Open Access Must-Reads, Winter 2018

Together with the Association for Learned and Professional Publishing (ALPSP), Copyright Clearance Center is excited to share the Winter 2018 edition of the “Open Access Must-Reads” series – a thoughtfully curated selection of important articles from the past few months that expound upon “can’t miss” developments in the world of Open Access.

1) Monitoring the Transition to Open Access

The second in a series commissioned by Universities UK, this new report illuminates native OA trends since the institution of funder mandates. Key takeaways include that more than 50% of UK-authored articles are made accessible for public view within 12 months, while 37% are freely available to the world immediately on publication, beating the global average of 25%. APCs are also on the rise across the board, though they’re still higher for hybrid than for pure OA journals.

2) Swiss National Science Fund to Mandate OA by 2020

From 2020, all publications from Swiss National Science Foundation funded projects must be OA. In preparation, new measures are being put in place, coming into effect on 1 April, 2018. Going forward, the SNSF will pay for journal Gold OA APCs, and OA books as well. Researchers will no longer be able to apply for exemption. To incentivize authors, the current upper limit for APCs (CHF3000, or c. £2300 / US$3000) is temporarily waived (within reason).

3) UCL to launch OA Megajournal

A first for a UK university press, the University College of London is launching a new open access, cross-disciplinary journal platform that will provide free access to research in an effort to help solve the world’s biggest challenges and revolutionize traditional commercial publishing models. As part of the initiative, peer-review comments, as well as the identities of the reviewers, will also be made available to readers with the aim of increasing transparency. Paul Ayris, CEO of UCL Press and Pro-Vice-Provost of UCL Library Services, hopes the platform will do for journal content what the press has already done for research monographs, which have been freely downloaded 650,000 times in 218 countries.

4) Open Access 2017: A Year of Stand-Offs, Showdowns, and Funders’ Own Journals

PLOS One Human Research Advisory Group member Hilda Bastian provides a highly detailed month-by-month lineup of key OA highlights from 2017. According to Hilda, among the top to watch rolling on into 2018 are:

  • Ongoing negotiations between German universities and Elsevier for a national access deal that’s sustainable and fair for academics and researchers
  • Funders launching their own publishing platforms with the aim of decreasing cost and time to publication
  • The Gates Foundation’s hard line on immediate open access with no embargo period, which could represent a significant shift if adopted by other funders

5) The OA Effect: How Does Open Access Affect the Usage of Scholarly Books?

A new report from Springer Nature presents interesting findings about the tangible benefits of publishing academic books under a gold OA model. Specifically, their research illustrated that OA books are downloaded seven times more frequently than non-OA books, pull 50% more citations over a four-year period, and increase online mentions by a factor of 10 over a three-year period. Much like OA for journal content, the study finds that increased visibility and wider dissemination of research are the most popular motivations for OA monograph authors.

6) Blockchain for Research

A new report from Digital Science illuminates how blockchain technology could be applied as a solution to issues facing scholarly communication such as cost, transparency, and universal accessibility. In addition to providing a digestible overview of the technology itself, the report covers scenarios in which the approach could allow accurate tracking of the usage of articles, plus new business models based on per-view payments. Instead of a subscription model, institutions of higher education could pay based on the actual number of times their authors access a publisher’s literature. Possibly, this could also change the role of publishers, which would focus on copy editing and peer review while the platform for disseminating content is established through the blockchain.

Recommended Reading: 

Open Access Must-Reads, Fall 2017

Open Access Must-Reads, Spring 2017


Author: Audrey McCulloch and Sue Kesner

Audrey McCulloch is the Chief Executive and Company Secretary of the Association for Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), and Sue Kesner is the Senior Director, Publisher Relations at Copyright Clearance Center. Sue represents CCC on the ALPSP North American Steering Committee. Sue and Audrey have been close friends and colleagues for more than five years.
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