Is there a place for a Subscription Journal in an Open Access world?

“At the Annual Meeting of the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) in San Diego later this month [30 May, 2 p.m.] I will assert that yes, a subscription journal can continue its subscription business-model while effectively accelerating the transition of their discipline to Open Access—but only in the right circumstances, and only if a publisher adopts what I call “Maximum Dissemination” of the authors’ work, including elimination of its paywall….

Accepting an author’s final accepted manuscript (post peer-review) is the ideal point at which the publisher could take on the mantle of providing maximum dissemination of the author’s work.

Imagine at that point that a publisher informs the author as follows:

 

  • Congratulations. Your article “xxxxx” has now passed peer-review and has been accepted for publication in the Journal of yyy.
  • Part of our commitment to you is that we will seek maximum dissemination of your work, both the published version that we will now be preparing and your Author’s Accepted Manuscript (post peer-review) for those who do not yet subscribe to the Journal of yyy.
  • Upon publication of our published version we will archive your accepted manuscript in an Open Repository that meets all the requirements of sustainable accessibility. If you have a preference for which Open Repository, you’d like it submitted to, please check the appropriate box(s) below:
  • {The author’s home institution Institutional Repository}
  • {An Open Repository used by many in this particular discipline.}
  • {A National Repository used by scholars in the scholar’s home country.}
  • {etc.}…”

Open and closed – What do reverse flips tell us about the scholarly publishing landscape? | Impact of Social Sciences

“The progress of Open Access (OA) is often measured by the proportion of journals that have transitioned to OA publication models. However, a number of journals have made the opposite choice and moved from open to closed access models. In this post Lisa Matthias, Najko Jahn and Mikael Laakso report on findings from the first study of journals that have made this reverse flip and assess what this phenomenon says about the wider ecosystem of research communication….

One key issue here might be that OA journals that do not charge APCs, or have low APCs, are seen to be ‘low quality’, or even ‘predatory’, in comparison to the more prestigious (higher price) journals associated with larger publishers and societies. It is difficult to project an image of higher quality while giving away your services for free, especially within a culture that is addicted to journal brands and prestige. This factor might partially explain why at least 21 currently hybrid journals operated by a learned society flipped from an APC-free ‘diamond OA’ model to one leveraging APCs in excess of $1,500.

Although launching OA journals seems to be relatively easy, consistent and stable publication over several years is not, especially if financial support is lacking and the journal is largely dependent on the voluntary labor of scholars. Developing and strengthening support mechanisms for the sustainability and growth of existing scholar-led OA journals is essential in this regard.

Moreover, we also found that in some cases, research articles originally published as OA were put behind a paywall when the journal reverse-flipped. This was not the main focus of our study, but we do want to raise the issue of proper content licensing and emphasize its importance to increase the likelihood that materials remain in open circulation and decrease uncertainties regarding their reusability.

We suspect, the OA model is not the root cause of these problems, but rather other problematic aspects of the scholarly publishing system; for example, the prestige-driven evaluation system, and the increasing concentration of journals within a few large commercial entities. However, with initiatives such as Plan S, it is clear that for many scholarly publishers it will no longer be business as usual. As new stakeholder groups, including researchers, policymakers, NGOs, and academic and library consortia become increasingly engaged with scholarly communication, it remains critical that we have a sound, evidence-informed view of how the landscape is changing. Reverse-flip journals represent one small but critical part of this and we encourage others to pool their resources, efforts, and data to help to create a more holistic understanding of the global scholarly publishing ecosystem, and ultimately a more sustainable open scholarly infrastructure….”

Transformative Publishing: Requirements for a new publishing standard A proposal from Springer Nature

“A transformative publisher would commit to:

1. Continuously increase the average level of OA take-up across its transformative journals portfolio at least at the rate permitted by the commitments of research funding bodies, institutions and consortia

2. Promoting the benefits of OA using comprehensive summaries of article metrics to authors of primary research articles prior to submission, at submission and during the peer-review process to allow for comparisons to be made and therefore to maximise the take-up of the OA option via a series of online reports, seminars and webinars

3. Updating authors regularly on their articles’ usage, citations and online attention while showcasing the advantages of OA publishing and encouraging take-up of the OA option in future submissions to that transformative journal

4. Providing annual public reports on the greater benefits of OA article usage and citations compared with other content published in these transformative journals and utilise this data in wider promotion of OA benefits

5. Reporting on the OA and subscription content volumes and usage of its transformative journals portfolio so that institutional librarians could evaluate the cost per article cost and the article cost per download of their subscription content

6. Being more transparent about their subscription pricing policies, enabling institutional librarians to understand how subscription pricing takes account of any reductions in the volume of subscription content

7. Operating more transparent APC pricing policy that explains the value and cost rationale of each APC pricing band ….”

Springer Nature proposes model for open access transition | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Springer Nature has proposed a model to accelerate the shift towards open access publishing, in a move that could see research papers from prestigious Nature titles made freely available….

