Tag Archives: Green Open Access

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/.

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.


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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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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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.


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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Recent Pre-Print Findings Cast Doubt and Spark Discussion on the Citation Performance of Open Access Journals

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-10-06
URL: http://openscience.com/recent-pre-print-findings-cast-doubt-and-spark-discussion-on-the-citation-performance-of-open-access-journals/

While Green and hybrid Open Access articles have been tentatively found to out-perform paywall-protected articles based on their citation statistics, Gold Open Access articles show lower citation levels than subscription access articles, which could be due to revenue performance differences between respective publishers.


In the United States, since the early 2000s print publications have been witnessing steeply declining advertising revenues, such as from more than 60 billion USD in 2000 to less than inflation-adjusted 20 bullion USD in 2012, after the absolute majority of which have begun to offer Internet-based Open Access to their contents, as the diagram cited by Alexander Gerber in 2013 shows. Given that newspapers have been projected by PricewaterhouseCoopers to deal with further decreases in their overall revenue performance toward the year 2020, apparently despite partial paywalls that some newspapers have introduced, the nature of the interrelationship between Open Access and performance in the publishing industry more generally continues to receive research and industry attention.

Thus, in his Scholarly Kitchen blog post, on October 4, 2017, David Crotty has offered a review of a pre-print, yet to be peer-reviewed article by Heather Piwowar et al. published on August 2, 2017 by PeerJ Preprints, an innovative Open Access repository service that accepts articles for publication without article processing charges or publishing membership fees that PeerJ journals charge upon a streamlined review by its editorial stuff. In the blog post, Crotty has highlighted that free access is not tantamount to Open Access, as defined within the guidelines of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, while drawing attention of its readers to the methodological flaws of the research results presented by Piwowar et al., such as imprecise Open Access categorizations and research population definitions.

By Pablo Markin

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

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Hong Kong’s Open Access Weeks Chart the Growing Awareness of Knowledge Sharing Benefits

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-07-31
URL: http://openscience.com/hong-kongs-open-access-weeks-chart-the-growing-awareness-of-knowledge-sharing-benefits/

From 2015, Hong Kong universities, such as the Hong Kong Baptist University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, have been regularly arranging Open Access (OA) Weeks as events including presentations, workshops and exhibitions aimed at covering specific OA-related topics, e.g., research impact, publication sharing, and author rights. This active interest in OA has surfaced in the wake of the wide adoption of OA formats, such as Gold OA, by both scholarly community and large publishers.

Furthermore, Hong Kong universities are apparently responding to the exponentially growing journal subscription costs, even though digitization makes the costless sharing of research results easier than ever before. As a global trend, OA, thus, represents a disruptive development in the journal publishing industry, the ripple effect of which is increasingly discernible in Hong Kong as well. According to SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, OA and Open Data can make a significant contribution to economic growth, reduce the costs of learning materials academic institutions use, such as via the deployment of OA textbook, and promote cutting-edge scientific research in multiple areas.

By Pablo Markin

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

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