Information material & handouts updated and supplemented

Collection of openly licensed material expanded

The National Contact Point Open Access not only presents individual project results on its website, but also offers a small but fine collection of information materials and handouts on all aspects of open-access transformation. For example, there are its own works such as the decision tree for learned societies, the information graphics on open-access transformation, various posters and the quality standards for the open-access provision of books (all of which are of course CC-BY licensed).

At the same time, we have also included material from colleagues, which is generally openly licensed and supports very specific transformation and open-access projects, such as the handbook "Open Access Publication Workflow for Academic Books" by the HTWK Leipzig, the flowchart on secondary publication by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training and the handouts on the OGeSoMo project and other materials relating to open access.

Just take a look at!

National Contact Point Open Access extended by one year

OA2020-DE continues its work for another year

Good news for our project partners, ENABLE!, the open-access community and all people and institutions interested in the project: The National Contact Point Open Access OA2020-DE has been extended by one year and will be able to continue its commitment to the open-access transformation until the end of July 2021.

The main focus will be on the implementation of pilot projects that have already been started, such as the Subscribe to Open model with De Gruyter, support for transformation projects and further discussion of various open-access models with scientific publishers and acquisition experts from libraries.

We look forward to working with you to advance the open-access transformation in Germany and thank you for the successful cooperation to date!

ENABLE! - Mission Statement of the Initiative for Open Access in the Social Sciences and Humanities published

BIELEFELD/GERMANY, 2020-05-25. Libraries, publishers, repositories and the book trade are joining forces to shape the open-access transformation in the social sciences and humanities.

The development of an inclusive open-access culture in the humanities and social sciences is the goal of the community project "ENABLE! Libraries, publishers and authors for open access in the social sciences and humanities". The aim is to bring together all those involved in scientific publishing: Scientists, their universities and research institutes, libraries, professional associations, repositories, publishers, booksellers and service providers. ENABLE! aims to bundle existing local approaches, methods and initiatives and transfer them into a so-called co-publishing model in which all actors work together on an equal footing and jointly implement open access publishing projects.

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Open Access during the Covid-19 pandemic

A collaborative collection on open access during the COVID 19 pandemic

The information platform Open Access provides an overview of various offers for finding and publishing open-access research on the corona virus and beyond. The collection is intended to be collaborative and does not claim to be complete - on the contrary: it is an offer that is to be continuously expanded. A public pad is available for this purpose.

Click here for information collection:

If you want to join in, you can do so in the pad:

At this point I would like to point out that not everything that is made available "openly" is also open access. Often the criteria of sustainability (in the sense of access that is irrevocably open) and free licensing are not met, so that the released content is difficult to re-use and access is temporary. In times when openness has become an important parameter for global cooperation (and not only at the level of science), however, sustainable structures and offers for knowledge transfer are needed, even beyond the crisis period. Making this possible is a task for us all.

Strengthening the green open access

On 31 January 2020, the Wellcome Trust described the new coronavirus as a "significant and urgent threat to global health" and called on researchers, journals and funders to ensure that research findings and data on coronaviruses are shared rapidly and openly. Signatories of the declaration "Sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak" include major publishers, research funders and learned and professional societies.

On 5 March 2020, Vincent Larivière, Fei Shu and Cassidy Sugimoto stated in their article "The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak highlights serious deficiencies in scholarly communication" for the LSE Impact blog that, based on data from the Web of Science, just over half of the articles published on coronaviruses are in closed access. Once again, this shows that the scarcity of access to the results of scientific research within the still common subscription system does not benefit either science itself or society as a whole.

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A decision tree for learned & professional societies on the way to open access transformation

Plan S, DEAL and the conclusion of various transformation contracts in recent months (see e.g. here, here and here) have increased the pressure on scientific publishers. They are called upon to align their business models with the changing scientific communication behaviour of researchers and with the science policy demands for open access and open sciene. This also affects learned societies as publishers of scientific journals and book series. Of the 182 journals published by a German learned society, only 7.14% are available as open access journals, according to a study on "Learned Societies and Open Access" by Pampel and Strecker (2020). 55.49% have a hybrid option and 37.36% are not freely available in any way.

Even if the journals of the learned societies published by Springer Nature or Wiley are to be converted to open access with the help of the DEAL agreements or are to be given an open access option in the first place, there are as yet no clear statements on the ultimate open access status of these journals after expiry of the agreements. This means that for the period after DEAL and for the remaining journals that are published either by the journal's own publishers or by a non-DEAL publisher, further or other ways must be found to meet the requirements.

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A smooth transition from subscriptions to APCs

Proposal for a new model of transformative agreements: A smooth transition from subscriptions to APCs

The strategic goal of the National Contact Point Open Access OA2020-DE is to create requirements for the large-scale open access transformation in accordance with the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany. This also includes analysing existing transformation approaches and formulating changes or adjustments that make sense from our perspective. This is also the reason why we see the need for a more realistic transformation model in the journal sector, because existing models as Publish & Read and Read & Publish do not best serve the needs of libraries and publishers in transforming their acquisition budgets and revenues, respectively, from subscriptions to APCs.

