Thursday 12 September 2019, 9:15 AM – 10:15 AM (1 Hour)
As funders and libraries drive toward a full transition to open access, it’s both an exciting and challenging time for scholarly publishing. In this session we launch the final results of the Society Publishers Accelerating Open access and Plan S (SPA-OPS) project funded by the Wellcome Trust and UKRI and conducted in partnership with ALPSP. We will hear directly from the Society publishers involved in pilots about their discoveries and thoughts on the future. We will also hear directly from senior policy makers about what they have learned from the project and the impact it will have.
There are an array of potential business models that can help publishers to transition successfully to open access publishing. These include open platforms, systematic and immediate manuscript sharing, transactional payments, transformative agreements, and more. There are challenges to manage, for example different parts of your markets transitioning at different times and in different ways and the need for changing infrastructure. There are also new opportunities and rewards to be found.
The transition to open access publishing models, and technology innovations, also enable publishers to transform their product and services in imaginative ways. This plenary session is part of the conference theme of Open Research & Transparency and will be followed by parallel sessions with special focus on open peer review and open methods.
Plenary 2 – Shelley Allen
[00:00:35.44] Now, it gives me great pleasure to welcome to the stage, Alicia Wise. And this is plenary 2, New Horizons in Open Research, Open Transitions with Plan S. This plenary session is part of the conference theme of New Horizons in Open Research and will be followed by parallel sessions with special focus on open peer review and open methods. So please welcome to the stage Alicia Wise.
[00:01:05.05] [APPLAUSE] [00:01:08.00] ALICIA WISE: Thank you. Good morning, everybody. Great to see everyone out bright and early. We have, hopefully, some very interesting content for you this morning. We are launching the report and an open access transformative agreement toolkit today. And these are the outputs of a project called Society Publishers Accelerating Open Access and Plan S.
[00:01:40.06] This project was commissioned in January by the Wellcome Trust and UKRI in partnership with ALPSP. And it was in response to concerns expressed by many of you here in the audience, I think, about how hybrid journals in particular were going to be able to transition and be compliant with Plan S in the timeframe available.
[00:02:02.95] So I wanted to start by really calling out Wayne Sime for his leadership. Last autumn, he was very clear in engaging constructively and openly with the funders to help explain the concerns and the challenges that were facing this community. And this project and other resources that have been invested– for example, an additional member of staff at GSK, focused on transformative agreements with society publishers– are the result.
[00:02:35.74] What incredible influence– being at the table, constructively engaging with funders and having them respond supportively. So can I just ask a question? How many of you in this room were involved in some way with the project?– in an interview, filling in the survey, participating in a workshop, or in some other way? Can you just show hands?
[00:02:57.12] Great– thank you all very much indeed for that and, also, the other publishers who aren’t here today. We’re not going to dive into detail on the report itself. We did a 45-minute video taping of that on Monday, which will soon be available. What we are going to do is have four terrific presentations.
[00:03:16.66] Rachel Bruce will give an overview of the project and report. Lorraine Estelle is going to be talking for the first time anywhere about the Open Access Transformative Agreement toolkit. Gaynor Redvers-Mutton from the Microbiology Society is going to be talking about their experiences, thinking about their strategic transition to open access, and how transformative agreements fit into that. And then Shelley Allen from Emerald is going to be talking about one of the other suite of models highlighted in the report, open platforms.
[00:03:50.89] We thought these were incredibly interesting and innovative. But there seemed to be low awareness in the community about this model, so we wanted to really bring that to life for you here today. So without any further ado– Rachel Bruce from UKRI.
[00:04:07.95] RACHEL BRUCE: Thank you, Alicia. So good morning, everybody. And I’m really pleased to be here today to talk about the Society Publishers Accelerating Open Access and Plan S report, as we like to call it, SPA OPS. So today, as Alicia says, we– Information Power– are publishing and launching their toolkit and report. And I just wanted to say a few things about the scope of that and, also, why we were engaged and thoughts about next steps.
[00:04:43.56] So as Alicia mentioned, the report was commissioned by us and Wellcome Trust and in collaboration with ALPSP. I remember a key moment for me, actually, was at the Wellcome Trust announcement of their new policy. And because they were the first funder that announced a policy that was in alignment with Plan S and had quite stark– I suppose– statements in their 10 bullet point, short, concise, unambiguous policy, people started to ask Robert Kiley lots of questions.
[00:05:18.06] And there were a lot of learned societies in the room, saying, well, hang on. What does this mean for me? How can I be compliant? And I think, immediately after that point, Wayne and others had discussions about how people could work together to try and make a change. And I think, really, the project was in response to that.
[00:05:35.98] So overall, the key deliverables are a big report that contains lots of different content and information, including the 27 business models that Lorraine and Alicia surfaced in the work, collaborating with others; and the toolkit; and also a whole range of recommendations about next steps and how we can continue to engage and collaborate to make open access happen.
