Cost models for running an online open journal | Journal of Open Source Software Blog

The Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS) is a free, open-access online journal, with no article processing charge (APC). We are committed to operating as a free service to our community, and we do so thanks to the volunteer labor of editors and reviewers, and by taking advantage of existing infrastructure. In this post, we examine the true costs of running a journal such as JOSS, and make the case that even when considering all services we don’t currently pay for, the true cost per paper would not exceed $100. Current APCs at many “gold” open-access journals exceed that by one or more orders of magnitude, (see, for example, PNASNatureIEEE, etc.)…”

Open access and subscription based journals have similar problems in terms of quantity and relaying science to the public | The BMJ

In the Head to Head debate on whether to publish in an open access journal, Ashton and Beattie report that PLOS One accepts 70% of submissions.1 That might have been true in 2013, but a more recent and perhaps more accurate figure would be that as of 2017 PLOS One accepts about 50% of submissions, which is an equivalent rate to that of BMJ Open.2 I also question whether acceptance rate is a meaningful statistic when research is moving towards a publish first, curate later model.3 Simply not publishing, or batting manuscripts around various journals until one finally accepts it after a lengthy delay, constitutes a form of research waste and is something that ought to be avoided.4

The argument that certain forms of open access encourage higher quantity is also true of subscription based publishing. Predominantly subscription based publishers routinely market their subscriptions to library consortiums on the basis of price per article, the lower the better value. As the price of subscriptions that libraries can afford remains flat, subscription based publishers have an incentive to make their services look better by publishing more to reduce the apparent price per article that a subscription gets you. The publishers then further obfuscate this by bundling together journals full of chaff articles with journals full of higher quality material. But under so called diamond or platinum open access publishing models, in which neither authors nor readers pay to support the publication process, there is no such dangerous incentive to erode professional standards….”

Why Beall’s List Died — and What It Left Unresolved About Open Access – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Why, after toiling so hard for five years — and creating a resource cherished by scientists wary of exploitative publishers — did the University of Colorado at Denver’s Jeffrey Beall abruptly give it all up? Who, or what, forced his hand?

There are several prime suspects:

  • His fellow university librarians, whom Mr. Beall faults for overpromoting open-access publishing models.
  • A well-financed Swiss publisher, angry that Mr. Beall had had the temerity to put its journals on his list.
  • His own university, perhaps fatigued by complaints from the publisher, the librarians, or others.
  • The broader academic community — universities, funders of research, publishers, and fellow researchers, many of whom long understood the value of Mr. Beall’s list but did little to help him out.
  • Mr. Beall himself, who failed to recognize that a bit of online shaming wouldn’t stop many scientists from making common cause with journals that just don’t ask too many questions.

In the end, all played important roles in the demise of Beall’s List. On one level, Mr. Beall’s saga is just another tale of warring personalities. On another, though, it points to a broader problem in publishing: Universities still have a long way to go to create systems for researchers to share and collaborate with one another, evaluate one another’s work, and get credit for what really matters in research….”

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 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….”

Los costos del APC: el caso de la Universidad de Antioquia – AmeliCA

From Google’s English: “The costs of publishing openly according to the European tendency to regulate its market of scientific publications have generated a debate that warns Latin America about the need to take a position on the cost that policies such as the Plan S for the development of science and its circulation. Latin America has been a pioneer in proposing a path for open science, provided that the publications of the region were born in open access, where scientific production is created and circulated by the academy itself. However, an important part of European and North American publications have not only charged for publishing, and do so increasingly, but also charge for access to articles. That cost has not been calculated for Latin America. Here is a first exercise, 

In the Institutional Development Plan 2017-2027 , the University of Antioquia adopted open science as one of the guidelines that will guide the development of the Institution in the decade. Under this framework, the University approved in April 2018 the Open Access Policy to the publications for the entity, in which it is defined that the institutional commitment is oriented towards the “Deposited Deposit”, in which the Library System assumes a leading role to be responsible for administering the Institutional Repository that houses the scientific production of the University, provided that copyright (moral and patrimonial) permit.

However, in the areas of socialization and disclosure of the policy it has been observed that a common concern of the researchers has revolved around who would be responsible for financing publications in open access. This in the sense of who finances the Article Processing Charges (APC), automatically assuming that the publication in open access implies the payment of APC to publishers, and ignoring that there are other routes under which open access works and that they require the APC [2] .

It is for this reason, among others, that the University of Antioquia has initiated the development of strategies to size and demystify open access in the Institution. In the first case, an investigative exercise was carried out to measure the institutional practices in Open Access, from the bibliographic sources and with the computation capacities that the CoLaV of the UdeA has been building, this being a collaborative that we have been developing in University. In the second case, an awareness campaign has been designed, open UdeA, which seeks to bring the actors of the University to the world of open access, showing its advantages, practices and the need for its implementation in the institution.

The present text seeks to show progress in the first case, giving a global panorama of the case of the University of Antioquia….”

Flaws in Academic Publishing Perpetuate a Form of Neo-Colonialism

Some publications charge up to $3,900 (Rs 2.7 lakh) as APCs, which leaves researchers from lower to middle-income countries such as India much poorer. And if academic publication is skewed in favour of high-income countries, science becomes skewed in favour of them.

Explaining real-world phenomena objectively has always been touted as the “white man’s burden” and has been the backbone of the colonising mission. Often only researchers and academics from certain privileged pockets have the resources to conduct and publish cutting-edge research. After all, they enjoy superior infrastructure and funding opportunities.

This disparity is exacerbated when they have sufficient resources to publish their work, often allowing knowledge to be created by only a certain kind of individual. Further, their blinkers and biases may continue to play a role in what they propose is a universal phenomenon – a form of neo-colonialism. Therefore, making science open access from both the production and the consumption perspectives is essential to make knowledge more democratic….”

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.] …”

The New “University Journals” in the Marketplace – The Scholarly Kitchen

” “University Journals” brings some impressive firepower to the marketplace. Although the details of the service are sketchy (we have an announcement, but not yet a publicly perusable business plan), it is notable that it already has the support of fourteen universities and its “initial development is funded by the PICA foundation and the University of Amsterdam.” The model is open access (OA), but there are no article processing charges (APCs); rather all fees are paid by researchers’ parent institutions. The appeal to authors — no requirement of transfer of copyright — is clear. The service itself will leverage pre-existing infrastructure such as institutional repositories, which brings to mind what may have been the granddaddy of proposals of this kind: Raym Crow’s white paper written on behalf of SPARC. Raym published that report in 2002. The “University Journals” website as well notes that authors will share in the prestige of the universities that sponsor the service, which appears to be an attempt to offset the appeal of highly ranked journals of the subscription variety….”