Plan S in Latin America: A precautionary note

Authors : Humberto Debat​, Dominique Babini

Latin America has historically led a firm and rising Open Access movement and represents the worldwide region with larger adoption of Open Access practices.

Argentina has recently expressed its commitment to join Plan S, an initiative from a European consortium of research funders oriented to mandate Open Access publishing of scientific outputs.

Here we suggest that the potential adhesion of Argentina or other Latin American nations to Plan S, even in its recently revised version, ignores the reality and tradition of Latin American Open Access publishing, and has still to demonstrate that it will encourage at a regional and global level the advancement of non-commercial Open Access initiatives.

URL : Plan S in Latin America: A precautionary note


The impact of digital copyright law and policy on access to knowledge and learning

Authors : Tana Pistorius, Odirachukwu S. Mwim


The evolution in digital technologies has had an enormous impact on traditional copyright notions. Works in digital form have uniform characteristics and these works can be copied, distributed and stored with ease.


The focus of this article was how to attain a balance between the need to promote access to works and therefore knowledge and learning, on the one hand, and the protection of the interests of copyright holders, on the other.


Technological protection measures (TPMs) are applied to copyright works in digital form to curb infringement. The authors explore the extent to which TPMs impact on access the knowledge and learning.


The findings of this article suggest a need for possible countermeasures in promoting knowledge and literacy through legislative reform that address the needs of creators and users in developing communities.


The authors conclude that TPMs may hinder data literacy, access to works, teaching and learning, particularly in developing communities. For example, recent attempts to revise South African copyright law have not attained a balanced approach.

URL : The impact of digital copyright law and policy on access to knowledge and learning


Open Access Routes Dichotomy and Opportunities: Consolidation, Analysis and Trends at the Spanish National Research Council

Authors : Mercedes Baquero-Arribas, Luis Dorado, Isabel Bernal

This article gives a comprehensive overview of recent Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) publications available in Open Access. With a focus on research articles from the last decade (2008–2018), this work aims to fill the gap in previous studies about publishing trends and impact monitoring of publications by researchers from the Spanish National Research Council.

Evolution and main trends of Green and Gold Open Access routes at CSIC are addressed through a close insight into DIGITAL.CSIC repository and institutional Open Access Publishing Support Programme.

The article draws on major conclusions at a time when an institutional Open Access mandate has just entered into force. The article also relates findings about performance of institutional Open Access Publishing Initiative and total volume of CSIC articles published in Open Access with an estimation of overall costs on article processing charges during these years.

Furthermore, the data serve as a basis to make preliminary considerations as to opportunities to move from a subscription-based model to one fully aligned with Gold Open Access publishing.

The data analyzed come from a variety of sources, including public information and internal records maintained by the CSIC E-resources Subscription programme, DIGITAL.CSIC and data retrieved from GesBIB, an internal, in-house development tool that integrates bibliographic information about CSIC publications as well as data from several external APIs, including Unpaywall, DOAJ and Sherpa Romeo.

URL : Open Access Routes Dichotomy and Opportunities: Consolidation, Analysis and Trends at the Spanish National Research Council


Narrowing the Gap Between Publication and Access: Is a Mandate Enough to Get Us Closer?

Authors : Maria Manuel Borges, António Tavares Lopes

Changes brought about by the Internet to Scholarly Communication and the spread of Open Access movement, have made it possible to increase the number of potential readers of published research dramatically.

This two-phase study aims, at first, to assert the satisfaction of the potential for increased open access to articles published by authors at the University of Coimbra, in a context when there was no stimulus for the openness of published science other than an institutional mandate set by the University policy on Open Access (“Acesso Livre”).

The satisfaction of the access openness was measured by observing the actual archiving behavior of researchers (either directly or through their agents). We started by selecting the top journal titles used to publish the STEM research of the University of Coimbra (2004-2013) by using Thomson Reuters’ Science Citation Index (SCI). These titles were available at the University libraries or through online subscriptions, some of them in open access (21%).

By checking the journals’ policy at the time regarding self-archiving at the SHERPA/RoMEO service, we found that the percentage of articles in Open Access (OA) could rise to 80% if deposited at Estudo Geral, the Institutional Repository of the University of Coimbra, as prescribed by the Open Access Policy of the University.

