On December 7 2015 The Royal Society announced that, from January 1 2016, it would require all corresponding authors submitting papers to its journals to provide an Open Researcher and Contributor identifier (ORCID iD). In an open letter published today, seven other publishers – the American Geophysical Union (AGU), eLife, EMBO, Hindawi, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), PLOS, and Science – joined them, committing to requiring ORCID iDs in their publication process during 2016.
The Open Library of Humanities is an academic-led, gold open-access publisher with no author publishing charges. With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the platform covers its costs by payments from an international library consortium, rather than any kind of author fee.
Dr. Martin Paul Eve, a founder and academic project director of the OLH, welcomed Boston College: “I am delighted that Boston College has joined the OLH LPS membership model. The humanities benefit from open access but we often struggle to think how to implement this. With our unique model and with the help of institutions like Boston College we will help to move towards a transition to OA in the humanities”.
Elliot Brandow, Senior Digital Scholarship Librarian/Bibliographer for History, said “Boston College Libraries are thrilled to contribute to this exciting new platform for open access scholarship in the humanities. Library support for open access comes in many forms – from building open digitized collections, to financing article processing fees, to advocating with our faculty and students, to exploring new publishing models like this one. We’re especially pleased by how much scholars and the public will be able to benefit relative to such a minimal institutional investment, and we hope other institutions will join us and many others in supporting the Open Library of the Humanities.”
All six editors and all 31 editorial board members of Lingua, one of the top journals in linguistics, last week resigned to protest Elsevier’s policies on pricing and its refusal to convert the journal to an open-access publication that would be free online. As soon as January, when the departing editors’ noncompete contracts expire, they plan to start a new open-access journal to be called Glossa.
A new open access agreement between Springer and the UK’s Jisc (Joint Information Systems Committee) came into effect today. It is a pilot project (running until December 2018) that will make it easier for UK scholars to publish their articles as open access while keeping in compliance with the OA policies of major funders. The project will also result in universities and other educational institutions saving on their OA publishing costs.
From the 22 October, 2015 press release:
Starting today, researchers in the UK will be able to publish their articles open access in over 1,600 Springer hybrid journals without cost barriers or administrative barriers. The Springer Compact agreement is a pilot that combines open access publishing and subscription access in one annual fee and will run from October 2015 until December 2018.
The transformative agreement between Springer and Jisc, a charity which provides digital solutions for UK education and research, will make it easier for UK researchers to publish open access and ensure that that all articles published comply with HEFCE’s Research Excellence Framework, RCUK’s open access policy and other major funders such as the Charity Open Access Fund. At the same time, for institutions, the total cost and administrative burden of open access publishing and continuing access to the 2,000 Springer subscription journals are significantly reduced.
EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas and Sander Dekker, the Dutch Secretary of State for Education, Culture and Science, have called on scientific publishers to adapt their business models to new realities. They specifically urged publishers to get serious about open access, a priority of both the European Commission as well as of Dutch universities.
Europe generates more scientific output than any other region in the world. In parallel, there is a revolution happening in the way science works. Every part of the scientific method is nowadays becoming an open, collaborative and participative process. Can publishers afford to stay out of that trend? I believe that much effort needs to be done by the main publishers to adjust their business models to the realities of the 21st century.
I support the initiative of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) to join forces towards Open Access in research. Dutch universities already show the importance of organising themselves in the negotiations with publishers. That way they can successfully stand their ground towards publishers. In addition, Dutch universities are even prepared to not sign new contracts, if needed. The fact that all LERU members now let go of the old subscription-based models with big deals and clearly choose for models based on Open Access, perfectly fits with the Dutch Open Science policy. In this policy, results of publicly funded research must be available free of charge for everyone. This will be a priority during the Dutch Presidency of the EU in the first semester of 2016.
Michael Lubell and Mark Elsesser, both employees of the American Physical Society (APS), recently published a provocative article in APS News, “Open Access Could Mean Authors Pay to Publish”. Declaring that APS has long been a supporter of OA, as evidenced by a number of important initiatives undertaken by the Society, they also point out that OA is not free. There is a real monetary cost to peer review, composition, archiving and other essential publishing activities. They go on to assert that as mandates proliferate the “time to free access” will inevitably shrink both domestically and internationally and that APS, as well as other scientific publishers, will be obliged to consider other strategies to pay for its OA initiatives. One of these strategies will very likely be the “author pays” model, a model that the authors point out is associated with a number of serious challenges. They argue cogently:
Unless they have access to other sources of revenue, authors will have to use their research grant money, institutional funds or cash from their own pockets to cover the cost of publication (which may be in excess of two thousand dollars per article). Moreover, a change to an author-pays model would especially harm researchers with small grants or no grants at all. And if federal science budgets remain fixed, the amount of money available for conducting research would decline.
