Category Archives: Topical Spotlights

Some Open Access Journals Spark Controversy Due to Internal Problems but Also for Lack of Model Sustainability

As recent news on the HAU and Springer Machine Intelligence journal show, Open Access needs to be paired with sustainable publishing models to serve scholarly communities and deliver on its promise of unrestricted access to knowledge.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


While interface barriers can contribute to the difficulties of scholars with accessing scientific articles and data, as proponents of technological solutions to that suggest, Open Access provides an alternative to subscription-based access only to the extent that it can be based on sustainable economic models that can support the operation of Open Access journals. Otherwise, accessing pre-prints or post-prints of accepted academic articles from repository servers can lead to the implosion of the business models that conventional, subscription-based or Open Access journals have.

This is illustrated by the economic implosion of HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory launched in 2011 without a business model that could ensure its long-term viability, as it sought to outsource its costs to external institutions, such as universities and libraries, in order to provide free access to its content. As the journal has been transitioned to a hybrid model involving both subscriptions and conditionally subsidized or free access, such as for scholars from the global South, controversy has erupted both due to the departure from Open Access principles and alleged editorial mismanagement.

Media coverage suggests that this flip into closed access that the journal HAU has accomplished was not due to the article processing charges (APCs) that its previous model involved but stemmed from growing operational expenses and resource misallocation. Yet financial misconduct and lacking accountability, inherently unrelated to the previous model of the journal, have also been likely to be the decisive factors behind the reorganization of this journal. However, the relative freedom that the Open Access model gives to journal management to set APC levels could also been part of the reason for which the apparently poor governance at the HAU journal has precipitated the switch to the hybrid, subscription-based model, which amounts to a freemium approach to journal publishing, in partnership with the University of Chicago Press. […]

At the same time, though scholarly communities increasingly vaunt Open Access as a revolutionary alternative to subscription-based models, as the calls for boycotting the subscription-based Nature Machine Intelligence journals show, the adoption of Open Access-based models in itself does not guarantee journal governance free of conflicts of interest and significant overall cost reductions, as operation expenses need to be sustainably covered, if Open Access journals are to continue to exist in the long term.

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Bulgaria-0743 – Plovdiv Regional Ethnographic Museum, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, May 6, 2012 | © Courtesy of Dennis Jarvis/Flickr.

This post is based on an article that originally appeared in OpenScience, 23/06/2018, https://openscience.com/some-open-access-journals-spark-controversy-due-to-internal-problems-but-also-for-lack-of-model-sustainability/.

Though Journal Subscription Deal Cancellations Increase in Number, Open Access Solutions Remain Marginal

For many universities unbundling their journal subscription deals can yield significant cost reductions, which, however, can solidify the market shares of large publishers and slow the growth of the Open Access sector, especially as concerns Gold Open Access journals.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


As university libraries scrutinize their yearly journal subscription deals, the unbundling of these agreements for the purpose of reducing the number of titles subscribed can provide significant subscription discounts for expenses that can exceed 1 million USD on a yearly basis for some institutions. While in North America circa 24 libraries have either unbundled or cancelled their subscription deals with large publishers, it remains to be seen whether academic and research institutions internationally will be following this lead, even though Sweden and France provide recent cancellation examples. Considering the overall size of the global academic publishing market, in 2016 and 2017 additional subscription deal cancellations continue to be in single digits in Canada and the United State, while totaling 5 and 7 institutions for the respective periods.

