APCs — Mirroring the impact factor or legacy of the subscription-based model? An introduction.

OA2020-DE prepared a report that is a first step forward to answer the question whether the large-scale open-access transformation of scientific journals is a financially viable way for German research and higher-education institutions. Usually, article processing charges (APCs) are charged to the submitting/corresponding author’s account for publishing scientific articles in open access. In Germany, the DFG-funded publication funds accept the costs for APCs up to EUR 2.000. With the ongoing open-access transformation, APCs are gaining importance as relevant business model for open-access journals. For a financial assessment, it is of utmost importance to predict the APC-levels after a comprehensive journal flipping — both the average APC and the distribution of APCs. To predict APCs, we need to know the factors determining APC-levels today. This is the core of the paper.

With data from OpenAPC, which is part of the INTACT project at the Bielefeld University Library, Germany, we analyzed the determinants for APCs actually paid (in contrast to catalogue prices). Price-determining factors could be the reputation and quality perception of a journal proxied by its citation impact, whether the journal is open access or hybrid, the publisher and the subject area of the journal. We are going to present and discuss the core results of the study in several blog posts. For the statistical and technical details, we refer to the full report:

Schönfelder, Nina (2018). APCs — Mirroring the impact factor or legacy of the subscription-based model?. Universität Bielefeld. doi:10.4119/unibi/2931061

Recommendations on quality standards for the open access provision of books [Update]

Quality standards in science and research are important, as the reporting on fake science (better: junk science) has made clear once again (see here). This not only applies to journals and conferences, but also to books. Therefore we developed "Recommendations on quality standards for the open access provision of books" together with Knowledge Unlatched and the publisher transcript. The aim is to provide authors, publishers and libraries with a practical guideline describing criteria for the production, distribution and financial participation in the open access provision of books. It is important to know which services can be offered or expected, both for publishers who provide open access services for books and for libraries who want to enable an open access position for books through financial participation.

In order to facilitate the entry into this process, especially for smaller publishers, we propose implementing the recommendations in two phases. Above all, quality standards in the areas of formats, metadata, accessibility, licenses, costs and distribution are relevant in the entry phase to the open access position of books. Phase two expands these standards and adds quality inspection criteria (peer review), as well as text and data mining.

The updated recommendations are available in German and English:

Many thanks to the representation of German-speaking university publishers, which has actively contributed to the further development of the standards and also deals with the topic itself.

Budgetary concerns over open access

Open access and budgetary law

In discussions about the pilot projects of the National Contact Point Open Access as well as the open access transformation in general, budgetary concerns are often voiced. Central to this is the question of whether a payment to an open access infrastructure or for an open access publication, a specific consideration can be assigned. In principle, only those expenses are permitted that are necessary for the fulfillment of the tasks. The expenditure would also have to follow the principle of economy and thriftiness.

We would like to take a stand:

Read more…

OA2020-DE provides an overview of frequently cited open access journals

We used the International Open Access Week and the article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Predatory Publishing as an opportunity and installed a new feature on our homepage:

From now on there is an overview under the category Resources about 700 frequently cited open access journals from nearly all scientific disciplines. The aim of this review is to make established and relevant open access journals visible to researchers and to increase their discoverability. In this way, we help researchers to select suitable and influential open access journals from their discipline for submitting their manuscript.

Furthermore, we suggest that academic libraries that inform their scientists about open access link to the list of "frequently cited open access journals" on their homepage. For example as follows:

Frequently cited open access journals compiled by the National Contact Point Open Access OA2020-DE

Link to the list

OA2020-DE supports cOAlition S

"After 1 January 2020 scientific publications on the results from research funded by public grants provided by national and European research councils and funding bodies, must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or compliant Open Access Platforms."

This core message from cOAlition S, a consortium of 11 European research funding organizations, illustrates the growing pressure on publishers to completely switch their business model to open access in a timely manner. Support is also available from the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC). The initiative was born from the cooperation between the Heads of the participating Research Funding Organisations, Marc Schiltz the President of Science Europe, and Robert-Jan Smits the Open Access Envoy of the European Commission. It also drew on significant input from the Scientific Council of the ERC. After them also the plan S is named, which contains beside the cited core message 10 points, with which the open access transformation should be accelerated. This includes, for example, the establishment or support of high-quality Open Access ournals and platforms, the coverage of publication costs by the funder / institution of the author, and the strict rejection of hybrid Open Access.

Particularly noteworthy is the standardization and capping of the Open Access publication fees across Europe, even if the amount is still discussed.

Europe is strongly in favor of the immediately, freely accessible publication of publicly funded research results, but not at any price. The research funders involved in cOAlition S will now collaborate with other stakeholders (like universities, research organizations and libraries) and work towards swift and practical implementation of these principles. Other research funders from across the world, both public and private, are invited to join cOAlition S.

The National Contact Point Open Access OA2020-DE supports the cOAlition S and the Plan S, as they are important components for the Open Access Transformation.
At the same time, we recommend that the implementation and further development of the 10 points include non-APC-based models as well as the special features of publishing in the humanities and the relevance of open infrastructures more than ever before.

