Tag Archives: flipping

Open Access Can Help Scientific Societies Build Their Asset Portfolios, While Preserving Content Accessibility

While the social role of scientific societies continues being discussed, arrangements with publishers that outsource journal management may need Open Access to ensure continued service to scholarly communities, if journal titles change ownership.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.

As a recent blog article by Joseph Esposito, published on April 26, 2018, suggests, as scientific societies outsource the technical journal management functions, such as production, sales and marketing, to commercial publishers, the publishing market dynamics might push these societies toward the transfer of these journals’ ownership to publishers, to maximize financial returns. While the ownership of intellectual property by publishers is more common for books than journals, publishers are in a position to exploit the economies of scale that the publication infrastructures and services they own offer, scientific societies can be expected to lack this advantage. […]

As it prepares for an initial public offering at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Springer Nature is a significant case in point. Though the publisher has significant capitalization needs and debt obligations, through its merger activity, such as the acquisition of Macmillan Science and Education in 2015, in recent years this Berlin-based company has emerged as one of the world’s largest English-language scientific publishers also in the domain of Open Access. Similarly, Relx that owns Elsevier, a major international scientific publisher, and Informa that holds ownership of Taylor & Francis, another big scholarly publisher, are listed on the financial market.

In the absence of Open Access arrangements, publishers, such as Springer Nature owning over 3,000 scientific journals, may be loath to provide free access to their otherwise licenced intellectual property, such as journal articles, as part of ensuring the viability of their extant business models, e.g., journal subscriptions. Yet the Open Access journal publishing sector, in which Springer holds a 30% share and earns about 10% of its revenues, maintains high growth rates, despite the article processing charges it involves. The presence of scientific societies in the Open Access sector is likely slated to increase too.

By Pablo Markin

Featured Image Credits: Resource Center Support Services, Okinawa, Japan, November 27, 2014 © Courtesy of OIST/Flickr.

This post is based on an article that originally appeared in OpenScience, 28/04/2018, http://openscience.com/open-access-can-help-scientific-societies-build-their-asset-portfolios-while-preserving-content-accessibility/.

A Growing Number of International Open Access Initiatives Are Launched by Scientific Associations

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-11-26
URL: http://openscience.com/a-growing-number-of-international-open-access-initiatives-are-launched-by-scientific-associations-and-organizations/

As the august American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) founded in 1848 and publishing Science and other scientific journals, has announced on November 21, 2017, its Science Partner Journals initiative for Open Access publications, it has joined the larger trend of academic institutions making transitions to Open Access publishing.


Seeking to enter into collaborative relations with international scientific societies, institutions and foundations, the AAAS seeks to position its Science Partner Journals digital program in the high-quality sector of Open Access publishing, while banking on its reputation, visibility and expertise, in order to increase the accessibility of scientific findings to research organizations around the world. To pull off this initiative that intends to publish its articles under a generic Creative Commons license (CC BY), the AAAS has partnered with Hindawi as a publishing services provider, which indicates that this association did not have sufficient internal resources to go this project alone.

Since organizations joining this program will be editorially responsible for the content they publish, such as in respect to peer review and author relations services, it follows that the Science Partner Journal will be able to accommodate both the launch of new journals and the conversion of existing publication into Open Access. In this respect, a study by Reinhold Haux et al., published in 2016, indicates that Open Access is increasingly perceived by the international scientific community as an adequate format for disseminating research results, which has led to multiple cases flipping established journals, e.g., Methods of Information in Medicine, into one of existing Open Access models. These Open Access transformations are spurred by both government-supported mandates and available funding for transitioning subscription-based journals into Open Access, despite the concerns that may raise.

By Pablo Markin

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

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Recent Findings Indicate Multiple Models for Flipping Scientific Journals into Various Open Access Forms Exist

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-11-08
URL: http://openscience.com/recent-findings-indicate-that-multiple-models-for-flipping-scientific-journals-into-various-forms-of-open-access-exist/

Though converting scholarly journals into Open Access continues to involve financial uncertainty, a Harvard-funded report shows that thousands of journals have flipped into Open Access in recent years through a variety of approaches.


In their study first published on September 19, 2016, Mikael Laakso, David Solomon and Bo-Christer Björk have conducted a multi-method inquiry based on expert interviews, empirical data and secondary sources into various strategies for the conversion of scientific journals into Open Access. Their main conclusion is that toward making a transition to Open Access no single optimal path exists, as subscription-based journals need to decide which of multiple solutions will work for their situation as sustainable Open Access platforms. Laakso, Solomon and Björk’s research has been done with the support of the Harvard Library’s Office for Scholarly Communication that has sought to explore the economic and other implications of transitioning to Open Access models for universities.

Whereas in 2011 circa 2,400 scholarly journals have been flipped into Open Access after zero-cost digital journal distribution has become technically feasible, the funding models behind these transitions to Open Access have, however, remained under-researched. For this reason, Laakso et al.’s 2016 research report, the full version of which is hosted at Harvard’s publication repository, fills an important gap in scholarly literature, as it indicates that in recent decades those journals that have switched to Open Access and have decided not to charge subscription fees have enjoyed the support of national or regional Open Access portal, such as Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO), while broadly utilizing open source software, such as Open Journal Systems(OJS).

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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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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Journals Transitioning to Open Access May Have Limited Sustainability Absent Revenue Streams

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-06
URL: http://openscience.com/journals-transitioning-to-open-access-may-have-limited-sustainability-absent-revenue-streams/

Reliance on foundation or contingency funding does not substitute for viable revenue models that journals switching to Open Access may need to maintain quality.


As the editors of the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics have announced the termination of their contracts to Springer, the publisher behind the journal, in June 2017, it has been a move coordinated with the journal’s editorial board, to establish a rival Open Access journal Algebraic Combinatorics. The declared impetus for this transition to Open Access has been the importance of fairly priced Open Access options for the scientific community, in accordance with which the prospective journal plans to refrain from high Article Processing Charges (APCs) and profit-driven practices of the fee-based journal publisher, especially given that academic journals rely significantly on the volunteer labor of the scientific community.

This transition to Open Access has been inspired by the successful flipping of several linguistics journals from subscription-based to Open Access models, as part of the LingOA project. A similar initiative has been launched in the field of mathematics, e.g., Mathematics in Open Access (MathOA), that seeks to facilitate the transition of mathematics-related journals to Open Access. This is illustrated by the recent developments at the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics the editorial staff of which has opted for Open Access as Springer has proved not as forthcoming as concerns the integration of Open Access into its business models as the editorial staff of the journal had expected, such as according to the principles of the Fair Open Access Alliance.

By Pablo Markin

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

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