The role of learned societies in national scholarly publishing

Authors : Elina Late, Laura Korkeamäki, Janne Pölönen, Sami Syrjämäki

This study examines the role of learned societies as publishers in Finland based on bibliographic information from two Finnish databases. We studied the share of learned societies’ peer‐reviewed publication channels (serials with ISSNs and book publishers with distinct ISBN roots) and outputs (journal articles, conference articles, book articles, and monographs) in Finland.

We also studied the share of learned societies’ open access (OA) publications. In 2018, there were 402 peer‐reviewed publication channels in Finland. In 2011–2017, the number of peer‐reviewed publications from scholars working in Finnish universities and published in Finland was 17,724.

Learned societies publish around 70% of these channels and publications, mostly in the fields of humanities and social sciences. Learned societies in Finland focus on journal publishing, whereas university presses and commercial publishers focus on book publishing. In 2016–2017, 38.4% of the learned societies’ outputs were OA.

This study concludes that Finnish learned societies play an integral part in national scholarly publishing. They play an especially important role in journal publishing, as commercial publishers produce only 2.6% of Finnish journals and book series, and only 1.4% of the journal articles from scholars working in Finnish universities.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1270

Open and Shut: Open Access in Hybrid Educational Technology Journals 2010 – 2017

Authors: Eamon Costello, Tom Farrelly, Tony Murphy

Little is known about open access publishing in educational technology journals that employ a hybrid model which charges authors only if they wish to publish via gold open access.

In this study we sought to address this gap in the scholarly understanding of open access publishing in hybrid journals that publish research into the intersection of education and technology.

We analysed three categories of article access types: gold, green, and limited access, and collected data on their prevalence in the seven-year period from 2010-2017 across 29 journals.

Data was gathered from Scopus, Unpaywall, Sherpa RoMEO, and via manual searches of the journal websites, resulting in a dataset comprising the metadata of 8,479 articles.

Our findings highlight that most research remains locked behind paywalls, that open access publishing through legal means is a minority activity for the scholars involved, and that the complexity and costs of legal open access publishing in these journals may be inhibiting the accessibility of research to readers.

URL : Open and Shut: Open Access in Hybrid Educational Technology Journals 2010 – 2017

DOI : https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v20i5.4383

Article processing charges: Mirroring the citation impact or legacy of the subscription-based model?

Author : Nina Schönfelder

With the ongoing open-access transformation, article processing charges (APCs) are gaining importance as one of the main business models for open-access publishing in scientific journals.

This paper analyzes how much of APC pricing can be attributed to journal-related factors. With UK data from OpenAPC (which aggregates fees paid for open-access articles by universities, funders, and research institutions), APCs are explained by the following variables: (1) the “source normalized impact per paper” (SNIP), (2) whether the journal is open access or hybrid, (3) the publisher of the journal, (4) the subject area of the journal, and (5) the year.

The results of the multivariate linear regression show that the journal’s impact and the hybrid status are the most important factors for the level of APCs. However, the relationship between APC and SNIP is different for open-access journals and hybrid journals.

APCs paid to open-access journals were found to be strongly increasing in conjunction with higher journal citation impact, whereas this relationship was observed to be much looser for articles in hybrid journals.

This paper goes beyond simple statistics, which have been discussed so far in the literature, by using control variables and applying statistical inference.

URL : Article processing charges: Mirroring the citation impact or legacy of the subscription-based model?

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1162/qss_a_00015

Business as Usual with Article Processing Charges in the Transition towards OA Publishing: A Case Study Based on Elsevier

Author : Sergio Copiello

This paper addresses the topic of the article processing charges (APCs) that are paid when publishing articles using the open access (OA) option. Building on the Elsevier OA price list, company balance sheet figures, and ScienceDirect data, tentative answers to three questions are outlined using a Monte Carlo approach to deal with the uncertainty inherent in the inputs.

The first question refers to the level of APCs from the market perspective, under the hypothesis that all the articles published in Elsevier journals exploit the OA model so that the subscription to ScienceDirect becomes worthless.

The second question is how much Elsevier should charge for publishing all the articles under the OA model, assuming the profit margin reduces and adheres to the market benchmark.

The third issue is how many articles would have to be accepted, in an OA-only publishing landscape, so that the publisher benefits from the same revenue and profit margin as in the recent past.

