OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) has joined the group of organisations endorsing the Think. Check. Submit. (TCS) initiative. This is an obvious yet important strategic development for TCS as there is as much need for the TCS tools and resources in the world of books, as in the world of journals. The addition of OAPEN to the core team allows TCS to broaden its remit and draw directly on the experience of OAPEN Director, Eelco Ferwerda.
Eelco said: “We’re delighted to join this important initiative to help authors select a reliable publishing venue. Quality assurance is an important part of our work, and by joining Think. Check. Submit. we can focus on the specific challenges facing authors of monographs.”
Think. Check. Submit. carried out a large survey of its users at the end of 2018 and the resounding opinion was that TCS needed to develop its tools and resources further to accommodate the fast-changing world of scholarly publishing.
Sofie Wennström, representing the founding organisation LIBER & based at Stockholm University Library, said of the addition of OAPEN: “This is a great addition to the team, allowing us to develop Think. Check. Submit. to include good author advice about academic output formats beyond journal articles. Librarians working with scholarly communication support often get feedback from researchers in various disciplines that they want the long-format academic work to count. Providing a tool for sharing knowledge about book publishing was also suggested by users in a recent survey by Think. Check. Submit.”
The OAPEN Foundation was established in 2011 to support the transition to OA books. The OAPEN Library hosts one of the largest collections of freely accessible academic books. OAPEN works with publishers and funders to build a quality-controlled collection of OA books, and provides services for publishers, libraries, and research funders in the areas of deposit, quality assurance, metadata enhancement, dissemination, and digital preservation.
About Think. Check. Submit.
Think. Check. Submit. provides a checklist that guides researchers through the process of deciding which journals and now books are best for their research. The process is intended to go beyond individual journal decisions to help researchers build up their journal evaluation skills. The checklist is now available in nearly 40 languages.
Dr Xenia van Edig, Business Development, answers our questions.
-Your organisation has been supporting DOAJ for a few years now. Why is it important for Digital Science to support DOAJ?
As an information hub for all those interested in high-quality peer-reviewed open-access journals, the DOAJ is an extremely important platform. It is independent and committed to high-quality and peer-reviewed open access in all fields of STEM and HSS. With the re-vetting of all its content in 2016 and with the introduction of the DOAJ seal, its mission to increase the visibility, accessibility, reputation, usage, and impact of open-access journals has become even more evident. For us as an exclusively open-access publisher, it is therefore only logical that we support DOAJ.
–What benefits does being indexed in DOAJ bring to your journals?
Indexing in DOAJ increases the visibility of our journals and demonstrates that our journals adhere to best practices in open-access publishing. Furthermore, many libraries and institutions understandably only provide financial support for article processing charges (APCs) for journals which are indexed in DOAJ and therefore receive an external quality seal.
-Do you think that the DOAJ has been and/or still is important for the development of Open Access publishing?
-What is Copernicus doing to support that development? Do you have any exciting projects underway?
Copernicus Publications has been an open-access publisher since 2001. In the past 18 years, we have helped many learned societies and academic institutions launch new open-access journals or transform their existing journals into open-access journals. In addition, we have been promoting open access in the peer-review process since 2001 by implementing the Interactive Public Peer Review, which is now applied by 20 of the 42 journals we publish. The current rise of preprint servers and the formation of initiatives promoting open peer review prove that this peer review model is still innovative.
These past years have focussed on making content accessible. The next ongoing challenge is to overcome the barriers regarding APC payments. We recently launched a national licence in Germany, with many universities and research centres participating. Together with our partners in libraries and funding bodies, we strive towards a seamless open-access experience for authors without worrying about APC payments.
-What are your personal views on the future of Open Access publishing?
I hope that further progress will be made in accelerating the transition towards a world where research outputs are publicly available and reusable. However, I fear that current major initiatives are focussing too much on the big legacy publishers – leaving out smaller publishers and those who are purely open access. While “read and publish” deals might be a step in transforming the publishing ecosystem, funders, consortia, and institutions should not forget about those who stood up for open access when the topic was not on “everyone’s lips”. Furthermore, even though many journals published by Copernicus are financed via article processing charges, APCs are not the only business model for open access.
-What do you think that the scholarly community could do to better support the continued development of the Open Access movement in the near future?
I think the current evaluation system for grants, tenure, etc., which still heavily relies on the journal impact factor, favours established journals and puts newer publication venues and innovative outlets at an unfair disadvantage. Of course there are many open-access journals with high impact factors, but there is a structural disadvantage since many open-access journals are newer.
In addition, faculty and students need to be more educated about open access. For many academics, their academic freedom to freely choose a journal for their articles seems to hinge on the fact that they do not want to deal with access and reuse rights. Many academics seem to think that everything is fine because they have access to the literature through the subscriptions of their institutions’ libraries. Furthermore, they do not have to deal with APCs when publishing in subscription journals. This means a lot of advocacy for open access is still needed.
-Much has been said recently about whether open access is succeeding or failing, particularly in terms of the original vision laid out by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002. Do you think that open access has fallen short of this vision, or has it surpassed expectations?
Whether something is a good idea or not cannot be measured in number of articles or successful journal transformations. I think that most people involved in the open-access movement had hoped for a quicker transition. However, only because it has been slower than envisioned, the vision of BOAI – the public good of “the world-wide electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal literature and completely free and unrestricted access to it” – is still the goal to achieve. Around 17 years ago open access was not on the political agenda like it is today (e.g. Plan S). Therefore, I would say the movement has been successful.
