On Plan S/transformative publishing, or … A disptach in the wake of the Charleston Conference

“–Depending on how much APC funding eventually shifts from libraries to the federal government, will the price mechanism for APCs adjust to accommodate the readiness of grant funding agencies to bankroll APCs?  If so, can we assume the government will have a more price-elastic posture than universities historically have had, given the latter’s tenure and promotion demand-side incentives to publish in high tier journals regardless the cost? If federal agencies are not elastically responsive to prices (i.e., if they reward publication in high priced journals without regard to prices), don’t we just perpetuate the high pricing that librarians have so long lamented, therefore shifting this malaise’s remedy to the public’s dime? Is this fair to the citizenry? How does this affect public funding for other federally funded initiatives?

–Concerns about “existential threats” now appears in discussions about scholarly publishing. Scholarly societies have them. Can societies be assured of stable revenue streams, erstwhile from library journal subscriptions, if some complex admixture of federal government grant funds and university funds fund APCs?

–There seems to be no discussion among librarians about an “existential threat” to their own profession. If funding of journals shifts from universities to federal funding agencies, doesn’t this cut out librarian involvement in selecting and funding journals? Correlatively, wouldn’t this reduce their budgets? Also, would this reduce their collection development role  to APC bean-counting, much of which will become the purview of offices of research whose involvement will merely be one of marking APCs as a line item in grant funding disbursement accounting? Would this be a good or a bad thing? 

–Where is discussion about the opportunity cost of diverting a portion of hard-to-get state-funded research dollars to funding APCs? What research, e.g. for renewal energy, or cancer or agricultural research for developing countries, now goes by the wayside?  

–Will societies and university publishers just gradually assimilate the newly emerging APC regime for their economic survival in funding membership activities, without discussions about possible threats to financial stability or discussions about the larger philosophical premises of doing so?

 

–On the philosophical issues, shouldn’t society publishers worry about governmental ideological manipulation of who within their memberships gets grant-funded APCs?  Sure, one could make that argument about federal grant funding per se. But doesn’t the latter arguably addresses an externality that (in an ideal world) concerns the common good, while APC funding is an externality that does *not* necessitate federal subsidizing–given that scholarly publishing mechanisms can and should be developed that don’t require federal subsidy?  These are points everyone should ask regardless of political affiliation.

–From what one speaker at Charleston said, the complexities of negotiating with publishers has a new overlay: tortuous internecine discussions among consortial members. If  this is true of all consortia, one has the sense that consortial leaders now have to have to engage game theoretic scenarios not only with respect to publishers, but also their individual members. Just imagine how much more complicated all this will now become with the pressures on libraries to pay for APCs. Isn’t it undesirable to introduce this added complexity, at least at this juncture? Why not just work on contracting the number of journals published, about which . . . 

–I’ve been arguing for contracting the number of journals, a la something like Bradford’s Law. A refinement on that: we need to distinguish two rationales for contracting the journal space. These are:

Rationale (1.) An argument on the principled basis that it is desirable to contract the number of journals, given that the ever-growing glut of journal articles undermines the common good of discoverability and assimilation of research findings.

Rationale (2.) An argument from economic reality: library budgets are relatively flat so we need to deconstruct Big Deals or even the number of subscribed journals regardless the journal sales model.

Shouldn’t big consortia use their negotiating power to argue that the ever-rising prices of journals (not to mention pressures for APCs merely to replicate the price dynamics of toll-access publishing) necessitates contracting the number of journals?  This point extends not just to toll-access publishing, but also gold ones? If so, pursuing rationale (1) for contracting the journal space aligns neatly with rationale (2) for doing so. I.e., rationale (2) becomes the vehicle for accomplishing rationale (1).