[00:06:07.32] So the URL is there. You’ll see the URL on many other slides, I think, and on the Wellcome site, on Information Power’s site, on ALPSP’s site. So it’s in many different places under that DOI. So the project motivation, as I said, was really about– how could we collaborate to work together with learned societies, in terms of meeting that overall policy goal of full and immediate open access?
[00:06:36.64] So this has obviously been something underway for some time. And I suppose, in the current climate– what with Plan S being announced; the Wellcome Trust’s new policy, as I’ve just mentioned; and also for us at UKRI, our open access policy review is really important, to be able to engage with the whole diversity of the publishing sector and learned societies to try and help to move forward and find solutions to try and meet the goal of full and immediate open access.
[00:07:06.10] And whether or not you’re talking completely and utterly Plan S, transformative agreements have obviously been something that have emerged within the UK as a model to try and move forward. And it was quite clear that learned societies were reliant on the hybrid model and, also, found it quite challenging to engage with some of the library consortia that might negotiate those agreements. And so, I hope that this project is the start of something that can help those collaborations, those negotiations, and those contacts continue.
[00:07:40.20] Just to say a few things about what the project did– so there were interviews with stakeholders, first off, including funders, society publishers, libraries, in the main. And then there was this discussion document that was published that outlined the 27 business models. And all of those were business models, I think– but Lorraine will correct me– that would actually be compliant with Plan S, in terms of meeting open access goals. So it showed the range and diversity of choices that there are that exist.
[00:08:13.02] And then a survey was undertaken with library consortia and society publishers. And then lots of workshops held. They were really constructive workshops, again, with a range of stakeholders. They were held in the UK and then one somewhere else in Europe, which– again– Lorraine and Alicia will know better than me– and also one in the United States. And then the project convened a workshop that was towards the end of the project to really try and devise practical ways in which to move forward.
[00:08:44.77] And that’s how we’ve come to the toolkit and the transformative agreement model that Lorraine will speak further about. Just to demonstrate the range of engagement– so in terms of the survey, there were 105 responses to the survey from society publishers. 64 of those were from the UK, 24 from the US, but also responses from China, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland.
[00:09:12.37] And some of the high-level figures from that– so 72% of those publishers that responded did publish via other publishers. And no humanities and social science society publishers were self-publishing. They all worked through other publisher bodies. Around 2/3 of the societies that responded were in STEM and 1/3 from humanities and social science.
[00:09:41.95] So there was a real range of engagement across all of the disciplines. At a high level, all of those society publishers engaged in open access. So there wasn’t really a stark difference between STEM and humanities and social science. The key difference was that STEM had more pure OA titles. So humanities and social science did rely more on hybrid in the main.
[00:10:11.60] The library consortia survey– again, a broad engagement. 26 library consortia responded. And they came from Austria, Canada, Germany, Greece– as far as Jordan, Slovakia, Romania, and– of course– US and UK. And the big message there was, they were already engaging with society publishers. But they wanted to engage more with society publishers.
[00:10:34.00] And all were engaged in open access, bar one. And I would love to understand the background to that more. But overall, the journey towards open access was happening. And people wanted to collaborate to try and lower some of those barriers.
[00:10:49.09] So just to reiterate, with the report, we’ve got some practical tools. There’s now a pilot underway, in terms of implementing them– a whole range of recommendations, which really, I think, are about pointing to steps– almost a roadmap– although, I guess, there are so many roadmaps– but ways in which we can work together and information power advise. At the same time as looking at transformative agreements and this practical step in the short-term, also, we need to look to the future and look at a range of models, experiment, and set out goals in the short, medium, and long term.
[00:11:27.58] And at the same time, it’s working on things like the pilot that’s in place, also to try and spur some strategic decisions about some of the key challenges that all of the different stakeholders face. The project overall was a very constructive project, bringing everybody together, as I hope I’ve conveyed. The steering group were also very engaged and, again, ranged across all of the different stakeholders.
[00:11:53.92] And Information Power recommend and hope that this report is the start of a series of constructive discussions and that we should consider how we can continue that and how we can address the range of recommendations. For us at UKRI, the report is really important in terms of informing our open access review that is still underway. And also, there are some specific recommendations in there around how we can face some of the challenges or perhaps consider how we can face some of the challenges around managing costs, in order to transition to open access.
[00:12:32.05] No matter whether there’d been Plan S or not, transitional agreements were also something that, as I said, was already being embraced within the UK as a way in which we could move towards open access. So it was very relevant in that regard. But also, I think we are conscious that, within our open access review, we need to consider the whole diversity of the publishing sector. And so, as they say, engaging with learned societies is absolutely key in that. So thank you very much.
[00:13:06.75] [APPLAUSE] [00:13:17.65] LORRAINE ESTELLE: Well, good morning, everybody. Oh, here it is– yeah. Lovely. Rachel has given us a very good overview of the project. So what I’m going to do is talk to you a little bit more about some of the research that we undertook, the pilots that we’ve facilitated, and– in particular– the toolkit, which we are making available from today.
