Article Processing Charge Hyperinflation and Price Insensitivity: An Open Access Sequel to the Serials Crisis

Author: Shaun Yon-Seng Khoo

Open access publishing has frequently been proposed as a solution to the serials crisis, which involved unsustainable budgetary pressures on libraries due to hyperinflation of subscription costs. The majority of open access articles are published in a minority of journals that levy article processing charges (APCs) paid by authors or their institutions upon acceptance.

Increases in APCs is proceeding at a rate three times that which would be expected if APCs were indexed according to inflation. As increasingly ambitious funder mandates are proposed, such as Plan S, it is important to evaluate whether authors show signs of price sensitivity in journal selection by avoiding journals that introduce or increase their APCs.

Examining journals that introduced an APC 4-5 years after launch or when flipping from a subscription model to immediate open access model showed no evidence that APC introduction reduced article volumes.

Multilevel modelling of APC sensitivity across 319 journals published by the four largest APC-funded dedicated commercial open access publishers (BMC, Frontiers, MDPI, and Hindawi) revealed that from 2012 to 2018 higher APCs were actually associated with increased article volumes.

These findings indicate that APC hyperinflation is not suppressed through market competition and author choice. Instead, demand for scholarly journal publications may be more similar to demand for necessities, or even prestige goods, which will support APC hyperinflation to the detriment of researchers, institutions, and funders.

URL : Article Processing Charge Hyperinflation and Price Insensitivity: An Open Access Sequel to the Serials Crisis

DOI : http://doi.org/10.18352/lq.10280

Open+: Versioning Open Social Scholarship

Author : Alyssa Arbuckle

Advocates of the Open Access (OA) movement have been fighting for free and unfettered access to research output since the early 1990s. Open access is a crucial element of a fair, efficient scholarly communication system where all are able to find, interpret, and use the results of publicly-funded research.

Universal open access is more possible now than ever before, thanks to networked technologies and the development of open scholarship policies. But what happens after access to research is provided?

In this paper I argue that versioning scholarship across varying modes and formats would move scholarly communication from a straightforward open access system to a more engaging environment for multiple communities.

URL : Open+: Versioning Open Social Scholarship

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/kula.39

Aligning Social Media Indicators with the Documents in an Open Access Repository

Authors: Luis Meneses, Alyssa Arbuckle, Hector Lopez, Belaid Moa, Richard Furuta, Ray Siemens

In this paper we describe our current efforts towards building a framework that extends the functionality of an Open Access Repository by implementing processes to incorporate the ongoing trends in social media into the context of a digital collection.

We refer to these processes collectively as the Social Media Engine. The purpose of our framework is twofold: first, we propose to challenge some of the preconceived notions of digital libraries by making repositories more dynamic; and second, by challenging this notion we want to promote public engagement and open scholarship.

As a work in progress, we believe that a real challenge lies in investigating the implications that these two points introduce within the context of the humanities.

URL : Aligning Social Media Indicators with the Documents in an Open Access Repository

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/kula.44

From coalition to commons: Plan S and the future of scholarly communication

Author : Rob Johnson

The announcement of Plan S in September 2018 triggered a wide-ranging debate over how best to accelerate the shift to open access. The Plan’s ten principles represent a call for the creation of an intellectual commons, to be brought into being through collective action by funders and managed through regulated market mechanisms.

As it gathers both momentum and critics, the coalition must grapple with questions of equity, efficiency and sustainability. The work of Elinor Ostrom has shown that successful management of the commons frequently relies on polycentricity and adaptive governance.

The Plan S principles must therefore function as an overarching framework within which local actors retain some autonomy, and should remain open to amendment as the scholarly communication landscape evolves.

URL : From coalition to commons: Plan S and the future of scholarly communication

DOI : http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.453

Common Struggles: Policy-based vs. scholar-led approaches to open access in the humanities

Author : Samuel A. Moore

Open access publishing (OA) not only removes price and permission restrictions to academic research, but also represents an opportunity to reassess what publishing means to the humanities.

OA is increasingly on the agenda for humanities researchers in the UK, having been mandated in various forms by universities and governmental funders strongly influenced by advocates in the STEM disciplines.

Yet publishing practices in the humanities are unique to the field and any move to a new system of scholarly communication has the potential to conflict with the ways in which humanities research is published, many of which are shaped by the expectations of the neoliberal university that uniquely impact on the practices of humanities researchers.

Furthermore, OA does not reflect a unified ideology, business model or political outlook, and different methods of publication based on open practices will inherently represent a variety of values, struggles or conceptual enclosures.

This thesis assesses the contrasting values and practices of different approaches to OA in the humanities through a series of case-studies on governmental and scholar-led forms of OA, explored through a critical methodology comprising both constructivism and deconstruction.

The thesis argues that the UK governmental policy framework, comprised of policies introduced by the Research Councils (RCUK) and Higher Education Funding Councils (HEFCE), promotes a form of OA that intends to minimise disruption to the publishing industry.

The scholar-led ecosystem of presses, in contrast, reflects a diversity of values and struggles that represent a counter-hegemonic alternative to the dominant cultures of OA and publishing more generally.

The values of each approach are analysed on a spectrum between the logic of choice versus the logic of care (following the work of Annemarie Mol) to illustrate how the governmental policies promote a culture of OA predominantly focused on tangible outcomes, whereas the scholar-led presses prioritise an ethic of care for the cultures of how humanities research is produced and published.

In prioritising a commitment to care, scholar-led presses display a praxis that resembles the kinds of activities and relationships centred on common resource management (‘commoning’).

The thesis concludes with a series of recommendations for how such care-full values could be best realised in an emancipatory commons-based ecosystem of OA publishing for the humanities, which would be cultivated through a range of institutions and political interventions.

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/st5m-cx33

The Price of Gold: Curiosity?

Authors : Daniel W. Hook, Mark Hahnel, Christian Herzog

Gold open access as characterised by the payment of an article processing charge (APC) has become one of the dominant models in open access publication. This paper examines an extreme hypothetical case in which the APC model is the only model and the systematic issues that could develop in such a scenario.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1905.00880