A Publisher’s Perspective on the First Year of the Open Access Transformation in Germany Through Projekt DEAL

“Q: What have been the biggest challenges for Wiley so far?

A: On the publisher’s side, we had to build on our existing publishing infrastructure to handle Projekt DEAL articles. The timelines were extremely tight but we were able to implement the necessary adjustments for our publication workflows and systems to ensure a smooth publishing experience for eligible authors. Another challenge was to facilitate the matching process between authors and participating institutions: Without a solid and reliable workflow to identify authors from eligible institutions, it would have not been possible for us to handle Projekt DEAL articles in an efficient manner. Overcoming these obstacles helped us gain valuable experience for subsequent agreements.

Q: What have been the most significant benefits of the agreement for researchers and institutions in the first year?

A: Projekt DEAL represents a change process for all parties involved. All participants are confronted with the challenges of actively shaping this process and dealing with it in the best possible way. For libraries in Germany, Projekt DEAL is changing the way research funds and library budgets are spent: The “Publish and Read (PAR)” fee combines access to the 1,600 journals in the Wiley portfolio with the opportunity to publish research articles open access in Wiley journals, which are made available to a worldwide readership free of charge. This is not only a more sustainable way of spending budgets, but also a huge opportunity for institutions in Germany to increase their reputation worldwide. With Projekt DEAL, researchers no longer need to worry about obtaining the appropriate funding for their OA publications in Wiley journals. And many studies have shown that publishing open access results in an increase of citations and impact….”

An Interview with Hal Plotkin on Evolving OER from an Idea to a Movement and Beyond – Michelson 20MM Foundation

“Hal Plotkin is a writer, journalist and activist. He served as the Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary of Education during  the Obama Administration. Previously, Plotkin served on the Board of Trustees at the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, based in California’s Silicon Valley, where in 2003, he initiated the first official college governance policy in the United States requiring administrative support for the use of public domain learning materials, which later became known as open educational resources. From 2014 to 2017, Plotkin served as the Senior Open Policy Fellow at Creative Commons USA. He is currently a consultant to the national College Promise Campaign, based in Washington, D.C.,  and a consulting scholar at Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’homme, based in Paris, where he helps design and implement efforts to expand access to post-secondary education. …”

Insights into the Economy of Open Scholarship: A look into OpenEdition with Pierre Mounier, deputy director

“OpenEdition is supported financially by the four founding institutions (CNRS [French National Centre for Scientific Research], Aix-Marseille University, EHESS [School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences], Avignon University), which provide the platform with staff, infrastructure and funds to cover operating costs. They also receive support directly from the Ministry of Research (as a research infrastructure). About 50 FTE staff are permanently seconded from the four founding institutions. The staff are divided into an editorial department that manages the relationships with the content producers (blogging researchers, publishers, journal editors), an IT department that runs systems and development, a department for international development and a department dedicated to the Freemium services – ‘Freemium’ being a pricing strategy by which a digital product or service is provided free of charge, but money is charged for additional features. The other main source of revenue stems from project funding – national, regional and European. These funds are used to develop new and innovative tools and services. Recently, OpenEdition has added the Freemium model (ji.sc/2Vxjge3) to their revenue streams, but this system has not been introduced to cover operating costs or infrastructures. Rather, it serves to help the journal publishers and editors to cover their publishing and editing costs. Two-thirds of the money collected is transferred to the publishers OpenEdition works with, while the remaining third is retained to operate the commercial services that sell these Freemium services….”

Publishers Announce a Major New Service to Plug Leakage – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Today, a group of the largest scholarly publishers is announcing a new effort to improve discovery and access, fight piracy, compete with ResearchGate, and position their platforms for an open access ecosystem. Their new “Get Full Text Research” (GetFTR) service will meaningfully improve access for the vast majority of users who discover articles from starting points other than the publisher website. This important development in user experience more importantly provides further evidence that publishers are finally beginning to address digital strategy in an environment of growing leakage that has steadily eroded their ability to monetize the value they create. At the same time, it probably does not yet go far enough to reset the competitive environment….

