Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata



The problem

There are concerns that the current academic publication system is unsustainable for research performing organisations. In order to achieve a cost-effective, efficient and dynamic system of academic communication stakeholders need to gain appropriate insight into its costs and conditions. This is particularly relevant in the transition phase to open access when both Big Deals and article processing charges (APCs) are being used.

The solution 
Introduce greater transparency in costs and conditions connected with academic communication as soon as possible so as to enable a better transition to open access.


Concrete actions 

  • National authorities and European Commission: give strong political backing to Research Performing Organisations in their negotiations with publishers.
  • Research Performing Organisations: collaborate closely, e.g. form consortia, to negotiate with publishers, in order to reach agreements in which fair open access is the default standard.
  • National authorities: work with all other stakeholders to create a comprehensive and transparent system for gathering and sharing information on the costs and conditions of academic communication.
  • National authorities, Research Performing Organisations and publishers: require details of public spending to be fully transparent and abolish non-disclosure clauses in contracts. 
  • European Commission: provide guidance to clarify the relevance of EU competition law to the exchange of information on the costs and conditions of academic communication. 


Expected positive effects

  • Greater transparency will contribute to a level playing field in academic communication, which will benefit small and intermediate as well as new innovative publishers and entrepreneurs;
  • Lower overall costs for academic communication;
  • Fair pricing.
  • No labels

9 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Re: Concrete actions (item 2):

    There are some opinions in regard to “fair” open access, but this has never been discussed broadly.

    https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/content/fair-open-access-and-future-scientific-publishing

    I would really recommend not to introduce new qualifiers in this document.

    Delete "fair"!

     

    Georg Botz

  2. Anonymous

    Re: Concrete actions (item 4):

    I would recommend not to address publishers here. At least, they are not in charge of the first part of the proposed action.

     

    Georg Botz

  3. What is missing is support for “grass-roots” initiatives (such as SCOAP3, LingOA, and others), where scientific communities take matters in their own hands. Such initiatives are alluded to elsewhere but should be treated here explicitly.

    Also missing is the potential disadvantage of the move from subscription-based to APC-based forms of publication for researcher working in institutions with small budgets: where non-OA publications can be shared in various ways, APCs might turn out to be a real and unsurmountable obstacle. 

    Martin Stokhof, on behalf of the Open Access Working Group of the European Research Council


    Proposed changes:

    The problem

    There are concerns that the current academic publication system is unsustainable for research performing organisations. In order to achieve a cost-effective, efficient and dynamic system of academic communication stakeholders need to gain appropriate insight into its costs and conditions. This is particularly relevant in the transition phase to open access when both Big Deals and article processing charges (APCs) are being used.

    Another problem is that with the transition form subscription-based to APC-based forms of publication, researchers from institutions with small budgets may be put at a real disadvantage.

    The solution 
    Introduce greater transparency in costs and conditions connected with academic communication as soon as possible so as to enable a better transition to open access.

    Whenever possible support grass-roots initiatives where scientific communities take matters in their own hand and work towards not-for-profit forms of publications that could result in substantially lower costs, and that might provide ways of establishing a fair distribution of APCs over researchers from richer and poorer institutions.

     

    Concrete actions 

    • National authorities and European Commission: give strong political backing to Research Performing Organisations in their negotiations with publishers; support their efforts to support grass-root initiatives.
    • Research Performing Organisations: collaborate closely, e.g. form consortia, to negotiate with publishers, in order to reach agreements in which fair open access is the default standard; actively reach out to research communities that are willing to develop alternative publication forms.
    • National authorities: work with all other stakeholders to create a comprehensive and transparent system for gathering and sharing information on the costs and conditions of academic communication.
    • National authorities, Research Performing Organisations and publishers: require details of public spending to be fully transparent and abolish non-disclosure clauses in contracts. 
    • European Commission: provide guidance to clarify the relevance of EU competition law to the exchange of information on the costs and conditions of academic communication. 


    Expected positive effects

    • Greater transparency will contribute to a level playing field in academic communication, which will benefit small and intermediate as well as new innovative publishers and entrepreneurs;
    • Lower overall costs for academic communication;
    • A fair pricing system that accommodates differences in budgetary potential between researchers and their institutions
  4. Anonymous

    Since this section is about transparency, then i think I agree with Georg that "fairness" is not relevant here.  That doesn't mean i am against it, but it is not the topic of this section.

