Open Access Monographs in the UK: A data analysis

“One of the key challenges of open access book publishing is determining who pays. As pointed out in section 9, and also by Eve et al. (2017), library funding alone would not be sufficient to support a shift to OA books under an immediate OA model; this would bring about undue pressures on library budgets, resulting in sector inequalities (particularly regarding for institutions that do not receive a large amount of QR funding). As could be seen from the sample in section 8, a significant proportion of publisher revenue for UK REF books also comes from non-UK HEIs. In addition, researchers clearly indicated in the survey that they do not want to be limited in their choice of publisher from any country in the world, and publishers are eager to continue to enjoy their entrepreneurial freedom….”

Open access and monographs evidence review

This report presents new evidence on academic book publishing in the UK, and puts forward a set of stakeholder recommendations to be considered as part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Research Excellence Framework (REF) Open Access reviews.

 

The report has been published by the Universities UK (UUK) Open Access Monographs Group. A data analysis of Open Access books in the UK, carried out by fullstopp GmbH and supported by Research England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (both part of UK Research and Innovation), Jisc and the British Academy, has also been published alongside the UUK report.  

The UUK report draws on a quantitative analysis of the current landscape of long-form publications in the higher education sector, and its engagement with more than 90 organisations at two events,  including publishers, learned societies, subject associations and research libraries….”

OA monographs: policy and practice for supporting researchers | Jisc scholarly communications

“In the UK, the four UK HE funding bodies have signalled the intent to mandate open access for monographs submitted to the Research Excellence Framework beyond the 2021 assessment and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a signatory of Plan S, has launched its own open access policy review. This will cover monographs and book chapters.

At the same time, the UK has seen a growing movement of academic and library led presses, many of whom publish OA monographs.

However, there has been criticism and concern expressed about the move to open access policies for monographs from academics, learned societies and publishers. In order to engage with the community, the Universities UK working group on open access monographs held workshops for learned societies and publishers in 2018 (see the synthesis report). This was followed in May 2019 by an event for academics at Goldsmiths College, London (see this event report).

UUK have now released the final two reports from the working group. The first is a data analysis of Open Access Monographs in the UK carried out by Fullstopp GmbH and funded by Research England, Jisc, the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The second is the evidence review from the Universities UK Open Access Monographs Group, which details a number of key recommendations….”

OA price and service transparency Survey

“The views of researchers, librarians, publishers, and funders about ways to increase the transparency of communications about the price of Open Access publishing services are sought in a new industry survey. The results of this survey will help to inform a collaborative project with publishers, funders, and universities to develop a framework for communications. The project is sponsored by the Wellcome Trust in partnership with UKRI on behalf of cOAlition S. You can visit the survey here ….”

Society Publishers Accelerating Open access and Plan S (SPA-OPS) project

“This collection contains the key outputs from the Society Publishers Accelerating Open access and Plan S (SPA-OPS) project. This project set out to identify routes through which learned society publishers could successfully transition to open access (OA) and align with Plan S.

This project was led by Alicia Wise and Lorraine Estelle of Information Power, and was commissioned by Wellcome, UK Research and Innovation, and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP)….”

Report and Toolkit to Support Learned Society Publishers Transition to Immediate Open Access | Plan S

“cOAlition S aims to work with publishers, societies, consortia, and other stakeholders to accelerate the transition to Open Access. One of the current priorities is to develop clearer approaches to transformative arrangements towards full and immediate Open Access. Today an independent report and toolkit are launched to do just this.

This work was commissioned by Wellcome and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – two UK members of cOAlition S – in partnership with the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP). Information Power were appointed to lead the project.

