Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences

Authors : David Solomon, Mikael Laakso, Bo-Christer Björk

This report identifies ways through which subscription-based scholarly journals have converted their publishing models to open access (OA).

The major goal was to identify specific scenarios that have been used or proposed for transitioning subscription journals to OA so that these scenarios can provide options for others seeking to “flip” their journals to OA.

The report is based on the published literature as well as “gray” literature such as blog posts and press releases. In addition, interviews were conducted with eight experts in scholarly publishing.

The report identifies a variety of goals for converting a journal to OA. While there are altruistic goals of making scholarship more accessible, the literature review and interviews suggest that there are also many practical reasons for transitioning to an OA model.

In some instances, an OA business model is simply more economically viable. Also, it is not unusual for a society or editorial board to transition to an OA business model as a means of gaining independence from the current publisher.

Increasing readership, the number and quality of submissions, and impact as measured in citations are important goals for most journals that are considering flipping. Goals and their importance often differ for various regions in the world and across different disciplines.

Each journal’s situation is unique and it is important for those seeking to flip a journal to carefully consider exactly what they hope to achieve, what barriers they are likely to face, and how the changes that are being implemented will further the goals intended for their journal.

We found that there are many issues that must be addressed in the process of changing a journal’s business model to OA.

The transition process is complex and in most cases requires at least a year. For example, it is necessary to address manuscripts in process and how to manage back issues. Obligations to subscribers must be negotiated, particularly when the journal’s subscription is bundled with other journals in multi-journal contracts, called “big deal” agreements.

A great deal of effort should go into marketing so that authors and readers are adequately informed of the change. Implementing the transition at the beginning of a volume also helps to avoid confusion.

Society-owned journals have specific challenges, such as losing the membership perk of free or discounted subscriptions for members. The wishes of the society’s membership and its willingness to accept sacrifices, such as increased dues or reduced services, must be considered if the society must give up income to flip.

Commercial publishers have a somewhat different set of goals from nonprofit or small societies. The goals and funding options for flipping journals to OA vary across disciplines and in different parts of the world. While there are many similarities across journals, each has its own unique challenges when converting from subscription to OA.

There are a variety of factors that facilitate conversion to OA. These forces are both top down and bottom up. Governments, funding agencies, and library cooperatives through large-scale initiatives such as mandates and special funding programs can facilitate conversion and directly and indirectly influence journals converting to OA.

Also, individuals and small groups, such as editors, the editorial board, or society members, have converted journals through their own efforts. There is no process that works for all journals and there are important variations in circumstances for each journal.

There are also barriers and risks to consider. Whether or not article processing charges (APCs) are used, ensuring adequate resources to publish the journal over the long term is critical.

Unintended consequences are also a concern. APCs, or even just the change to OA, may discourage submissions or decrease their quality. Loss of free or discounted subscriptions may decrease membership for societies.

Obtaining a good understanding of the potential risks and benefits of flipping through surveys, focus groups, and pilot programs, such as flipping only a section of a journal, are strategies for understanding and substantially reducing the risks associating with changing the business model.

The scenarios are organized into those based on APC funding and those based on obtaining resources or funding through other sources. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis was performed on a number of journal scenario examples to assess the risks and benefits of each scenario.

URL : Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences

Alternative location : https://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/27803834

 

Academic Publishing: Making the Implicit Explicit

Authors : Cecile Badenhorst, Xiaolin Xu

For doctoral students, publishing in peer-reviewed journals is a task many face with anxiety and trepidation. The world of publishing, from choosing a journal, negotiating with editors and navigating reviewers’ responses is a bewildering place.

Looking in from the outside, it seems that successful and productive academic writers have knowledge that is inaccessible to novice scholars. While there is a growing literature on writing for scholarly publication, many of these publications promote writing and publishing as a straightforward activity that anyone can achieve if they follow the rules.

We argue that the specific and situated contexts in which academic writers negotiate publishing practices is more complicated and messy. In this paper, we attempt to make explicit our publishing processes to highlight the complex nature of publishing.

We use autoethnographic narratives to provide discussion points and insights into the challenges of publishing peer reviewed articles. One narrative is by a doctoral student at the beginning of her publishing career, who expresses her desires, concerns and anxieties about writing for publication.

The other narrative focuses on the publishing practices of a more experienced academic writer. Both are international scholars working in the Canadian context. The purpose of this paper is to explore academic publishing through the juxtaposition of these two narratives to make explicit some of the more implicit processes.

Four themes emerge from these narratives. To publish successfully, academic writers need: (1) to be discourse analysts; (2) to have a critical competence; (3) to have writing fluency; and (4) to be emotionally intelligent.

URL : Academic Publishing: Making the Implicit Explicit

Alternative location  : http://www.mdpi.com/2304-6775/4/3/24

What Motivates Authors of Scholarly Articles? The Importance of Journal Attributes and Potential Audience on Publication Choice

Authors : Carol Tenopir, Elizabeth Dalton, Allison Fish, Lisa Christian, Misty Jones, MacKenzie Smith

In this article we examine what motivations influence academic authors in selecting a journal in which to publish.

