Tag Archives: Springer Nature

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/.

The Mega-Journal Market Grows, as Traditional Journals Lose Ground and Emerging Areas Launch Open Access Titles

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2018-01-23
URL: http://openscience.com/the-mega-journal-market-grows-as-traditional-journals-lose-ground-and-emerging-areas-launch-open-access-titles/

As University College London mulls publishing its own mega-journal, it is expected to join the bustling marketplace of Open Access journals. This can be due to the community-building effects of Open Access journals that become increasingly prized, whereas traditional journals see their hold on scholarly communities weaken. While support infrastructure in the Open Access sector continues to develop, cutting-edge research fields call to life specialized Open Access outlets.


Excerpt

The Open Access market in the United Kingdom (UK) marks a milestone as august University College London (UCL), originally founded in 1826, has announced its planned launch of an Open Access mega-journal, to compete with PLOS One and Scientific Reports. This effort also seeks to emulate the success of Collabra, a mega-journal operated by the University of California Press. Rather than being scholarly periodicals narrowly conceived, mega-journals act as broad platforms for publishing scientific output. Though their peer-review practices may be questioned, Open Access journals increasingly gain a positive word of mouth in the academic community, due to their streamlined publication procedures, experimental peer review models and unrestricted accessibility.

As large foundations throw their weight behind Open Access publishing platforms, the role of mega-journals as anchors for diverse scientific communities is also increasingly recognized, especially given the frequently interdisciplinary nature of cutting-edge research. This, however, takes place on the background of the growing saturation and competition in the mega-journal market, as new market entrants drive the article output of incumbent Open Access mega-scale publication venues, such as PLOS One, downward. Nevertheless, Open Access journals in highly specialized sub-fields of research, such as npj Digital Medicine jointly launched by the Scripps Translational Science Institute and Springer Nature, continue to make their entry into the scholarly publishing market, as large publishers continue to add Open Access titles to their journal portfolios to make them stand out globally.

By Pablo Markin


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

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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 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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The Revenues of the Open Access Article Publication Market Lag Behind its Output, Despite Growth

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-11-12
URL: http://openscience.com/the-revenue-performance-of-the-open-access-article-publication-market-lags-behind-its-output-despite-growth/

Latest reports show that the Open Access journal-level publication market has ample room for development, as Open Access journals’ revenues are yet to match the rates of their articles published, as the global Open Access market begins to mature and demonstrates superior publication-level visibility performance.


Excerpt

As recent projections peg the value of the global Open Access market to reach over half a billion USD in 2018, should its growth dynamics be maintained, empirical data, nevertheless, indicate that, whereas Open Access articles have constituted 20% of all those published in the year 2016, the contribution of Open Access publications to journal industry revenues has ranged between 4% and 9% in the same period. At the same time, since these figures only refer to Gold Open Access publications, it can be surmised that Green and hybrid Open Access journals are likely to demonstrate higher revenue performance levels than their Gold Open Access counterparts. Even though these findings can be interpreted as indicating the slow pace of the global Open Access market maturation, given that the Budapest Open Access Initiative has been inaugurated in 2002, its continued growth, such as that of 21% between 2015 and 2016, also demonstrates the vitality of this publication market’s sector.

While arguments against Open Access as a publication model continue to cite the importance of journal impact factors for scientific authors, as far as their decisions about publication venues are concerned, the system-wide cost-cutting impact of either opting for or converting into Open Access on the level of individual journals can hardly be disputed. In some cases, traditional scientific journals continue to charge authors anachronistic page fees, such as 110 USD per page, long after the digital access to the toll-protected publications has become widespread. In comparison, article processing charges (APCs) that some Open Access journals levy represent a lumpsum payment that can be likely lower than total per-page charges of conventional journals which scientific authors may not necessarily have sufficient fund to pay, especially since, unlike Open Access APCs, academic institutions do not have a cost-cutting-related rationale to subsidize these.

By Pablo Markin


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

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Springer Nature’s Report Demonstrates the Viability of Open Access Transitions for both Journals and Countries

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-10-24
URL: http://openscience.com/springer-natures-report-demonstrates-the-viability-of-open-access-transitions-for-both-journals-and-countries/

As its recent data demonstrate, in some European states between 70% and 90% of Springer’s newly published articles are in Open Access, which indicates that the journal- and country-level adoption of Open Access becomes increasingly mainstream, even though it depends on author fee funding availability.


Excerpt

In its press release published in October 23, 2017, Springer Nature has announced that its authors hailing from Austria, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Sweden publish 73%, 77%, 84% and 90% respectively of their articles in Gold Open Access. Though this has been made possible by article processing charges funding from governmental foundations and scientific institutions in these countries, only circa 27% of all articles published by Springer Nature are in Gold Open Access, which demonstrates the growth potential for Open Access internationally. While Open Access is widely credited with the promotion of research results discovery, it appears that it can be made available as an option for authors not only through the expansion of the operation models of existing toll-based journals to various Open Access formats, such as Gold or Green Open Access, in the direction of hybrid publishing models, but also through the flipping or conversion of existing well-known journals into Open Access. […]

This is echoed in the intention of the European Commission to promote Open Access for research results generated through the assistance of Horizon 2020 grants, such as via pre-print repositories, especially in view of the strides that private foundations, such as Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, have been making in this direction. More recently, in November 2016, the Wellcome Trust has launched Wellcome Open Research that enables researchers it funds to take advantage of its streamlined publication process involving rapid submission procedures, post-publication open peer review and scientific database indexing.

By Pablo Markin


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

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