Moreover, as countries and institutions leverage their ability to use interlibrary loans for accessing paywall-protected publications, this may promote the subscription deal unbundling momentum, as library budgets become exhausted. In other words, university libraries show the signs of demand elasticity as they are increasingly not willing or able to pay any price for accessing subscription-based publications. At the same time, platforms for searching for or sharing academic articles, such as ResearchGate, may not necessarily amount to a shock to the publishing market, as not all publishers are likely to allow unbundling their subscription deals, international academic institutions are likely to be exposed to the risk of fluctuating currency valuations and hardball negotiations tactics do not always succeed. […]

While this growth dynamics in the Open Access sector has set the stage for recent subscription contract disputes or stand-offs, such as in Germany, it remains to be seen whether various countries will accomplish their planned transitions to Open Access as a default scientific publication option, especially as closed-access articles have accounted for over 75% of Scopus’ catalogue in 2016. While national, regional and global alliances, such as OA2020, are calling to the effectuate a transition to 100% of Open Access, library budget constraints may stymie these efforts and increase the share of unbundled subscription deals.

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Openaire-COAR Conference 2014, Athens, Greece, May 21, 2014 | © Courtesy of cziwkga/Flickr.

This post is based on an article that originally appeared in OpenScience, 20/05/2018, http://openscience.com/though-journal-subscription-deal-cancellations-increase-in-number-open-access-solutions-remain-marginal/.

University and Independent Publishers Increasingly Integrate Open Access into their Books Programs and Business Models

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2018-01-19
URL: http://openscience.com/university-and-independent-publishers-increasingly-integrate-open-access-into-their-books-programs-and-business-models/

As scholarly publications in Open Access meet with grassroots interest and demonstrate significant visibility statistics, beyond the Directory of Open Access Books, initiatives in this publishing sector maintain model distinctiveness, encourage alternative impact metrics and remain marginal to publishing house output.


Excerpt

As De Gruyter celebrates the expansion of its Open Access book roster to over 1,000 scholarly publications in English, German and other languages in both PDF and ePub formats across its various imprints, e.g., De Gruyter, De Gruyter Open, De Gruyter Oldenbourg, De Gruyter Mouton, and transcript Verlag, this indicates the maturation of this format, especially since its model relies on book processing fees and institutional partnerships, such as that with the Institute of Contemporary History (Institut für Zeitgeschichte) this publishing house has. However, despite the high quality, academic relevance and growing presence of Open Access offerings in the book publishing sector, it remains balkanized.

More specifically, the diversity of Open Access book initiatives both within and across publishers, their underlying business models and end-user file formats and license terms may pose barriers to the discoverability of their content. Thus, on January 19, 2018, the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) indicates that De Gruyter offers 397 publications in Open Access under its 5 imprints, 5 Creative Commons license types, in English (244), German (166), French (31), Arabic (3) and Chinese (3) languages and across its back-list and more recent catalogues. In contrast, De Gruyter’s website indicates a much more extensive presence of Open Access books across different subject areas, such as 297 in Social Sciences.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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The Difference between Open Access and Paywall-Based Publishing Models Sharpens, as Preprints Gain in Legitimacy

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2018-01-15
URL: http://openscience.com/the-difference-between-open-access-and-paywall-based-publishing-models-sharpens-as-preprints-gain-in-legitimacy/

Even though costs associated with Open Access publishing have been found to grow, as preprints gain in increasing recognition in funding, grant and fellowship applications, Open Access publishers, such as Hindawi, may be poised to benefit from the associated disruptive change in the publishing industry.


Excerpt

As illegal file sharing begins to affect the subscription-based journal publishing market, it can both hasten a wide-ranging adoption of Open Access by both publishers and researchers and give impetus to renewed efforts to shore up the paywall-based models against challengers. More specifically, as the interview with Daniel Himmelstein indicates, given that up to 97% of back-list catalogues of some journal publishers can be accessible other than through subscription-based channels, Open Access primarily based on the author-pays model can be one of the remaining avenues to economic sustainability for publishing houses.

