To Open or Not to Open: An Exploration of Faculty Decisions to Publish Open-Access Article

Authors : Jessica Kirschner, Hillary Miller, Preeti Kamat, Jose Alcaine, Sergio Chaparro, Nina Exner


Faculty face numerous pressures as they decide whether to publish articles open access (OA). This pilot study investigated the extent to which School of Education faculty members’ engagement with OA was influenced by promotion and tenure (P&T) and how this influence related to other intrinsic, extrinsic, and contextual factors.


This exploratory, sequential, mixed-method study adapted Social Exchange Theory to understand faculty engagement with OA article publication. The study used a quantitative survey followed by qualitative interviews and focus groups.


Participants reported that P&T had substantive influence over faculty practices regarding OA. Connected factors included beliefs about OA journal quality, colleagues’ perceptions regarding OA, and OA articles’ wider impacts.


P&T was an important driver in article publishing decisions. However, when discussing OA in P&T, faculty also discussed a range of related issues such as OA journal quality. Furthermore, OA adopters tended to be those who have even stronger beliefs about the impact of OA than about OA’s role in P&T.

URL : To Open or Not to Open: An Exploration of Faculty Decisions to Publish Open-Access Article


On the Fast Track to Full Gold Open Access

Author : Robert Kudelić

The world of scientific publishing is changing; the days of an old type of subscription-based earnings for publishers seem over, and we are entering a new era. It seems as if an ever-increasing number of journals from disparate publishers are going Gold, Open Access that is, yet have we rigorously ascertained the issue in its entirety, or are we touting the strengths and forgetting about constructive criticism and careful weighing of evidence?

We will therefore present the current state of the art, in a compact review/bibliometrics style, of this more relevant than ever hot topic and suggest solutions that are most likely to be acceptable to all parties–while the performed analysis also shows there seems to be a link between trends in scientific publishing and tumultuous world events, which in turn has a special significance for the publishing environment in the current world stage.

URL : On the Fast Track to Full Gold Open Access

Arxiv :

The ‘Must Stock’ Challenge in Academic Publishing: Pricing Implications of Transformative Agreements

Author : W. Benedikt Schmal

The high relevance of top-notch academic journals turns them into ‘must stock’ products that assign its often commercial owners with extraordinary market power. Intended to tackle this, university consortia around the globe negotiate so-called ‘transformative agreements’ with many publishing houses. It shall pave the way towards standard open-access publishing.

While several contract designs exist, the ‘publish-and-read’ (PAR) scheme is the one that comes closest to the ideal of an entirely open access environment: Publishers are paid a fixed case-by-case rate for each publication, which includes a fee for their extensive libraries. In turn, all subscription payments are waived.

I theoretically derive that this contract design benefits the included publishers regardless of whether the number of publications in these publishers’ journals grows or declines. Consequently, widespread PAR contracts are likely to raise entry barriers for new (open-access) competitors even further. Intending to lower costs for the universities, their libraries, and, ultimately, the taxpayers, this PAR fee contract design of transformative agreements might cause the opposite.

URL : The ‘Must Stock’ Challenge in Academic Publishing: Pricing Implications of Transformative Agreements

Arxiv :

Choice of Open Access in Elsevier Hybrid Journals

Author : Sumiko Asai

Open access articles in hybrid journals have recently increased despite high article processing charges. This study investigated the impacts of grants and transformative agreements on authors’ choice of open and non-open access articles by comparing two article types. The samples were hybrid journals launched independently by Elsevier.

The results revealed that the authors who received more grants in countries with transformative agreements were more likely to choose open access articles. By contrast, authors in developing countries were likely to publish non-open access articles.

These findings imply that authors’ choices depend on the funding systems and open access policies in individual countries. Consequently, open access may become a barrier to the dissemination of work for researchers who have financial difficulty choosing open access, although it enables everyone to access articles free of charge.

URL : Choice of Open Access in Elsevier Hybrid Journals


Does it pay to pay? A comparison of the benefits of open-access publishing across various sub-fields in biology

Authors : Amanda D. Clark, Tanner C. Myers, Todd D. Steury, Ali Krzton et al.

Authors are often faced with the decision of whether to maximize traditional impact metrics or minimize costs when choosing where to publish the results of their research. Many subscription-based journals now offer the option of paying an article processing charge (APC) to make their work open.

Though such “hybrid” journals make research more accessible to readers, their APCs often come with high price tags and can exclude authors who lack the capacity to pay to make their research accessible.

Here, we tested if paying to publish open access in a subscription-based journal benefited authors by conferring more citations relative to closed access articles. We identified 146,415 articles published in 152 hybrid journals in the field of biology from 2013–2018 to compare the number of citations between various types of open access and closed access articles.

In a simple generalized linear model analysis of our full dataset, we found that publishing open access in hybrid journals that offer the option confers an average citation advantage to authors of 17.8 citations compared to closed access articles in similar journals.

After taking into account the number of authors, Journal Citation Reports 2020 Quartile, year of publication, and Web of Science category, we still found that open access generated significantly more citations than closed access (p < 0.0001).

However, results were complex, with exact differences in citation rates among access types impacted by these other variables. This citation advantage based on access type was even similar when comparing open and closed access articles published in the same issue of a journal (p < 0.0001).

However, by examining articles where the authors paid an article processing charge, we found that cost itself was not predictive of citation rates (p = 0.14). Based on our findings of access type and other model parameters, we suggest that, in the case of the 152 journals we analyzed, paying for open access does confer a citation advantage.

For authors with limited budgets, we recommend pursuing open access alternatives that do not require paying a fee as they still yielded more citations than closed access. For authors who are considering where to submit their next article, we offer additional suggestions on how to balance exposure via citations with publishing costs.

URL : Does it pay to pay? A comparison of the benefits of open-access publishing across various sub-fields in biology


How transformative are transformative agreements? Evidence from Germany across disciplines

Author : W. Benedikt Schmal

Research institutions across the globe attempt to change the academic publishing system as digitization opens up new opportunities, and subscriptions to the large journal bundles of the leading publishers put library budgets under pressure. One approach is the negotiation of so-called transformative agreements.

I study the ‘DEAL’ contracts between nearly all German research institutions and Springer Nature and Wiley. I investigate 6.1 million publications in 5,862 journals covering eight fields in the years 2016–2022 and apply a causal difference-in-differences design to identify whether the likelihood of a paper appearing in an eligible journal increases. The effect strongly depends on the discipline.

While material science, chemistry, and economics s tend to hift towards these journals, all other disciplines in my sample do not react. Suggestive evidence hints at the market position of the encompassed publishers before the ‘DEAL’ was established: Springer Nature and Wiley appear to benefit more from the contracts in disciplines in which they possessed a higher market share ex ante.

The transformative vigor of these agreements in terms of publication behavior seems to be limited. It and highlights that the developments in this intertwined market require further examination.

URL : How transformative are transformative agreements? Evidence from Germany across disciplines