“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….”