Open-access publisher PLOS pushes to extend clout beyond biomedicine

“Non-profit life-sciences publisher PLOS is gunning for a bigger share of science beyond the biomedical realm with the launch of five journals in fields where open science is less widely adopted. They will be its first new titles in 14 years. It is also piloting a new open-access business model, in a bid to spread the cost of publishing more equally among researchers….

The new business model is the first shake-up at the publisher for a while, and has been eagerly anticipated….

 The publisher’s financial history is chequered. It first broke even in 2010. In recent years it has fallen into deficit, with 2019 the first year that it made an operating surplus since 2015….

The idea behind the new model is that the cost of publishing a paper is spread more equally across all of the authors’ institutions, rather than the corresponding author’s institution or funder footing the bill, as is standard with an article processing charge. PLOS says that as more members join the scheme, it will become cheaper for researchers to publish papers. So far, more than 75 institutions in 8 countries have signed up….

PLOS’s chief publishing officer, Niamh O’Connor, says that PLOS hopes to circumvent the idea that open access moves the cost of publishing a paper from the reader to the author. “While the article-processing model has allowed open access to develop, we don’t see that as the future,” she says. “We are working to a future where those barriers are removed.” …”

The Royal Society sets 75% threshold to ‘flip’ its research journals to Open Access over the next five years | Royal Society

“In an exciting new chapter for its scientific publishing, the Royal Society sets out how it will transition its primary research journals to open access and make more of its world-leading research available to all.

Following a review by its Council, the Royal Society has committed to ‘flipping’ the journals Biology Letters, Interface, Proceedings A, and Proceedings B to a fully open access model when 75% of articles are being published open access.

This transition will be driven chiefly by the expansion of Read & Publish agreements with major research institutions, enabling their scientific research output to be published open access in the Society’s journals.

The process is already well underway, the Society launched Royal Society Read & Publish in January 2021 and has pioneered new agreements – including a shared funding arrangement announced this year with the University of California….”

RIO Journal 5 years on: over 300 published outcomes from all around the research cycle | RIO Journal Blog

“Five years on, the Open Science-driven journal Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) published an editorial that looks back on the 300 research ideas and research outcomes it has published so far.

Since its early days, RIO has enjoyed quite positive reactions from the open-minded academic community for its innovative approach to Open Science in practice: it provides a niche that had long been missing, namely the publication of early, intermediate and generally unconventional research outcomes from all around the research cycle (e.g. grant proposals, data management plans, project deliverables, reports, policy briefs, conference materials) in a cross-disciplinary scientific journal. In fact, several months after its launch, in 2016, the journal was acknowledged with the SPARC Innovator Award….”

Top health research funders’ guidance on… | F1000Research

“The majority (44/50) of sampled funders indicated funding health research. 38 (of 44, 86%) had publicly available information about disseminating funded research, typically called “policies” (29, 76%). Of these 38, 36 (95%) mentioned journal publication for dissemination of which 13 (36.11%) offer variable guidance on selecting a journal, all of which relate to the funder’s open access mandate. Six funders (17%) outlined publisher requirements or features by which to select a journal. One funder linked to a document providing features of journals to look for (e.g. listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals) and to be wary of (e.g., no journal scope statement, uses direct and unsolicited marketing).”

ACRL STS SCC: Scholarly Publishing: Journals, Journals Everywhere, But We Should Stop and Think

“The landscape of scientific publishing has been shifting for a while but the remote research situations forced by COVID-19 brought many inadequacies of the current system into the limelight. Data management challenges, open access availability, wariness of predatory publishers, and an overwhelming abundance of information avenues make publishing research more difficult than ever before. Join your colleagues across five geographically separate institutions to role play case studies in small group discussions to examine our choices as content creators and the value we assign to journals according to their various attributes and our own career situations….”

Discomfort with Gold OA · Commonplace

“In this essay, I’m going to make the case that open access agreements that rely upon a pay-to-publish model are good for the groups who sign them but bad for the overall system.  To do that, I’ll start with a quick refresher on public goods and then use that framework to discuss the state of open access and the variations in different colors as they relate to public goods.undefined  After laying out a model of open access as a public good, I’ll argue that what we are actually building is not a system rooted in public goods but one that has merely shifted the entry barriers from readers to authors.  I’ll conclude by offering some hope for the future, again rooted in the social science of public goods….”

Opening Access, Closing the Knowledge Gap? Analysing GC No. 25 on the Right to Science and Its Implications for the Global Science System in the Digital Age eBook (2021) / 0044-2348 | Nomos eLibrary