As we concluded by verifying the deposit status of every single paper of researchers of the University that published in those journals, this potential was far from being fulfilled, despite the existence of the institutional mandate and favorable editorial conditions.

We concluded, therefore, that an institutional mandate was not sufficient by itself to fully implement an open access policy and to close the gap between publication and access.

The second phase of the study, to follow, will rescan the status of published papers in a context where the Portuguese public funding agency, the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, introduced in 2014 a new significant stimulus for open access in science.

The FCT Open Access Policy stipulates that publicly funded published research must be available as soon as possible in a repository of the Portuguese network of scientific repositories, RCAAP, which integrates the Estudo Geral.

URL : Narrowing the Gap Between Publication and Access: Is a Mandate Enough to Get Us Closer?

DOI : 10.20944/preprints201906.0154.v1

The effect of bioRxiv preprints on citations and altmetrics

Authors : Nicholas Fraser, Fakhri Momeni, Philipp Mayr, Isabella Peters

A potential motivation for scientists to deposit their scientific work as preprints is to enhance its citation or social impact, an effect which has been empirically observed for preprints in physics, astronomy and mathematics deposited to arXiv. In this study we assessed the citation and altmetric advantage of bioRxiv, a preprint server for the biological sciences.

We retrieved metadata of all bioRxiv preprints deposited between November 2013 and December 2017, and matched them to articles that were subsequently published in peer-reviewed journals. Citation data from Scopus and altmetric data from were used to compare citation and online sharing behaviour of bioRxiv preprints, their related journal articles, and non-deposited articles published in the same journals.

We found that bioRxiv-deposited journal articles received a sizeable citation and altmetric advantage over non-deposited articles. Regression analysis reveals that this advantage is not explained by multiple explanatory variables related to the article and its authorship.

bioRxiv preprints themselves are being directly cited in journal articles, regardless of whether the preprint has been subsequently published in a journal. bioRxiv preprints are also shared widely on Twitter and in blogs, but remain relatively scarce in mainstream media and Wikipedia articles, in comparison to peer-reviewed journal articles.


Library Subscriptions and Open Access: Highlights from the University of California Negotiations with Elsevier

Authors : Cory Tucker, Andrea Wirth, Annette Day

On February 28, 2019, the University of California (UC) System announced the cancellation of their $50 million journal subscription deal with Elsevier. The impetus behind the UC decision comes from two issues.

Firstly, the increasing costs of journal subscriptions in a landscape where library budgets remain flat. Secondly, the effort to shift the journal publishing model away from subscriptions to a sustainable open access model.

The following paper will provide background on issues with the scholarly communication process, academic library budgets and open access initiatives. Additional information will focus on the impact of journal subscription deals with large commercial publishers (including Elsevier) and highlight UNLV efforts to support open access.


Open access policies of leading medical journals: a cross-sectional study

Authors : Tim S Ellison, Laura Schmidt, Amy Williams, Christopher C Winchester


Academical and not-for-profit research funders are increasingly requiring that the research they fund must be published open access, with some insisting on publishing with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to allow the broadest possible use.

We aimed to clarify the open access variants provided by leading medical journals and record the availability of the CC BY licence for commercially funded research.


We identified medical journals with a 2015 impact factor of ≥15.0 on 24 May 2017, then excluded from the analysis journals that only publish review articles. Between 29 June 2017 and 26 July 2017, we collected information about each journal’s open access policies from their websites and/or by email contact.

We contacted the journals by email again between 6 December 2017 and 2 January 2018 to confirm our findings.


Thirty-five medical journals publishing original research from 13 publishers were included in the analysis. All 35 journals offered some form of open access allowing articles to be free-to-read, either immediately on publication or after a delay of up to 12 months.

Of these journals, 21 (60%) provided immediate open access with a CC BY licence under certain circumstances (eg, to specific research funders). Of these 21, 20 only offered a CC BY licence to authors funded by non-commercial organisations and one offered this option to any funder who required it.


Most leading medical journals do not offer to authors reporting commercially funded research an open access licence that allows unrestricted sharing and adaptation of the published material.

The journals’ policies are therefore not aligned with open access declarations and guidelines. Commercial research funders lag behind academical funders in the development of mandatory open access policies, and it is time for them to work with publishers to advance the dissemination of the research they fund.

URL : Open access policies of leading medical journals: a cross-sectional study