Open and Shut?: The OA interviews: Arianna Becerril-García, Chair of AmeliCA

“A professor in the School of Political and Social Sciences at the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEM), Arianna Becerril-García is also the Executive Director of Redalyc, the Network of Scientific Journals from Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal. Redalyc is a regional open access portal for the social sciences and humanities that indexes 1,305 local journals and hosts the full texts of more than 650,000 articles. …

In addition, Becerril-García is the Chair of a new project called AmeliCA (Open Knowledge for Latin America and the Global South). AmeliCA’s goal is to propagate the Redalyc model to the more than 15,000 journals in the region and elsewhere in the Global South.

As Chair of AmeliCA, Becerril-García has become a vocal critic of Plan S – the European OA initiative announced last year by a group of funders that call themselves cOAlition S. While AmeliCA shares cOAlition S’s goal of achieving universal open access, says Becerril-García, it fears that, as currently conceived, Plan S would disenfranchise researchers in the Global South and exclude them further from the international scholarly publishing system….”

Decisions adopted by the Executive Board at its 206th session – UNESCO Digital Library

Section 9 (p. 18): 

“Preliminary study of the technical, financial and legal aspects of the desirability of a UNESCO recommendation on open science (206 EX/9; 206 EX/ 47.I) The Executive Board, 1. Having examined document 206 EX/9, 2. Decides to include an item on the technical, financial and legal aspects of the desirability of a standard-setting instrument on Open Science in the provisional agenda of the 40th session of the General Conference; 3. Invites the Director-General to submit to the General Conference at its 40th session the preliminary study on the technical, financial and legal aspects of the desirability of a standard-setting instrument on Open Science contained in document 206 EX/9, together with the relevant observations and decisions of the Executive Board thereon, in particular, the need to overcome the digital, technological and knowledge divides existing between developing and developed countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States;4. Also invites the Director-General to continue holding intergovernmental consultations in praesentiawith a view for a possible elaboration of a recommendation on Open Science;5. Requests the Director-General to present the consolidated roadmap to the 207th session of the Executive Board….” 

Preliminary study of the technical, financial and legal aspects of the desirability of a UNESCO recommendation on open science(206 EX/9; 206 EX/ 47.I) The Executive Board, 1. Having examined document 206 EX/9, 2. Decides to include an item on the technical, financial and legal aspects of the desirability of a standard-setting instrument on Open Science in the provisional agenda of the 40th session of the General Conference; 3. Invites the Director-General to submit to the General Conference at its 40th session the preliminary study on the technical, financial and legal aspects of the desirability of a standard-setting instrument on Open Science contained in document 206 EX/9, together with the relevant observations and decisions of the Executive Board thereon, in particular, the need to overcome the digital, technological and knowledge divides existing between developing and developed countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States;4. Also invites the Director-General to continue holding intergovernmental consultations in praesentiawith a view for a possible elaboration of a recommendation on Open Science;5. Requests the Director-General to present the consolidated roadmap to the 207th session of the Executive Board

North Carolina press seeks sustainable open-access model for monographs

The University of North Carolina Press is leading an experiment to significantly lower the cost of producing scholarly books — an important step toward a sustainable open-access publishing model for monographs.

Many university presses have experimented with open-access monographs, but few have transitioned away from charging fees for most work, as they are unable to do so sustainably, said John Sherer, director of UNC Press….

One ambitious OA monograph initiative, Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME), offers university presses subsidies of $15,000 per book. Sherer’s project aims to demonstrate that a subsidy of $7,000 could suffice….”

North Carolina press seeks sustainable open-access model for monographs

The University of North Carolina Press is leading an experiment to significantly lower the cost of producing scholarly books — an important step toward a sustainable open-access publishing model for monographs.

Many university presses have experimented with open-access monographs, but few have transitioned away from charging fees for most work, as they are unable to do so sustainably, said John Sherer, director of UNC Press….

One ambitious OA monograph initiative, Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME), offers university presses subsidies of $15,000 per book. Sherer’s project aims to demonstrate that a subsidy of $7,000 could suffice….”

