Tag Archives: Subscription-Based

Some Open Access Journals Spark Controversy Due to Internal Problems but Also for Lack of Model Sustainability

As recent news on the HAU and Springer Machine Intelligence journal show, Open Access needs to be paired with sustainable publishing models to serve scholarly communities and deliver on its promise of unrestricted access to knowledge.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


While interface barriers can contribute to the difficulties of scholars with accessing scientific articles and data, as proponents of technological solutions to that suggest, Open Access provides an alternative to subscription-based access only to the extent that it can be based on sustainable economic models that can support the operation of Open Access journals. Otherwise, accessing pre-prints or post-prints of accepted academic articles from repository servers can lead to the implosion of the business models that conventional, subscription-based or Open Access journals have.

This is illustrated by the economic implosion of HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory launched in 2011 without a business model that could ensure its long-term viability, as it sought to outsource its costs to external institutions, such as universities and libraries, in order to provide free access to its content. As the journal has been transitioned to a hybrid model involving both subscriptions and conditionally subsidized or free access, such as for scholars from the global South, controversy has erupted both due to the departure from Open Access principles and alleged editorial mismanagement.

Media coverage suggests that this flip into closed access that the journal HAU has accomplished was not due to the article processing charges (APCs) that its previous model involved but stemmed from growing operational expenses and resource misallocation. Yet financial misconduct and lacking accountability, inherently unrelated to the previous model of the journal, have also been likely to be the decisive factors behind the reorganization of this journal. However, the relative freedom that the Open Access model gives to journal management to set APC levels could also been part of the reason for which the apparently poor governance at the HAU journal has precipitated the switch to the hybrid, subscription-based model, which amounts to a freemium approach to journal publishing, in partnership with the University of Chicago Press. […]

At the same time, though scholarly communities increasingly vaunt Open Access as a revolutionary alternative to subscription-based models, as the calls for boycotting the subscription-based Nature Machine Intelligence journals show, the adoption of Open Access-based models in itself does not guarantee journal governance free of conflicts of interest and significant overall cost reductions, as operation expenses need to be sustainably covered, if Open Access journals are to continue to exist in the long term.

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Bulgaria-0743 – Plovdiv Regional Ethnographic Museum, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, May 6, 2012 | © Courtesy of Dennis Jarvis/Flickr.

This post is based on an article that originally appeared in OpenScience, 23/06/2018, https://openscience.com/some-open-access-journals-spark-controversy-due-to-internal-problems-but-also-for-lack-of-model-sustainability/.

The Difference between Open Access and Paywall-Based Publishing Models Sharpens, as Preprints Gain in Legitimacy

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2018-01-15
URL: http://openscience.com/the-difference-between-open-access-and-paywall-based-publishing-models-sharpens-as-preprints-gain-in-legitimacy/

Even though costs associated with Open Access publishing have been found to grow, as preprints gain in increasing recognition in funding, grant and fellowship applications, Open Access publishers, such as Hindawi, may be poised to benefit from the associated disruptive change in the publishing industry.


Excerpt

As illegal file sharing begins to affect the subscription-based journal publishing market, it can both hasten a wide-ranging adoption of Open Access by both publishers and researchers and give impetus to renewed efforts to shore up the paywall-based models against challengers. More specifically, as the interview with Daniel Himmelstein indicates, given that up to 97% of back-list catalogues of some journal publishers can be accessible other than through subscription-based channels, Open Access primarily based on the author-pays model can be one of the remaining avenues to economic sustainability for publishing houses.

On the one hand, the systemic change in the publishing market that this involves may be saluted by Open Access publishers, such as Hindawi that terminated its membership in the International Association of STM Publishers. On the other hand, large publishers may seek to stem this transition to Open Access by seeking to conclude journal subscription agreements that minimize the scope for Open Access for libraries and scholars that they include, as for instance Elsevier has sought to do in its negotiations with German universities. In other words, in the short term the growing adoption of Open Access, however, is also likely to entail rapidly growing costs, largely covered by non-profit foundations, for publishing in this model, such as steep increase from 1.6 million GBP in 2014/2016 to 7.3 million GBP in 2015/2016 in the United Kingdom, as the compliance with Open Access criteria of articles published with the support of Charity Open Access Fund has been found to reach 91% in the latter period.

By Pablo Markin


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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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.


Excerpt

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Hybrid Open Access Mega-Journals Gain in Traction as Scholarly Societies and Journal Publishers Partner

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-11-16
URL: http://openscience.com/hybrid-open-access-mega-journals-gain-in-international-traction-as-scientific-societies-and-open-access-publishers-partner/

While developed world universities and libraries weigh the pros and cons of Open Access plus subscription models, developing countries embrace Open Access mega journal-style repositories with open post-publication peer review procedures in partnership with established publishing platforms.