–I’ve also argued that consortia with journal negotiating power should educate their faculty about the need to contract the journal space. A refinement to that, too: the discussions should focus on rationale (1) above, rather than (2), which concer

The open access shift at UWA Publishing is an experiment doomed to fail

“A statement released by UWA claims the changes will help “to guarantee modern university publishing into the future”, foreshadowing “a mix of print, greater digitisation and open access publishing.”…

The notion that a respected publishing house can be replaced by open access publishing is disproved by examining other Australian university presses, such as the now-closed University of Adelaide Press, founded in 2009 with a mission to be an open access publisher….

Sydney University Press, which was relaunched in 2003 after closing in 1987, has employed a “hybrid approach” to open access. It is now returning to a more standard university publishing model….

Open access has an important role to play in academic publishing, but it is laughable to claim UWA Publishing’s cultural impact can simply be replaced through open access….

 

Suomalaiset tiedelehdet DOAJ-rekisteriin -seminaari 3.12.2019 | julkaisufoorumi.fi

“DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) and the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (TSV) are Collaborating on a Pilot Project to Promote and Help Peer-reviewed Open Access (OA) Journals published in Finland to be indexed in DOAJ. An open information event will be held on December 3 at 10 am – 12 pm at the House of Science and Letters (Kirkkokatu 6, Helsinki). Remote participation is also possible. Some of the presentations will be in Finnish and some in English….”

Hungary and Elsevier agree pilot national license for research access and Open Access publishing

“Hungarian Electronic Information Service National Programme (EISZ) and Elsevier, a global information analytics business specializing in science and health, today agreed a new pilot license for research access and Open Access publishing in Hungary.

The three-year agreement means researchers affiliated to EISZ consortium member institutions across Hungary have access to 16 million publications from over 2,500 journals published by Elsevier and its society partners on ScienceDirect, Elsevier’s leading platform of peer-reviewed scholarly literature. The agreement also facilitates a cost-neutral transition to Open Access and enables Hungarian researchers from EISZ affiliated institutions to publish their research Open Access without researchers having to pay an APC. More information on the Open Access Pilot can be found here….”

OPEN SCHOLARSHIP position statement from the Biochemical Society and Portland Press

“Currently: ? We publish two fully-OA journals, and one of these is currently sustained by article publishing charges (APC) at an article-by-article level; in addition, we publish five hybrid journals where authors may opt to pay an APC to have their article published OA. ? For titles on the hybrid model we avoid ‘double dipping’ (charging twice for the same articles) through two routes: APCs are discounted for corresponding authors based at subscribing institutions; in addition, subscription prices are set, each year, based on the number of paywalled articles in the preceding years to account for OA content published in hybrid titles. ? There are a variety of mechanisms employed by different publishers to avoid double-dipping. We are supportive of efforts to standardize and agree common principles around transparent pricing of hybrid journals that demonstrate, objectively, the avoidance of double dipping….

Looking ahead: ? We are seeking to transition our hybrid journals to full-OA in a way that supports researchers and keeps the Society financially viable. ? We strongly believe that the ability to publish research should not be linked to individual researchers’ ability to pay; we are enthusiastic about all opportunities to remove author-facing invoices from OA publishing. To enable a transition away from paywalls, we seek to offer as much APC-free OA as possible that will be supported though continuing and new partnerships with institutions, consortia and funders….

Decrypting the Big Deal Landscape: Follow-up of the 2019 EUA Big Deals Survey Report

“As of 2017, the European University Association (EUA) assembled a unique collection of ‘Big Deals’ data on agreements between scholarly publishers and (national) consortia of libraries, universities and research organisations. This was carried out in the light of mounting higher education institution concerns about the increasingly unsustainable cost of subscriptions to scholarly publications. In 2016, EUA committed to “establishing an evidence base about current agreements and on-going negotiations with publishers in collaboration with NRCs”.1 Subsequently, data collected by EUA has served as the basis for two reports released in 2018 and 2019, respectively.2 Big Deals now receive increased attention due to their potential to ‘flip’ entire segments of the scholarly publication market from closed to open access publications. Big deals have also been widely criticised for locking-in library budgets, due to constantly increasing subscription costs. The 2019 EUA Big Deals Survey Report surveyed covered 30 European countries and found that over €1 billion is spent on electronic resources each year, including at least €726 million spent on periodicals alone. Big Deals are said to limit competition and innovation in the scholarly publishing system3 and curb universities’ and consortia’s financial freedom to pursue other priorities. However, recently, several European negotiating consortia and scholarly publishers have concluded Big Deals that allow eligible authors to publish articles in open access formats in specific journals. Known as ‘transformative agreements’, these contracts are also supported as one way to comply with future funder requirements that will apply as of 2021 under Plan S.4 In a system that is largely defined by Big Deals, this report aims to inform the transition to open access debate, by providing additional insights and indicators on these agreements’ costs, publication volumes and timelines. This has been achieved by placing EUA Big Deals data into context….