[00:13:43.90] As Rachel said, we consulted with society publishers about 27 different approaches and business models which are Plan S compliant. But this morning, I’m going to focus on transformative models. Now that isn’t to say that we are suggesting you ignore the other 26 approaches and models. Rather– and indeed, Shelly will be talking to us later in detail about one of those approaches.
[00:14:17.80] But we’re focusing on transformative models, because these are the promising transition models. Because libraries and library consortia currently provide the lion’s share of the funding. And if this revenue can be transformed to support open access, then journals can also transform to be fully open access. The other advantage of transformative models is that they are, once they’re set up, easier to administer than many hundreds or indeed maybe thousands of author payments. And they provide an attractive and predictable revenue stream.
[00:15:04.84] We talked to many society publishers about transformative models. And on the whole, they told us that they were very interested. But as you can see on this slide, there are concerns. And one of those concerns we have really addressed. There was a very strong feeling that we needed pilots– pilots agreed in 2019 that could run through the entire 2020 renewal cycle, before Plan S implementation begins, so that they could be reviewed and we could learn from them.
[00:15:44.90] And Gaynor has participated, from the Microbiology Society, in one of those pilots. And she’ll tell you more about it in detail. We, also, as Rachel mentioned, talked to consortia. And library consortia are really important in this picture, because it would be very difficult– probably not feasible– to negotiate transformative agreements with every individual academic library.
[00:16:18.60] But library consortia work on behalf of their members, in their country or in their region. And so it is a much more efficient way to work. And again, as Rachel said, 26 participated in our survey. And they were very enthusiastic about supporting learned societies develop new models. And 75% of them told us that they were likely or very likely to participate in such models.
[00:16:54.78] We also asked consortia what their top priorities were in these new models. And it will be no surprise for you to see that, very high up there on that list– no increase in the total cost of reading and publishing. But most important for those consortia were the transparency of the models.
[00:17:18.52] We then got together a workshop in London– I’ll actually get all those up– where we were delighted that consortium leaders from around the world came and met with society publishers. And we had a very energetic brainstorming day, greatly focused on transformative models and how we could take them forward and the basis for pricing.
[00:17:48.07] Now, there was a strong consensus that the current library spend was not desirable or a sustainable basis on which to price open access transformative agreements in the future, for all sorts of legacy reasons. But the workshop also agreed that, in the practical short-term, for OA transformative agreements to get going, being cost neutral, being based on current institutional spend, was the most pragmatic and most efficient way forward.
[00:18:25.77] The other thing we learned through our consultation with the publishers and with the consortia is that they are two groups that don’t really know each other very well. Library consortia have traditionally worked more with the large commercial publishers, negotiating with them on behalf of their member libraries. And publishers have tended to sell more directly to institutions, usually through their agents. So there isn’t a great track record here.
[00:18:58.67] And this is one of the reasons why we produced our toolkit. We wanted the outputs of this project to be practical, both for learned societies and for the stakeholders who wish to support them. So this toolkit is for learned society publishers to use. And it’s also for library consortia to use. So let’s have a look inside the toolkit.
[00:19:24.05] The toolkit contains templates that the stakeholders can use to negotiate and execute transformative agreements. Now, our vision is that stakeholders will adapt these templates to reflect the deals that they negotiate. And I want to make very clear that we are not trying to constrain anybody with the documents in the toolkit. Rather, they are a starting point for you, to be adapted as required.
[00:19:58.03] Now as I said, we have run several pilots with different publishers and different consortia. So first up in our toolkit are some tips for preparing to negotiate. And one section talks to the library consortia. And the other section talks to the publishers. Now, there is no guarantee that good preparation will lead to success in negotiations. But it certainly helps.
[00:20:26.10] I’m really observing those pilots that we facilitated. It’s really important that both sides set out really clearly their aims and objectives in the negotiation, and not just the financial objectives– of course, they’re very, very important– but also, their objectives in terms of transition to open access. And both sides need to gather the information that’s required and, of course, to prepare their overview.
[00:20:56.29] Now, I talked about gathering the information. And really, for a society publisher to negotiate a transformative agreement, there is a lot of data to be gathered. For each consortia, you need to understand both the read and publish elements of your relationship with that consortia and its members. So it’s important to look at the data, not just for those institutions that already subscribe to your journals. Because as we found in the pilot, very often, authors who are non-subscribing institutions may be publishing in your journals.
[00:21:36.56] Now, this is the data template. Now again, Gaynor has had great experience of filling this in. So I’m sure she’s going to mention it in her presentation. And I confess, it looks rather scary. And it is a lot of work to fill in. What you’re looking for here is to put together all the subscription spend for the institutions within a particular consortium, also adding in all the open access APC fees that have been paid by institutions in that consortium, and then a full picture of all the publishing, both open access and behind the paywall, for that consortia.