More information on cOAlition S:

Recommendations on supporting open-access infrastructure

The funding of critical and overt open access infrastructures is one of the prerequisites for a large-scale transformation of scientific publications into open access. Scientific and academic institutions and libraries are therefore called upon to "[create] new mechanisms, structures or bodies, which turn the overarching strategies and resource planning of science-supporting infrastructures beyond local preferences and institutional budget lines into reality." (DFG (only german))

Such critical and open open access infrastructures may include:

  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
  • Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)
  • SHERPA (Juliet/RoMEO)
  • OpenDOAR
  • OpenAIRE
  • Open-source journal management and publishing software (such as Open Journal Systems OJS)
  • and many others

Since many of these services are now, inter alia, fundamentally responsible for implementing open-access and open-science policies and supporting appropriate workflows, their security has become a growing concern of the broad open-access and open-science community. The whole thing is supported by the Knowledge Exchange Report "Putting down roots: Securing the future of open access policies", in which the DOAJ and the SHERPA services are considered to be critical in terms of their sustainable funding.

Read more…

More than half is done! 11 Pledges for OPEN Library Political Science

OPEN Library Political Science on track to become a complete success!

Since the 6th of August there are 11 pledges for our pilot project transcript OPEN Library Political Science. On the one hand, more than half of the minimum participants are reached and, on the other hand, the response shows a high level of interest in transparent and valid models for open access transformation, especially in the humanities and social sciences.

Therefore, we are very pleased about the participation of the following university libraries....

  1. University and State Library Düsseldorf
  2. Max Planck Digital Library (MPDL)
  3. University Library Bochum
  4. University Library Bielefeld
  5. University Library J. C. Senckenberg at Goethe-University Frankfurt
  6. Communication, Information, Media Centre (KIM) at the University of Konstanz
  7. University Library Cologne
  8. Harvard University Library
  9. University Library Erlangen-Nürnberg
  10. University Library Wuppertal
  11. University Library Leipzig

....and see it as a signal for all other academic libraries to discuss, plan and perform an involvement.

The pilot himself supports libraries in their (re) positioning in the production, distribution and circulation of scientific texts. With the transformation of scientific publications into open access, they are directly involved in realizing the digital availability of scientifically relevant resources.

Sweden's dealings with Elsevier

The Bibsam consortium has published a revealing Q&A as further information aabout the cancellation of the agreement with Elsevier commencing 1 July in Sweden. The numbers given there illustrate why Elsevier is closed to an open access transformation.

  • In 2017 the turnover for Elsevier journals within the consortium was 12. 559 062 EUR.
  • In 2017 researchers affiliated with Swedish HEIs published around 4000 articles in Elsevier’s journals.
  • In 2017 the publication fees (APCs) for Elsevier open-access articles amounted to 1. 300 000 EUR.
  • Calculating the expenses together, this gives an average value of approx. EUR 3.465 per Elsevier article.

Comparing the data reported to the openAPC project, Swedish HEIs and research institutions paid an average of APCs of EUR 2.136 to Elsevier for 165 open access articles in 2015-2016 (70% for hybrid and 30% for publication in open-access journals).

Add to this the Elsevier list prices for open access journal articles (Elsevier OA Price List, Date: 16-Jun-2018), the average price per article for 2055 hybrid journals and 342 OA journals is 2.313 USD (converted about 1.984 EUR at the daily current exchange rate of 1,16 EUR / USD, in addition VAT would have to be added).

The average APCs actually paid in Sweden as well as the average prices for APCs according to the Elsevier price list are thus significantly lower than the equivalent of EUR 3.465 per article in the previous system. Switching to a pay-as-you-publish model would therefore be financially feasible and meaningful for Sweden.

We wish the colleagues in Sweden and of course the colleagues in the DEAL project every success in their negotiations.

Start of the pilot project for the open access transformation of E-Books

Start of the pilot project OPEN Library Political Science

(Bielefeld, 2018-06-11)

The National Contact Point Open Access OA2020-DE, the publisher transcript, the Political Science Information Service (FID) at the Bremen State and University Library and Knowledge Unlatched are launching a project today that will enable political scientists to publish their books directly in Open Access.

The aim of the pilot project is the development of a publisher and library equally manageable, transparent and economically sustainable open-access e-book business model. That means, that instead of buying the E-Books, the participating libraries enable the open access publication of all forthcoming books. Through that, the library budgets unlatch the titles to the benefit of everybody instead of supporting isolated access for single institutions.

Open Access pursues the goal of making equal use of the opportunities of digitization for authors, publishers and libraries alike. With the help of sustainable and transparent offers on the part of publishers as well as the financial participation by libraries new possibilities for the positioning in the scientific publication system arise for all actors.

Our model has the following advantages compared to the common practice of e-book licensing:

  • License costs for e-books are eliminated, financing through reallocations in the budget possible
  • no restrictions on the use and provision of Open Access publications in teaching (digital semester apparatus, etc.)
  • Visibility of the co-financing institutions through sponsorship
  • Anchoring the FID in the subject-specific open access publication process


Find more information on our project website: http://oa2020-de.org/en/pages/pilotprojects/
Website of transcript publishing house: https://www.transcript-verlag.de/open-access-politikwissenschaft
Or Knowledge Unlatched: http://knowledgeunlatched.org/political-science/

If you have any other questions, please contact us, we are happy to help!

About the National Contact Point Open Access OA2020-DE

The strategic goal of the National Contact Point Open Access OA2020-DE is to create prerequisites for the large-scale open access transformation in accordance with the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany. Among other things, OA2020-DE is developing new, cooperative open access business models.
More information about the Contact Point: http://oa2020-de.org/en/pages/aims/.