Tag Archives: Publishers

Though Arguments for Open Science are Aplenty, Institutional Barriers to Its Implementation Remain

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-09-29
URL: http://openscience.com/though-arguments-for-open-science-are-aplenty-institutional-barriers-to-its-implementation-remain/

As a latest Montreal-based initiative in neuroscience and the European “Horizon 2020” program show, despite efforts promoting it, Open Science continues to be exposed to budgeting and resources shortfalls.


As Giusppe Valiate reports, from 2016, based at Canada’s McGill University, the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (MNIH) has been applying Open Science principles to its artificial intelligence research. As part of implementing Open Access in various fields of scientific inquiry, Open Science does not suffer from a lack of definitions, schools of thoughts or academic articles proffering arguments in its favor as Benedikt Fecher and Sascha Friesike discuss in detail in their book chapter published in 2014. Perhaps due to the heteroclite nature of this phenomenon, as Open Science can refer to its technological infrastructure, knowledge creation accessibility, alternative impact metrics, knowledge access democratization, and collaborative research practices, its application in the research and scientific community continues to be divergent. Moreover, as far as academic journals are concerned, this term largely refers to Open Access.

Thus, what the MNIH initiative primarily boils down to is making its empirical, clinical and research data, such as brain imaging, biological sample and cellular data, available in Open Access. This contribution to Open Science is aimed at promoting drug discovery and development, e.g., via the facilitation of medicine tests, as part of the drive to openly share research data. At the same time, given that this field of research demands large-scale data sets, technical infrastructure for their storage and corresponding financial resources, this Open Science project also seeks to encourage a transition to Open Access, as an effort to cut costs. Similarly, Canadian researchers and scholars express increasing resistance to subscription-based journals of large publishers, such as by refusing to review their manuscripts and creating rival Open Access journals, e.g., the Journal of Machine Learning Research.

By Pablo Markin

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

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Shifting Power Relations between Journal Publishers and University Libraries as Open Access Models Take Hold

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-15
URL: http://openscience.com/shifting-power-relations-between-journal-publishers-and-university-libraries-as-open-access-models-take-hold/

Scientific journals switching to Open Access that seek to diminish the impact of traditional publishers on access to knowledge incidentally make libraries and foundations more central to the publication workflow.


As Open Access becomes an increasingly central requirement with which large journal publishers are met with in their dealings with university libraries, academic societies and individual scholars, some of these, such as Springer, express readiness to accommodate it in their business practices, e.g., by making archived journal issues freely accessible after specified grace periods. At the same time, these practices also empower journal editors and research libraries to seek a more central role in the emergent journal publishing ecology based on Open Access, as has been the case with the section editors and editorial board of Lingua, a linguistics journal published by Elsevier, that have decided to launch Glossa, a rival Open Access journal, in 2015 with the support of the LingOA initiative and the Open Library of Humanities (OLH), a charitable organization seeking to promote Open Access publishing without charging author-facing article processing charges (APCs).

Though last two decades have seen a number of journals being re-launched in Open Access, for publishers this process hardly represents a paradigm shift in terms of how their extant journals are run, notwithstanding their limited integration of Open Access options, since their existing business models continue to ensure the quality of subscription-based journals. Additionally, in many cases, even after competing Open Access journals are launched, existing journals continue to maintain their positioning in their respective academic fields. However, initiatives, such as the OLH, that explicitly seek to change the manner in which funds circulate between libraries, publishers and researchers based on Open Access can potentially reduce the hold of publishers on copyright, journal management and revenue streams, while making libraries more directly involved in editorial processes, publication workflow and business models that form the basis of academic journals’ sustainability.

By Pablo Markin

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

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Media Question the Practices of Large Journal Publishers and their Effect on Science

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-07-10
URL: http://openscience.com/media-question-the-practices-of-large-journal-publishers-and-their-effect-on-science/

On June 27, 2017, The Guardian has published a long-read piece by Stephen Buranyi on the reported nefarious effects of the traditional publishing models on science by scrutinizing the business practices of Elsevier as a large journal exemplary of both the profitability of academic publishing and its attendant antinomies, such as the unpaid work of editors and reviewers that supports its fee-based model. Furthermore, Buranyi traces the historical development of the modern-day academic journal publishing business that has not only registered a steady rate of growth over the course of the twentieth century, but also monopolized the communication of scientific research results. […]


In this respect, despite the emergence of Open Access as a rival publishing model and its support by scientific and non-profit foundations, such as the Austrian Science Fund, Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation, scientific articles published in Open Access represent approximately 25% of all scholarly articles published. The implications of this are that large publishers are likely to be unwilling to change their highly profitable business practices, especially given their not infrequent further incorporation into financial holdings that are likely to favor the retention of existing business models as against the incorporation of Open Access models associated with lower profitability levels but higher long-term sustainability for the scientific community, e.g., the 37% profit margin of Elsevier in 2016.

By Pablo Markin

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

The Impact of Market Forces on Open Access Journal Publishers

Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-05-05

As the largest open access publisher by the number of articles published, according to the Digital Archive of Open Access Journals, PLOS can serve as a case in point for this phenomenon. In September 2015, PLOS has announced that it will be raising the APC for its flagship PLOS ONE journal from 1,395 USD to 1,495 USD, as the first APC increase for this journal since 2009. While this can be conceived of as a minor business model change for an open access publisher that sports 7 OA journals and 5 channels for scientific sub-fields, such as Muscular Dystrophy, that have streamlined peer-review procedures, are partly foundation-supported and have no author-facing charges, a closer analysis indicates otherwise. At present, the APCs for PLOS’s OA journals range from 1,495 USD (PLOS ONE) to 2,900 USD (PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine). The financial reports of PLOS for 2015, however, reveal that its approximate gross per-article revenues have amounted to 1,438 USD. In other words, given that the 2015 yearly gross publication fee revenues of PLOS have amounted to 44,604,000 USD, circa 31,000 journals have been published by PLOS in 2015, and that the average APC for PLOS ONE has been 1,420 USD for 2015, since the APC raise went into effect in October 2015, if all of these journals have been published in the PLOS ONE mega-journal, its gross APC revenues would have been 44,020,000 USD in 2015. Thus, in the year 2015 the absolute majority of PLOS’s revenues to the rate of up to 98% have been likely derived from APCs for PLOS ONE.

By Pablo Markin

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