[00:22:22.16] So it does require a lot of work to put it together. But it really provides a solid basis for the discussion and negotiation with the consortium. The other document in the toolkit is the overview. Now, this is really– I suppose you could call it the offer that the publishers offer to that consortium.
[00:22:46.51] Now, it’s not a legally binding document. But it sets out– it summarizes what the publisher and the consortium are trying to achieve in that agreement. And it’s also a document that the consortium can share with its members, so that they can decide if they want to participate.
[00:23:05.90] Now, it sets out practical details– the pricing model, payments, and so on, and the provision for open access. But it also sets out the spirit of the agreement and what both parties wish to achieve, not just in this immediate agreement, but in the future. Now, we also have provided in the toolkit a model license for transformative general agreements.
[00:23:36.76] Now, many large consortia, just in the UK, for example, have their own model license for transformative agreements. Some consortia have model licenses, but they’re really focused more on the subscription model. And we have found that some consortia do not have model licenses at all. So publishers and consortia can either take schedules or clauses from this model license and adapt them into what already exists or, if necessary, they can work from the entire document.
[00:24:12.13] It’s quite a long document. But I’m going to just show you here just one schedule. And this is the schedule about open access provision– and a very important schedule in that license. It has some very useful definitions. We worked very hard with publishers and consortia to get those definitions right. Again, it sets out the provision for open access.
[00:24:38.86] The whole point of the transformative agreement is that authors in institutions affiliated to the consortium can publish open access with no transaction fee. And the schedule also sets out, very importantly, the reporting that the publisher needs to provide the institution and the consortia, so that they can evaluate the agreement and hopefully renew it.
[00:25:07.58] Now, we’ve had a lot of help in creating this toolkit. The model license itself is based on Jisc Model License. But that schedule I showed you, the Open Access Provision Schedule, is based on the ESAC Open Access Service Level Agreement. And we’re also grateful– I haven’t time to read all the names, but you can read them– for all the people who have really spent time looking at the documents in the toolkit, casting their eagle eyes over them, and giving us some very helpful feedback.
[00:25:43.64] So where can you find the toolkit? The report and the toolkit are published on the Wellcome Trust figshare site. And the long link is there. You could also go to the Information Power website. And again, there is a link from that to the report and the toolkit. So thank you.
[00:26:06.72] [APPLAUSE] [00:26:08.59] Good morning, everyone. I am going to talk to you about Microbiology Society’s pilot transitional agreements. I’m going to call them transitional. Sorry, guys. And I’m just going to start with telling you a little bit about who we are and where we’ve started from– where we’ve started our open access journey from– what we have planned, and what our experience has been to date– what we’ve learned through this process.
[00:26:44.86] And I just want to preface everything by saying, we are really excited about having been part of this project and collaborating with SPA OPS and Jisc and the other consortia. And what might follow may sound a bit like I’m accentuating the negatives. But this is a real project for us. And it’s a real journey for us.
[00:27:08.62] And we’re a small society publisher. And these are rule changes for us. And so there are challenges. And there are risks. And that’s what I’m going to talk a little bit about today. So we’re a membership charity for scientists interested in microbes, their effects, and their practical uses, and one of the largest microbiology societies in Europe, with a worldwide membership base in universities and industry and hospitals, research institutes, and schools.
[00:27:42.75] And publishing is part of our strategic mission. And we have maintained an independent society journal publishing program with six journals, four of which are hybrid journals. And the latest two were born OA journals. So what I wanted to start with is just to give you an idea of what our open access journey has been to date, because we don’t start with nothing on our plate. We have been doing a number of things and reacting to the world around us.
[00:28:22.51] Potentially, all our content could be open access, with a very liberal green OA policy. We allow author-accepted manuscripts to be deposited without embargo. We also make our archive free to read after 12 months. So there’s a lot of our content that is very discoverable and accessible out there already.
[00:28:47.05] We have two born OA journals. That constitutes 1/3 of our list. And then as you go down that graph, you see that there’s considerably smaller amounts of the proportion of which we publish to be gold OA. That’s actually 13% across the portfolio is paid-for OA articles. And right down at the bottom, that tiny little plinth is just 7% of our revenues are generated from open access.
[00:29:23.56] So like many early promoters of open access, we waived or deeply discounted APCs in hybrids. And we made no charge in our fully open access journals through the launch years. So now, I just want to talk in a little bit more detail about what our publish-and-read model actually is, what it is, and why we chose that model.
[00:29:58.48] Along with some other peer self-publishing scientific societies– many are represented here, I think– we fixed on a model framework for publish-and-read, which we label as all-you-can-eat. And the main reason was to play catch up, really, and to position ourselves as a properly competitive open access publisher. We were seeing, in our space, a lot of traction in open access publishing from fully open access publishers and also from the big companies that had already negotiated consortia agreements.
[00:30:42.79] So we really felt that we needed to come in with a very strident and a very robust and positive and attractive model, which we believe publish-and-read, in the way we define it, is. So what it is– all-you-can-eat is zero caps. For participating institutes, there is unlimited access to all the payable content in our journals. And there are no caps on publishing open access articles.
