arXiv Annual Update, January 2020 | arXiv e-print repository

“Our next-generation arXiv (arXiv-NG) initiative to improve the service’s core infrastructure by incremental and modular renewal of the existing arXiv system continues to progress. This includes significant effort towards laying the foundations for the NG submission system, which the team hopes to alpha test in Q12020. Existing search, browse, accounts, documentation NG components received incremental improvements. The team also took the initial and essential steps to improve the overall accessibility of arXiv’s user interfaces, both through behind-the-scenes structural improvements and user-facing changes (e.g. support for a mobile-friendly abstract page)….

Key Accomplishments in 2019 and Plans for 2020 Since we started the arXiv sustainability initiative in 2010, an integral part of our work has been assessing the services, technologies, standards, and policies that constitute arXiv. Here are some of our key accomplishments from 2019 to illustrate the range of issues we have been trying to tackle. Please see the 2019 Roadmap for a full account of our work.

We continue to improve facilities for administrators and moderators in order to streamline their workflows, and to improve clarity and transparency of arXiv communications. During 2019, the arXiv team expanded quality control flags.
Our development team continued to improve and extend various search, browse, documentation, and other features as we reimplement, test, refine and continue to improve the arXiv platform. The team made significant progress reimplementing the submission user interface towards an alpha release, new and legacy APIs, as well as backend services. Wherever possible, new software components are developed in public repositories and released under permissive open source licenses. With a reduction of effort in Q42019 due to staff departures, the team shifted most of its remaining resources towards improving and maintaining the operational stability of the arXiv services.
Our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), under the leadership of Licia Verde, has clarified roles and responsibilities for the arXiv Subject Advisory Committees and the Committee Chairs. The effort for outreach and recruitment of new moderators has increased in 2019 with an aim to increase diversity among moderators. We have also modified the SAB membership to include greater representation and engagement with the newer fields that have joined arXiv.
Two major policies were adopted in 2019 including the arXiv Code of Conduct and a Privacy Policy. We thank the staff, moderators, advisory boards, and arXiv users who have contributed to the development of the Code of Conduct.
The arXiv team wished farewells to Janelle Morano (Community Engagement and Membership Coordinator), Jaimie Murdock (arXiv NG Developer), Erick Peirson (Lead System Architect), Liz Woods (User Experience Specialist) and Matt Bierbaum (arXiv Labs). We were pleased to welcome Shamsi Brinn as our new User Experience Specialist in October 2019 and Alison Fromme as new Community Engagement and Membership Coordinator in January 2020. We also initiated a search for a new Backend Python Developer in the last quarter of 2019.
We moved information about our governance, business model, and reports to arXiv.org, to improve overall accessibility to pertinent information about arXiv’s operations. This information was previously available on the arXiv Public Wiki. We continue to regularly update our community at the arXiv.org blog.
As part of the organizational change to Cornell CIS we moved offices in 2019. The arXiv team now has its own dedicated space in historic Uris Library.

The 2020 Roadmap includes our goals as we strive to improve the technical infrastructure, moderation system, user support, and the sustainability framework….”

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].”

How society publishers can accelerate their transition to open access and align with Plan S – Wise – 2020 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  Wellcome, UK Research and Innovation, and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers commissioned Information Power Ltd. to undertake a project to support society publishers to accelerate their transition to open access (OA) in alignment with Plan S and the wider move to accelerate immediate OA. This project is part of a range of activities that cOAlition S partners are taking forward to support the implementation of Plan S principles. The objective of this project was to explore with learned societies a range of potential strategies and business models through which they could adapt and thrive under Plan S. We consulted with society publishers through interviews, surveys, and workshops about the 27 business models and strategies identified during the project. We also surveyed library consortia about their willingness to support society publishers to make the transition to OA. Our key finding is that transformative agreements emerge as the most promising model because they offer a predictable, steady funding stream. We also facilitated pilot transformative agreement negotiations between several society publishers and library consortia. These pilots and a workshop of consortium representatives and society publishers informed the development of an OA transformative agreement toolkit. Our conclusion is that society publishers should consider all the business models this project has developed and should not automatically equate OA with article publication charges.

 

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….”

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….”

MDPI | Article Processing Charges (APC) Information and FAQ

“MDPI publishes all its journals in full open access, meaning unlimited use and reuse of articles, in addition to giving credit to the authors. All our articles are published under a Creative Commons (CC BY) license.

Authors pay a one-time Article Processing Charge (APC) to cover the costs of peer review administration and management, professional production of articles in PDF and other formats, and dissemination of published papers in various venues, in addition to other publishing functions. There are no charges for rejected articles, no submission charges, and no surcharges based on the length of an article, figures or supplementary data. Some items (Editorials, Corrections, Addendums, Retractions, Comments, etc.) are published free of charge.

Here is a breakdown of how our APCs are used. In calculating these values, we have followed recommendations from the Fair Open Access Alliance, an organization that promotes sustainable and transparent scholarly open access publishing. This also makes MDPI fully compliant with the requirements of Plan S, a key funder initiative to promote Open Access….”

MDPI | Article Processing Charges (APC) Information and FAQ

“MDPI publishes all its journals in full open access, meaning unlimited use and reuse of articles, in addition to giving credit to the authors. All our articles are published under a Creative Commons (CC BY) license.

Authors pay a one-time Article Processing Charge (APC) to cover the costs of peer review administration and management, professional production of articles in PDF and other formats, and dissemination of published papers in various venues, in addition to other publishing functions. There are no charges for rejected articles, no submission charges, and no surcharges based on the length of an article, figures or supplementary data. Some items (Editorials, Corrections, Addendums, Retractions, Comments, etc.) are published free of charge.

Here is a breakdown of how our APCs are used. In calculating these values, we have followed recommendations from the Fair Open Access Alliance, an organization that promotes sustainable and transparent scholarly open access publishing. This also makes MDPI fully compliant with the requirements of Plan S, a key funder initiative to promote Open Access….”