On the one hand, the systemic change in the publishing market that this involves may be saluted by Open Access publishers, such as Hindawi that terminated its membership in the International Association of STM Publishers. On the other hand, large publishers may seek to stem this transition to Open Access by seeking to conclude journal subscription agreements that minimize the scope for Open Access for libraries and scholars that they include, as for instance Elsevier has sought to do in its negotiations with German universities. In other words, in the short term the growing adoption of Open Access, however, is also likely to entail rapidly growing costs, largely covered by non-profit foundations, for publishing in this model, such as steep increase from 1.6 million GBP in 2014/2016 to 7.3 million GBP in 2015/2016 in the United Kingdom, as the compliance with Open Access criteria of articles published with the support of Charity Open Access Fund has been found to reach 91% in the latter period.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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The Fragility and Presence of Government Funding for Open Access Initiatives Redefines the Role Global Publishers Play

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2018-01-11
URL: http://openscience.com/the-fragility-and-presence-of-government-funding-for-open-access-initiatives-redefines-the-role-global-publishers-play/

In retrospect, the year 2017 demonstrates the staying power of Open Access, despite possible budget cuts, such as in the United States. Likewise, international foundations, Open Access publishing platforms, and European academic institutions have been fueling the transition to Open Access models internationally in 2017, which creates incentives for publishes to redefine their role in the journal publishing market.


Excerpt

Despite apprehensions to the opposite, in the United States Open Access funding has remained largely untouched in 2017. As important as the free dissemination of scientific knowledge and information may be, without sustainable economic models backing their operations, Open Access initiatives can fold on short notice, if their governmental funding runs out. In many countries, the status quo of Open Access can be more fragile than what meets the eye suggests, since, as is the case in the United States, Open Access mandates may exist in weak form only or lack legal footing that can make them not uniformly binding or unsustainable in the long run.

The implications of this for Open Access journals or platforms is that, if their models do not involve charging fees from either scientific authors or those who access their content, they can be expected to become acquisition targets, such as the purchase of Digital Commons and Bepress by Elsevier in 2017. Developments such as this redefine the role of journal publishers in the Open Access market, as rather than operators of competing, subscription-based models, they become providers of Open Access solutions and negotiating parties in the course of transitions to Open Access, such as Elsevier in Germany.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Preprint Repositories Gain in Institutional Legitimacy and Recognition, Reduce the Attractiveness of Subscription Journals

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2018-01-07
URL: http://openscience.com/preprint-repositories-gain-in-institutional-legitimacy-and-recognition-reduce-the-attractiveness-of-subscription-journals/

As Indonesian INA-Rxiv, a country-level preprint repository for papers across different scientific disciplines, is launched, scholars at German research universities and institutions rely on article preprint access during their transition from paywall-based publication models to Open Access.


Excerpt

Whereas in the West individual subscription-based journals, such as the Journal of Biomedical Optics founded in 1996 and Neurophotonics published since 2014, continue to switch from subscription-based publishing to Open Access, while relying on hybrid business models during the transition, in emerging economies, e.g., Indonesia, Open Access preprint servers provide the infrastructure for macro-level, national-scale departures from toll-based publishing models, in favor of the unrestricted access to recent scientific findings across all academic disciplines. The latter is showcased by Indonesia-based INA-Rxiv launched as recently as in August, 2017, reaching over 1,500 preprints in its archive in early 2018 and helping to increase the international visibility of locally produced scientific and scholarly findings, such as through its indexing by Google Scholar.

Though this local Open Access initiative has relied for its launch on external non-profit support, e.g., a partnership with the Open Science Framework of the United States-based Center for Open Science, it is not inconceivable that as this preprint repository grows its article archive and increases its acceptance in local scholarly communities, the Indonesian government may chose to provide financial resources to this article repository, in order to help local academic institutions to negotiate favorable journal subscription contracts with global publishers, such as Elsevier. As much can be inferred from the latest updates from the standoff between German academic institutions, such as universities and libraries, and Elsevier that is forced to extend their unrestricted access to its contents, as journal subscription negotiations aimed at halving subscription fees and prioritizing publishing in Open Access as the preferred option continue into their second year.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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As Universities and Libraries Defer Journal Subscription Deals, Micro- and Macro-Level Implications of Open Access Emerge

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2018-01-03
URL: http://openscience.com/as-universities-and-libraries-defer-journal-subscription-deals-micro-and-macro-level-implications-of-open-access-emerge/

German and South Korean academic and research institutions seek to leverage the potential of Open Access to reduce costs by concerted bargaining with large publishers, such as Elsevier, as they let journal subscription negotiations protract or extend over deadlines.


