Are Mirror Journals Just Hybrid Open Access Journals In Disguise Or Are They A Viable Route To The Open Access Future? | A Way of Happening

Developments in the open access world seem to be moving at a lightning pace lately. Plan S has added a realism and urgency to OA discussions. Never to be behind on any ‘scholcomm’ development, Elsevier has started a pilot program of launching what they are calling ‘Mirror Journals’.  Open Access (OA) ‘copies’ of existing peer reviewed journals. Journals that are “fully gold open access but share the same editorial board, aims and scope and peer review policies as their existing “parent” journals – and the same level of visibility and discoverability.”

Angela Cochrane gave a good analysis of Mirror Journals as a route to the full OA future in October. Worth a read! She argues that Mirror Journals have the potential to solve several problems publisher face when trying to publish OA, including accusations of double-dipping and the steep challenge of starting a new OA journal from scratch….”

Mixed reactions to Wiley German deal | Research Information

Concerns have been raised over a new publishing deal between Wiley and a German consortium of 700 research institutes, libraries and universities. 

The deal, which is being described as the first country-wide agreement in a leading research nation, was announced at the APE conference in Berlin, Germany in January but the details have only recently been made public. The deal is described as ‘publish and read’, a system that is seen by some as a move towards open access….

Commentators have pointed out that the deal protects German researchers from ‘double-dipping’ – they will no longer have to subscribe to Wiley’s journals as well as paying to publish in them – but there have also been complaints that researchers in the Netherlands are paying a significantly lower fee (1,600 euros) to publish with Wiley.

Jon Tennant, founder of the Open Science MOOC, tweeted: ‘I find it impossible to see this as a success in any way. Public funds are being directly converted into private profits. This is absurd. The per-article cost is more than buying a brand new MacBook pro. For publishing a paper. Zero goes to authors, zero to reviewers.’ “

Why Should Taxpayer-Funded Research Be Put Behind a Paywall? – Pacific Standard

Further, the “read and publish” model, used as a stopgap, has its critics. Roger Schonfeld, director of libraries, scholarly communication, and museums for Ithaka S+R, an educational-access consulting service, worries that problems arise with universities paying publishers one negotiated bundled fee that swallows article-processing charges. First, authors lose access to price transparency, and have no idea what the charge folded into the subscription cost was. Second, publishers could end up actually charging more than universities currently pay, which UC conceded was possible. And third, what open-access visionaries interpret as a temporary measure on the road to open access could easily become a permanent solution. Schonfeld writes, “To those European librarians who might say that their [‘read and publish’] deals are merely transitional, I would note that publishers are taking these models seriously as the future of their business.”…

Either way, the ultimate impact of UC’s split with Elsevier will depend on how other large university systems react. Early indications suggest that they are emboldened. Lorraine Haricombe, vice provost and director of libraries at the University of Texas–Austin, says that the UC move “came as a very, very pleasant surprise that has gotten the attention of our faculty on the Austin campus.” The UT system pays $50 million for a five-year contract with Elsevier. Reflecting on how the UC decision resonates at UT, Haricombe says, “we are all standing up a little bit straighter because of what they did.” “

Plan S: Overlooked hybrid journal model | Science

The European Commission’s recent Plan S proposal laudably seeks to make scientific communications more freely available (“European funders seek to end reign of paywalled journals,” M. Enserink, In Depth, 7 September 2018, p. 957), but the plan is based on misinformation that will likely make publishing more difficult for many scientists. Plan S eliminates hybrid journals, in which authors can pay for open access if they (or funding agencies) desire but can also select an option for non–open access (1). Plan S provides no justification for this decision (2). The president of Science Europe is quoted in the News story as saying that the hybrid model costs more because “the author publication fees come on top of the subscription price.”

Hybrid journals do not necessarily require readers to pay for both open-access and paywalled papers. At Research Synthesis Methods (published by Wiley), we publish approximately 10 non–open access articles per issue and a varying number of additional open-access articles depending on case mix and availability. The number of open-access articles is independent of the number of non–open access articles. The open-access articles are available to both subscribers and nonsubscribers at no added cost. Therefore, we believe our model for a hybrid journal is an alternative that should satisfy Plan S because the publisher does not obtain monies from both subscribers and authors for open-access articles. Libraries or individuals who have paid subscription fees are obtaining additional free articles when authors pay for open access….”

