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.

Recommendations on quality standards for the open access provision of books

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 recommendations are available in German and English:

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:
Website of transcript publishing house:
Or Knowledge Unlatched:

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:

Comprehensive strategy instead of competition - OA2020 at OPERAS Conference

At the end of last week, the first OPERAS Conference "Open Scholarly Communication in Europe. Addressing the Coordination Problem” took place in Athens. OPERAS is a European research infrastructure project for the promotion of open access and open science especially in the social sciences and humanities. The OA2020 initiative took part in form of the OA2020-DE project leader Dirk Pieper in the session "Flipping Journals or Changing the System? The Need for Coordination". The aim of the presentation was to show that OA2020 supports multiple ways of open access transformation, which is more than journal flipping and APCs, and at the same time to made clear that empirically relevant OA publishing in these areas takes place and APCs and offsetting are essential factors of the transformation.

Furthermore, Mr Pieper pointed out that OA2020 and FAIR OA as well as Jussieu Call are to be understood as complementary approaches of the open access transformation: their joint connection is, inter alia, in the withdrawal of budgets from the subscription system to redirect these funds into concrete open access transformation approaches (e.g., Fair OA, OLH, infrastructures such as DOAJ, repositories or OJS, offsetting, APCs, ebook OA projects, etc.). Therefore, the development of a common strategy is useful and necessary. OA2020-DE and DEAL support OA2020 thereby in Germany and beyond.

Big deals - Opportunities to strengthen the negotiation position

Recently, two publications have been published that look at the topic of "Big Deals" from different perspectives: In April 2018 the "EUA Big Deals Survey Report - The First Mapping of Major Scientific Publishing Contracts in Europe" and in May 2018 the post of Lindsay McKenzie in Inside Higher Ed "‘Big Deal’ Cancellations Gain Momentum".

The EUA Big Deals Survey Report looks at the current situation in Europe and in 2016 and 2017 questioned negotiators at universities in 28 different EU countries on the amount and terms of their three largest and most expensive contracts with scientific publishers. The answers were anonymised by country and publisher, but they still present a clear picture of the negotiation results that are often not made public. Collectively, the research institutions annually spend approximately €421 million on periodicals, e-books and databases. Of this sum, the vast majority (€384 million) is spent on periodicals and 65% of this expenditure goes to Elsevier.

Read more…

Open access and media acquisition: First transformation workshop of the National Contact Point Open Access in Bielefeld

"We need a complementary objective for the library media acquisition: it is no longer just about buying media and putting it on a shelf or licensing for a campus. It is increasingly a contribution from libraries, so that scientific literature can even be published in open access."

This is a key finding of the OA2020-DE transformation workshop for acquisition librarians, which took place on 19 and 20 April 2018 in Bielefeld. The workshop covered topics relevant to the open access transformation: "collecting cost and publication data at a university" and "alternative publication models for open access journals and open access monographs". The short introduction round at the beginning showed that the topic is gaining relevance not only for universities, but increasingly also for universities of applied sciences.

Read more…

Beyond APCs - OpenAIRE workshop on alternative open access publishing business models

OpenAIRE, an EC-funded initiative to support the Open Access policy of the European Commission via a technical infrastructure, aims also to fund and foster the development of non-APC based publishing models. For this they made two calls, the first in 2016, where projects received funding for the development and implementation of technical improvements in open science infrastructures (the full report can be found here). The second call last year focused on supporting initiatives with alternative open access business models.

To present different aspects of non-APC models and the mid-term reports of the bids from the second call, OpenAIRE organised a workshop on April 5th and 6th 2018 at the Royal Library in The Hague.

Read more…

Analysing the article coverage of offsetting contracts

This is a repost from our partner project INTACT, you can find the original post here

As a result of the first ESAC Offsetting Workshop 2016, the collection of articles published under offsetting contracts like the Springer Compact agreements has been established as a side project of OpenAPC. Data providers include the Austrian Academic Library Consortium (KEMÖ), the Max Planck Digital Library, VSNU / UKB for all Dutch universities, the Bibsam Consortium for Sweden and JISC Collections for the UK. The data collection starts with the first data from 2015, the years 2016 and 2017 are now completely available.

While those articles are not associated with cost data in the sense of APCs, they can still be aggregated and visualised with treemaps, using a simple numerical count as measurement. With the offsetting collection now covering more than 13,000 articles from 3 years, it became feasible to attempt measuring the coverage of offsetting contracts by answering 3 questions:

Read more…

Open Access instead of "nationalization of science publishers"

In her article "Is it time to nationalise academic publishers?" from 2018-03-02, Times Higher Education (source) puts the big science publishers in the spotlight of a discussion that has put the break-up of economic monopolies on the agenda. The listed profits in the scientific publication system are indeed impressive:

  • Elsevier's shareholder RELX profit in 2016 was over GBP 900 million, with a 36.8% return on sales.

  • Taylor & Francis and Routledge, part of Informa, generated more than £ 160 million in profits in 2016 (38% return on sales).

  • Wiley achieved a profit of £ 183m in 2017 and a margin of 29.6%.

Profits and margins for Springer Nature were not mentioned in the Times Higher Education article, but the figures for the open access movement are sobering, as most of the profits still come from the subscription system, which is largely determined by acquisition budgets funded by the libraries. Times-Higher-Education therefore asks in the article between the lines also why libraries, in spite of Open Access and SciHub finance such returns.

If the library community really means open access seriously then - as Ralf Schimmer put it in the same place last year - the "plug from the subscription system" has to be drawn (source) if publishers do not want to go with the transformation into open access. In any case, there are already plenty of alternative uses for library budgets:

  • Organizing publication funds for pure open access publishers
  • Support for membership models such as SCOAP³, Open Library of Humanities, etc.
  • Participation in models for financing open access ebooks
  • Support for public open access infrastructure (institutional and subject repositories, central open access services such as DOAJ and others)

How long do libraries want to wait? It´s time to take action!