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gto full OA – in which all future scholarly articles would be accessible via OA – could take place within the decade. According to Johnson, many funders and policymakers across Europe are keen to see such a transition to OA business models. Having just proposed a €97.6 billion Horizon Europe programme – the latest iteration of Horizon 2020 – the European Commission intends to make open science its ‘modus operandi’ and requires open access to publications and data. Yet, as Johnson also highlights for


scholarly publishing elsewhere – such as the US – priority has been placed on public access to content, rather than publishers fully subscribing to an OA model: ‘We’re on a one-way journey to OA, but I do think it will always be a journey, and it’s certainly going to be a mixed economy for the foreseeable future.’


The price to pay But fast or slow and steady progress aside, without a doubt a major sticking point for OA publishing continues to be the article processing charge (APC) – the fee paid by an author to a publisher to make an article freely available online. While industry heavyweights, such as Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley, have historically scooped up the most APC payments for hybrid journals, APCs have increased for both hybrid and fully OA journals. Recent figures from Universities UK


Open Access Co-ordination Group reveal that the mean APC payment rose by 16 per cent, from £1,699 to £1,969 between 2013 and 2016. The same study reported that more than half the expenditure on APCs in 2016 went to the three major publishing groups – Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley – with expenditure on APCs rising faster than that on subscriptions. And in recent months, analysis from


US-based OA consultants, DeltaThink, indicates APC pricing to be rather random. A survey reveals the only predictor of price to be a journal’s business model, with APCs in hybrid journals being most expensive and cheapest in fully OA publications. As Ann Michael, president, put it: ‘Our survey shows a complex and immature market... with little relationship between [journal] impact and price.’ Unsurprisingly, industry tensions


are running high. German and Swedish research institutes recently – and very publicly – cancelled Elsevier contracts, while the League of European Research Universities (LERU), which includes the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, University College London and LMU Munich, has slammed OA developments. Earlier this year, LERU’s report on OA challenges stated that the UK transition to full OA was not working due to costly APCs increasing publishing costs beyond subscription costs. The organisation also questioned if


Share and share alike


Late last year, Cambridge University Press (CUP) launched a content-sharing pilot on its Cambridge Core platform, which allows users to share read-only versions of journal articles via a link that can be shared on social media sites and scholarly collaboration networks. Intended to build on the publisher’s existing Green and Gold open access (OA) policies, Cambridge Core Share includes nearly 200 subscription and hybrid journals, with monthly views growing from 2,000 to 10,000 from December 2017 to May 2018. As Brigitte Shull, senior


vice president of academic publishing, Americas, and director of scholarly communications research and development, highlights: ‘We’ve been publishing OA for years, but there has been a reorientation to


explore how we can do more, as we do see OA as the future. OA has been a relatively small part of our portfolio, but we do want to have roughly 20 to 25 per cent of our content moving to OA over the next few years.’ CUP publishes science,


technology and medical (STM) titles, as well as those in humanities and social sciences and, as such, accommodates differences from discipline to discipline. ‘Our OA does skew more towards our STM programmes, which probably doesn’t surprise you... but we are working to flip both STM and social science journals over the next few years,’ she says. As she also highlights,


while levels of awareness and engagement on OA vary between disciplines, largely hinging on the mandates coming from funders,


6 Research Information August/September 2018


“Our survey shows a complex and immature market... with little relationship


between [journal] impact and price”


today’s commercial publishing model could be adapted to full OA publishing, and called for new publishing models to deliver affordable OA, such as universities collaborating to produce mega journals. For their part, publishing heavyweights


have asserted that more selective OA titles demand more editorial involvement, which is reflected in the APC. Springer Nature chief publishing officer Steven Inchcoombe recently highlighted in a Times Higher Education blog that Nature Communications employs 87 in-house editors and the investment required to evaluate submitted articles has to be recouped in the APC. Johnson sympathises, pointing out that


traditional publishers would struggle to adapt to full OA as the revenue per article from subscription-based publishing is around twice that of the APC. ‘The question is, are people willing to


pay more for OA, recognising that some of the traditional journals are more selective


g


interest in openness is obvious across the board. ‘For example, a historian might not be able to pay an APC, but they might be interested in Cambridge Core Share,’ Shull adds. CUP has been the first


university press to build a sharing service on a home-


grown platform, and Shull believes that the platform and its latest development are helping authors to discover content and collaborate: ‘We have revved up our efforts to bring journals into the Core Share fold, and we’re now making sure authors have the tools they need to use it.’


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