Nevertheless, Lubell and Elsesser acknowledge that the APS might be forced to adopt “author-pays.” They quote APS CEO Kate Kirby: “As an international publisher, in the short term APS will have to provide mechanisms that satisfy the patchwork of open access mandates across the globe. As a membership organization that advocates for physics and physicists, in the long term APS will have to remain attentive to the impact of ‘author pays’ on scientific research budgets.”
In the last week two thoughtful pieces were published on the topics of greedy publishers and predatory publishing. In “Opinion: Pay-to-Play Publishing” in the current issue of The Scientist Kailash Gupta argues that a growing number of online scientific journals are more interested in making money than in publishing quality research articles. His proposed solution, though not original, is very sensible.
To improve the situation and increase the trust in scientific community, the pressure to publish must be reduced. The value that both funders and tenure committees put on publication record drives scientists to publish marginal advances, which predatory publishers are all too happy to post online. Funding and promotion decisions should not be based on the number of publications, but on the quality of those publications and a researcher’s long-term productivity and mentorship.
In a blog posting (8 September, 2015) “Predatory Publishing: A Modest Proposal” Richard Poynder makes a very interesting suggestion about combating predatory journals. He acknowledges the utility of Jeffrey Beall’s well-known list of questionable publications but argues that the publishers of such journals, though often predatory, are not always the only ones to be blamed. He contends “that if a journal is predatory then all those researchers sitting on its editorial and advisory boards are to some extent also predatory, or at least they are conspiring in the publisher’s predatory behaviour.” Poynder’s proposal:
Why does the OA movement not create a database containing all the names of researchers who sit on the editorial and/or advisory boards of the publishers on Beall’s list, along with the names of the journals with which they are associated?
Poynder goes on to discuss a number of purposes such a database could serve.
In June 2015 the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) produced a second version of the document Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing. As the numbers of “predatory” and spurious journals proliferate, this document may be helpful in assessing journal quality and in identifying journals that engage in unethical practices. The principles or evaluative criteria number sixteen: 1. Peer review process; 2. Governing Body; 3. Editorial team/contact information; 4. Author fees; 5. Copyright; 6. Process for identification of and dealing with allegations of research misconduct; 7. Ownership and management; 8. Web site; 9. Name of journal; 10. Conflicts of interest; 11. Access; 12. Revenue sources; 13. Advertising; 14. Publishing schedule; 15. Archiving; 16. Direct marketing.
Also particularly useful is BC Libraries’ guide Open Access Quality Indicators. These quality indicators are intended to provide guidance in evaluating publication venues or in responding to invitations to serve as an editor or reviewer.
The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has just published the open access report The Once and Future Publishing Library. The authors are Ann Okerson and Alex Holzman.
The report explores the revitalization of library publishing and its possible future, and examines elements that influence the success and sustainability of library publishing initiatives.
The authors trace the history of library publishing and factors that have transformed the publishing landscape, and describe several significant library-press collaborations forged over the past two decades. Authors include results of a survey they conducted to better understand how current library publishing initiatives are supported financially. They conclude with a series of observations about the range of publishing initiatives in American academic libraries.
Cambridge University Press yesterday announced a new policy intended to prevent “double-dipping”, that is charging both authors and subscribers for Open Access journal content. The practice of double-dipping is disliked by many proponents and practitioners of OA who contend that publishers should not be paid twice, i.e. by the subscriptions paid by the university/college libraries as well as by authors who pay for their articles to be OA.
From CUP’s press release of 6 July, 2015:
Matthew Day, Head of Open and Data Publishing at Cambridge University Press, said; ‘We believe that double-dipping is wrong and we want to be clear about how we are preventing it.’
The new policy discounts 2016 subscription prices for journals that have received Open Access (OA) Article Processing Charges (APCs) from authors in the last full journal volume (that is, in 2014). If the fraction of OA articles in a journal was at least 5 per cent and the income from APCs was at least £5,000, then the Press is discounting renewed subscriptions by the lower of the percentage OA or the percentage APC income. All Open Access articles are included, except those in supplements published in addition to a volume’s subscription content. Subscribers already receiving a substantial discount on a journal’s subscription price, via a consortium package for example, will not receive an additional discount on their collection access fee as a result of these changes.
Mandy Hill, Managing Director of Academic, at Cambridge University Press, said; ‘We’ve previously had an anti-double-dipping policy in place, but this new policy is stronger and more transparent. It is an important part of how we serve the needs of the academic community.’