Once again, Thieme has committed to supporting DOAJ, this time at the Premier level. Thieme Group, to give them their full and proper name, are long-time supporters of DOAJ, supporting us since at least 2018. German by origin, today Thieme has offices in USA, UK, India, Germany, Brazil, Australia and China. They 37 journals in DOAJ today.
Our questions were answered by Dr Regina Wenzel, Executive Editor of Medicine, at Thieme.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your job title, your role at your organisation and how
long you have been there? What were you doing beforehand? What is your relationship to
I’ve been with Thieme since early 2009 – like many “Thiemians”, I’m a long-time faithful! My official title is Executive Editor for medical and scientific journals – a rather diverse job at the very strategic and conceptual core of the publishing business that puts me in contact with people right across the company and beyond. Before joining Thieme I held a similar position at another science publisher, where I started my career in STM (scientific, technical, medical) publishing in the copy-editing department – and where I first came across open access. At Thieme I’ve always been involved in open access matters: I find it an interesting, ever-evolving concept that keeps pushing the boundaries of what publishing entails and the way we think about it.
Tell us a bit about Thieme. What services does it provide and in which context does Open Access
play a relevant role?
Thieme was founded in 1886 as one of the first German publishing houses exclusively dedicated to medical and scientific content. To this day Thieme is a leading supplier of information and services contributing to the improvement of healthcare and health. Employing more than 1,000 staff, the family-owned company develops products and services in digital and other media for the medical and chemistry sectors. Operating internationally with offices in 11 cities worldwide, the Thieme Group works closely with a strong network of experts and partners. The products and services are based on the high-quality content of Thieme’s 4,000 books and 220 medical and scientific journals, of which about a quarter are purely open access journals. All other titles are hybrid to ensure authors can publish according to their preference or mandate. With solutions for professionals, Thieme supports relevant information processes in medical research, education, and patient care as well as in chemistry. Medical students, physicians, nurses, allied health specialists, hospitals, health insurance companies and others interested in health and healthcare are at the focus of Thieme’s activities. The mission of the Thieme Group is to provide these markets with precisely the information, services, and products they need in their specific work situation and career. Providing top-quality services that are highly relevant to specific audiences, Thieme contributes to better healthcare and healthier lives.
Why is it important for your organisation to support DOAJ? Thieme has supported DOAJ at
the premier level. What is the thinking behind such an impactful contribution?
We are convinced that DOAJ is one of the most important service providers when it comes to open access publishing. By scrutinizing every open access journal of every publisher wanting to be included in its prestigious list, DOAJ helps separate the wheat from the chaff: when you see a journal on the DOAJ list, you can be sure it is not a predatory journal. In a world battling fake news and, very often, fake or distorted science, DOAJ is a much appreciated, much needed, reliable partner in its dedication to ensure scientific quality and integrity.
Thus, for Thieme – with its long-standing mission to provide researchers and clinicians with high quality content and its growing portfolio of open access journals – supporting the DOAJ in its mission is equivalent to supporting the scientific quest itself. Against this background it is even more important that the DOAJ remain an independent agency, which we are supporting by our sponsorship.
Thieme has 35 journals in DOAJ. What advantages does this bring to Thieme’s customers, the
journal editors and the profile of the journals?
Thieme is very proud to have the DOAJ seal for so many of our open access journals, as it conveys what Thieme is about: quality, reliability, transparency. Since our new open access journals are just starting on the indexing path, the DOAJ seal serves as a quality indicator to our customers and for our journals. Our editors and long-term customers of course know that Thieme is always about quality, but the DOAJ seal helps in reassuring new customers, be they readers, authors or librarians.
What impact do you think that DOAJ has had on open access scholarly publishing?
We think that the DOAJ has made a major contribution to open access scholarly publishing. By providing a reliable source of information about open access journals and by guiding and helping those journals and publishers that at first could not meet the DOAJ standard, DOAJ has played a significant role in the professionalization of open access scholarly publishing.
What is your organisation doing in the open access space? Do you have any exciting
projects or new initiatives you would like to tell us about?
Thieme is currently investing a lot of additional resources in open access plans and programs. From
founding new open access journals to running pilot projects with funding agencies (DFG) on
transforming scientific journals and becoming part of new and exciting transformative deals, open
access has never been more important to Thieme than it is at this moment.
What are your personal views on the future of open access publishing and/or academic
publishing in general?
Open access publishing will continue to grow in importance as we are all thinking about possible new
alleys that academic publishing may choose to go down. While we will surely see many new forms
that the ever growing research content can be shaped (or even dissected) into, one of the most
important principles of academic publishing will remain critical for every stakeholder involved: the
question of the curation of research, of helping readers and researchers find the content that is
important and relevant for them. Open access publishing by its very nature has a special
responsibility here by ensuring that the freely available content not only adds to the body of
published papers, but also to the body of knowledge.
What do you think that the scholarly community can do better, or do more of, to support
the advancement of open access?
While Research4Life exists for providing low- and middle-income countries with access to
subscription content, no comparable pan-publisher initiative exists when it comes to APCs. Many
publishers, like Thieme, have a list of waivers and discounts in place to help overcome the
publication barrier for authors from poorer countries, but Thieme would welcome an initiative
comparable to R4L in this field. Other issues where the scholarly community can do better include
the imbalance of big industry profiting without contributing much, and we should concentrate on
better implementation of standards and shared principles, such as ORCID and DORA.
There has been much discussion lately on how open access will become the default for
scholarly publishing, it’s just a matter of when. Initiatives like Plan S, OA2020, and more
are making pushes in that direction. Do these initiatives affect your organization?
Every legacy publisher, no matter how large or small, has of course been thinking about where open
access will take us and how different initiatives may impact the way business is conducted, and of
course Thieme is no exception. We are preparing the Thieme Group for this future and are paying
particular attention to that part of our company that is most involved, the books and journals.
How is your organization changing or adapting for a future where open access may
become the default? Will it have any kind of impact on Thieme and the services it
Thieme improves health and healthcare by providing key information at the right time and in the
right place. Open access is an important instrument for making the latest scientific findings available
to the scientific community, from where they can be incorporated into healthcare. An abundance of
freely available findings alone does not automatically benefit science or generate the transfer of the
latest discoveries into our everyday lives. The discoverability of relevant studies, recognizing the
importance in their field and ensuring high quality through the tried-and-tested peer review process
are tasks for which Thieme as a publishing house assumes responsibility today and will continue to
do so in the future. Above all, however, Thieme is committed where the latest scientific findings find
their way into medical, nursing and therapeutic training and patient care. Apart from working on our
portfolio of books and research journals with a view to an open access future, Thieme therefore
offers a vast range of online as well as offline products and services in the fields of education and
training, diagnostics, medical treatment and care, medical management and consumer health. health
insurers and patient care.