Tag Archives: subscription

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/.

Preprint Repositories Gain in Institutional Legitimacy and Recognition, Reduce the Attractiveness of Subscription Journals

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2018-01-07
URL: http://openscience.com/preprint-repositories-gain-in-institutional-legitimacy-and-recognition-reduce-the-attractiveness-of-subscription-journals/

As Indonesian INA-Rxiv, a country-level preprint repository for papers across different scientific disciplines, is launched, scholars at German research universities and institutions rely on article preprint access during their transition from paywall-based publication models to Open Access.


Excerpt

Whereas in the West individual subscription-based journals, such as the Journal of Biomedical Optics founded in 1996 and Neurophotonics published since 2014, continue to switch from subscription-based publishing to Open Access, while relying on hybrid business models during the transition, in emerging economies, e.g., Indonesia, Open Access preprint servers provide the infrastructure for macro-level, national-scale departures from toll-based publishing models, in favor of the unrestricted access to recent scientific findings across all academic disciplines. The latter is showcased by Indonesia-based INA-Rxiv launched as recently as in August, 2017, reaching over 1,500 preprints in its archive in early 2018 and helping to increase the international visibility of locally produced scientific and scholarly findings, such as through its indexing by Google Scholar.

Though this local Open Access initiative has relied for its launch on external non-profit support, e.g., a partnership with the Open Science Framework of the United States-based Center for Open Science, it is not inconceivable that as this preprint repository grows its article archive and increases its acceptance in local scholarly communities, the Indonesian government may chose to provide financial resources to this article repository, in order to help local academic institutions to negotiate favorable journal subscription contracts with global publishers, such as Elsevier. As much can be inferred from the latest updates from the standoff between German academic institutions, such as universities and libraries, and Elsevier that is forced to extend their unrestricted access to its contents, as journal subscription negotiations aimed at halving subscription fees and prioritizing publishing in Open Access as the preferred option continue into their second year.

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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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.


Excerpt

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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Wikipedia Referencing Significantly Augments the Diffusion of Open Access Articles as Recent Findings Show

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-11-04
URL: http://openscience.com/wikipedia-referencing-significantly-augments-the-diffusion-of-open-access-articles-as-recent-findings-show/

As a Chinese university questions the validity of traditional impact factor metrics, Teplitsky, Lu and Duede’s 2017 study argues that Wikipedia is more likely to promote the visibility of Open Access articles, than that of paywall-protected ones, regardless of the journal impact factor.


Excerpt

Though the emergence of Open Access journals has put into question the importance of impact factors that journals have, as the influence of freely accessible scientific articles may also be measured by alternative, article-level metrics, efforts to give credence to alternative impact metrics remain relatively marginal. At the same time, a recent announcement of Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, that it will be giving articles published on social media platforms and newspapers the same importance as is granted to peer-reviewed scientific publications has caused a stir both in China and around the world, as it can portent a change in funding, evaluation and promotion priorities at academic institutions.

While this tentative policy shift takes into account differences between various social media platforms, requires that the articles be original and established quantitative criteria for digital platform visibility, the discussion it has sparked also highlights the need for out-of-the-box thinking about the validity of traditional peer review procedures and journal-level impact factors that Open Access journals have been readier to experiment with than their paywall-based counterparts. Even though the full implications and eventual effect of this move remain unclear, it also shows that strengthening or the existence of links between layman-oriented digital platforms, such as Wikipedia, and scientific communities is insufficiently addressed by traditional impact metrics.

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.


Excerpt

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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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.


Excerpt

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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