Publishers have been working on improved discovery and access for several years now. The effort to create RA21 (now SeamlessAccess.org) is helping to overcome one major access stumbling block by making the authorization process smoother. GetFTR, a service that signals to the user whether they will have access to the full-text and then routes them directly to it, is a natural next step. 

Backed by the American Chemical Society, Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley, GetFTR has two components. First, it enables the discovery service to indicate whether the article full text is available to the user before clicking on a link to the publisher page and if so to link directly to it. It requires that a user has disclosed their institutional affiliation through the SeamlessAccess.Org “Where Are You From” service, which in turn stores the affiliation information locally on their browser. The user’s institutional affiliation is sent along with the article DOI to a service which then queries the appropriate publisher to determine whether the individual should be entitled to access the article. This should take place seamlessly in the background as a list of search results is loading. The user will see, in a list of search results, clear information such as a green or red button, on whether they will be able to access the full text of each article prior to clicking on the link to it. A user who then clicks on the link will be taken to their institutional login or directly to the article without any intermediate pages if they are already logged in during the current session. This is a natural next step to improve access by leveraging federated authentication that is being rolled out more broadly in the wake of RA21. If enough subscribing institutions adopt federated authentication and the GetFTR technical implementation is successful it will measurably improve user experience in many cases. 

In a way, however, the second aspect of GetFTR is more significant, because it recognizes that, in the workflow described above, many users are not entitled to access the licensed version. Naturally, a user with entitlements through a subscription will be routed to the version of record. But the service will also provide an alternative for others who do not have licensed access, an alternative that each publisher will be able to determine for itself. Some publishers might choose to provide access to a preprint or a read-only version, perhaps in some cases on some kind of metered basis. I expect publishers will typically enable some alternative version for their content, in which case the vast majority of scholarly content will be freely available through publishers even if it is not open access in terms of licensing. This alternative pathway is a modest technical development but will have far-reaching strategic implications. 

GetFTR is intended to be entirely invisible to the user other than an array of colored buttons indicating that the link will take them to the version of record, an alternative pathway, or (presumably in rare cases) no access at all. Thus, like RA21, the brand name is not intended to face towards users. Digital Science and Elsevier expect to pilot GetFTR in the first quarter of 2020 through their platforms Dimensions, Mendeley, and ReadCube Papers. GetFTR characterizes these kinds of discovery and scholarly collaboration platforms as “integration partners.” Technical details about the service and associated APIs for publishers and integration partners are available online. …

For publishers, this situation is increasingly untenable. Pirate sites include nearly 100% of licensed publisher content. In addition, various kinds of repositories make green versions available and scholarly collaboration networks provide access to tremendous amounts of content as well. But it is not just availability elsewhere that is a concern. The use of SciHub, ResearchGate, and other alternative sources of access has exploded. With usage growing rapidly through these alternatives, the share of usage taking place on the publisher site is declining….”

Historians Respond to Plan S: Open Access vs OA Policies Redux – The Scholarly Kitchen

“For years, humanists have been pointing to the multi-dimensional importance of openness and accessibility of scholarship, and the multi-dimensional costs of rigid open access (OA) policies. In late October, the Royal Historical Historical Society (RHS) released a “guidance paper” on “Plan S and the History Journal Landscape.” Authored by RHS president Margot Finn, a distinguished professor at University College London (UCL) and a prolific scholar, this follows the RHS’s April 2019 working paper on Plan S and researchers in history of medicine, and June 2019 paper, responding to Plan S, as well as the society’s long-standing engagement with OA policies, and guidance to researchers, particularly in regards to OA policies vis à vis the Research Excellence Framework (REF). It is relevant that the RHS has supported OA initiatives, including their monograph series, “New Historical Perspectives.”  

The new report brings together important evidence about the state of journals that UK historians are publishing in terms of Plan S compliance, and a survey of journal editors. From public data on publications and publishing (including from the 2014 REF), as well as a survey of more than 100 journal editors from 26 UK and international presses, the report concludes that “unless major shifts occur…in the next few months, it is unlikely that either UKRI or Wellcome Trust-funded History researchers will be able to identify sufficient high-quality journal outlets that  comply with full-scale implementation of Plan S.” The report offers perspectives in discreet chapters on “Plan S:  What Do We Know?” and “Plan S:  What Don’t We Know?” An overview of “Research and Journal Publication in History” is followed by an overview of “Open Access History Journals, DOAJ and Plan S” and then coverage of the RHS survey results, and potential routes to Plan S compliance….”