Excerpt

As German and South Korean university, research center and library consortia have concluded the year 2017 without a journal subscription deal with Elsevier, a large-scale transition to Open Access as a default publishing model is on the cards in Germany and South Korea. Though commentators, namely Alex Holcombe and Björn Brems advocating for Open Access in their respective fields, in their recent blog piece at The Times Higher Education, a hybrid-model subscription-based media outlet itself, are quick to indicate that the academic journal publishing market is price-inelastic, as researchers primarily respond to journal-level impact factor information in their publication venue decisions, this line of argument reinforces the status quo, when large publishers with valuable portfolios of established journals across scientific fields can exact ever rising subscription fees from academic and research institutions.

However, the micro-economic arguments that the switch to Open Access based on article processing charges (APCs) can, on the one hand, unleash the race to the bottom between Open Access journals on the basis of the publication fees they charge and, on the other hand, fall short of its expected effect on the publishing market, due to the close link between researcher utility, such as promotion, and journal prestige that impact factor metrics measure does not necessarily hold. In a growing number of cases and fields either national or international funding can be drawn upon to cover APCs, which relieves the purported pressure on Open Access journals to compete on price. As the Open Access market matures and alternative, article-level impact metrics gain in currency, researchers can be expected to equally advance their careers when they publish in Open Access journals, especially if mandated to do so by their supporting institutions that foot the bill for their labor costs, research expenses or publication fees.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Universities Switch to Open Access Textbooks, to Boost Student Retention Rates, as Educational Resources Prices Skyrocket

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-12-20
URL: http://openscience.com/universities-switch-to-open-access-textbooks-to-boost-student-retention-rates-as-educational-resources-prices-skyrocket/

Following suite of its international counterparts, the Australian National University has published its first batch of six Open Access course books, in a strategy switch aimed at increasing student engagement. In recent years, Open Access textbooks are increasingly championed by global organizations and publishers, as demand from financially burdened students and universities surges.


Excerpt

In its effort to relieve the textbook price pressures on its students a fifth of which have been found to drop out from their academic studies, the Australian National University (ANU) has discovered that its Open Access textbooks have been downloaded more than 27,000 times in 2017, enabled teaching methodology experimentation, significantly increased student satisfaction rates, and contributed to students’ progress and performance. In doing this, the ANU has joined a growing international trend, as Open Access textbooks have been found to be associated with improved academic grades, higher student retention rates and greater course completion rates. Especially undergraduate students stand to benefit from Open Access books, which in 2015 have been found to be used by 31% of students across 15 courses based on a sample of 16,000 undergraduate survey participants at 10 academic institutions in the United States.

In other words, Open Access textbooks have been demonstrated to be as good as or of superior quality as compared to commercial textbooks. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that Open Access pedagogical resources can significantly reduce course failure rates. At the same time, the long-term financial viability of Open Access textbook projects remains in question, as they require third-party or governmental support, to ensure their continued adequacy to student needs and course curricula. Nevertheless, as the cost of living rises, the adoption of Open Access textbooks by universities can significantly alleviate the economic burdens that students shoulder and because of which they can terminate their academic studies.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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As Journal Subscription Fees Exhaust Library Budgets, Universities Mandate Open Access Preprint Repository Publishing

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-12-16
URL: http://openscience.com/as-journal-subscription-fees-exhaust-library-budgets-universities-mandate-open-access-preprint-repository-publishing/

Given that at some universities, such as the University of California San Francisco, journal subscriptions consume approximately 85% of collections budgets, switching to Open Access peer-reviewed pre-print repositories becomes an enticing alternative to toll-based scientific journals.


