The prevalence and permanence of Open Access in the publishing landscape has ushered in an era of new customers, complex compliance requirements, and unique operational challenges that publishers, authors, funders, and universities must all navigate together. To help key stakeholders manage these changes, minimize the business burdens, and maximize the publishing results, Copyright Clearance Center hosted a webinar series featuring real-life insight from our RightsLink for Open Access customers (or, as we like to call them, our Open Access Superheroes).

“While the community continues to grapple with exactly what Open Access means, our goal was to meet the needs of authors and give them choices that allow them to maximize the value.” – Darla Henderson, American Chemical Society 

These short but engaging sessions with SAGE Publishing, American Chemical Society and the BMJ are definitely worth a look, but if you’re short on time, don’t worry! We’ve rounded up the publishers’ top takeaways to help you better manage your own Open Access program.

1. Understand how your organization fits into the Open Access landscape.

First you must define what Open Access means to your business and how you fit into the wider OA movement. Darla Henderson of ACS explains how doing so will help you determine the business approach that’s right for your organization: “For ACS, it was about a specific environment we were in, and that is the chemistry-related open access landscape.  As we looked across our organization at the 40,000 articles we publish each year, which had acknowledgment of more than 8,000 top funding agencies and geographic distribution primarily outside of the U.S., what we saw was a large variety of open access needs emerging – around license types, article versions, timeframes for a variety of stakeholders – authors, funders, librarians, institutions and end users.”

“Partnerships offer a unique opportunity for organizations who want to really focus on their strengths and leverage the strengths of others.” – Darla Henderson, American Chemical Society 

2. Put authors at the center of your OA decisions.

Authors play a central role in the success of your program, and they expect the same excellent service and system interoperability that they experience elsewhere as online consumers. As Rae de Guzman of the BMJ notes, “there’s a real technical challenge in making sure that all of your different elements are tied together, that we’re collecting the right metadata during submission, but making it appear seamless to the author. And that’s what we get with RightsLink – it’s so much more clean and user-friendly for the author. The user journey is almost as simple as a single screen.”

3. Find suitable partners.

Collaboration and engagement are critical to Open Access success. Strong partnerships offer you the chance to work with other organizations to solve problems and benefit from one another’s strengths, as Darla Henderson of ACS notes: “If you think about the superheroes and the superpowers, they’re always much better together. For example, we worked collaboratively with CCC to develop the pieces of the infrastructure that were right for ACS’s e-commerce solution.”

4. Challenge your assumptions.

The OA market is ever-changing. For example, you’re not just a publisher now, you’re also a customer service organization. No one size fits all, but, if you’re flexible and responsive, you can fulfill this new role (and many others).

“The publisher has to make the author payment journey as easy as a single screen. Behind the scenes, we’re busy making sure all the metadata is collected up front and that we’re collecting the right information.” – Rae De Guzman, British Medical Journal 

5. Be willing to experiment.

The increasing expectations of authors and growing pressure from funders mean you must take more risks. The more open you are to new models and ways of doing business, the more authors you will attract and retain. Darla Henderson explains that by testing out a new author rewards program, “ACS authors welcomed having the option to test open access without putting their own dollars on the line.  And the end news is that we were actually able to stimulate more growth above market rates for the STM average.”

6. Don’t shy away from the nitty-gritty.

Stay on top of payment data as well as article data. If reporting is fast, efficient, and in real time, compliance and subscription deals will also benefit. Melissa Holden reminds us, “it’s these things right at the granular level which can make a difference for the author or the institution experience.”

“Authors are there to their research and to publish their paper. We need to make it as easy and straightforward as possible to get them through the licensing and payment section so we can get their paper published with as little hassle as possible.” – Melissa Holden, SAGE Publishing 

7. Embrace scalability.

Predicting future growth, particularly in the OA space, can be a challenge. Melissa Holden of SAGE reflects on a time when adopting scalable processes and technology and avoiding manual workarounds suddenly became of critical importance: “At the end of 2014, SAGE purchased the largest OA journal ever to have transitioned between publishers, and the volume of OA transactions was about to double overnight for us, so we were keen to partner with an expert who could take on this part of the open access workflow.”

8. Refine and repeat.

As your Open Access program evolves, the more feedback and experience you gain. As a result, you’re better positioned to respond to emerging needs.

If you would like to find out how Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink for Open Access solution can turn your business into an Open Access Superhero, get in touch with the team today.


Author: Kurt Heisler

Kurt Heisler is Director of Sales, Publisher, for Copyright Clearance Center (CCC). He has been with CCC for over 10 years and is responsible for helping publishers find efficiency through automation, technology and market-wide collaboration. His primary focus is the market-wide adoption of the RightsLink® platform, and the exploration of new efficiencies and revenue opportunities for publishers. 
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