How flipping a journal became about more than just open access – Digital Scholarship @ Leiden

“On January 14, 2019 the entire editorial board of Elsevier’s Journal of Informetrics (JOI) resigned. The editorial board wanted a journal with the same scope and same scientific standards, but owned by the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI) (and not by the publisher), open access (instead of toll access) and with open citations. That is why, after resigning from JOI, they launched the new journal Quantitative Science Studies (QSS) with MIT Press [see news of the resignations and launch of the journal at the CWTS website and ISSI website respectively]. MIT Press participates in the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC).

I interviewed Ludo Waltman (professor of Quantitative Science Studies and deputy director at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University) and Paul Wouters (Dean of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, former director of CWTS and Open Science Coordinator at Leiden University) about the reasons for their decision and their views on the future of scholarly communication in general. …”

Sharing cultural heritage in India – Open GLAM – Medium

“The Heritage Lab’s mission is to make museums accessible to people in terms of knowledge and content. We started with choosing objects and creating freely accessible educational content around them for teachers to use in the classroom. Most of the time we have to seek permission to reproduce these object images on our website….

For teachers, developing independent lesson plans (based on the city they are located in) is quite tough because they have zero access to openly reusable Indian museum resources, and their students cannot reproduce these objects in different formats. So teachers and students end up sourcing Indian material from non-Indian, open access institutions like the New York Public Library, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the British Library and Dublin’s Chester Beatty Library.

On a positive note, every year we host Art+Feminism Edit-a-thons (established in 2017) and we get a lot of support from participants in making museum content (images and text) freely accessible on Wikipedia. We would love to do more in terms of creatively re-using museum artworks, but that’s not possible in the current framework….”

#OpenGLAMnow: an upcoming series of webinars to learn to do open at your institution

“We interviewed Larissa Borck for the upcoming series of webinars that the Swedish National Heritage Board will be hosting around Open GLAM and how to open up your digital collection. The webinars will be happening between October and November at morning European time, but they will be recorded and made available. We wanted to explore with Larissa what’s the idea of the webinars, what they expect to obtain from it, and what are their plans for the future….”

ASECS at 50: Interview with Robert Darnton

“Of the potential solutions, open research practices are among the most promising. The argument is that transparency acts as an implicit quality control process. If others are able to scrutinise our work—not just the final published output, but the underlying data, code, and so on—researchers will be incentivised to ensure these are high quality.

So, if we think that research could benefit from improved quality control, and if we think that open research might have a role to play in this, why aren’t we all doing it? In a word: incentives….”

Can open access bridge the gaps between science and societal impact? | AAS Open Research Blog

“Some people may consider this open access wave as a simply incremental gain, but it really is, in many ways, a revolution. As it stands, people who generate the knowledge are rarely the same people who valorize that knowledge. Instead, it is often third parties who make most value by integrating knowledge from multiple sources. This is a new descriptor of literacy, and we must pay attention to the fact that the more it is shared, the more knowledge becomes useful. Researchers must therefore realize the need to bridge efforts in within the otherwise siloed knowledge industry, with the need to community desires for impact.

I believe that liberating information so that it can be accessed by multiple brains across disciplines will create immeasurable value. Here I mean value not just to academics, but to industry, governments and societies. The adage, “knowledge is power” remains most relevant today. The more of it we have, and the wider we share it, the greater our capacity will be to address our priority needs in key sectors including energy, health, agriculture, infrastructure and education. One might say that while quantity of knowledge has a linear effect on societal impact, the extent to which it is shared will have exponential effects.  

As am writing this, I have an email from one of our Tanzania postgraduate students requesting full text of an article published in 1962 in the East African Medical Journal, which historically had fantastic ratings. The article in question contains work done in northern Tanzania but is unfortunately now behind a paywall. The student can choose to pay for access, send an email to some American or European partner who probably has paid access or repeat the experiments? As it stands, all those options remain on the table, especially since I am, perhaps unreasonably, being adamant that “all which is behind a paywall is immaterial”….”