Excerpt

The financial data of the University of California San Francisco for the year 2017 tally up its annual spending on collective and specialist journal subscriptions at 60 million USD, which leaves only 15% of budgets which its branch and online libraries have to share for other content acquisitions. These figures showcase the situation of university and research libraries around the world that are confronted with the global scientific publishing industry in which private companies have the market share of 65% and approximately 85% of content is protected by paywalls. Moreover, in recent years the subscription fees to the highest-ranking scientific journals have grown at steeper yearly rates than the journal publishing market average of 6%.

This condition of the journal publishing market, which is financially unsustainable even for the richest academic and research institutions in the West, also precludes access to most recent scientific findings to those who cannot afford to shoulder ever increasing subscription fees. For this reason, universities increasingly call for a switch to Open Access preprint repositories as default-choice publishing venues for the output of their researchers and faculty. In other words, Western academic leaders, such as Prof. Keith Yamamoto, acting as a vice chancellor for the science policy and strategy of the University of California San Francisco, mandate a blanket adoption of preprint repositories, e.g., New Zealand’s Tuwhera, as valid alternatives to tall-protected journals, given that these repositories are expected to be furnished with editorial boards and peer-review procedures the costs of which are slated to be covered by internal and external, non-profit funding.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Hybrid Open Access Journals Could Facilitate Transitions to Gold Open Access Models in the Publishing Industry

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-12-12
URL: http://openscience.com/hybrid-open-access-journals-could-facilitate-transitions-to-gold-open-access-models-in-the-publishing-industry/

As recent literature reviews and findings from the United Kingdom higher education institutions suggest, for universities the costs of publishing in hybrid Open Access journals is significantly higher than in Gold Open Access ones, due to optional article processing charges (APCs) for Open Access publishing and subscription fees they involve, even though APC-based Open Access journals have been found to demonstrate higher impact factors and submission performance than Open Access journals without APCs.


Excerpt

In his analysis of the Open Access market published online on February 19, 2017, Bo-Christer Björk suggests that the Open Access market is affected not only by the rivalry among its biggest players, such as Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer Nature and Taylor & Frances, by also by the relatively limited bargaining power of scientific authors, academic editors and manuscript reviewers, the continued selectivity of journal indexing services, and the threat of substitution that institutional repositories, such as arXiv.org, post to journals. Furthermore, as Open Access journal publishers continue to increase competition in this market, university libraries and consortia gradually augment their bargaining power over the terms of journal subscription contracts, especially as switching to Open Access becomes increasingly feasible for researchers and authors, as Open Access mandates proliferate and funding for APCs becomes widely accessible, such as through the Austrian Science Fund and Wellcome Trust. […]

Therefore, for the publishing market, hybrid or Green Open Access journals can represent transitional models, such as in combination with third party-financed cost offsetting arrangements, toward Gold Open Access the models for the implementation of which continue to be in flux.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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The Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Open Access Transitions on Library Budgets in Britain and Germany

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-12-08
URL: http://openscience.com/the-short-term-and-long-term-effects-of-transitions-to-open-access-on-library-budgets-a-comparison-of-germany-and-britain/

As recent media reports indicate, a significant impact of Open Access transitions on university and library costs related to scientific journal subscriptions can primarily be expected in the long term, if no concerted measures by academic institutions are undertaken. By contrast, short-term subscription cost reductions are likely to demand contract renegotiations. In both cases, Open Access is an integral part of changing the model based on which the journal publishing market operates.