The move comes ahead of the publication of updated guidelines for Plan S, due at the end of this month. The scheme’s leaders have indicated that there is unlikely to be a softening of the bar on open access embargoes for funded research, or of their attitude to hybrid journals, which make some content freely available in return for an article processing charge but reserve some content for subscribing readers. Funded research will be able to appear only in hybrid journals during a three-year transition period, and if they were part of a “transformative agreement” under which they were moving towards full open access.

Under Springer Nature’s new proposal, publishers could term themselves “transformative publishers”, under which they would commit to increasing the average level of open access take-up across their titles “at least at the rate of research funding bodies, institutions and consortia”, and would promote open access to researchers by releasing aggregated article metrics showing how they, for example, get more readers and citations than closed access papers.

 

At the end of a transition period, all of the publishers’ papers – in titles that were formerly hybrid or subscription – would be available open access, even titles such as Nature. Mr Inchcoombe said that, in the case of Nature, this would probably mean researchers being allowed to place their papers in open access depositories, with the journal’s editorial content continuing to be sold via subscriptions….”

OA2020 and cOAlition S Launch Joint Statement | Plan S

“One of several pathways pursued by OA2020 participants is to negotiate transformative agreements under which the funds previously spent for subscriptions are repurposed to cover the costs associated with open access publishing. This approach enables a swift and efficient transition to open access, in which ‘hybrid’ publishing models can be included to increase the proportion of articles published open access— without paying twice for services relating to one piece of content.

Institutions who engage in such agreements will contribute to delivering the greatest possible range in Plan S-compliant publishing options to their authors while significantly growing the proportion of research made openly available. At the same time, cOAlition S recognizes the importance, as one of three routes towards full and immediate open access, of those agreements in providing a strong incentive for scholarly publishers who have yet to pilot open access models. Publishers will find institutions and consortia willing to partner on such agreements in exchange for a commitment to a definitive transition to full and immediate open access with fair and transparent pricing. Neither the cOAlition S funders nor the OA2020 partners intend to pay for open access publishing in hybrid subscription journals outside such transformative agreements….”

OA2020 and cOAlition S Launch Joint Statement | Plan S

“One of several pathways pursued by OA2020 participants is to negotiate transformative agreements under which the funds previously spent for subscriptions are repurposed to cover the costs associated with open access publishing. This approach enables a swift and efficient transition to open access, in which ‘hybrid’ publishing models can be included to increase the proportion of articles published open access— without paying twice for services relating to one piece of content.

Institutions who engage in such agreements will contribute to delivering the greatest possible range in Plan S-compliant publishing options to their authors while significantly growing the proportion of research made openly available. At the same time, cOAlition S recognizes the importance, as one of three routes towards full and immediate open access, of those agreements in providing a strong incentive for scholarly publishers who have yet to pilot open access models. Publishers will find institutions and consortia willing to partner on such agreements in exchange for a commitment to a definitive transition to full and immediate open access with fair and transparent pricing. Neither the cOAlition S funders nor the OA2020 partners intend to pay for open access publishing in hybrid subscription journals outside such transformative agreements….”

UK signals move away from journal subscription model | Times Higher Education (THE)

“The UK could soon follow the example of Norway and Germany in ditching costly journal subscriptions in favour of more “read and publish” agreements, according to its lead negotiator.

Liam Earney, director of licensing at Jisc Collections, said it was clear that UK universities, like those in many other countries, were “no longer willing to pay for outdated systems” pushed by commercial publishers of the likes of Elsevier….

His comments followed news that the UK sector has signed a £9.6 million, three-year agreement to extend its read-and-publish deal with Springer Nature via the consortium. The deal allows UK researchers access to 2,150 Springer titles, but does not include access to Nature journals. Crucially, members will be able to make their articles freely available in Springer’s hybrid-model journals, a move that the publisher said was in keeping with open access guidelines under the Plan S initiative….

“From our point of view, we want to continue to work with Springer Nature. But it’s important that they put a workflow in place to support the transition to open access. That promise cannot just be rhetorical,” he said. “If we renew this next time around, I would hope that upfront [subscription] payments would be redundant.” …”

At MIT anthropologists plan a model for Open Access

“Publishers, librarians, research funders, and leaders from across the field of anthropology — including journal editors and representatives of the major Anglophone anthropological societies of both Europe and North America — gathered at MIT on April 24, 2019 for an invitational workshop focused on a sea change for everyone who attended: moving the discipline’s journals to an Open-Access (OA) model.

 
Currently, the expense of academic publishing creates significant barriers to the broad dissemination of scholarly findings. The goal of the workshop was to consider a new model for providing open access to journal publications in a way that could transform both anthropology and a full range of academic disciplines….”

At MIT anthropologists plan a model for Open Access

“Publishers, librarians, research funders, and leaders from across the field of anthropology — including journal editors and representatives of the major Anglophone anthropological societies of both Europe and North America — gathered at MIT on April 24, 2019 for an invitational workshop focused on a sea change for everyone who attended: moving the discipline’s journals to an Open-Access (OA) model.

 
Currently, the expense of academic publishing creates significant barriers to the broad dissemination of scholarly findings. The goal of the workshop was to consider a new model for providing open access to journal publications in a way that could transform both anthropology and a full range of academic disciplines….”