Open and Shut?: The OA interviews: Arianna Becerril-García, Chair of AmeliCA

“A professor in the School of Political and Social Sciences at the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEM), Arianna Becerril-García is also the Executive Director of Redalyc, the Network of Scientific Journals from Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal. Redalyc is a regional open access portal for the social sciences and humanities that indexes 1,305 local journals and hosts the full texts of more than 650,000 articles. …

In addition, Becerril-García is the Chair of a new project called AmeliCA (Open Knowledge for Latin America and the Global South). AmeliCA’s goal is to propagate the Redalyc model to the more than 15,000 journals in the region and elsewhere in the Global South.

As Chair of AmeliCA, Becerril-García has become a vocal critic of Plan S – the European OA initiative announced last year by a group of funders that call themselves cOAlition S. While AmeliCA shares cOAlition S’s goal of achieving universal open access, says Becerril-García, it fears that, as currently conceived, Plan S would disenfranchise researchers in the Global South and exclude them further from the international scholarly publishing system….”

DOAJ’s open letter to SSHA communities about Plan S – News Service

“The recently published Royal Historical Society (RHS) working paper on Plan Scontains some errors about the role that DOAJ might play in Plan S certification. These misunderstandings are commonplace and we, the DOAJ Management Team, have seen them before in other responses to Plan S. They are disappointing but they are not surprising….

The DOAJ Management Team recently decided that it is time to do a bit of “myth-busting“. Therefore we are publishing this open letter, partly as a response to the RHS paper, mostly as a way of addressing the misunderstandings that have been circulated on social media, but also as a call to SSHA communities to collaborate with us….

We felt it was important to respond to this particular statement because it illustrates that there is a great need to support social science, humanities and arts (SSHA) communities. DOAJ is keen to work more closely with SSHA communities and the organisations and bodies working with them to enable them to become fully familiar with the driving forces behind open access, in a way that the STEMM communities already are….

In 2015, DOAJ tightened its acceptance criteria and made all the 10 000+ indexed journals reapply to remain indexed. Many SSHA journals failed to submit a re-application to us, or didn’t meet enough of the criteria to remain indexed. It is not enough to expect these journals to simply come to us and apply. We must go to them and help them understand why being indexed in DOAJ is a good thing, but we cannot do it alone. With this post, we are putting out an open call to representative groups in the social sciences, humanities and arts to collaborate with us and help us to identify journals that are fit for purpose, and which should be indexed in DOAJ….

The RHS paper describes an understandable concern that Plan S disadvantages SSHA journals, many of which do not charge APCs. We were pleased to read this comment as this echoes exactly the concern which DOAJ presented to cOAlition S during the feedback period. The current draft of the Plan S requirements glosses over any journals, SSHA or otherwise, that do not charge APCs and these are the journals that DOAJ is trying to protect and promote….

Many commentators of Plan S have mentioned either that many journals in DOAJ are not Plan S compliant or that it is hard to identify Plan S compliant journals currently indexed in DOAJ. If cOAlition S confirms that DOAJ is a partner in Plan S implementation then the DOAJ Management Team will adapt DOAJ, both the website and the editorial processes, to allow journals to apply for Plan S compliance.

  • We will add a separate stream for those journals seeking Plan S compliance.
  • Being indexed in DOAJ will not equal Plan S compliance.
  • We will make it possible for journals to be indexed appropriately in DOAJ: Plan S compliant or DOAJ compliant or compliance for both.
  • We understand that many of the journals which eventually achieve Plan S compliance probably aren’t in DOAJ today.
  • We do expect that many of the journals in DOAJ today may not even want to apply for Plan S compliance.
  • We will work hard to make sure that Plan S compliant journals are quickly and easily identifiable by users….”

São Paulo Statement on Open Access | National Research Foundation

The representatives of African Open Science Platform, AmeLICA, cOAlition S, OA2020, and SciELO – five of the major worldwide Open Access initiatives – met on 01 May 2019 during the annual meeting of the Global Research Council (GRC) in Sao Paulo. They are united in their common mission of making knowledge available and accessible wherever it can have the greatest impact and help solve humanity’s challenges regardless of where it was produced.

The combined effect of the five initiatives has generated a new momentum in the push towards universal, full and immediate Open Access.

The Five Initiatives jointly state that:

  • They consider that scholarly and scientific knowledge is a global public good. When generated by public funds, free access to it is a universal right.
  • They share one common ultimate objective: providing universal, unrestricted, and immediate Open Access to scholarly information, including use and re-use by humans and machines.
  • They share the belief that this common goal can be achieved through a variety of approaches.
  • They will pursue points of alignment among their approaches and ways to co-operate towards reaching the shared objective.
  • They seek an active dialogue with all stakeholders, including researchers, research funders, universities, libraries, publishers, learned societies, governments, and citizens to take into account the diversity of the global scholarly community….”