Excerpt

In a news brief from December 5, 2017, The Times Higher Education has recently recapitulated the key findings of a recent report on the transition to Open Access in the United Kingdom (UK) appearing on December 5, 2017. Based on spending data from a sample of 10 UK universities for the period between 2013 and 2016, this report indicates that journal subscription costs of these institutions have increased by 20% in this time span. In other words, this publication argues that in this period transitioning to Open Access not only has not lead to a significant reduction in university library subscription budgets, but was also accompanied by growing expenditures for both subscriptions that have reached 16.7 million GBP and article processing charges (APCs) which have amounted to 3.4 million GBP in 2016.

Yet, while report authors, such as Michael Jubb, express their concern about the rise in overall journal access- and publication-related costs, disentangling the short- and long-term perspectives on these data could be instructive. More specifically, it is difficult to expect Open Access have a significant effect on journal subscription costs in the studied period, since large publishers, such as Elsevier, have continued to be successful in renewing their journal access contracts with British universities, the growing popularity of Open Access notwithstanding. All things being equal, in the short-term without systemic changes the adoption of Open Access is likely to add to university costs, such as through APCs, especially if these academic institutions do not renegotiate their extant subscription agreements.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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The Directory of Open Access Books’ Growth Accelerates Despite Download Format and License Heterogeneity

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-12-04
URL: http://openscience.com/the-directory-of-open-access-books-accelerates-its-growth-despite-download-format-and-access-license-heterogeneity/

As the Directory of Open Access Books has reached 10,000 titles in its catalogue in late 2017, it reflects an accelerated pace at which publishers join this Open Access initiative and make available their books and chapters to international audiences. Yet, only a minor share of these electronic publications is scientific, they entail a wide variety of licensing conditions, and are accessible in a variety of digital formats.


Excerpt

In its press release published on November 24, 2017, the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) has celebrated the increasing speed at which it has added new titles the total of which rose from circa 4,000 in 2015 to 6,000 in 2016 and from over 6,000 to more than 10,000 in 2017. In recent years, this accelerating expansion of the DOAB’s catalogue has been matched by the increasingly growing ranks of its supporting publishers that climbed from approximately 130 in 2015 to over 160 in 2016 and from the latter level to almost 250 in 2017, which represents one of its most significant membership growth spurts since 2011. More specifically, in no small part this development is owed to OpenEdition’s addition of approximately 40 Open Access book publishers from its partner network to the DOAB, which has contributed over 2,000 new titles to its directory.

This impressive yearly growth of the DOAB of over 65% and 40% in titles listed and participating publishers for the 2016-2017 period respectively is, thus, a result of the growing adoption of Open Access by scholarly book publishers, such as De Gruyter. As one of DOAB’s sponsors, De Gruyter, whose activity in the Open Access sector dates to 2005, has made available over 1,000 books that either it or its partners publish in Open Access by December 2017. In a whitepaper on the effect of Open Access on the usage of scholarly books authored by Christina Emery, Mithu Lucraft, Agata Morka and Ros Pyne that Springer Nature, another partner of the DOAB, published in November 2017, it is argued that books published in Gold Open Access demonstrate significantly higher performance than non-Open Access publications in terms of chapter downloads, book citations and online mentions.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Case Study Findings Show Transitioning Scientific Journals to Gold Open Access is Feasible and Sustainable

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-11-20
URL: http://openscience.com/case-study-findings-show-transitioning-large-scale-scientific-journals-to-gold-open-access-is-feasible-and-sustainable/

The successful conversion of RSC Advances published by the Royal Society of Chemistry into Gold Open Access since October 2016 indicates the maturity of the Open Access model, its acceptance by the scientific community and the continued growth of the journal after the transition to Open Access.


Excerpt

In their recent research report published on March 2017, Emma Wilson and Jamie Humphrey describe the effects that the transition of RSC Advances, a major journal in the field of chemistry, to Gold Open Access has had on the journal performance in terms of article submissions, topics covered and author countries. Launched in 2011, RSC Advances has been conceived of as a subscription-based mega-journal targeting a broad scientific audience, such as early-career and emerging-market researchers, which represents the decision of the Royal Society of Chemistry to expand its existing portfolio of journals.

