“This report arises from a roundtable event hosted by Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) at University College London on 6 October 2014. The roundtable brought together representatives from academic institutions, publishers and vendors to discuss the challenge of “making open access work”.
Recent policy changes in the United Kingdom are driving a rapid increase in the number of article processing charges, or APCs, being paid to publishers in order to make articles open access. The attendees gathered to discuss the challenges faced by their organizations as APC volumes rise, and to explore the role that third-party vendors such as CCC can play in helping to address these. Discussions during the course of the day covered a wide range of issues. Institutions and publishers offered a range of different perspectives, but there was a striking commonality in the challenges faced, and a high degree of consensus on what is needed to address them:
Author engagement – Author engagement is crucial to the success of open access, but the complexity of the process at present means many need support at an early stage. This requires a fundamental shift from a two-way relationship between author and publisher, to a three- or four-way relationship that also involves the institution and potentially an external funder.
Streamlining the APC process – Workflows for handling APCs remain unstable, with institutions and publishers both grappling with the need to constantly adapt processes and systems as volumes rise. Greater consistency and automation is needed if efficiencies are to be achieved.
Copyright and licensing – Authors lack familiarity with the range of licensing options available and the licensing requirements of funders. Direct engagement between publishers and institutional administrators can help address this in the short term, but in the long term authors must be equipped to make informed licensing choices that take account of funder mandates.
Management and billing of APCs – The payment of individual APC invoices is not a sustainable solution for either institutions or publishers, but some institutions have concerns over a loss of transparency where alternative models are used. The complex relationships among APC pricing, subscription revenues, licensing, and embargo periods remain a subject for debate.
Standards and interoperability – The need to improve sharing of information through development of common vocabularies and data standards was universally agreed. Identification of suitable persistent identifiers is part of the solution, but even where these exist low levels of uptake remain a concern.
Reporting and compliance – Achieving compliance with funder requirements places a significant burden on institutional administrators, and results in growing demands for information from publishers.”