Tag Archives: De Gruyter

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.


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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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.


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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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.


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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German Editors-In-Chief and Editorial Board Members Resign from Subscription-Based Elsevier-Owned Journals

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-10-18
URL: http://openscience.com/german-editors-in-chief-and-editorial-board-members-resign-from-subscription-based-elsevier-owned-journals/

First eight German researchers and scientists have announced their resignation from editorial duties at Elsevier-supported journals on the background of the ongoing efforts of Germany-based universities and research institutes to switch to Open Access.


As the negotiations over subscription contracts between Elsevier, a large journal publisher, and Germany-based scientific and academic institutions continue to bear no fruits, a growing number of leading German editors and editorial board members at paywall-based journals associated with this publisher announce resignations from their positions. Multiple other German scientists and researchers are reportedly ready to follow suit, in their effort to create a momentum for the switch-over to Open Access as the default option for scientific article publication. Germany-wide associations, such as the Project DEAL, are willing to support the transition to the Open Access model by offering Elsevier and other large publishers lump-sum payments that will cover the article processing charges of German scientific authors in exchange for access to their journal and article collections.

However, Elsevier keeps rejecting this deal, since its profit performance is closely related to the subscription payments from universities and institutions around the world. Allowing for Open Access provisions for German academic and scientific organizations in circumvention of traditional subscription contracts could create an international precedent with possible negative effects for Elsevier’s revenues. Thus, German scientists, such as Kurt Mehlhorn from Max-Planck-Institut für Informatik, Saarbrücken, who has resigned from Computational Geometry: Theory and Applications, may have little choice but to launch rival Open Access journals, to maintain their involvement in their research fields.

By Pablo Markin

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

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De Gruyter Celebrates Open Access Week by Showcasing a Selection of Open Access Articles from its Hybrid Journals

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-10-27
URL: http://openscience.com/de-gruyter-celebrates-open-access-week-by-showcasing-a-selection-of-open-access-articles-from-its-hybrid-journals/

While providing links to articles in Open Access from its subscription-based journals in sciences and humanities, De Gruyter’s featured Conversations blog post suggests that Open Access publications continue to be marginal to output and revenues, despite their growth.


In its webpage dedicated to Open Access Week 2017, De Gruyter pays homage to this international event taking place from October 23 to 29 by offering links to a selection of Open Access articles from its journals in exact, social and human sciences. This page also links to a post from its Conversations blog in which Hugh Burrows, Ron Weir, and Jürgen Stohner, the editors of the journal Pure and Applied Chemistry, explain their rationale for adopting a hybrid model for their journal that protects with a paywall the article it publishes in the current and previous years, while making technical reports and archived articles available in Open Access. The editors elaborate on this year’s mission of Open Access Week that the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) has initiated from 2008 which in 2017 concentrates on the benefits that Open Access can bring to scientific publishers and scholarly associations, such as national chemical societies, in terms of their core mission. […]

While Joachim Jähne and Steffi Rudloff, the editors of the Open Access Innovative Surgical Sciences journal launched in 2016 by De Gruyter jointly with the German Society of Surgery advocate for the implementation of article-level metrics to measure journal impact based on scientific community-generated data, Stavros Skopeteas, an editor of the journal Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft founded by the German Linguistics Society in 1982, has indicated that the decision of this journal to switch to Gold Open Access in 2017 has been hotly debated by this association, due to the radical change it introduces to the business model and publication practices.

By Pablo Markin

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

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Open Access is the New Black: Case Study Data on Journal Transitions from Subscription Models to Open Access

Author: Beata Socha
Published Online: 2017-10-22
URL: http://openscience.com/open-access-is-the-new-black-case-study-data-on-journal-transitions-from-subscription-models-to-open-access/

Serial crisis, growing resistance to subscription models as well as increasingly widespread and binding Open Access (OA) mandates have incentivized numerous publishers to consider converting paywall-based journals to OA.


Flipping a journal into Open Access (OA) naturally involves numerous challenges but it is a path increasingly travelled by publishers. In 2014 De Gruyter converted a portfolio of 14 journals from the subscription model to OA. In 2017, three years on, rather compelling observations can be made as to how to make the transition smooth and successful. This post is based on the webinar that De Gruyter has organized for the Open Access Week, for which it is possible to register at this link to find out more. The ever-increasing prices of subscriptions have led to the so-called serials crisis, which resulted in many libraries being forced to cancel some of their journal subscriptions, as they could no longer afford them. […]

The discontent among librarians, researchers and journal editors has led to the birth of Open Access as an alternative model to subscriptions. According to various estimates, Open Access is growing at an annual rate of approximately 12-17%. Most subscription journals already offer a hybrid option, with article processing charges (APCs) usually set at $2,000-$3,000 USD. Between 2014 and 2015, the share of purely OA journals in the publishing sector of science, technology and medicine (STM) journals increased from 10% to almost 13%. In the same period, the share of hybrid journals increased from 67% to 68.5%, while the percentage of subscription only journals fell, from 23% to 18.5%.