Open and closed – What do reverse flips tell us about the scholarly publishing landscape? | Impact of Social Sciences

“The progress of Open Access (OA) is often measured by the proportion of journals that have transitioned to OA publication models. However, a number of journals have made the opposite choice and moved from open to closed access models. In this post Lisa Matthias, Najko Jahn and Mikael Laakso report on findings from the first study of journals that have made this reverse flip and assess what this phenomenon says about the wider ecosystem of research communication….

One key issue here might be that OA journals that do not charge APCs, or have low APCs, are seen to be ‘low quality’, or even ‘predatory’, in comparison to the more prestigious (higher price) journals associated with larger publishers and societies. It is difficult to project an image of higher quality while giving away your services for free, especially within a culture that is addicted to journal brands and prestige. This factor might partially explain why at least 21 currently hybrid journals operated by a learned society flipped from an APC-free ‘diamond OA’ model to one leveraging APCs in excess of $1,500.

Although launching OA journals seems to be relatively easy, consistent and stable publication over several years is not, especially if financial support is lacking and the journal is largely dependent on the voluntary labor of scholars. Developing and strengthening support mechanisms for the sustainability and growth of existing scholar-led OA journals is essential in this regard.

Moreover, we also found that in some cases, research articles originally published as OA were put behind a paywall when the journal reverse-flipped. This was not the main focus of our study, but we do want to raise the issue of proper content licensing and emphasize its importance to increase the likelihood that materials remain in open circulation and decrease uncertainties regarding their reusability.

We suspect, the OA model is not the root cause of these problems, but rather other problematic aspects of the scholarly publishing system; for example, the prestige-driven evaluation system, and the increasing concentration of journals within a few large commercial entities. However, with initiatives such as Plan S, it is clear that for many scholarly publishers it will no longer be business as usual. As new stakeholder groups, including researchers, policymakers, NGOs, and academic and library consortia become increasingly engaged with scholarly communication, it remains critical that we have a sound, evidence-informed view of how the landscape is changing. Reverse-flip journals represent one small but critical part of this and we encourage others to pool their resources, efforts, and data to help to create a more holistic understanding of the global scholarly publishing ecosystem, and ultimately a more sustainable open scholarly infrastructure….”

2019 Big Deals Survey Report: An Updated Mapping of Major Scholarly Publishing Contracts in Europe

“The Second EUA Big Deals Survey Report is an updated mapping of major scholarly publishing contracts in Europe.

Conducted in 2017-2018, the report gathers data from 31 consortia covering an unprecedented 167 contracts with five major publishers: Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, Wiley and American Chemical Society. Readers will discover that the total costs reported by the participating consortia exceed one billion euros for periodicals, databases, e-books and other resources – mainly to the benefit of large, commercial scholarly publishers.

The report provides an overview of Big Deal negotiations across Europe, focusing on topics such as the organisation of negotiations, provisions on Open Access and transparency of contracts and costs. It also offers information on the consortia and focuses specifically on periodical Big Deal contracts with the five large publishers selected for this survey. Finally, the report addresses the costs of Big Deal contracts, offering conclusions and policy recommendations on the negotiation of contracts….”

Developing a strategic approach to open scholarship in Australia: Joint CAUL-AOASG Election Statement – Australasian Open Access Strategy Group

In its 2018 inquiry into the Australian Government Funding Arrangements for non-NHMRC Research, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training recommended “that the Australian Government develop a more strategic approach to Australia’s open scholarship environment”. CAUL and AOASG supported this recommendation[4].

It is now time to implement that approach through the establishment of a cross-sectoral body charged with developing and implementing, within three years, a national action plan for open scholarship – a plan that would include recommendations on changes to the policy and funding framework for Australian higher education. Open scholarship should also be included in the terms of reference for any post-election reviews or inquiries on Australian higher education and research.

Achieving fair and open access to Australian research outputs would be a realistic and significant accomplishment for a new or re-appointed Minister after the election, and a priority for government. CAUL and the AOASG are ready to offer their experience, expertise and knowledge to the goal of open scholarship….”

Los costos del APC: el caso de la Universidad de Antioquia – AmeliCA

From Google’s English: “The costs of publishing openly according to the European tendency to regulate its market of scientific publications have generated a debate that warns Latin America about the need to take a position on the cost that policies such as the Plan S for the development of science and its circulation. Latin America has been a pioneer in proposing a path for open science, provided that the publications of the region were born in open access, where scientific production is created and circulated by the academy itself. However, an important part of European and North American publications have not only charged for publishing, and do so increasingly, but also charge for access to articles. That cost has not been calculated for Latin America. Here is a first exercise, 

In the Institutional Development Plan 2017-2027 , the University of Antioquia adopted open science as one of the guidelines that will guide the development of the Institution in the decade. Under this framework, the University approved in April 2018 the Open Access Policy to the publications for the entity, in which it is defined that the institutional commitment is oriented towards the “Deposited Deposit”, in which the Library System assumes a leading role to be responsible for administering the Institutional Repository that houses the scientific production of the University, provided that copyright (moral and patrimonial) permit.