[00:31:21.00] It’s as simple and administratively light as we can make it with small organizations. Neither ourselves nor institutions have to worry about counting down a fund. So there’s no need to introduce complicated new workflows. And researchers who are at institutions that are covered by publish-and-read don’t need to worry about any payment issues.
[00:31:47.07] There’s one fee upfront. So pre-funded open access was really an important model for us to work with. We needed to move away from APC-based models. And the other feature of our publish-and-read deal is that we felt it really important to include all our journals in it. There’s some business push and reason for it just to cover subscription spend and hybrid journals, for a number of logistical reasons.
[00:32:25.74] But we felt that we had to stick to our guns and insist that it had to include open access journals as well. That was a much clearer easier message for authors. The other aspect of our publish-and-read is that we are offering it on an institution by institution basis. So any libraries can sign up to it. And at the same time, we’re running with the pilots with consortia groups.
[00:33:01.44] So onto some of the drivers and some of the risks– so we felt very passionately that we needed to be involved in the SPA OPS project and to move ahead with transitional agreements. And that really can boil down to a few key points. One was our mission. We’re a mission-driven publisher.
[00:33:33.54] We accept that many societies have their own drivers, missions, and so on, and that this isn’t going to fit for everyone. But it fits for us because, in our case, our mission is to spread microbiology for society’s good. And that doesn’t sit well with putting essential research behind a paywall.
[00:33:59.41] We’re in a well-funded discipline. Biomedical science gets a good share of research funding, compared to other sciences and definitely compared to humanities and social science subjects. And of course, the funders are catalysts for Plan S, so we’ve had their proactive support to move to open access.
[00:34:23.92] There’s ethical issues. Stephen Carr, yesterday, gave a very compelling example of Zika and the response that was needed in order to minimize the impacts of that. We also did a proper analysis of our own portfolio shape. And we recognized that, in theory, the steady output that we produce of articles matches the number of subscriptions pretty much that we are able to sell.
[00:35:04.43] And the subscription prices of our journals are pretty closely matched to the APCs. So in theory, we were on and looked capable of flipping. In practice, that is not going to happen for a while. And so it’s worth just thinking through some of the risks. And we are very aware that these pilots have to be time-limited, because we’re not in any position to risk the Society’s finances.
[00:35:41.51] We don’t know what’s going to happen. We live in a very global business. So our authors come from right the way around the globe. And the drivers and the policy decisions made in Europe are not necessarily going to ripple out through the rest of the world.
[00:36:05.03] We have modeled flipping our journals. But at this stage and through the pilots, what we’re looking to do is flip institution by institution and, hopefully, through the consortia, country by country. And that’s really as far as we can make any commitment. And finally, the risk that Lorraine alluded to is in the data, which has just been mind-blowing, not just in trying to put it together but trying to match with the data that comes from the funders, from the institutions, from within our own systems.
[00:36:42.42] They just don’t match up. And that really has been quite a headache. And I fear again, it’s going to sound negative a bit. But there are some challenges. And one key one is the amount of new relationships we are building and want to maintain. Again, we’re a very small organization. And we had fantastic and well-established routes to market and sales channels through a great network of subscription agents. And we want to maintain that.
[00:37:25.62] That’s going to be the most efficient way of working. And yet, we need also at this point to talk with consortia groups and to find a way in which intermediaries can help us achieve our aims. The consortia imperatives are to keep these transition agreements within additional spend. And so we are very concerned about making sure that the revenues that we see largely still coming from subscriptions need to shift, because all our investments, at the moment, are in OA initiatives.
[00:38:24.26] And I suppose, the last point on this is that the real challenge for us is that it is a huge distraction from our core business. We are here, after all, to serve researchers. Ultimately, we need authors and their institutions to buy in to publish-and-read agreements and to recognize the advantages community publishing has for them.
[00:38:51.98] We haven’t employed mass author marketing campaigns as other OA publishers have had to do in order to establish their submission pipeline. And so we’re figuring out, really, how best to involve institutions, intermediaries, and so on in promoting not-for-profit OA publishing. And just finally– just to make the point that an effort like this requires a lot of consulting.
[00:39:22.36] We hear lots and have sought lots of different voices– some quite surprising ones. We mounted a telemarketing campaign through ACCUCOMS to really try and hear voices from our end customers, the institutions. It was really important to hear what they were having to say. And I would say that the vast majority of institutions that we talked to were positive about this.
[00:40:01.36] A strong percentage of those positive reactions were suggesting that we should be working through consortia, so that was a nice little tic for what we were doing. I suppose– just very quickly, because I won’t go through everything that everybody said. But I think one of the interesting responses that came back in multiple different ways, I think, was that there was a sort of warning that we weren’t behaving terribly commercially in coming out with a publish-and-read model that was so advantageous and that we weren’t getting, frankly, as good of deals as some of the commercial publishers.
