The growth of open access (OA) via the payment of article processing charges (APCs) in hybrid journals has been a key feature of the approach to OA in the UK. In response, Jisc Collections has been piloting ‘offsetting agreements’ that explicitly link subscription and APCs, seeking to reduce one as the other grows.
However, offsetting agreements have become increasingly contentious with institutions, advocates and publishers.
With reference to issues such as cost, administrative efficiency, transparency and the transition to open access, this paper provides an update on the status of UK negotiations, reflects on the challenges and opportunities presented by such agreements, and considers the implications for the path of future negotiations.
URL : Offsetting and its discontents: challenges and opportunities of open access offsetting agreements
DOI : http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.345
Authors : Stephen Pinfield, Jennifer Salter, Peter A. Bath
This paper reports analysis of data from higher education institutions in the UK on their experience of the open-access (OA) publishing market working within a policy environment favouring ‘Gold’ OA (OA publishing in journals).
It models the ‘total cost of publication’ – comprising costs of journal subscriptions, OA article-processing charges (APCs) and new administrative costs – for a sample of 24 institutions. APCs are shown to constitute 12% of the ‘total cost of publication’, APC administration, 1%, and subscriptions, 87% (for a sample of seven publishers).
APC expenditure in institutions rose between 2012 and 2014 at the same time as rising subscription costs. There was disproportionately high take up of Gold options for Health and Life Sciences articles.
APC prices paid varied widely, with a mean APC of £1,586 in 2014. ‘Hybrid’ options (subscription journals also offering OA for individual articles on payment of an APC) were considerably more expensive than fully-OA titles, but the data indicate a correlation between APC price and journal quality (as reflected in the citation rates of journals).
The policy implications of these developments are explored particularly in relation to hybrid OA and potential of offsetting subscription and APC costs.
URL : http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/96336/
Author : Heather Morrison
Highlights of this broad-brush case study of Elsevier’s Open Access (OA) journals as of 2016: Elsevier offers 511 fully OA journals and 2,149 hybrids. Most fully OA journals do not charge article processing charges (APCs). APCs of fully OA journals average $660 US ($1,731 excluding no-fee journals); hybrid OA averages $2,500.
A practice termed author nominal copyright is observed, where copyright is in the name of the author although the author contract is essentially a copyright transfer. The prospects for a full Elsevier flip to OA via APC payments for articles going forward are considered and found to be problematic.
DOI : https://doi.org/10.5260/chara.18.3.53
Authors : Megan Kocher, Julie Kelly
We explore the use and usefulness of the hybrid open access publishing model in agricultural sciences using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods.
To ascertain the level of usage of the paid open access option in hybrid open access journals in agriculture, we studied the agriculture-related journals published by six commercial publishers.
These publishers offer authors the option of paying a fee, often close to $3,000 per article, to make their article immediately freely available, usually with a Creative Commons license. We defined agriculture broadly but also assigned each journal to a subspecialty (e.g., animal science) in order to see if there were differences based on these subdivisions.
For each journal we gathered data for 2014-2015 and noted the total number of research articles and the number of those that were made freely available by authors paying the open access fee.
To give context to our results we also surveyed local faculty in agricultural sciences, asking their reasons for considering the paid open access options and the sources of the funds to pay for it. Survey respondents were asked about their academic position and rank to see if there were differences to be noted.
We also investigated the findability of the open access articles, noting if each individual publisher offered a way to easily locate all the freely available articles in a particular journal and if there are other avenues to easily locate these articles.
URL : http://istl.org/16-fall/refereed2.html
Authors : Mikael Laakso, Bo-Christer Björk
This study estimates the development of hybrid open access (OA), i.e. articles published openly on the web within subscription-access journals. Included in the study are the five largest publishers of scholarly journals; Elsevier, Springer, Wiley-Blackwell, Taylor & Francis, and Sage.
Since no central indexing or standardized metadata exists for identifying hybrid OA an explorative bottom-up methodological approach was developed. The individual search and filtering features of each publisher website and a-priori availability of data were leveraged to the extent possible.
The results indicate a strong sustained growth in the volume of articles published as hybrid OA during 2007 (666 articles) to 2013 (13 994 articles). The share of hybrid articles was at 3.8% of total published articles for the period of 2011–2013 for journals with at least one identified hybrid OA article.
Journals within the Scopus discipline categorization of Health and Life Sciences, in particular the field of Medicine, were found to be among the most frequent publishers of hybrid OA content.
The study surfaces the many methodological challenges involved in obtaining metrics regarding hybrid OA, a growing business for journal publishers as science policy pressures for reduced access barriers to research publications.
URL : Hybrid open access—A longitudinal study
DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.joi.2016.08.002
How research funders can finance APCs in full OA and hybrid journals :
« Open access (OA) publishing is steadily growing in both full OA journals and hybrid journals where authors can pay to open up individual articles. Funding for article processing charges (APCs) is still a strong barrier for many authors, particularly for subscription journals where the hybrid option is expensive and an added extra feature after an article is accepted for publication. Many research funders in Europe have started or are considering mechanisms for paying APCs with earmarked funding in order to increase the uptake of OA. At the same time they are well aware that their actions may influence the way the OA market will develop in the near future. This article discusses a number of scenarios for ways in which funders could cover the cost of APCs, while encouraging the development of a competitive and transparent market for APC-funded OA scholarly publishing. We provide evidence that the current APC-funded full OA market is sensitive to journal prestige/impact. We present a value-based cap funding scheme which could help maintain transparency, bringing hybrid market pricing in line with the full OA market. We also consider a scenario that addresses hybrid ‘double dipping’ while limiting the cost of transitioning to full OA for research-intensive universities as well as costsharing as a mechanism for providing authors with an incentive for considering cost as well as value in choosing where to publish. »
URL : http://dx.doi.org/10.1087/20140203
The Hybrid Model for Open Access Publication of Scholarly Articles – a Failed Experiment? :
« Mainstream scholarly publishers have since 2004 started to offer authors in subscription journals the possibility to free their individual articles from access barriers against a payment (hybrid OA). This has been marketed as a possible gradual transition path between subscription and open access to the scholarly journal literature, and the publishers have pledged to decrease their subscription prices in proportion to the uptake of the hybrid option. The number of hybrid journals has doubled in the past couple of years and is now over 4,300, and the number of such articles was around 12,000 in 2011. On average only 1-2 % of eligible authors utilize the OA option, due mainly to the generally high price level of typically 3,000 USD. There are, however, a few publishers and individual journals with a much higher uptake. This article takes a closer look at the development of hybrid OA and discusses, from an author-centric viewpoint, the possible reasons for the lack of success of this business model. »
URL : http://www.openaccesspublishing.org/hybrid/hybrid.pdf