Part 1 explains the methods used to obtain the underlying data as well as limitations and responsible use of the data. Part 2 links the publication outputs of journal articles and reviews to the large five publishers’ market share. It seeks to provide a bigger picture of the relation between subscription costs and publishing output. Part 3 sets out an analysis of the price-per-article for each country and publisher, calculated on the basis of subscription prices and publication volume. It provides European negotiators with comparative Big Deals price per article data in 26 countries. Part 4 takes a closer look at the timeline of Big Deal agreements collected by the EUA Big Deals Survey. It shows that the 2018-2020 period is crucial for negotiations with scholarly publishers (in terms of market volume). Negotiations that occur during this time may also be crucial for the further development of ‘transformative’ agreements and therefore compliance with Plan S requirements. Part 5 provides a brief summary of our main findings, contextualises them with current developments and provides policy recommendations….”

Research organisation releases publishing costs to highlight challenge of going to full open access | Science|Business

“The European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) is taking the unusual step of making the finances of four of its journals public in order to highlight the challenges of transforming subscription or part-subscription journals into fully open access titles.

EMBO wants to give funders, researchers and regulators a better understanding of how expensive it is to publish research, said the institute’s director, Maria Leptin. “People underestimate the costs of publishing,” Leptin told Science|Business. “We thought it was necessary to be transparent about how much we are spending.”

Few publishers and journals disclose their costs and charges, making it near impossible to assess the true cost of publishing a paper, according to EMBO’s report, published today.

Leptin says the EMBO data will inform the Coalition S grouping of leading science funding bodies, which are involved in a major push to make the research they fund open access on publication, under the so-called Plan S, from 2021….”

Webinars charting paths forward for open access publishing by learned societies – Transitioning Society Publications to OA

“The Society Publishers Coalition (SocPC) and Transitioning Society Journals to Open Access (TSPOA) invite you to register for free webinars about the changing face of society journal publishing. 

This three-part webinar series is intended to help foster the transition of learned society journals to open access by contextualizing their role within a changing scholarly communications landscape, increasing awareness of their publishing practices and operational needs, and engaging the broader community of publishing stakeholders in discussions and decision-making about how best to support society publishing in an open access landscape. …”

Webinars charting paths forward for open access publishing by learned societies – Transitioning Society Publications to OA

“The Society Publishers Coalition (SocPC) and Transitioning Society Journals to Open Access (TSPOA) invite you to register for free webinars about the changing face of society journal publishing. 

This three-part webinar series is intended to help foster the transition of learned society journals to open access by contextualizing their role within a changing scholarly communications landscape, increasing awareness of their publishing practices and operational needs, and engaging the broader community of publishing stakeholders in discussions and decision-making about how best to support society publishing in an open access landscape. …”

Open Access, the next step in evolution

“Evolution is described as the gradual process of change and development, in which sometimes a quantum jump occurs in order to adapt to the environment. We will do just this with Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry, thus giving it the larger audience it deserves.

In order to do this we will move from paper to online- only publication and make it Open Access, free of charge for whoever is interested in the subject matter. Issue No. 6, 2019 will be the last printed issue.

Starting with the first Issue in 2020, the journal will be an open access journal, available to the entire dental world to read and learn from. So yes, your journal that you know and love will be free for you starting next year….”