However, in the areas of socialization and disclosure of the policy it has been observed that a common concern of the researchers has revolved around who would be responsible for financing publications in open access. This in the sense of who finances the Article Processing Charges (APC), automatically assuming that the publication in open access implies the payment of APC to publishers, and ignoring that there are other routes under which open access works and that they require the APC [2] .

It is for this reason, among others, that the University of Antioquia has initiated the development of strategies to size and demystify open access in the Institution. In the first case, an investigative exercise was carried out to measure the institutional practices in Open Access, from the bibliographic sources and with the computation capacities that the CoLaV of the UdeA has been building, this being a collaborative that we have been developing in University. In the second case, an awareness campaign has been designed, open UdeA, which seeks to bring the actors of the University to the world of open access, showing its advantages, practices and the need for its implementation in the institution.

The present text seeks to show progress in the first case, giving a global panorama of the case of the University of Antioquia….”

Transformative Publishing: Requirements for a new publishing standard A proposal from Springer Nature

“A transformative publisher would commit to:

1. Continuously increase the average level of OA take-up across its transformative journals portfolio at least at the rate permitted by the commitments of research funding bodies, institutions and consortia

2. Promoting the benefits of OA using comprehensive summaries of article metrics to authors of primary research articles prior to submission, at submission and during the peer-review process to allow for comparisons to be made and therefore to maximise the take-up of the OA option via a series of online reports, seminars and webinars

3. Updating authors regularly on their articles’ usage, citations and online attention while showcasing the advantages of OA publishing and encouraging take-up of the OA option in future submissions to that transformative journal

4. Providing annual public reports on the greater benefits of OA article usage and citations compared with other content published in these transformative journals and utilise this data in wider promotion of OA benefits

5. Reporting on the OA and subscription content volumes and usage of its transformative journals portfolio so that institutional librarians could evaluate the cost per article cost and the article cost per download of their subscription content

6. Being more transparent about their subscription pricing policies, enabling institutional librarians to understand how subscription pricing takes account of any reductions in the volume of subscription content

7. Operating more transparent APC pricing policy that explains the value and cost rationale of each APC pricing band ….”

Springer Nature proposes model for open access transition | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Springer Nature has proposed a model to accelerate the shift towards open access publishing, in a move that could see research papers from prestigious Nature titles made freely available….

The move comes ahead of the publication of updated guidelines for Plan S, due at the end of this month. The scheme’s leaders have indicated that there is unlikely to be a softening of the bar on open access embargoes for funded research, or of their attitude to hybrid journals, which make some content freely available in return for an article processing charge but reserve some content for subscribing readers. Funded research will be able to appear only in hybrid journals during a three-year transition period, and if they were part of a “transformative agreement” under which they were moving towards full open access.

Under Springer Nature’s new proposal, publishers could term themselves “transformative publishers”, under which they would commit to increasing the average level of open access take-up across their titles “at least at the rate of research funding bodies, institutions and consortia”, and would promote open access to researchers by releasing aggregated article metrics showing how they, for example, get more readers and citations than closed access papers.

 

At the end of a transition period, all of the publishers’ papers – in titles that were formerly hybrid or subscription – would be available open access, even titles such as Nature. Mr Inchcoombe said that, in the case of Nature, this would probably mean researchers being allowed to place their papers in open access depositories, with the journal’s editorial content continuing to be sold via subscriptions….”

OA2020 and cOAlition S Launch Joint Statement | Plan S

“One of several pathways pursued by OA2020 participants is to negotiate transformative agreements under which the funds previously spent for subscriptions are repurposed to cover the costs associated with open access publishing. This approach enables a swift and efficient transition to open access, in which ‘hybrid’ publishing models can be included to increase the proportion of articles published open access— without paying twice for services relating to one piece of content.

Institutions who engage in such agreements will contribute to delivering the greatest possible range in Plan S-compliant publishing options to their authors while significantly growing the proportion of research made openly available. At the same time, cOAlition S recognizes the importance, as one of three routes towards full and immediate open access, of those agreements in providing a strong incentive for scholarly publishers who have yet to pilot open access models. Publishers will find institutions and consortia willing to partner on such agreements in exchange for a commitment to a definitive transition to full and immediate open access with fair and transparent pricing. Neither the cOAlition S funders nor the OA2020 partners intend to pay for open access publishing in hybrid subscription journals outside such transformative agreements….”