Library-Mediated Deposit: A Gift to Researchers or a Curse on Open Access? Reflections from the Case of Surrey

Abstract:  The University of Surrey was one of the first universities to set up an open access repository. The Library was the natural stakeholder to lead this project. Over the years, the service has been influenced by external and internal factors, and consequently the Library’s role in developing the OA agenda has changed. Here, we present the development and implementation of a fully mediated open access service at Surrey. The mediated workflow was introduced following an operational review, to ensure higher compliance and engagement from researchers. The size and responsibilities of the open access team in the Library increased to comply with internal and external policies and to implement the fully mediated workflow. As a result, there has been a growth in deposit rates and overall compliance. We discuss the benefits and shortcomings of Library mediation; its effects on the relationship between the Library, senior management and researchers, and the increasing necessity for the Library to lead towards a culture of openness beyond policy compliance.

Exploring Open Access Discounts – Delta Think

Figure 1, below, analyzes average discount percentages off list prices, so we can see to what degree publishers are discounting. A few nuances come out of the chart.

  • There’s very little relationship between discount percentage and price (statistical analysis bears this out). Counterintuitively, this suggests a consistency: on average, more expensive journals are not discounted any more or less than less expensive ones.
  • In converting the OpenAPC data’s paid prices in Euros to equivalent list prices in USD, we see that around half the data points suggest payments that are higher than list, i.e. a “negative discount.” These data points appear to the left of the chart’s dotted line (0% discount). There are a few extreme outliers in the data (not shown) due to erroneous reporting, but it is likely that much of this is due to timings of payments, different methods of currency conversions, or inconsistent inclusion of sales tax. This highlights the challenges of gathering data consistently across our very fragmented ecosystem.
  • Controlling out these “negative discounts” makes very little difference to the statistics – so despite the challenges with the data, the patterns remain the same. We also know that list prices change slowly, so relative phasing between payment and list dates are not an issue….

Figure 2 below examines popular discount levels over time. The more orange the line, the more recent the year of payment, and the chart excludes the “negative discounts.”

  • The discounting bands appear to be staying consistent over time, with variations due to differences in sample sizes. (There are very few 2014 data points, and the volume of 2018 data is still catching up with the rest.)
  • Our OA Data & Analytics Tool allows deeper analysis, to tease out differences between fully OA and hybrid journals. Although not shown here, fully OA journals have seen their discount levels dip in 2016-2017 but start to rise again since, averaging around 20%. Hybrid sees the opposite pattern, with discount levels averaging 20-30%….”

Subscribe To Open: Annual Reviews’ Take on Open Access

Annual Reviews is keen to pursue open access (OA), believing its content to be of wide general interest, but does not consider APCs to be a viable route. The reviews are invited, and it can take three or four months to write them, so the publisher feels that it is not appropriate to present the author with a bill/invoice to publish. In addition, Annual Reviews authors rarely cite funder support, closing off the most obvious source of APC-based funding.

Instead, the staff of Annual Reviews want existing library subscription payments for gated access journals to be leveraged and then retained to convert and sustain the journals as OA. They are putting the idea to the test with a program called Subscribe to Open….”

Worried About the Future of the Monograph? So Are Publishers – The Chronicle of Higher Education

From your perspective as the AUP’s new president, what are the most important issues facing scholarly publishers?

Crewe: Our biggest challenge remains the low sales of scholarly monographs, such as revised dissertations or scholarly books with a narrow focus in a small field. Libraries share copies, and individuals don’t purchase the new books in their fields as they did 20 years ago.

We want to publish these books. They are the building blocks of our own reputation and they are often groundbreaking, field-changing works. We’re looking for publishing grants to support them, and we try each season to publish enough profitable books to cover the losses on monographs.

But today’s model isn’t sustainable. There are a number of experiments under way to figure out how to publish specialized monographs in a freely available open-access format….”

A nine dimensional framework for digital cultural heritage organizational sustainability | A content analysis of the LIS literature (2000–2015) | Online Information Review | Vol 43, No 2

“Other sustainability promoting characteristics of technology or technology practices named in articles included: customizability, openness, sharing, seamless interfaces and services, common database systems, central clearinghouses for technical information, and use of sustainable formats….”