The results point to high APCs, nearly twice the current level, being required to preserve the publisher’s profit margin. Otherwise, by relaxing that constraint, a downward shift of APCs can be expected so they would tend to get close to current values. Accordingly, the article acceptance rate could be likely to grow from 26–27% to about 35–55%.

URL : Business as Usual with Article Processing Charges in the Transition towards OA Publishing: A Case Study Based on Elsevier

DOI : https://doi.org/10.3390/publications8010003

The Pricing of Open Access Journals: Diverse Niches and Sources of Value in Academic Publishing

Authors : Kyle Siler, Koen Frenken

Open Access (OA) publishing has created new academic and economic niches in contemporary science. OA journals offer numerous publication outlets with varying editorial philosophies and business models.

This article analyzes the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) (N=12,127) to identify characteristics of OA academic journals related to the adoption of Article Processing Charge (APC)-based business models, as well as price points of journals that charge APCs. Journal Impact Factor (JIF), language, publisher mission, DOAJ Seal, economic and geographic regions of publishers, peer review duration and journal discipline are all significantly related to the adoption and pricing of journal APCs.

Even after accounting for other journal characteristics (prestige, discipline, publisher country), journals published by for-profit publishers charge the highest APCs. Journals with status endowments (JIF, DOAJ Seal), articles written in English, published in wealthier regions, and in medical or science-based disciplines are also relatively costlier.

The OA publishing market reveals insights into forces that create economic and academic value in contemporary science. Political and institutional inequalities manifest in the varying niches occupied by different OA journals and publishers.

URL : The Pricing of Open Access Journals: Diverse Niches and Sources of Value in Academic Publishing

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1162/qss_a_00016

Adoption of the open access business model in scientific journal publishing – A cross-disciplinary study

Authors : Bo-Christer Björk, Timo Korkeamäki

Scientific journal publishers have over the past twenty-five years rapidly converted to predominantly electronic dissemination, but the reader-pays business model continues to dominate the market.

Open Access (OA) publishing, where the articles are freely readable on the net, has slowly increased its market share to near 20%, but has failed to fulfill the visions of rapid proliferation predicted by many early proponents.

The growth of OA has also been very uneven across fields of science. We report market shares of open access in eighteen Scopus-indexed disciplines ranging from 27% (agriculture) to 7% (business).

The differences become far more pronounced for journals published in the four countries, which dominate commercial scholarly publishing (US, UK, Germany and the Netherlands). We present contrasting developments within six academic disciplines.

Availability of funding to pay publication charges, pressure from research funding agencies, and the diversity of discipline-specific research communication cultures arise as potential explanations for the observed differences.

URL : https://haris.hanken.fi/portal/files/11186226/Bjo_rk_Korkeama_ki_2020_a_Green_version.pdf

Completeness of reporting in abstracts of randomized controlled trials in subscription and open access journals: cross-sectional study

Authors : Iva Jerčić Martinić-Cezar, Ana Marušić

Background

Open access (OA) journals are becoming a publication standard for health research, but it is not clear how they differ from traditional subscription journals in the quality of research reporting.

We assessed the completeness of results reporting in abstracts of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in these journals.

Methods

We used the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials Checklist for Abstracts (CONSORT-A) to assess the completeness of reporting in abstracts of parallel-design RCTs published in subscription journals (n = 149; New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Lancet) and OA journals (n = 119; BioMedCentral series, PLoS journals) in 2016 and 2017.

Results

Abstracts in subscription journals completely reported 79% (95% confidence interval [CI], 77–81%) of 16 CONSORT-A items, compared with 65% (95% CI, 63–67%) of these items in abstracts from OA journals (P < 0.001, chi-square test). The median number of completely reported CONSORT-A items was 13 (95% CI, 12–13) in subscription journal articles and 11 (95% CI, 10–11) in OA journal articles.

Subscription journal articles had significantly more complete reporting than OA journal articles for nine CONSORT-A items and did not differ in reporting for items trial design, outcome, randomization, blinding (masking), recruitment, and conclusions. OA journals were better than subscription journals in reporting randomized study design in the title.

Conclusion

Abstracts of randomized controlled trials published in subscription medical journals have greater completeness of reporting than abstracts published in OA journals.

OA journals should take appropriate measures to ensure that published articles contain adequate detail to facilitate understanding and quality appraisal of research reports about RCTs.

URL : Completeness of reporting in abstracts of randomized controlled trials in subscription and open access journals: cross-sectional study

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-019-3781-x