The future of scientific publication is Open Access, but needs diversity, equability and equality!

“Just recently, some interesting proposals for the future of scientific publishing in the life sciences were suggested, and a transparent review-process, among others, was one suggestion to overcome outdated publishing processes [8]. Since the launch of “Innovative Surgical Sciences” in 2016, a transparent double-blind peer review process and publication of the reviews together with the article have been a major and among comparable surgical journals still unique feature of the journal. Additionally, the discussion on transparency should address the question of publishing preprints that are peer-reviewed by the scientific community in order to improve the manuscript as well as research activities. In the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, preprints have been essential for rapid dissemination of new findings. However, transparency in the review process is just one issue of relevance. Other factors of future publication refer to the significance of impact factors to assess scientific achievements and the question of negative results, which are often not published, but may be of importance for future research activities [9]. It becomes more and more evident, that perhaps downloads and other manuscript-oriented altmetrics are of greater interest than just impact factors. And even funding agencies like EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organization) value personal statements and motivation far more than publication history as they stated in a Lindau Nobel laureate discussion [9]. One other, and probably even more relevant issue refers to the participation in open research and Open Access. Up till now, research and publication are primarily US-, European- and Asian-centric. There are concerns that low and middle income countries despite the EIFL-initiative (Electronic Information for Libraries; https://www.eifl.net/) may be lost on the way to the future of publications simply because they cannot afford it. This relates in particular to publishing in a Gold Open Access/Article Processing Charges model. Therefore, there is a need to define opportunities for participation in order to make every participant visible [10], [11]. It can well be assumed that the scientific community will agree that Open Access is undoubtedly associated with full participation of everyone. Keeping this in mind we also have to acknowledge that Open Access for all cannot be established without financial efforts. At the end, “someone must pay for the costs of publishing all this ever-increasing research” [12]. The European Union (https://open-research-europe.ec.europa.eu/) advocates Open Access research and a rapid and transparent publishing process powered by the F1000research-initiative (https://f1000research.com/). Another important achievement is the PlanS or cOAlitionS concept (https://www.coalition-s.org/) which was, at least in 2019, almost unknown among the 50 Editorial Board members of the British Journal of Surgery [12]. Besides the fact that this is just one example for the old world of publication, PlanS poses in particular for surgery a major problem: only studies that are funded by public grants will have a chance for Gold Open Access publication, and the costs are covered by the grants. The same holds true for studies funded by the European Union, although the European Research Council just recently withdrew from PlanS (https://erc.europa.eu/news/erc-scientific-council-calls-open-access-plans-respect-researchers-needs). Grants from the European Union are still to be published Open Access, and the Article Processing Charges are eligible costs within the grants. Many surgical research papers from all over the world, however, cover clinical studies that are most often not funded at all. These papers would ne

Continuing the open access transition in 2021 and beyond | Advancing Discovery | Springer Nature

“However, for those of us committed to accelerating the transition to immediate gold OA, 2021 has come with a new challenge – the introduction by cOAlition S of its Rights Retention Strategy (RRS) and its  determination that zero-embargo green OA be used as an alternative to gold OA.  As we have made clear from the outset in our Plan S submission and contributions to blogs and letters, seeking to assert a prior CC BY licence on the accepted manuscript (AM) version of an article risks undermining the transition to immediate open access to the version of record, a goal we had thought cOAlition S shared with us.  This RRS/zero-embargo green OA approach forces publishers into defending subscription income since this is the only income available to pay for their per article costs. Further, this RRS/zero-embargo green OA approach has introduced significant confusion for authors with the priority it gives zero embargo green OA even if a journal provides a compliant immediate OA option for the version of record….”

Major OA Diamond Journals Study completed: Report emphasizes diversity and sustainable pathways for diamond Open Access – OASPA

OASPA is pleased to announce the publication of an in-depth report and associated recommendations arising from a study of open access journals across the world that are free for readers and authors, usually referred to as “OA diamond journals”. 

Funded by Science Europe and commissioned by cOAlition S in order to gain a better understanding of the OA diamond landscape, the publication of the study is the culmination of work undertaken from June 2020 to February 2021 by a consortium of 10 organisations (including OASPA) led by OPERAS. The study uncovers a vast archipelago of up to 29,000 journals, most of which (60%) are in the humanities and social sciences, serving the needs of multiple scientific communities across the world.

Plan S Effects 2021 – Part 1, Article Volumes – Delta Think

“In January 2021, the implementation of Plan S began in earnest. This month we take a look at the effect Plan S might have on the volumes of output in the scholarly publishing market. We also examine the potential effects of the OSTP and UKRI agencies adopting Plan S policies. Next month we will look at the effect on market value….

For the full year 2020, we estimate that:

cOAlition S funders accounted for around 5.2% of all publications (or over 130,000 papers) that would fall under Plan S policy if it had been in place during that year.
The proportion of cOAlition S funded OA papers in hybrid journals is over twice that of the average (12.7% or over 28,000 papers). This represents the proportion of output that would notionally need to be “rehomed” in Fully OA journals once transformative policies expire….”

We also consider what might happen if Plan S principles were adopted globally. The variation in policies around the world suggest that this is unlikely in the short term at least. However a couple of key funding groups stand out.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which oversees the UK’s highly centralized publicly funded research, is currently reviewing its position on Plan S. It accounts for 1.3% of global output.
Similarly, the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is thought to be reviewing its public access policy. Should it adopt Plan S principles, they would cover another 13.4% of global output.
The effects on highly-cited papers are less profound for the UK’s funding bodies, probably reflecting their early adopter position in driving OA. These effects are notably more profound for funding agencies under the OSTP’s umbrella.
Note: The numbers vary slightly compared with previous analyses, as the sample now covers different funders. In 2018 (not shown above), we estimated around 6.25% of output was covered by current Plan S and UK funders, compared with 6.4% of 2018 output in the analysis carried out by ISI in March 2019.
To put this in context, our market sizing suggest that at least 25% of all content is published in fully OA journals. We might deem this as already Plan S compliant assuming things such as licenses and rights retention are appropriate. The remaining three quarters of all papers would be affected if Plan S principles were adopted globally….”