Excerpt

As the international Open Access community mulls the possibility of turning data sets into revenue streams by dint of the latter’s ability to be analyzed, circulated and packaged in abstract form, scholars hailing from the American academia grapple with the economics of scientific journal publishing by seeking to explore how the supply and demand can be re-equilibrated in this industry. Currently, the demand for the scientific journal subscriptions appears to continue to outstrip they supply, which ensures the high subscription fees, such as those of Springer, for journal bundles that their publishers vend, given their effective oligopoly hold on this market and the exclusive access to highly-reputed journals they provide.

However, this situation resists a facile conclusion that Open Access journals can significantly change the equilibrium prices in this market, as quality journals incur significant publication costs and do not differ significantly in their reviewing, editing and submission practices from subscription-based journals, as far as unpaid labor input is concerned. In other words, Open Access journals will have to have article processing charges (APCs) compensate for the lost revenue streams that toll-based journals derive from subscription fees. In turn, this leads to a relatively minor impact that the advent of Open Access has had on the market-wide equilibrium prices that end up being charged for article publication and access either directly or indirectly.

By Pablo Markin


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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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.

Tags: .

German Editors-In-Chief and Editorial Board Members Resign from Subscription-Based Elsevier-Owned Journals

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-10-18
URL: http://openscience.com/german-editors-in-chief-and-editorial-board-members-resign-from-subscription-based-elsevier-owned-journals/

First eight German researchers and scientists have announced their resignation from editorial duties at Elsevier-supported journals on the background of the ongoing efforts of Germany-based universities and research institutes to switch to Open Access.


Excerpt

As the negotiations over subscription contracts between Elsevier, a large journal publisher, and Germany-based scientific and academic institutions continue to bear no fruits, a growing number of leading German editors and editorial board members at paywall-based journals associated with this publisher announce resignations from their positions. Multiple other German scientists and researchers are reportedly ready to follow suit, in their effort to create a momentum for the switch-over to Open Access as the default option for scientific article publication. Germany-wide associations, such as the Project DEAL, are willing to support the transition to the Open Access model by offering Elsevier and other large publishers lump-sum payments that will cover the article processing charges of German scientific authors in exchange for access to their journal and article collections.

However, Elsevier keeps rejecting this deal, since its profit performance is closely related to the subscription payments from universities and institutions around the world. Allowing for Open Access provisions for German academic and scientific organizations in circumvention of traditional subscription contracts could create an international precedent with possible negative effects for Elsevier’s revenues. Thus, German scientists, such as Kurt Mehlhorn from Max-Planck-Institut für Informatik, Saarbrücken, who has resigned from Computational Geometry: Theory and Applications, may have little choice but to launch rival Open Access journals, to maintain their involvement in their research fields.

By Pablo Markin


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

Tags: .

Subscription-Based Journals May Be Facing the Music Industry Predicament due to File-Sharing Platforms

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-18
URL: http://openscience.com/subscription-based-journals-may-be-facing-the-music-industry-predicament-due-to-file-sharing-platforms/

As large publishers fight via legal means illegal scientific article downloading, such as via Sci-Hub, empirical findings show that over 85% of paywall-protected article catalogues are accessible through no-fee, controversial repositories.


Excerpt

While legislative initiatives seek to strike a balance between the interests of academic journal publishing industry and those of scientific communities, such as by setting quotas for Open Access to publicly supported research publications, as has recently been proposed in Germany, they can be perceived as falling short of researcher needs that continue to be largely covered by scholarly journal subscriptions that university libraries and research institutions acquire on a regular basis. At the same time, digitization may be poised to unleash in the scientific journal publishing industry changes similar to those that illegal music download platforms have instigated in the music industry. […]

Likewise, journal publishing may be in the throes of a similar transformation, as digitization-related factors make pirated scholarly papers accessible for illegal downloading, such as through Sci-Hub, at no cost. Reachable through a series of websites providing access to direct, albeit illegal, downloading of academic papers from several repositories, Sci-Hub has been founded by Alexandra Elbakyan, Kazakhstan national who could not afford article access fees that large publishers charge, in 2011. In 2015, Elsevier, one of major international scientific journal publishers, has filed a copyright infringement complaint against Sci-Hub and other article downloading platforms, such as Library Genesis, in New York, while demanding 15 million USD in damages. Though a New York court has decided this legal case in favor of Elsevier in June 2017, this publisher has been increasing its Open Access portfolio holdings in recent years, which can indicate a change in its business model.

By Pablo Markin


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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .