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….”

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….”

Elsevier willing to compensate editors to prevent them from ‘flipping’ – ScienceGuide

“With Plan S rapidly approaching the editorial boards of some journals are considering leaving the paywalled journals at major publishing houses and ‘flip’ their journal to open access. To prevent editors from leaving, Elsevier now appears to be willing to pay editors considerable yearly amounts to stay on….

At this moment multiple editorial boards are moving to ‘flip’ their titles away from the paywalled model….

As the end of 2018 draws Elsevier faces a grim outlook for the coming year. Last week the University of California communicated it is willing to let its contract expire December 31st. Additionally today the Max Planck Digital Library discontinued their agreement with the publisher followed by the news that the Hungarian EISZ consortium has also terminated their negotiations with Elsevier….”

Are mirror journals the solution to publishing open access under Plan S? – The Publication Plan for everyone interested in medical writing, the development of medical publications, and publication planning

In a recent blog in The Scholarly Kitchen, Angela Cochran discusses how the introduction of mirror journals may provide one solution for authors if publication in hybrid journals is no longer an option. A mirror journal is a fully open access version of an already existing subscription-only journal. It would have the same editorial board, aims and scope and peer review processes and policies, but would be a separate publication with its own International Standard Serial Number. Cochran describes the advantages of such an approach and the potential complications that may be encountered, including what would happen to the journal’s impact factor. The intention would be for the open access version to displace the subscription-only content, providing a low-risk path for the journal to flip to full open access. This was also the long-term goal for hybrid journals, although the number of journals that have actually achieved this is relatively small.

However, recently released guidance on the implementation of Plan Sindicates that mirror journals will also be considered non-compliant “unless they are a part of a transformative agreement” with a “clear and time-specified commitment to a full open access transition”. The argument used in Plan S against mirror journals is the same as that for hybrid journals; they involve business models that charge for both access and publication, also known as double-dipping. The search for a solution that satisfies both authors and cOAlitionS will therefore continue….”