Open-access publishing Victoria Gardner, OA publisher, Taylor & Francis / Routledge Journals O
ne of our objectives around embracing OA is that our approach is very much a positive one. OA is here to stay. We have moved from being passive to being much more engaged.
At the end of 2011 we launched our first of our
Taylor & Francis Open journals. The first were subscription journals that were converted. Now we have about 25, excluding Cogent, which is our new OA imprint. Cogent, which has five or six journals so far, is very keen on broad-based, megajournals, while the Taylor & Francis Open journals are more specific. The biggest
challenge with OA is the
complexity. We are seeing more funder mandates. A lot are focused on green but in the UK we see the Wellcome Trust, RCUK and others focused on specific licences. The challenge is to comply, especially if researchers receive funding from more than one source. That complexity is not going to go away.
At the moment about one per cent of the
articles we publish are gold OA. We are hoping that that will increase. We have an experiment on about 39 library
to publisher’s site and the version of record. The disadvantage is if a publisher does it is going to be much more systematic, which brings us to the whole green Catch 22.
Our default is subscriptions with green OA. Initially we had a different approach that was all about gold but we had a lot of negative comments from authors. They complained: ‘The first thing I get on acceptance of my paper is you asking for money.’
Like a lot of stakeholders we are waiting to see Mark Patterson, executive director, eLife I
n 2003 when I started at Public Library of Science (PLOS) it was a very different world from when I helped launch eLife in 2011. A lot of authors these days have an idea of OA. It is becoming much more mainstream.
The launch of the mega-journal PLOS One was saying ‘we can do things fundamentally differently’. It’s clearly succeeded and been copied by a lot of other publishers. It was a really interesting development and it makes sense for any journal online. At eLife, although we are very selective, we are also imagining that we could become a very big journal. We are seeing a very healthy rise in submissions and now get more than 200 per month. The other side of this is the quality and editors are generally very happy with the quality. If papers are judged to be good enough we can publish them. At the moment we publish 30 to 40 per month. OA is just a kind of given. When the three funders [that set up eLife] were having their initial conversations, the topic barely came up. Because
we are fully funded, we don’t have to charge APCs at the moment but I don’t know how much difference that makes. It’s likely we will introduce publication fees. Everything could and should be
OA. We see our job as to deliver content to everywhere it could be useful, including PubMed Central, Europe PubMed Central, our site
Repositories are very interesting and we are exploring how publishers can help populate them. With eLife it is possible for authors to deposit on acceptance. We follow up with the version of record; the versions have the same DOI but can be clearly distinguished. This is becoming more common.
There is a huge amount of transition going on with journals. We’ve got to first base but there’s much more we can do to develop much more dynamic platforms for research communication. For example, we want to make it possible for authors to add to their stories, but how would that factor into things like publication fees?
One of the challenges we have is to quantify the amount of OA available. One of the key things for the research community is if you make research fully open you turn it into a raw material and can find connections that you never could before. eLife content will become part of that activity.
‘If editors feel data is available only on very restrictive terms that will enter into the editorial process’
We are very supportive of open data. We require all the key data to be open, ideally with a CC0 licence, although there are some obvious examples where that can’t be the case. We aren’t insisting on a particular mechanism to make that available. For every major dataset used – whether generated by, or used in their work – they have to list where it is and who’s responsible for it. If editors feel that data is available only on very restrictive terms that will enter into the editorial process.
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and information science journals where there is no embargo period for archiving. Despite that very liberal condition, very few are uploaded. By the time your article is published you’ve moved on to your next project and it’s not part of the mindset
If we do a feed of accepted manuscripts to repositories we can ensure that they contain links
‘We’ve come to appreciate that there is an inherent loss of control with CC BY’
how things develop. It still feels like early days. OA is here to stay but there is still a place for subscriptions. That’s the message we hear. Some of our journals have subscription prices of £300; that vastly undercuts our APC.
Our view is that green is symbiotic with subscription publishing. I can’t see how it can stand on its own. We’re keen to give authors rights but we need to be pragmatic. We allow them to self archive without embargo to their own website but we apply embargoes on institutional repositories. We’re moved on in the debate quite significantly with CC licensing. At the beginning of 2013 there was concern about CC BY. Many HSS journals get a lot of revenue from third parties and that subsidises the journals. There were also concerns about copyright material in articles. There’s an interesting point around intellectual property. In biosciences you can patent; in the softer sciences the article is your IP. We’ve come to appreciate that there is an inherent loss of control with CC BY. There is also a lot of good stuff in CC licences and a lot we can learn from them for our subscription licences.
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