[00:40:45.86] And actually, again, I think the plenary yesterday allusion to this as well. Actually, and the thing that we all, as a group of society publishers, I think felt was that, actually, we aren’t commercial publishers. We’re not here to make a profit. And we don’t have to protect that profit. What we do have to do is find a sustainable financial model in a very uncertain world. So that’s really what we’re aiming to do.
[00:41:23.93] That’s it. Thank you.
[00:41:25.42] [APPLAUSE] [00:41:27.90] Hello. So I’m Shelley Allen. And I’m the head of a open research at Emerald. And I’ve been asked to come and speak to you today, largely, as a publisher. We’re a mid-sized commercial publisher. We predominantly publish in the social sciences. We do do a bit of applied sciences, some engineering, computer science.
[00:41:50.19] But we’ve recently launched Emerald Open Research, which is our fully-open research platform in partnership with F1000. And that’s the model that these guys were quite interested in. So they’ve asked me to come along and tell you a bit about our experience, including some of the challenges that we’ve faced.
[00:42:08.55] So in terms of this particular slide, this is actually data from Dimensions. And this is showing where open access is currently sitting within social sciences. And the correlating slide that I usually have that looks at the STEM subjects is quite a different picture. So predominantly, still, most stuff is behind the paywall. But within STEM, there’s a much smaller gap between open and closed.
[00:42:38.20] And there’s also the Pure Gold, which is the purple there. That’s much higher in STEM. So basically, that shows you, within social science, open access models are very mixed. There really isn’t the same support for APCs that we see. And we also think this is being driven in no small way by the fact that there’s fewer venues that social sciences can publish open.
[00:43:03.38] And within that as well, there’s still a lot of misconceptions around open within the social science. So I still regularly get authors who’ve never even heard of open access– would you believe? So that’s the context in which– we’re operating as a business. But we also wanted to be quite bold. And we wanted to demonstrate to our authors the benefits of publishing open.
[00:43:27.91] So for that reason, we chose to launch Emerald Open Research. And as I said, we did that in partnership with F1000. And there’s two main reasons why we chose to go that route and to partner externally to achieve this. Firstly– speed. We are lucky. We do have a very talented technical team. But we also have competing priorities.
[00:43:50.56] We were launching our new platform, Emerald Insight. And that was where our resource was going. So partnering with an external partner helped us to do this quickly, when we didn’t have the capacity to do both projects at once. And the other part of it was expertise. And Emerald does have an open program. We have a very successful platinum program.
[00:44:15.97] But we didn’t have any expertise in open peer review. And you’ve got some very small pilots going in open data. And F1000 really brought that expertise to the relationship, which has been invaluable to us. We were able to learn very quickly. And how this works is the collaboration is quite– I think, what they get back from that is that their focus has been primarily in STEM. And they are learning, quite quickly, that it’s a very different picture in social sciences and that some of the challenges that our authors face are certainly different to those in STEM.
[00:44:49.39] So it’s been an interesting collaboration– that part. And we were able to launch very quickly. If you’re not aware of what an open platform is, it’s not a journal. It’s a web-based platform. And there are a number of different benefits to this publishing model. So firstly, it enables rapid publication. So as soon as an author submits to the platform, once they’ve gone through our initial checks– so that’s looking at ethics, whether they are adhering to the criteria of the platform, so whether they’ve made their data openly available– then it’s immediately published.
[00:45:27.31] So this means it’s an author-led approach. There’s no editor there deciding whether this research meets their requirements and sits within the scope of their journal. So that’s opened it up, as it were, to a much broader range of audience, which is very important to Emerald, because we have a large contingent of practitioner-based authors, for example. So that was quite important to us.
[00:45:52.67] It’s a fully-open peer review. So as soon as their article’s published, then we invite reviewers to them. And we’re finding that that’s leading to more reviews. It’s leading to faster review, in the main. And also, those reviews are much more constructive than I’ve personally seen in a lot of traditional journals. So that’s been well-received by authors. They’re also then able to upload a new version, so that you can see the different versions of the paper, as it’s improved by the peer-review process.
[00:46:21.40] We do allow traditional and non-traditional content types. Again, that’s very important. The idea here is that authors are able to publish their research findings in the format that most suits them, their research, and the audience they want to reach. And we believe that all of this allows for the research to be assessed on its own merits. So the platform is aligned to the UN Sustainable Development goals. And we currently have six gateways that, essentially, align to our core strengths, in terms of our current program.
[00:46:52.66] But we’re also hoping to expand it as we move forward. But there have been challenges. And I was asked to specifically talk to those. So the first one is time. So I’m the head of open research. And [INAUDIBLE] open research, obviously, is my responsibility. But my role is, across the business, involved in strategy, process, policy, as well as [INAUDIBLE]. And so it’s a big ask to then launch this new project.
[00:47:20.55] And so there are many people across the business that are involved in working with our communities to help them understand the platform and the benefits it can bring to them. There is a cost to publishing, not just platform costs. This is also about the fact that one of the other challenges we have is, still, there is a lack of funding for our authors to publish gold OA. And so we’ve really gone ahead of our market.
[00:47:47.93] And that means that we have to support our authors, whilst we build the support within the markets for our authors. So that is a cost. Education and culture has also been very important. So initially, there was some fears around the open peer review. We’re able to demonstrate now, quite easily, that it has been a benefit. So that’s going away a bit.
[00:48:09.64] But open data is a real challenge for our authors. They don’t understand what their data is, how to format that data, where to put it. Some of them, they have repositories. But the repositories aren’t assigning DOIs to that data, which is a requirement of the platform. So that the open data part of it is very challenging for our authors.
[00:48:33.30] And that’s something that F1000 have said as well. And obviously, they have authors with the same experience in STEM. But it’s much harder for our authors. And that’s their experience that they’re finding. So we have to really handhold them through that. And obviously, authors are predominantly still assessed based on which journal they’ve published and the impact factor of their journal.
[00:48:54.70] Now, for Emerald, we’ve signed DORA. So for us, it makes this platform makes sense. We’re putting our money where our mouth is and trying to showcase the real-world impact of the research that we’re publishing. But that still is ahead of where a lot of our research is, so we have to support them through that as well.
[00:49:16.82] And then obviously, you do have new workflows. There are APCs involved. So we are having to invest in our processes and our systems. And there is a trust issue still. So for example, when I tell people about the open peer review part, one of the most common questions I get was, how do you stop fraud? And it’s like, well, it’s open.
[00:49:39.70] So you can see if there’s fraud. There’s less likely to be fraud. But I think, there’s still a misconception, particularly in the social sciences, that OA is low quality. And that’s something that we do have to fight against and one of the things we’re hoping to prove to our communities isn’t the case.
[00:49:56.92] And partnerships– not just those to support the platform, support our authors financially, but also partnerships to really help train our authors and show our authors how it doesn’t have to be a 20 or 30-page research article that’s only going to be read by five people. There’s a way to show your research that can be a bit more accessible to the public and transform that research that’s actually truly accessible and not just openly available.
[00:50:28.21] And so that’s a major aim of the platform as well. So those are some of the main challenges we’ve had. Thank you very much for your time.
[00:50:36.52] [APPLAUSE] [00:50:38.52] ALICIA WISE: So the best and most meaningful pilots are rarely the easy ones. And I’ve been tremendously grateful that– and I hope I don’t miss anybody– the European Respiratory Society, BRILL, the Microbiology Society, Portland Press, and the Institute of Water, along with CALL, the Australian consortium, Jisc, VSNU in the Netherlands, the Max Planck Digital Library– and have all been so very, very active in piloting the transformative agreements and that many other companies, like Emerald, have been so generous and open in sharing their experience and experiments with us.
[00:51:19.28] We’ve learned a lot from you and appreciate that. Now, we have a very few minutes. But if there were any questions for our presenters from the audience, we’d be very grateful for them and happy to take them. Oh– hands! We’ve got Andrea here and the gentleman there.
[00:51:36.23] AUDIENCE: I’ll go first. Thank you. So Andrea Powell, from STM, representing Research for Life– and I’m hugely interested in everything you’ve talked about this morning. I’m just wondering if any of the library consortia have come from the global south– that you’ve been talking to. Or are there any plans to extend that conversation?
[00:51:52.07] We, in fact, invited consortia from around the world to our workshop, including from the global south. None of the participants were from those regions. We organized the workshop in less than a month. And so the timescales didn’t work out. But they are part of the broader group that’s monitoring the development of the toolkit.
[00:52:12.35] I do think this is deployable in the global south. Anywhere a library consortium is spending money on subscriptions, they can potentially engage in transformative agreements. Particularly–
[00:52:23.31] LORRAINE ESTELLE: And just to say that we are piloting one in the global south, so that there is one going independently.
[00:52:31.06] ALICIA WISE: In a large South American country, yes?
[00:52:33.92] LORRAINE ESTELLE: Sorry?
[00:52:34.34] ALICIA WISE: In a large South American country.
[00:52:35.95] LORRAINE ESTELLE: Exactly.
[00:52:36.44] ALICIA WISE: Yeah, [INAUDIBLE]. Sir?
[00:52:38.48] AUDIENCE: Yeah, thanks– Michael Brown, independent consultant. It’s a question for Gaynor actually– great case study. You mentioned that you could theoretically flip, but not for a while yet completely. Did you work out what it would take to flip completely?– what the parameters of that might be?
[00:52:57.03] GAYNOR REDVERS-MUTTON: We modeled the point at which flipping would make sense. And the difficulty for us in our portfolio is that we have a huge range. So one of the most prolific article publishing journals that we publish– probably half of all articles are published in one of the journals. And the authorship from that is pretty much global South Asia. There’s no OA funding at all. I think, about 1% of the articles in that journal is OA.
