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….”

Transitioning Society Publications to OA

“A group of like-minded individuals from libraries, academic institutions, publishers, and consortia have organized to connect society journal editors and publishers (and any libraries or consortia that support them) with support and useful resources related to transitioning society publications to open access (OA). …”

History of open access – Peter Suber

“Analogy. Suppose a small town began to grow in a former wilderness. Early in its history it had a newspaper. In time it had a phone book, tax roll, town hall, post office, telegraph office, public library, school, church, cemetery, train station, doctor, surveyor, bartender, and private eye, each accumulating records in its own idiosyncratic, incomplete way. None of these caches of information is a history of the town. All are useful for studying the history of the town. Someone who knew where a good fraction of them were located would do a service by pointing them out. In this sense, I [Peter Suber] haven’t written a history of OA. But I’ve created materials, alone or with others, useful for studying the history of OA. And here I’m pointing them out, with some notes on their scope, preservation, and searchability. Needless to say, the history of OA is still unfolding. The small town didn’t disappear except in the sense that it grew into a large city….”

Research Data Management Services in Academic Libraries in the US: A Content Analysis of Libraries’ Websites | Yoon | College & Research Libraries

“Examining landscapes of research data management services in academic libraries is timely and significant for both those libraries on the front line and the libraries that are already ahead. While it provides overall understanding of where the research data management program is at and where it is going, it also provides understanding of current practices and data management recommendations and/or tool adoptions as well as revealing areas of improvement and support. This study examined the research data (management) services in academic libraries in the United States through a content analysis of 185 library websites, with four main areas of focus: service, information, education, and network. The results from the content analysis of these webpages reveals that libraries need to advance and engage more actively to provide services, supply information online, and develop educational services. There is also a wide variation among library data management services and programs according to their web presence.”

Proposal for editorial boards about emancipating their journals

“We propose that editorial boards of journals ask their current publisher to agree to the principles of Fair Open Access….We propose that if a journal’s existing publisher cannot or will not meet these conditions the editorial board give notice of resignation, and transfer the journal to a publisher meeting the conditions….”