Coronavirus may be encouraging publishers to pursue open access

“The unrestricted sharing of scientific papers during the coronavirus pandemic may have hastened the shift toward more open-access publishing, scientists believe, as several leading journals move to make content publicly available….

That move has prompted the editorial board of a leading Elsevier title, Neuron, to demand a similar switch to open access.

“The writing is on the wall for journals with a paywall, and many of us can no longer serve in good faith on the board of such journals,” says the letter calling for the change, which was signed by more than 75 leading scientists….”

Letter to Elsevier re Neuron.pdf – Google Drive

“Elsevier’s flagship journal in neuroscience, Neuron, has played a vital role in contemporary neuroscience. As members of its Board, we have done our best to help it succeed, and we have collectively contributed over 1,550 papers to the journal. The times, however, have changed. Many neuroscientists in California and in Germany no longer access Neuron because their institutions will not renew their Elsevier subscription. Many neuroscientists across Europe will no longer submit to Neuron because of Plan S. A few days ago, Springer Nature agreed to comply with Plan S, setting Neuron’s key competitor Nature Neuroscience on the path to Open Access. We want Neuron to continue to thrive in the next decades. For this to happen, it must go full Open Access. If not immediately, we urge that it does so at least gradually, but with a clear timetable agreed with Plan S, and one that does not lag behind Nature Neuroscience. Otherwise, Neuron will wither. We hope you will be able to lead Elsevier to make the right decision, and make Neuron and its sister journals Open Access, just like Springer Nature has agreed to do. The writing is on the wall for journals with a paywall, and many of us can no longer serve in good faith on the Board of such journals.”

Mass resignations at Wiley journal over academic independence | Times Higher Education (THE)

“The resignation of all members of a journal’s editorial and advisory boards in a row over academic independence raises fundamental questions about “who owns” academic publications, scholars have claimed.

The mass resignations at the European Law Journal – in which a total of 20 academics linked to the Wiley publication quit – follow more than a year of negotiations with the US publisher in the wake of its alleged effort to appoint new editors-in-chief in 2018 without consulting either its board of editors or its advisory board….”

What a Journal Makes: As we say goodbye to the European Law Journal | Verfassungsblog

“On January 31st, the Editorial and Advisory Boards of the European Law Journal resigned en masse from their positions in protest after the publisher, Wiley, decided that it was not willing to ‘give away’ control and authority over editorial appointments and decisions to the academics on the journal’s Boards. We recount our small act of resistance here because we think there may be lessons for the wider academic community. We are not looking to portray ourselves as martyrs for academic freedom or principled radicals looking to overhaul the entire system of academic publishing. Indeed, the most significant aspect of our rupture with Wiley lies in the modesty of the demands they were unwilling to meet. …”

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. …”

Open-Access Is Going Mainstream. Here’s Why That Could Transform Academic Life. – The Chronicle of Higher Education

“That may soon change. Smaller-scale efforts are mixing with top-down decisions — through universities’ subscription negotiations and a major European plan that mandates open-access publication for certain research — to put unusual pressure on publishers.

Don’t think these battles are confined to the library or an individual discipline. The changes have the potential to alter nearly everything about how research is disseminated — and therefore how departments spend money, researchers collaborate, and faculty careers advance….”

Editorial board mutinies: are they what’s needed or are they part of the problem?

“However, what I find striking is that the combined number of articles published by Lingua and Glossa has doubled since 2014, far outpacing the annual 4% growth in scholarly articles.

Does this mean linguistics is a burgeoning field? Or that these journals have won share from others? Or are we, perhaps, observing induced demand in action?

(Induced demand is a phenomenon where adding supply capacity prompts increased demand. A common example is new roads increasing traffic levels.) …

Twenty year ago, the authors of the Budapest Open Access Declarationthought that new, digital, forms of publishing would cost less than the traditional analogue methods. Unfortunately, as the financial travails at PLoSillustrate, we now know that digital publishing is far from low-cost. Worse, despite two decades of investment costs are increasing.

This latter point was brought home to me when I saw a tweet about arXiv’s costs. In 2010, arXiv had 4 staff and total expenses of $420,000. For 2019, arXiv has budgeted 10 staff and $2,070,000 in expenses. So, expenses have grown five-fold over the past decade, a period which saw postings double. To put it another way, the cost per posting has risen to $14.40 from $5.80 over the past decade, a 247% increase….

One reason costs continue to climb is because digital makes possible desirable things that were impossible before. For example, digital makes it possible to publish associated datasets and to disambiguate authors, funders, and institutions and digital has led to new, complex, standards for things like content capture and metadata to improve discoverability and machine readability.

Many of these new digital things have become standard fixtures in any quality scholcom solution, setting expectations for the future. cOAlition S’ Plan S doesn’t just seek to flip journals to open access, it sets mandatory standards on how they should be published, about which many researchers agree. It’s hardly a surprise that the original 60 things publishers did in 2012 had grown to 102 by 2018, many of the additions things digital….”

Transitioning journals to open access: Guidance from and for the field – Office of Scholarly Communication

One key objective of University of California’s Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) is to coordinate and offer educational resources related to scholarly publishing. On the OSC website, authors can find guides to copyright, open access (OA), research impact, peer review, and more. In real life, OSC members are also “out in the field” at our respective libraries and university presses, offering consultations and support for UC scholars and authors on a multitude of publishing issues.

Over the past two years, we have engaged in an increasing number of discussions with journal editors interested in transitioning their journals to open access. We have also learned a few lessons in the process–particularly regarding the specific issues that any OA-aspiring journal must address, e.g., choosing publishing platforms, funding models, copyright and licensing policies, and communications strategies.

Given OSC’s mission to make educational materials about publishing more widely available, we are excited to have distilled these recent experiences into a practical toolkit aimed at supporting journal editors and publishers and the organizations or libraries that work with them. This toolkit, which you can find on our new OSC page Transitioning Journals to OA, includes a variety of resources for those interested in the OA transitioning process…”

Checklist for Consultations About Transitioning Journals to OA

“Scholarly society and journal editorial boards interested in transitioning their journals from subscription-based to open access (OA) publishing may need community support in identifying their needs, understanding publishing options, and planning next steps. We developed this checklist for libraries and institutions who engage in consultations with journal boards and editors about these issues. The checklist should help facilitate conversations about journal operations, finances, and strategies—so that journal boards and editors can come away from the conversation with a clearer understanding of how to proceed with an OA transition….”