Funded Research: Who Will Control Access to the Results? concluded that “No persuasive evidence exists that greater public access as provided by the NIH policy has substantially harmed subscription-supported STM publishers over the last four years or threatens the sustainability of their journals”…”

The politics of open access in action – Samuel Moore

“Open access is a movement constituted by conflict and disagreement rather than consensus and harmony. Given just how much disagreement there is about strategies, definitions, goals, etc., it is incredible that open access has successfully transformed the publishing landscape (and looks set to continue to do so). As OA increases in popularity and inevitability, more conflict arises between those from a range of disciplines and positions, and especially those encountering OA for the first time (often through coercive mandates)….”

Plan S: the final cut – The Lancet

Plan S now emphasises changing the scientific reward and incentive system. And it calls for transparency regarding the publishing services offered in exchange for an article processing charge. Again, we agree. Publishers should explain the added value they bring to the scientific publishing process. In one aspect of Plan S, we differ. Plan S partners argue that they will not pay for “brand value”. But journals such as The Lancet are not neutral publishing platforms. We stand for values and activities beyond publication—campaigning, for example, for the right to health, health equity, and social justice. Publishing in (or subscribing to) a Lancet title brings authors (and readers) inside this community of values. Deeming those values irrelevant is harmful to health and medical science. Coalition S partners must respect and protect those values during the welcome acceleration to a more open access world.”

The gold rush: Why open access will boost publisher profits | Impact of Social Sciences

“An important justification for transitioning from a subscription based journal publishing system to an open access journal publishing system, has been that whereas printing and distributing physical copies of journals is an expensive process, the cost of digital publication and dissemination are marginal. In this post Shaun Khoo argues that whilst a shift to gold (pay to publish) open access would deliver wider access to research, the lack of price sensitivity amongst academics presents a risk that they will be locked into a new escalating  pay to publish system that could potentially be more costly to researchers than the previous subscription model….”

Elsevier welcomes new open access guidance from cOAlition S

Elsevier welcomes cOAlition S’s updated implementation guidance: “Accelerating the transition to full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications.” Elsevier fully supports and promotes open access. Authors can achieve full and immediate open access — and so be Plan S compliant — either by publishing their articles in our gold open access journals or publishing their articles gold open access in our hybrid journals….”

DOAJ’s open letter to SSHA communities about Plan S – News Service

“The recently published Royal Historical Society (RHS) working paper on Plan Scontains some errors about the role that DOAJ might play in Plan S certification. These misunderstandings are commonplace and we, the DOAJ Management Team, have seen them before in other responses to Plan S. They are disappointing but they are not surprising….

The DOAJ Management Team recently decided that it is time to do a bit of “myth-busting“. Therefore we are publishing this open letter, partly as a response to the RHS paper, mostly as a way of addressing the misunderstandings that have been circulated on social media, but also as a call to SSHA communities to collaborate with us….

We felt it was important to respond to this particular statement because it illustrates that there is a great need to support social science, humanities and arts (SSHA) communities. DOAJ is keen to work more closely with SSHA communities and the organisations and bodies working with them to enable them to become fully familiar with the driving forces behind open access, in a way that the STEMM communities already are….

In 2015, DOAJ tightened its acceptance criteria and made all the 10 000+ indexed journals reapply to remain indexed. Many SSHA journals failed to submit a re-application to us, or didn’t meet enough of the criteria to remain indexed. It is not enough to expect these journals to simply come to us and apply. We must go to them and help them understand why being indexed in DOAJ is a good thing, but we cannot do it alone. With this post, we are putting out an open call to representative groups in the social sciences, humanities and arts to collaborate with us and help us to identify journals that are fit for purpose, and which should be indexed in DOAJ….

The RHS paper describes an understandable concern that Plan S disadvantages SSHA journals, many of which do not charge APCs. We were pleased to read this comment as this echoes exactly the concern which DOAJ presented to cOAlition S during the feedback period. The current draft of the Plan S requirements glosses over any journals, SSHA or otherwise, that do not charge APCs and these are the journals that DOAJ is trying to protect and promote….

Many commentators of Plan S have mentioned either that many journals in DOAJ are not Plan S compliant or that it is hard to identify Plan S compliant journals currently indexed in DOAJ. If cOAlition S confirms that DOAJ is a partner in Plan S implementation then the DOAJ Management Team will adapt DOAJ, both the website and the editorial processes, to allow journals to apply for Plan S compliance.

  • We will add a separate stream for those journals seeking Plan S compliance.
  • Being indexed in DOAJ will not equal Plan S compliance.
  • We will make it possible for journals to be indexed appropriately in DOAJ: Plan S compliant or DOAJ compliant or compliance for both.
  • We understand that many of the journals which eventually achieve Plan S compliance probably aren’t in DOAJ today.
  • We do expect that many of the journals in DOAJ today may not even want to apply for Plan S compliance.
  • We will work hard to make sure that Plan S compliant journals are quickly and easily identifiable by users….”

Open access: ‘no evidence’ that zero embargo periods harm publishers | Times Higher Education (THE)

Embargo periods for sharing open access articles put up “unnecessary barriers” for authors and could be coming to an end, according to experts who argue that removing embargoes has no negative impact for publishers.

As academic and publishing communities around the globe await the results of a consultation review of the incoming Plan S guidelines, a recurring discussion point has been around the value of green open access models – whereby authors must wait a set period of time after publication to share their work on open repositories….

At a public forum in Westminster this month, Tom Merriweather, executive publisher (open access) at SAGE Publications, said he had found “no evidence to say zero embargo periods negatively affect subscriptions”. To remove them completely, he argued, was “a friendlier policy”….

In 2017, Emerald made the decision to scrap embargo periods across all its titles, allowing all accepted papers to be immediately distributed for free. Tony Roche, publishing and strategic relationships director at Emerald, said the decision had been “a great step in [the company’s] progression” and prompted positive feedback from authors.

Most recently, the Wellcome Trust announced in its updated open access guidelines that medical research papers funded by the organisation must be made immediately and freely available even before publication – through pre-print form – in the interests of international health….”

Open access research publishing hurts academics in poor countries — Quartz Africa

The rise of open access publishing should be applauded. Scientific research and literature should be made available to everyone, with no cost to the reader.

But there’s a catch: nothing is actually free and someone has to pay. The open access model merely changes who pays….The bottom line is that payment has been transferred from institutions and individuals paying to have access to researchers having to pay to have their work published….”

Open access, at what costs? | SpringerLink

“The publishing model that most politicians and funders now seem to embrace, is called ‘Open Access’. Access to the manuscript is free, but the researchers (yes, you) foot the bill; in which case, it could be argued that the cost of open access publication should be included in the research budget….

Danger! …

If an individual researcher pays then, maybe, the quality of a study or manuscript is no longer necessarily the concern of the publisher. So-called ‘predatory’ journals discovered this hole in the market, and accept whatever paper of whatever quality as long as it is being paid for. Alternatively, articles are now being deposited in open access repositories, without any peer review or formatting requirements….”