    On fairness - there are real distributional issues associated with the APC model, including that those countries and RPOs that publish a lot of research will likely pay more than under subscription model, assuming current price levels.  That is one way in which the grassroots initiatives mentioned by Martin are important - to challenge that assumption.  But this is all only a tangent to the topic here, ie transparency.

    Perhaps there needs to be a natural home in the document to cover cost / benefit distribution issues around open science?  Monitoring those issues for OA might at least be covered under section 10.

    Neil Jacobs / Jisc, UK

  5. We now need the editorial boards of existing subscription journals to request publishers to flip these journals to open access more quickly. The Fair Open Access Roadmap we developed for this purpose has proven itself in the success of Linguistics in Open Access (www.lingoa.eu) program that started last year, and where three subscription journals were flipped to Fair Open Access: Lingua->Glossa; Laboratory Phonology, and Journal of Portuguese Linguistics..

    LingOA is ambitious in that it moves beyond the Open Access big deals to what we call "Fair" Open Access, in which the OA publisher has to comply with the following conditions:

    -  All articles are published in Full Open Access (no subscriptions, no hybrid model / 'double dipping').

    -  The author owns the copyright of his articles (no copyright transfer to publishers), and a CC-BY license applies.

    - The editorial board or a learned society owns the title of the journal.

    - APCs are low (400 – 600 euros), transparent, and in proportion to the work carried out by the publisher.

    New, more nimble publishers are currently using this price range for the publishing services they offer, exploiting fresh opportunities for sustainable business). The LingOA model reintroduces competitive market mechanisms in a scientific publishing market that is currently dominated by an oligopoly of traditional publishers.

    Johan Rooryck, EiC Glossa & President, LingOA

  6. Anonymous

    Transparency (or the lack thereof) can also be an issue at a much more down-to-earth level affecting individual researchers (who don't seem to get too much attention in this document). If you have to spend half an hour clicking through different sections of a journal webpage or the website of a book publisher before you can get an idea as to what it would cost you to publish a paper or a book in OA with that publisher, then that can hardly be called transparent. Therefore I propose adding the following concrete action:

    Publishers: provide complete and easily findable information about publication costs (including APCs and OA fees for books) on your website. Be clear about the services included (in particular for books) and the licences offered.

    Dagmar Meyer, Brussels

  7. Anonymous

    Michael Matlosz, President Science Europe:

    None of the actions that will advance Open Science and Open Access will prosper without greater transparency. Business practices such as the so called ‘big deals’,  and hybrid-journals only make sense as temporary solutions during a period of transition to Open Access. And off-setting mechanisms, which are a good solution only work if costs, payment histories and price-structures are disclosed.

    In order for the transition to Open Access to be complete and in order for these temporary solutions not to become permanent we need complete information about the total amounts of (public) funding currently in the system. This will allow to achieve the transition by knowing what resources already in the system can be invested to support new models of scholarly communication after the transition (including infrastructure, publication venues, etc.).

    The only adjective needed for Open Access is ‘Open’. Qualifiers such as ‘full’ Open Access, or ‘fair’ Open Access and others are counterproductive as they dilute what Open Access means: unrestricted access unimpeded by any financial, legal or technical barriers, where the only restriction is the obligation to attribute the work to the author.

  8. Anonymous

    Natalia Manola on behalf of OpenAIRE

    Academic communication costs for immediate publishing are not only related to APCs for publications, but also involve hidden costs from supporting activities from the university libraries.

    For green OA costs are also related to repositories, their setup, operation and maintenance, and should be calculated as well.

    On top of proposed actions and community comments:

    Solutions:

    Enable transparency at all levels: from negotiation, to licensing, to publishing. 

    Concrete Actions:

    • Universities to calculate all costs of Open Access publishing taking into account all available options.
    • Universities and national infrastructures: promote and implement interoperable services for APCs management to enable transparency and public assessment at all times (an example can be found at EC’s APC FP7 pilot at https://postgrantoapilot.openaire.eu/#statistics implemented by OpenAIRE)
    • EU and/or MS must promote the openness on contracts using public funding to support acquisition/licensing/publishing of research results to have non-disclosure clauses.
    • EC takes actions to facilitate a European-wide dialogue on cost transparency, taking into account regional needs.
  9. Anonymous

    Costs related to data publication, curation, and sharing should also be considered - the section as presented focuses on traditional journal articles

    David Kernohan, Jisc, UK