“But despite their previous reliance on the subscription model, recent times have seen major publishers declaring that an open access future is inevitable (as long as it is brought about on their terms).
In May 2019, for instance, Springer Nature’s Chief Publishing Officer, Stephen Inchcoombe, declared that the publisher wanted “to find the fastest and most effective route to immediate open access (OA) for all primary research”. Similarly, last year Wiley announced that, to continue their mission to “empower researchers to communicate the amazing work they do every day”, they are “fully supportive of the growing movement to make research more open”.
The trouble with arguments made about business practices through moral terms, as much OA advocacy has done, is that it is vulnerable to having its language captured by Senior Executives and dissolved into platitudes. These grand, broad statements of assent from publishers on where academic publishing should go conceal very real disagreements of where precisely it’s going and how it should get there….
These [transformative] deals become troublesome, however, when they are requested by (or imposed upon) those institutions that do a lot more reading, relatively speaking, than they do publishing, or vice versa….
In all the competing visions in what a fair and sustainable publishing industry should look like, the voice that is rarely heard is of those actually doing the publishing. The organisations speaking on behalf of the industry are trade bodies, not trade unions. ‘Plan S’ has of late generated an interminable proliferation of panel discussions and conference symposia, always with representatives of publishing organisations rather than of publishing staff….
The skills required of those working to produce academic journals are considerable and ever-changing. Some of the arguments commonly heard against the publishing business – that publishers add little or no value, that it is ‘just putting a PDF online’ – denigrate the work and expertise of publishing professionals. A higher profit margin means work is less well paid for, not that less work is being done….
The NUJ [National Union of Journalists] has been campaigning on open access and its effects on publishing work for nearly a decade. With many members in academic publishing, particularly in Springer Nature and Taylor and Francis, the NUJ has also been working for equal pay, action on workload-related stress and greater diversity in the industry, all as part of a fundamental emphasis on the value of the work that publishing professionals do….”