European Commission envoy warns about mirror journals as way around open-access requirements

Research funders are being “taken for a ride” by publishers who launch new so-called mirror journals that mimic existing titles in an open-access format, according to the man spearheading an international effort to make more scholarship freely available.

Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s open-access envoy, said there was something “fishy” about mirror journals, which duplicate the title and editorial board of existing, subscription-based journals.

Some of these mirror journals have emerged since the launch last September of the international initiative Plan S, led by Smits, which would make immediate open access mandatory for academics who win grants from participating funders….

Some publishers see mirror journals as a way of allowing researchers to continue to submit to a near identical journal while remaining Plan S compliant.

But the fear for those leading Plan S is that publishers will end up being paid twice: once for subscription to the original, closed journal, then again when collecting payments from researchers to publish open access in the mirror.

This “double-dipping” criticism has also been leveled at hybrid journals, which contain a mixture of closed and open-access articles….”

What is the added value of a traditional publisher? | Research Information

The current dissatisfaction with scientific publishers is an obvious issue, with practices, such as ‘double dipping’ and services, such as the reprint servers, becoming the reason for the community to ask: what exactly is the added value of a traditional publisher? From our point of view, as a fully gold open access publisher and technology provider, there is an urgent need for publishers to demonstrate transparency, when it comes to forming their price policy, alongside a strong will to develop and adapt technologically together with the needs of the community. This is exactly why we have projects such as the Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) journal (www.riojournal.com), in our portfolio. RIO demonstrates our will to work towards true open science, where outputs along the full research cycle are published alongside the final peer-reviewed research article. These include research proposals, data, methods, negative results, presentation abstracts, software descriptions in a single research project collection. Opening the research cycle in this way does not only stimulate re-use and help researchers avoid duplication of work, but can also promote collaboration and interdisciplinarity. The real value to publish in RIO also comes from the fact that upon publication all these outputs become citable and discoverable. This functionality is, in fact, enabled on all our journals thanks to our publishing platform ARPHA, which is specifically developed to provide high level of automation and technologically advanced workflows, not only on terms of dissemination of archiving, but also for semantic enhancements of published content and integrations with industry’s leading service providers. …”

The Gold OA Landscape: Are facts irrelevant? « Walt at Random

“My spreadsheet, based on actual visits to every journal in the Directory of Open Access Journals as of June 2015, shows the following (assuming $1,550 to $3,100 as the dollar equivalent of the ranges in that paragraph):

  • More than £2,000 ($3,100): 23 journals publishing 3,091 articles in 2014.
  • Between £1,000 and £2,000 ($1,550 to $3,100): 548 journals publishing 73.609 articles in 2014.
  • Some APC but less than £1,000 ($1 to $1,550): 1,899 journals publishing 198,996 articles in 2014….”

Open access briefing: OA monographs in the UK | Jisc scholarly communications

“Research England (formally HEFCE) has stated that monographs must be published OA for inclusion in the REF2027 (Hill, 2018). Based on the REF2014 submissions, where publication dates for books submitted ranged from 2008 to 2013 (Tanner, 2016), titles submitted for the REF2027 will likely be being researched now for publication in 2021 or later. This presents a relative urgency for a functional, interoperable and transparent OA market to be developed that supports the long tail and is flexible enough to suit the diversity of AHSS research and its funding streams….”

UK research funders target hybrid open access charges | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Wellcome Trust and UK Research & Innovation launch reviews of policies that require funded papers to be made freely available…

[T]he Wellcome Trust highlighted that 71 per cent of its £5.7 million outlay on article processing charges in 2015-16 had been spent with hybrid open access journals. These are subscription periodicals that allow papers to be made freely available in return for the processing fee.

Significantly, average article processing charges for hybrid open access titles stood at £2,209 that year, 34 per cent higher than the average for a fully open access paper (£1,644).

Robert Kiley, head of open research at Wellcome, said that part of the rationale for the review came from “increasing costs”, particularly from hybrid journals.

Compliance with Wellcome’s open access policy now stands at more than 75 per cent, and it is thought that addressing cost issues would push this even higher….

A recent Universities UK report found that higher education institutions’ journal subscription costs had increased by 20 per cent in three years despite the shift to open access, with the dual income streams of hybrid journals a major concern….”