A survey was sent to approximately 15,000 faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers at four large North American research universities with a response rate of 14.4% (n = 2021).

Respondents were asked to rate how eight different journal attributes and five different audiences influence their choice of publication output. Within the sample, the most highly rated attributes are quality and reputation of journal and fit with the scope of the journal; open access is the least important attribute. Researchers at other research-intensive institutions are considered the most important audience, while the general public is the least important.

There are significant differences across subject disciplines and position types. Our findings have implications for understanding the adoption of open access publishing models.

URL : What Motivates Authors of Scholarly Articles? The Importance of Journal Attributes and Potential Audience on Publication Choice

Alternative location : http://www.mdpi.com/2304-6775/4/3/22

Deconstructing the Durham Statement: The Persistence of Print Prestige During the Age of Open Access

Author : Sarah Reis

In the seven years following the promulgation of the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship, law journals have largely responded to the call to make articles available in open, electronic formats, but not to the call to stop print publication and publish only in electronic format.

Nearly all of the flagship law reviews at ABA-accredited institutions still insist on publishing in print, despite the massive decline in print subscribers and economic and environmental waste.

The availability of a law journal in print format remains a superficial indicator of prestige and quality to law professors, student editors, and law school administrations. A shift from print publication to electronic-only publication is not as simple as having a law journal merely cancel its print runs, but rather requires several fundamental changes to the publication process.

Many law journals must also greatly improve their websites before electronic-only publication can truly replace print publication. The Durham Statement was drafted by law library directors from top law schools across the country.

Law librarians today must assist in facilitating the transition if we ever expect to see a world of electronic-only publication of law journals.

This paper argues that the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and Stanford Law Review must be the first law reviews to transition to electronic-only publication, after which other law journals will follow suit.

URL : http://ssrn.com/abstract=2785307

Science Concierge: A Fast Content-Based Recommendation System for Scientific Publications

Authors : Titipat Achakulvisut, Daniel E. Acuna, Tulakan Ruangrong , Konrad Kording

Finding relevant publications is important for scientists who have to cope with exponentially increasing numbers of scholarly material. Algorithms can help with this task as they help for music, movie, and product recommendations.

However, we know little about the performance of these algorithms with scholarly material. Here, we develop an algorithm, and an accompanying Python library, that implements a recommendation system based on the content of articles.

Design principles are to adapt to new content, provide near-real time suggestions, and be open source. We tested the library on 15K posters from the Society of Neuroscience Conference 2015.

Human curated topics are used to cross validate parameters in the algorithm and produce a similarity metric that maximally correlates with human judgments. We show that our algorithm significantly outperformed suggestions based on keywords.

The work presented here promises to make the exploration of scholarly material faster and more accurate.

URL : Science Concierge: A Fast Content-Based Recommendation System for Scientific Publications

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0158423

Obstacles to Scholarly Publishing in the Social Sciences and Humanities: A Case Study of Vietnamese Scholars

Authors : Phuong Dzung Pho, Thi Minh Phuong Tran

Publishing scientific research is very important in contributing to the knowledge of a discipline and in sharing research findings among scientists. Based on the quantity and quality of publications, one can evaluate the research capacity of a researcher or the research performance of a university or a country.

However, the number of quality publications in Vietnam is very low in comparison with those in the other countries in the region or in the world, especially in the fields of social sciences and humanities.

Employing both quantitative and qualitative approaches, the current study investigates university lecturers’ attitudes towards research and publication and the obstacles to local and international publication at one of the main universities in social sciences and humanities in Vietnam.

The study found the main barriers to publication are funding and time for research and publication, among many other obstacles. From the analysis of the data, the study would also argue that lecturers’ obstacles to publication may vary across faculties (or disciplines), ages, qualifications, education, research and publication experience.

The findings in this study may be applied to other institutions in Vietnam or in other countries where English is used as a foreign language.

URL : Obstacles to Scholarly Publishing in the Social Sciences and Humanities: A Case Study of Vietnamese Scholars

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/publications4030019

The Costs of Open and Closed Access: Using the Finnish Research Output as an Example

Authors : Jyrki Ilva, Markku Antero Laitinen, Jarmo Saarti

The Open Access movement in scientific publishing has been gathering momentum in the European Union and its member states, partly due to the policies of some of its main research funders.

Already we have seen encouraging research results on the effects of openness on the dissemination of scientific outputs. As business models of Open Access publishing are still under development, the aim of our paper is to assess the statistical tools and data that the Finnish libraries currently have for comparing the costs associated with different modes of disseminating scientific publications.

We will also analyse the potential costs associated with Open Access publishing models and compare them with the current cost structure of – mostly – paywalled (PW) access.

The discussion will include a description of current Finnish Open Access policies and their funding models. The financial analysis will be based on the statistical data found in the national Research Library Statistics database and the Finnish National Research Publications database, Juuli.

We will discuss the alternatives on how best to develop statistical tools to estimate the true costs of scientific publishing.

URL : The Costs of Open and Closed Access: Using the Finnish Research Output as an Example

DOI : http://doi.org/10.18352/lq.10137