[00:53:34.73] And we do not see that as being a viable journal to flip for quite some time, without huge political movements in those places. And on the other hand– the other end of the scale– we have some that we really do feel are very likely to be publishing 50% or more of the content as full OA. And so we’ve got a number of balls in the air, trying to work out how we would flip a journal.
[00:54:07.52] But what we’ve said to all our partners is that we’re not really, at this point, able to look at journal flips. So the focus is really on institution or country flips.
[00:54:19.91] ALICIA WISE: Thank you. There’s a question or comment two rows back from where you are. Thank you.
[00:54:28.07] AUDIENCE: Hi, I’m Colleen Campbell, from the Open Access 2020 Initiative and the Max Planck Digital Library. Just a couple of comments and questions– first of all, yes, thank you to Information Power for this work. Fantastic work– it was a wonderful experience to work with societies, because the library community wants to work with societies to achieve this transition.
[00:54:51.46] I wanted to say a comment to Gaynor. And that is, in terms of staffing and building these relationships that previously might not have existed, the library consortia have this same challenge.
[00:55:00.12] ALICIA WISE: Yes.
[00:55:00.37] AUDIENCE: Because they’re already working to capacity with the agreements they have. And so I think we all need to just recognize that this is a new frontier for all of us. And then a few questions– one is– picking up on the point just raised, I wonder if societies need to think a little bit more about a different kind of transitional model, and that is the subscribe-to-open model. And I’m just going to pose that.
[00:55:29.23] Another question is, in the workshop, it was evident that a lot of societies also have large proportions of their revenues coming from not libraries or institutions, but from individual membership and corporate. And I would like to understand what societies are thinking about to recover those revenues.
[00:55:49.75] ALICIA WISE: That’s brilliant, Colleen– good conversations for the coffee. But–
[00:55:53.71] [LAUGHTER] [00:55:54.91] –let me just make one point clear. The transformative agreements that Gaynor was talking about– they’re a creative blend and a very powerful blend of that subscribe-to-open model, which is about transitioning your individual subscribers, and a consortia publish-and-read style agreement. And they’re like a Vulcan mind merge, beautifully fused together. It’s really innovative. And I think we should be watching the outcomes of that pilot and similar ones underway very carefully indeed. It’s very creative.
[00:56:31.15] Any other que– ah– Catriona, who’s in the front. Oh, you’ve already got a microphone.
[00:56:36.87] CATRIONA MACCALLUM: Catriona MacCallum, Director of Open Science at Hindawi. So one of them was actually about how to incorporate that co-operative funding model or subscribe-to-open. I think, I prefer the term “cooperative funding model.” But this is to speak to both societies and funders, because the cooperative funding model, as developed by [INAUDIBLE] and John Willinsky, is now including funders as part of that coalition or consortial. And you can have a funder-librarian mix to help pay, which could potentially make it more stable.
[00:57:10.91] The other question is, given the problems of scaling that societies have– and Gaynor spoke to this as well. And you’re doing it in your dealing individuals. Are there any plans to have consortia of like-minded societies to work on these deals?– and perhaps do it both ways.
[00:57:33.25] GAYNOR REDVERS-MUTTON: Yes– I’m sure there’s lots of us in the room. But we have founded the Society Publishers Coalition. I think it’s about 40 publishers– not all self-publishing societies. But I think, as soon as Plan S was announced, we all got on the phone and realized that we really needed to have a collective voice. And it has been a very powerful way of thinking through what some of the society issues are with transitioning to open access.
[00:58:10.21] So they’re a very, very active group. I can tell people more about it and point them to the website. But yes, you’re absolutely right. We have to come together collectively, because, as Colleen was saying, many of us speaking to the Jiscs or the MPDLs is not going to work if we’re all coming at it at very different ways. So we felt that it was really important to have a coordinated approach and response.
[00:58:46.63] And I think [INAUDIBLE] might be talking tomorrow more about that. But yes, we do come together.
[00:58:52.55] AUDIENCE: Would UKRI work with other funders to form a consortia that worked with library consortia on these sorts of issues? Or would you do it independently?
[00:59:01.51] [LAUGHS] [00:59:03.28] RACHEL BRUCE: I think, models that we might pursue, to be honest– it is quite open. There’s definitely not a no to that. Certainly we would consider it. Because we’ve obviously got to look at ways in which we can sustain and make open access happen. And so you’ve got to be quite creative– haven’t you?– about your partnerships and the ways in which you might channel funding and resources. So I think, UKRI’d be open to considering that.
[00:59:30.48] ALICIA WISE: So three quick final things– first off, anybody who’s been involved in the project– actually, anybody here who would like to be– we’re going to do a quick photo outside on the patio. And you’re all welcome, anybody who’s been involved. Or if you’d like to get involved, come along. Second– can we thank our fantastic speakers.
[00:59:49.83] [APPLAUSE] [00:59:51.03] [MUSIC PLAYING]