By Beata Socha

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

Featured Image Credits: Aquatic Conditions, May 5, 2008 | © Courtesy of  Thomas Hawk.

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De Guyter Webinar: Journal Transition from Subscription Model to Open Access


Join DE GRUYTER webinar on:


WHEN: 25. OCTOBER, 13.00 CET
WHERE? Follow the link.


Serial crisis, sky-rocketing subscription prices as well as more and more widespread and powerful OA mandates have pushed many publishers to rethink the finance of publishing the journals. Considering a switch calls out numerous challenges but it is a path more and more travelled – and importantly so an economically – sustainable and one with long-term benefits – not only for readers, but also for authors and yes! the journal owners, too.
In 2014 De Gruyter converted 14 journals to OA – this webinar looks at overarching strategies for journal transition from subs to OA – including current OA publishing landscape and single factors (like managing submissions, citations and funding) that play a role during the process.  Is it worth it? Who will foot the bill? What to expect? And how to bring the EAB on board? The introductory one-hour webinar is built around three sections to allow participants to work out the flipping strategy for their publication and to timely and reasonably plan  the change.


  • Editors of subscription journals
  • Journal Editors
  • Managing Editors


PART ONE: OA is the new black. Why many traditional journals take the plunge into OA?

  • OA Journals – Key Facts and Figures
  • Open Access options (differences between Green, Gold, and Platinum)
  • Why transform  journals from subscription to OA?
  • Funding Opportunities – mandates from major organizations (Author-pays and other options, Institutional Membership, Knowledge Unlatched)
  • Transformation by De Gruyter

PART TWO: Managing Change –  People. Finance. Workflows.

  • Author-Pays model  – how to learn to embrace it?
  • Communicating Change  – How the decision to transform the journal will influence key people –  EAB, authors base, reviewers
  • Authors’ support – paying and non-paying authors; waivers, APCs, transition times.
  • Business model – different approaches
  • Open Access – Three years on. What changed and what? The small triumphs and the challenges remaining.

PART THREE – No more chasing the subscription deals. It is now the new authors you’re after.

  • Boosting visibility and discoverability of contents
  • The need for a good journal/article ranking in Google
  • E-mailings. The difference between opt-in email and opt-out campaign – and why you should use both?
  • How to use science press rooms? Focus on articles PR.
  • OA conferences? Is it worth the hassle?


Beata Socha – Product Manager, Open Access, DE GRUYTER
Agnieszka Bednarczyk-Drąg –Editorial Coordinator, Open Access, DE GRUYTER
Maria Hrynkiewicz – Senior Marketing Manager, Open Access, DE GRUYTER

The Economics of Flipping Back-List Book Titles into Open Access: Digitization at Cornell University and De Gruyter

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-09-10
URL: http://openscience.com/the-economics-of-flipping-back-list-book-titles-into-open-access-digitization-at-cornell-university-and-de-gruyter/

The digitization of out-of-print book titles incurs costs that Open Access projects tend to depend on external funding to cover, while hybrid models promise higher efficiency and larger scope.


As a press release by George Lowery has announced, the Cornell University Press (CUP), established in 1869, but actively operating since 1930, has received a second grant amounting to 100,000 USD from the United States’ National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supporting its Open Access (OA) book digitization initiative, Cornell Open, on April 4, 2017. According to this announcement, this grant is intended to be dispensed for the project of digitizing 57 back-list book titles in humanities and social sciences, such as literary criticism and political science, to make them openly accessible to the general public locally and internationally. This project is intended to bring the list of its Open Access digitized out-of-print titles to 77. […]

By contrast, on September 5, 2017, Eric Merkel-Sobota has released the news that De Gruyter’s digital book archive will be expanded from its current list of 10,000 digitized out-of-print books to 40,000 titles by 2020. More specifically, De Gruyter’s digital book archive is planned to encompass all of its out-of-print titles from 1749, when the foundational book-printing institution has set up its shop, to the present day. As in the case of the CUP’s digitization initiative, De Gruyter Book Archive will include titles of seminal significance for human and social sciences, e.g., Noam Chomsky’s Syntactic Structures published by Mouton, currently De Gruyter Mouton, in 1957. By the end of 2017, De Gruyter’s digitization drive will add 3,000 to its online book archive. The primary difference of De Gruyter’s digitization initiative from that of the CUP is that it will serve hybrid, on-demand and subscription models of access to these back-list titles, whereas the CUP has chosen OA as its preferred format, which has made it imperative to rely on governmental and private funding to launch its initiative.

By Pablo Markin

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

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