Abstract:  The Corona pandemic as never before shows the advantages of Open Science and Open Access (OA), understood as the unrestricted access to research data, software and publications over the internet. It might accelerate the long-predicted “access revolution” in the academic publishing system towards a system in which scientific publications are freely available for readers over the internet. This paradigm shift, for which the “flipping” of this journal is but one of many examples, is underway, with major research funding organisations at the national and international levels massively supporting it. The call for OA has now also been taken up by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which in its recent General Comment (GC) No. 25 explicitly asks states to promote OA. Following the line of argument of the OA movement, the Committee finds that OA is beneficial to democracy, scientific progress and furthermore a tool to bridge the “knowledge gap”. The aim of this paper is to critically examine the GC and its implications for the global science system in the digital age. It argues that the great merit of the GC lies in highlighting that “benefitting” from science includes access to science as such and not only to its material outcomes. This underscores the independent meaning of the right to science which so far was primarily seen as an enabler for other social rights. However, when it comes to OA, the GC has problematic flaws. It simply assumes that OA is beneficial to the right to science, overlooking that the OA model which is likely to become the global standard risks to benefit the already privileged, namely researchers and publishers of wealthy institutions in the Global North, further sidelining those at the margins. Rather than narrowing existing gaps, it risks to further deepen them. In order to remain meaningful in the face of the fundamental criticism it faces, human rights law needs to address systemic issues and inequalities in the science system and beyond.

 

Influence of accessibility (open and toll-based) of scholarly publications on retractions | SpringerLink

“We have examined retracted publications in different subject fields and attempted to analyse whether online free accessibility (Open Access) influences retraction by examining the scholarly literature published from 2000 through 2019, an incidence of the recent 20 years of publications. InCites, a research analytics tool developed by Clarivate Analytics®, in consultation with Web of Science, PubMed Central, and Retraction Watch databases were used to harvest data for the study. Retracted ‘Article’ and ‘Review’ publications were examined concerning their online accessibility mode (Toll Access and Open Access), based on non-parametric tests like Odds Ratio, Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test, Mann–Whitney U Test, Mann–Kendall and Sen’s methods. The Odds for OA articles to have retraction are about 1.62 as large (62% higher) compared with TA articles (95% CI 1.5, 1.7). 0.028% of OA publications are retracted compared with 0.017% TA publications. Retractions have occurred in all subject areas. In eight subject areas, the Odds for retraction of OA articles are larger compared with retraction of TA articles. In three subject areas, the Odds for retraction of OA articles are lesser compared with the retraction of TA articles. In the remaining 11 subject areas, no significant difference is observed. Post-retraction, though a decline is observed in the citation count of OA & TA publications (p?<?.01), yet the Odds for OA articles to get cited after retraction are about 1.21 as large (21% higher) compared with TA articles (95% CI 1.53, 1.72). TA publications are retracted earlier compared to OA publications (p?<?.01). We observed an increasing trend of retracted works published in both modes. However, the rate of retraction of OA publications is double than the rate of retraction of TA publications.

Virtual Training – Strategy and Pricing for Open Access Journals

“Are you involved in developing or executing OA publishing strategy? Do you have responsibility for implementing an OA programme? Do you need to inform your strategic planning of OA with a practical perspective?

This course will equip participants with the tools and insights to inform their OA strategic thinking and decision making. It will take people through the complexities and challenges of OA, highlighting the ways in which OA publishing is deeply different to subscription publishing (and some ways that it is the same!).

The course, aimed at senior managers, is an intensive half-day looking at the strategic aspects of overseeing and developing OA journals. There will be group discussion, case studies and scenarios to prepare delegates for meeting the challenges of planning and running OA journals. We will explore the issues encountered in setting strategy, budgets and pricing; the policy and competitive landscape; and sales and marketing….”

The New Abnormal: Periodicals Price Survey 2021 | Library Journal

“A large number of public and academic libraries are also looking at moderate to severe budget contractions due to unplanned COVID-related expenses, declines in tuition dollars, and/or local and state funding cuts. Many institutions are seeing or planning for permanent cuts between 9 and 13 percent to their base budget, a key difference from temporary cuts made after the Great Recession. Public libraries may fare better than academics: in an LJ survey of 223 public libraries across the United States, 84 percent reported an increase in FY21 total operating budgets for a rise of 2.9 percent. (See “The Price of a Pandemic.”) This was more modest than last year’s 3.5 percent increase, but represents continued, if uneven, gains….

Transformative agreements will make more content openly available, but they won’t pump any more money into library budgets or promise to make scholarly communications more sustainable. In the absence of national or statewide plans for funding OA (California being the notable exception), it’s difficult to see most “publish” universities in the United States agreeing to shoulder the costs of transformative agreements to make content open for all to read, particularly when faced with permanent budget cuts….

For the first time in a decade, libraries can anticipate subscription price increases of less than 6 percent: 3-4 percent is predicted for 2022. If a local serial portfolio skews toward large publishers, then the increase will be toward the 4 percent level. But with most institutions preparing for further collection cuts, even such a modest increase is not sustainable. Supported by faculty and emboldened by seeing the goals of Plan S and OA2020 start to come to fruition, libraries will be likely more prepared than ever to walk away from the table. Publishers will need to sharpen their pencils….

Although there were increases in the metrics for Impact Factor and Eigenfactor, the increases were not comparable to the increase in price. The average price ($6,637) for the most expensive journals was 18 times higher than the least expensive ($338), while the Impact Factor slightly more than doubled. The price increases for the more moderately priced titles were also lower than the more expensive titles, which showed close to a 4 percent increase. This analysis continues to show that higher priced titles do have higher Impact Factors and Eigenfactors, but the increase in the metrics is small when compared with the huge increase in costs….”