  • For P&R agreements to transform the scholarly journals successfully to open access, huge coordination efforts, a massive and instantaneous re-allocation of funds, or permanently large additional funds are necessary. Moreover, publishers will not offer P&R agreements to individual libraries or loose consortia with liberal opt-in or opt-out regulations.
  • With R&P agreements, the open-access transformation will stuck at low OA shares. To progress further, a switch to the P&R model would be necessary with its own obstacles.

Therefore, we see the need for a new transformative model that facilitates the switch from a pure R&P to a pure P&R model by lowering coordination costs, avoiding disruptive workflow and cost adjustments, and putting less pressure on timing. To support the arguments of this, we run a simulation on a global model. Please note: The model presented here is a proposal and approach that should help to identify and describe possible paths for the open access transformation. Indeed, the R&P model and the P&R model can be regarded as corner solutions of this.

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Report from the first national best practice workshop of the German open access monograph funds

Disclaimer: This is a guest contribution from the organizers.

On 3 December 2019, the project team of the open access fund for monographs launched by the Leibniz Association invited other fund operators from the German scientific community to an exchange of information. The workshop was hosted by the Leibniz Institute for the German Language (IDS) in Mannheim, which is in charge of the Leibniz Open Access Monograph Publishing Fund. Participants included the project participants from the other six Leibniz Institutes (DIE - German Institute for Adult Education, DIPF - Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education, GNM - Germanisches Nationalmuseum, IfZ - Institute of Contemporary History, TIB - Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology & University Library and ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics), representatives of 11 publication funds for monographs that have been created or are planned throughout Germany in the last two years, and institutions that promote open access monographs by other means: Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, Bielefeld University, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Technische Universität Darmstadt, University of Konstanz, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, University of Münster, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Lower Saxony Consortium of the planned Open Access Publication Fund of the State of Lower Saxony.

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Establishing tender procedures and competition within the framework of national library consortia for open access journals

Description of a pilot project

The open access transformation is a declared goal of the Coalition S and the OA2020 initiative and the institutions supporting them. In order to achieve a large-scale open access transformation of journals, as many established subscription journals as possible shall be transformed into open access. To achieve this goal, transformative agreements are concluded such as those the DEAL project has been negotiating for several years with the three major international scientific publishers (Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley). In Germany, the 13+ group established by the “Alliance of Science Organisations” Working Group "Scientific Publication System" is aiming at similar negotiations with further thirteen large publishing houses. In addition, the DFG programme "Open Access Transformation Agreements" provides funding for transformative agreements.

The existing transformative agreements do not include mechanisms for the definitive flipping of journals into open access and no mechanisms to limit cost increases in the long term, as demanded by the European Commission and the European University Association, for example. Indeed, APC-based, genuine open access journals also lack mechanisms for the long-term limitation of cost increases. The price caps currently implemented in the (DFG-funded) publication funds are of limited suitability. On the one hand, they are too high for the mass of open access journals; on the other hand, they are set too low for highly selective and high-quality open access journals that are attractive to many researchers.

Against this background, we suggest to conclude pure open access contracts and, if applicable, contract components for pure open access journals within the framework of transformative agreements by tendering in secret bidding procedures as practiced by SCOAP³. The now published concept describes the intended objectives, the services to be put out to tender and a proposal for organisational implementation.

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Why competition is necessary for APCs

Elsevier could raise APCs by more than 50% to preserve its revenue and profit in a pure OA publishing landscape, as a new case study concludes.

A new research article, published by Sergio Copiello in Publications, studies how Elsevier, as an example of a very big, for-profit, subscription-based publisher, could adapt its business model to the open-access transition.

To preserve its revenue and profit on the 2017/2018 level in an open access only publishing landscape, Elsevier could raise the list-price APCs by more than 50% from an average of USD 2,824 to USD 4,173–4,482 (excl. VAT). That would safeguard Elsevier a 37% profit margin if all authors (possibly funded by their affiliated institutions) adopt the open access model and subscriptions to ScienceDirect become worthless. Currently, Elsevier generates profits margins two- to three-times higher than the overall publishing sector. If Elsevier’s profit margin aligns to the market benchmark (for example, because of increasing competition), the average APC could be within a range of USD 3,066–3,308. An alternative strategy could be to secure revenues by increasing the acceptance rate of submitted manuscripts from currently approx. 27% to approx. 45%. Of course, Elsevier could also preserve its profitability by reducing investment and operational costs.

Link to the study: Copiello, S. (2020). Business as Usual with Article Processing Charges in the Transition towards OA Publishing: A Case Study Based on Elsevier. Publications, 8(1). doi:10.3390/publications8010003