The resulting report and toolkit are designed to help support learned society publishers to accelerate their transition to Open Access, and enter into transformative agreements that unlock a multi-year transitional pathway compliant with Plan S for hybrid Open Access titles. All outputs are available under a CC-BY licence at: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4561397 …”

Horizon 2020 and UK Research and Innovation Requirements for H2020 Projects | Jisc scholarly communications

“Twice a year, Jisc contacts Horizon2020-funded projects in the UK on behalf of OpenAIRE (www.openaire.eu) which supports the EC’s Open Access policies.  Jisc is the National Open Access Desk for OpenAIRE in the UK, and we contact project coordinators because there are particular Open Access obligations within most of the Horizon2020 projects for the EC:

Open Access Mandate:  All H2020 projects must provide open access (OA) to all peer-reviewed scientific publications that stem from project activities, immediately or otherwise within 6/12 months of publication where publisher embargoes apply.  Non-compliance can lead to a grant reduction and potential sanctions.
Open Research Data Pilot: Projects in designated areas of H2020 will participate in a pilot project to make the underlying data related to project outputs openly available and accessible for use by other researchers, innovative industries and citizens.  If you have signed up to the pilot, you will need to make your research data openly available, as well.

How many OA publications does your project have? Take a look at your project page at: https://explore.openaire.eu/search/find/projects. You can use this page to help you with reporting!…”

Towards a framework to enable more transparent communication of Open Access publishing services and their prices

“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.

Wellcome – in partnership with UKRI and on behalf of cOAlition S – have appointed Information Power to lead a collaborative project with publishers, funders and universities to develop a framework for these communications. The project team – including Alicia Wise, Lorraine Estelle, and Hazel Woodward – see this as an exciting opportunity to facilitate stakeholders working together to accelerate the transition to Open Access. 

We will:

consult widely with stakeholders to understand concerns and needs,

focus on identifying high-level categories of services provided in exchange for APCs or transformative arrangements

work to gain the voluntary support of members of these groups to deliver greater pricing transparency, and in ways that can be maintained and monitored

The project will not explore costs, nor current or future pricing….”

Towards a framework to enable more transparent communication of Open Access publishing services and their prices

“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.

Wellcome – in partnership with UKRI and on behalf of cOAlition S – have appointed Information Power to lead a collaborative project with publishers, funders and universities to develop a framework for these communications. The project team – including Alicia Wise, Lorraine Estelle, and Hazel Woodward – see this as an exciting opportunity to facilitate stakeholders working together to accelerate the transition to Open Access. 

We will:

consult widely with stakeholders to understand concerns and needs,

focus on identifying high-level categories of services provided in exchange for APCs or transformative arrangements

work to gain the voluntary support of members of these groups to deliver greater pricing transparency, and in ways that can be maintained and monitored

The project will not explore costs, nor current or future pricing….”

Open and Shut?: The Open Access Interviews: Edith Hall

“Why is open access so contentious? In large part, I think, because although OA began as a bottom-up revolution it was never widely embraced by researchers. However, OA advocates managed to persuade governments, funders and institutions that their colleagues should be compelled to embrace open access. This has seen a series of ever more stringent OA mandates being imposed on researchers, increasing the bureaucratic burden on them (amongst other things).

Monographs are a particularly contested area because of their length, their narrative form, and the licensing issues that this raises.

 

It has not helped that OA advocates promised open access would reduce the costs of scholarly communication. In reality, costs have risen.

 

This last point is particularly troublesome in the UK context as OA policies have been introduced without providing the necessary funding to support them. As a result, researchers can discover that they have been mandated to make their work open access but cannot afford to pay the article-processing charge (APC) needed if they want to satisfy the government’s preference for gold OA.

 

This has been a challenge even for researchers at wealthy and prestigious institutions. Last year, for instance, Oxford University library had to inform faculty that its OA fund had been exhausted and so they should delay submitting to journals until it had been replenished. 

 

At the same time, the bureaucracy surrounding OA compliance has become so complex that universities have had to recruit legions of support staff to interpret and manage the escalating number of policies (some of which have proved contradictory). Indeed, such is the complexity now that even specialist support staff can struggle to decode the rules.

 

In short, the UK OA policy environment is far too complex, and it is seriously underfunded. For researchers, this is frustrating and depressing….”