A Revolution in Science Publishing, or Business as Usual?

“These successes, though, have also revealed divisions within the open-access community over two now-familiar questions: Who should run the publishing houses? And who should pay for the whole system? Instead of an open-access commons run by scholars in the public interest, the new open-access revolution increasingly looks like it will depend on the same big commercial publishers, who, rather than charging subscription prices to readers, are now flipping the model and charging researchers a fee to publish their work. The result is a kind of commercial open-access — a model very different than what many open-access activists envisioned.

Some advocates see corporate open-access as a pragmatic way of opening up research to the masses. But others see the new model as a corruption of the original vision — one that will continue to funnel billions of dollars into big publishing companies, marginalize scientists in lower income countries, and fail to fix deeper, systemic problems in scientific publishing….”

Open Scholarship as a mechanism for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Abstract:  Traditional methods of scholarly publishing and communication are ineffective in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has demonstrated that, in times of need, the global research community can activate and pool its knowledge and resources to collaborate on solving problems. The use of innovative Web-based technologies, including open source software, data-sharing archives, open collaboration methods, and the liberation of thousands of relevant research articles from proprietary sources show us that the fundamental components of a fully open system are readily available, technologically efficient and cost-effective. If we are to achieve the SDGs by 2030, systematic reform and explicit adoption of open scholarship strategies at scale is necessary. We propose that the United Nations and parallel entities take a position of leadership by creating or funding an organisation or federated alliance of organisations to implement these reforms.

Seeking Sustainability: Publishing Models for an Open Access Age

“Hardly a week goes by, it seems, without the announcement of a cancellation of a Big Deal, the signing of a Transformative Agreement, or a policy action to drive open access. Library consortia around the world are turning to new, non-traditional models as thinking shifts on how to provide researchers with access to content as well as support for publications. Publishers are grappling with subscriptions losing value and needing to develop new revenue models. Complicating these efforts are emerging institutional and funder mandates, including the evolving Plan S requirements and the rumored Executive Order in the United States, as well as the ecosystem of needs and pathways of development for different disciplines and regions. 

This interactive virtual event seeks to engage questions such as: What models are emerging for the open access publishing age? Are these models adaptable to meet the needs of different types of institutions and publishers? Are they sustainable over the long term? Do they serve the needs of authors as well as funders, governments, institutions, etc.?  Hear from publishers and librarians exploring new models and their sustainability as well as concerns of those organizations, including small and society, who fear they may be left out of the discussion. The program will include a keynote overview of current models, a panel exploring models-in-progress, and an interactive discussion focusing on key issues and possible next steps….”

Academic Publishing and the Future of Open Access : Optometry and Vision Science

“Unfortunately, sanity, clarity, and insight about the future of academic publishing are hard to come by—the future is highly uncertain. If I had to say which way the momentum is shifting, it is toward open access and a more binary division between very large and small publishers, with fewer midsize publishers. That probably means there will be some additional industry consolidation and possible acquisitions. Journals affiliated with academic societies will be pressured to find sufficient subscription or other revenue to support their journals. Alternatively, author charges or some viable mix of subscription and page charge revenues will sustain them. Publishers will be increasingly pressured to serve the interests of authors as well as the interests of their funding agencies. The prospect of 38% annual profits is likely gone, and publishers will be pushed to further innovate in how they produce, distribute, and market scientific knowledge to maintain their relevance and market share. It would be interesting if scientific articles were treated like digital music. If a unifying force were capable of bringing the biggest publishing houses to the table to negotiate reasonable fees for libraries, authors, and the broader public, this could truly transform the world’s access to scientific knowledge….”

How can we afford Open Access in the humanities disciplines? — Expert voices – European University Association

09 March 2020 | Martin Paul Eve, Birkbeck, University of London

Open Access publishing needs new business models for universities and disciplines that want to support Open Access but are short on resources. Martin Paul Eve explains how the Open Library of Humanities has pioneered an inexpensive and efficient approach for Open Access publishing with the support of many universities in Europe and beyond.

How can we afford Open Access in the humanities disciplines? — Expert voices – European University Association

09 March 2020 | Martin Paul Eve, Birkbeck, University of London

Open Access publishing needs new business models for universities and disciplines that want to support Open Access but are short on resources. Martin Paul Eve explains how the Open Library of Humanities has pioneered an inexpensive and efficient approach for Open Access publishing with the support of many universities in Europe and beyond.

Publishing an Open Access Textbook on Environmental Sciences: Conservation Biology in Sub-Saharan Africa

“But we faced a major challenge: how can we effectively reach our target audience, even in the most isolated corners of Sub-Saharan Africa? Print publishers would be unable to produce and distribute this type of book across dozens of African countries. At 694 pages and with hundreds of color photos, most African students would also not be able to buy such a substantial book, so the project would neither be profitable nor feasible for a print publisher.  For this reason, we concluded that the textbook would reach the widest audience and have the greatest impact if it was produced under an Open Access license, which guarantees free distribution rights to anyone who may benefit from the work.

The textbook, eventually published under a Creative Commons (CC BY) license by Open Book Publishers, was a resounding success. As evidence of how much the work was needed, the book was viewed nearly 7,000 times within six months of publication.  There is no question: this remarkable reach, and the impact this book is having in making conservation training more accessible, could only have been achieved through Open Access publishing….”

News & Views: Open Access Charges – Consolidation Continues – Delta Think

“Each year we survey the list Article Processing Charges (APCs) of a sample of major and significant publishers. Covering over 16,000 titles, this represents one of the most comprehensive reviews of open access pricing.

Headline Changes

To compare like for like, we analyze non-discounted, CC BY charges. Overall, list prices are increasing slowly:

Maximum APCs for hybrid journals have risen noticeably, from $5,200 two years ago, to $5,650 last year, to $5,900 this year.
The highest prices for fully OA journals have risen from $5,200 to $5,435.
Fully OA journal APCs are less expensive than hybrid, averaging around 53% of hybrid average APCs. This difference has not changed significantly over the last few years.
Average hybrid APCs continue to increase steadily, at very low single-digit percentages. Increases are accelerating slightly – from around 1% per year two years ago, to around 2% this year.
This is contrasted with fully OA average price increases of 4% over the last year….”

Double dipping and other bad manners

“So in this context, double dipping is when an article is published open access – that is, an author’s fee has been paid for it to be read for free around the world – but the publisher then charges other users to read that article through a subscription. Now, if that were truly the case, the publisher would be paid twice for the same article.

Bad manners indeed!

Yes, but at Elsevier, we do not double dip. We have two models of compensation for an article: through an open access fee or through a subscription – but we are never paid for the same article twice.

But how do you ensure that? How is that managed?

This is managed through our business accounting. Fully gold open access journals, for example, have no subscription price, and therefore no pricing for those journals is included in any licensing contract. Customers are never charged a subscription fee for gold open access journals.

Ok, that makes sense. But what about hybrid journals that publish both gold open access as well as subscription articles?

Yes, I see how this could be confusing. We manage this by maintaining separate accounting streams. If an author selects to publish open access, the article publishing fee is collected and that article is published as open. Done. Those revenues are kept separate from the revenues of the subscription articles. So when pricing for each subscription journal is determined, revenue from the open access articles does not play into that evaluation. We maintain separate accounting and evaluation processes….”