Publishers Care about the Version of Record, Do Researchers? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“It was against this backdrop that I read Exploring Researcher Preference for the Version of Record, which reported on research Springer Nature conducted in collaboration with ResearchGate. It is perhaps obvious to caveat that it is in Springer Nature’s interests to use this study to reinforce the value of the VOR, a central position of a recent keynote by CEO Frank Vrancken Peeters at the APE 2021 conference.

The study was conducted “in situ” and leveraged the Springer Nature syndication pilot project that posted VOR articles for access on the ResearchGate platform. As Mithu Lucraft, Director for Content Marketing Strategy, of the Springer Nature Group and one of the study’s co-authors explained to me, the survey was presented to ResearchGate users that were logged in and who had interacted with at least one Springer Nature publication in the 60 days prior to the survey being live in October 2020. 

Importantly, survey participants were not only asked to choose which version of an article they prefer but also which versions they would feel comfortable using for different purposes. In many cases, participants indicated that multiple different versions would be acceptable for a given use, which indicates that a preprint or accepted manuscript can substitute for the VOR in some use cases but perhaps not all. …”

Plan S Information – ACS Open Science

“From January 2021, there are some changes for ACS authors funded by certain members of?cOAlition S. You may be required to make sure that you publish your work immediately open access under a CC-BY license. ACS offers a wide range of options enabling our authors to comply with these requirements through?publication in a fully open access journal or a gold open access option in all our hybrid journals. In addition, your institution may have signed an ACS Read + Publish Agreement that provides funding for open access publishing. See below for more information regarding these changes.”

 

Reflections on the OA Diamond Journals Study | Plan S

“Earlier this month, cOAlition S and Science Europe published an in-depth study of diamond open access journals, so called because they charge neither author(s) nor readers. The study comes in five parts, each of which can be a lot to digest. What I thought I’d try and do with this post was to pick some of the highlights from the study findings.

The first sensible question everyone always asks about diamond OA is: how? How can a journal afford to sustainably operate if it charges neither readers nor author(s)? The findings report reveals that there are a great variety of organisations that are willing to financially support the operation of diamond OA journals including universities, museums, government agencies, and learned societies. One I am familiar with is the European Journal of Taxonomy (est. 2011) which is financially supported by a consortium of ten European natural history institutions across seven different countries. Each year it publishes roughly a hundred articles and remains a well-regarded journal in taxonomy. To take a different example, the excellent Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry (est. 2005) is financially supported by the Beilstein Institute for the Advancement of Chemical Science, a German non-profit foundation. It makes sense for organisations to take on these costs and they are highly manageable.

The second question people tend to ask is, what about the costs? How can organisations afford to financially support journals, isn’t it costly? The report reveals that diamond OA journals tend to be run in a very economically efficient manner – one of the most obvious distinguishing factors here is the use of open source software. By using OJS, Lodel, Janeway, or some other open source system there is no recurrent charge owed to license expensive proprietary publishing platforms such as Silverchair or Literatum or RVHost that are more typical of commercial paywalled or APC-OA journals. The study’s survey found that over 60% of diamond OA journals reported annual costs in the previous year under $/€10,000, including in-kind contributions. …

Fascinatingly, we don’t even have a firm grip on just how many diamond OA journals there are out there on the world wide web. A key result from the study is the estimate that there are between 17,000 to 29,000 diamond OA journals currently in existence. The majority are small-scale and annually publish just 23 articles, compared to 25 articles (by median) for APC-OA journals. Yet collectively, by article volume diamond OA accounts for an impressive 8-9% of the total number of scholarly journal articles published per year, a close rival to the 10-11% of articles that are published in APC-OA journals. Diamond open access, at the article-level thus comprises 44% of all articles that are in fully open access journals – a significant and perhaps hugely underappreciated force in open access journal publishing….”

Primer on the Rights Retention Strategy | Zenodo

Abstract:  The rights retention strategy (RRS) is a new tool to help academic authors retain rights over their manuscripts. This will allow you to freely share your author accepted manuscript at any time. The RRS is simple and elegant; authors need follow only two steps. (1) Add the following text, e.g. to the cover page, or acknowledgements, to your manuscript before submission to a journal: “A CC BY or equivalent licence is applied to the AAM arising from this submission.” (2) Once your article is accepted for publication, you can deposit your version of the manuscript in a public repository. This strategy has been developed by cOAlition-S, but can be used by all authors, irrespective of funding. Here I describe pros and cons of this approach, but recommend its adoption by scholars as a way to retain ownership of their own content.

Publishing in hybrid, open access journals | Press release | Wellcome

“Wellcome has updated its guidance for researchers to help them comply with our open access policy and support them when some journals have discouraged them from making their Author Accepted Manuscripts open access….

‘We are disappointed that some publishers are implementing processes that seek to discourage our researchers from exercising their right to make their Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) open access. We urge these publishers to stop these practices and instead focus their efforts on developing Plan S-aligned publishing options. 

‘Where publishers embrace this transition, we will fund fair and reasonable publishing costs. Moreover, under this model, the Version of Record will be made open access, and as such the author will not need to make use of their right to share the AAM.

 

‘In the meantime, when faced with an obligation to agree pay an Article Processing Charge (which we will not fund) we encourage our researchers to either contact the journal to request a waiver to this fee, or to consider submitting their manuscript to a different journal. …”