On the strength of its article submission numbers that rapidly grew to circa 13,000 from over 90 countries, such as China (48%), India (14%), USA and Canada (4%), South Korea (4%) and Iran (4%), in 2016, RSC Advances has decided to switch to Open Access. This decision has been triggered by the rapid expansion of the Gold Open Access market that in terms of articles published has been estimated to grow by approximately 30% between 2003 and 2011. Currently, Gold Open Access accounts for between 10.2% and 16.6% articles published in the scientific, technical and medical (STM) segment. This sector is dominated by a handful of mega-journals, such as PLoS ONE launched in 2006, of which over 15 exist in the STM market.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Hybrid Open Access Mega-Journals Gain in Traction as Scholarly Societies and Journal Publishers Partner

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-11-16
URL: http://openscience.com/hybrid-open-access-mega-journals-gain-in-international-traction-as-scientific-societies-and-open-access-publishers-partner/

While developed world universities and libraries weigh the pros and cons of Open Access plus subscription models, developing countries embrace Open Access mega journal-style repositories with open post-publication peer review procedures in partnership with established publishing platforms.


Excerpt

As the international Open Access community mulls the possibility of turning data sets into revenue streams by dint of the latter’s ability to be analyzed, circulated and packaged in abstract form, scholars hailing from the American academia grapple with the economics of scientific journal publishing by seeking to explore how the supply and demand can be re-equilibrated in this industry. Currently, the demand for the scientific journal subscriptions appears to continue to outstrip they supply, which ensures the high subscription fees, such as those of Springer, for journal bundles that their publishers vend, given their effective oligopoly hold on this market and the exclusive access to highly-reputed journals they provide.

However, this situation resists a facile conclusion that Open Access journals can significantly change the equilibrium prices in this market, as quality journals incur significant publication costs and do not differ significantly in their reviewing, editing and submission practices from subscription-based journals, as far as unpaid labor input is concerned. In other words, Open Access journals will have to have article processing charges (APCs) compensate for the lost revenue streams that toll-based journals derive from subscription fees. In turn, this leads to a relatively minor impact that the advent of Open Access has had on the market-wide equilibrium prices that end up being charged for article publication and access either directly or indirectly.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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LaTeX, Open Source Software, Facilitates the Adoption of Open Access by Authors, Repositories and Journals

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-11-01
URL: http://openscience.com/latex-open-source-software-facilitates-the-adoption-of-open-access-by-authors-repositories-and-journals/

LaTeX, a software environment for type-setting scientific texts, supplies digital infrastructure not only for researchers, such as in the fields of mathematics or astronomy, but also for Open Access repositories and journals, while minimizing their costs.


Excerpt

Open Astronomy is an Open Access journal recently launched by De Gruyter Open on the basis of the journal Baltic Astronomy initially founded in 1992. As Philip Judge, a senior astronomy scientist from the High Altitude Observatory of the University Corporation and National Center for Atmospheric Research, a non-profit consortium of North American universities and colleges sponsored by the National Science Foundation of the United States, has agreed to serve as an Editor-in-Chief for Open Astronomy in early 2017, his primary motivation has been to promote the openness of scientific research. At the same time, since the journal does not demand article processing charges, it needs to minimize its publication costs, which is achieved, among other means, by the extensive deployment of LaTeX.

As an open source document preparation system, LaTeX can be downloaded free of charge, even though copyright restrictions can apply to the modifications of this software, which has, however, ensured the backwards compatibility of documents composed in LaTeX. Since this is a markup language for the compilation of complex scientific texts, such as those including notation symbols, mathematical formulas and foreign language characters, LaTeX effectively outsources typesetting to scholarly authors. This has also made LaTeX into a de facto standard format for scientific documents in multiple fields of sciences and humanities, such as mathematics, physics and linguistics, as it allows the production of high-quality PDF-format documents regardless of their complexity.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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