“As a strong supporter of Open Access movement and as the first adopter of OA policy in the region, KAUST Library believes in DOAJ’s mission and their valuable contribution to enhance best practices in OA publishing supported with standards and metadata. We feel proud to join the global group of DOAJ funding supporters”
In open access publishing, copyright and licensing issues are often not well understood by many and are not clearly described on journal websites. Some publishers we speak to think that they have to pay a fee to establish Creative Commons licensing on their site. Just as DOAJ is a free service, Creative Commons licenses from CreativeCommons.org are also free.
At DOAJ we require open access publishers to use licenses for publications, and we recommend Creative Commons licenses as the best practice because these are free licenses tailor-made to meet the needs of open access. Publishers are also allowed to describe their own licenses as long as these comply and match Creative Commons licensing terms.
We recommend that publishers leave the copyright with the authors. Although this is not a requirement for inclusion in DOAJ nor for using Creative commons licenses, we think that authors should retain their rights, including their copyright for their work. Copyright is part of the larger framework of intellectual property rights that encompasses publishing rights, reproduction in the form of video or audio, patents trademark, research data and more.
All Rights Reserved
A number of publishers use the term ALL RIGHTS RESERVED incorrectly in the context of open access publishing and often in direct opposition to the “open access” state of the content. The us of this term is always wrong in the setting of open access because some rights will always be shared depending on the open access license used.
Copyright Retained by the Author
If authors retain the copyright of their work and publish open access then they can claim copyright and full intellectual property rights with some rights reserved. Under these conditions publishers can then claim rights of first publication and this does not conflict with the copyright remaining with the authors.
For instance, when you publish using CC-BY-NC and retain your copyright, you also reserve the commercial rights exclusively for yourself, unless you sign an agreement with a publisher that transfers commercial rights (some rights reserved).
Copyright Retained by the Author but Author rights restrained
Sometimes publishers seem to think that open access licensing conditions apply only to readers and not to authors. This is wrong. Consider the following case:
The copyright is retained by the author but [publisher] ‘allows authors the use of the final published version of an article (publisher pdf) for self-archiving (author’s personal website) and/or archiving in an institutional repository (on a non-profit server) after an embargo period of 12 months after publication.The published source must be acknowledged and a link to the journal home page or article’s DOI must be set. The author MAY NOT self-archive the articles in public and/or commercial subject based repositories.’ According to the website of the publisher, for works published under a CC BY-NC-ND license:‘users can read, copy and distribute the work in any medium or format for non-commercial purposes, provided the authors and the journal/book are appropriately credited. Under this license, users are not allowed to remix, transform or build upon the published material.’
The policy on author archiving from this publisher is clearly in conflict both with the licensing conditions and with the copyright policy. Even without the embargo clause this policy is wrong, especially since authors who retain the copyright are not bound by the conditions of the license at all: they can do whatever they want with their work (unless they have transferred their commercial rights to the publisher which is not the case here.)
Copyright Transferred to the Publisher
If on the other hand the copyright is transferred to the publisher, the publisher can claim copyright but never ALL RIGHTS RESERVED since all the other (intellectual property) rights remain with the author.
Sometimes the publishers will put a copyright clause in the website, with the intention that this means they claim copyright for the layout and design of the site. This is OK as long as the copyright clause explains this. If site simply states ‘Copyright Society of Physical Sciences’, or something similar, this is not acceptable as it is unclear what the copyright statement applies to.
Copyright Transfer Agreement in conflict with Open Access
In some cases publisher use a copyright transfer agreement that conflicts with open access licensing.
For instance let us regard this case where a CC BY-NC license is used on a site:
‘‘ [you] hereby transfer your copyright to us (the publisher). In particular, this means that you grant us the exclusive right, for the full term of copyright and any renewals/extensions thereof, both to reproduce and distribute your article (including the abstract) ourselves throughout the world in printed, electronic or any other medium”
There is clearly a conflict here since all users under a Creative Commons License have the right to reproduce, distribute etc, so the right of the publishers cannot be exclusive or all rights reserved. The transfer agreement should be corrected by replacing ‘exclusive right’ with ‘non-exclusive right.
Commercial Rights Transferred to the Publisher
If only commercial rights are transferred to the publisher, the author retains (part of) the copyright in addition to all other intellectual property rights. In this case the publisher cannot claim copyright or ‘all rights reserved.’
‘Authors sign an exclusive license agreement, where authors have copyright but license exclusive rights in their article to the publisher**.
**This includes the right for the publisher to make and authorize commercial use,…
In this particular case, the journal also had a copyright statement that stated that all rights were reserved in the publisher’s favour.
This post is by no means complete The different examples shown are just a number of often encountered cases where copyright and licensing conditions do not match. Other cases with less obvious inconsistencies undoubtedly exist. We invite the reader of this blog post to alert us to such cases.
We are happy to inform that our site is now back to normal and our services have resumed. We are still working on a long-term stability strategy and we will be able to update you on that and also provide a more detailed explanation of our issues soon. Thank you again for your patience over the last few weeks.
We deeply regret the current problems with the DOAJ site. After much investigation and active measures, we can state that the DOAJ is effectively under attack from an unknown third party.
We have deployed a number of counter-measures to halt this attack, but with limited success, and are therefore forced to take even more extreme measures to attempt to mitigate this. We hope that this will work but we cannot predict the outcome at this stage.
The DOAJ team would like to apologise for the intermittent service and to let you know we are doing our best to go back to normal operations.
DOAJ and OASPA have worked together for many years now, with our Founder and Managing Director, Lars Bjørnshauge, serving as an OASPA board member for the past 5 years.
Publisher applications to OASPA have been rapidly increasing, in particular from those publishing just one journal. Given the many similarities in the indexing criteria between DOAJ and OASPA, we have agreed that all single-journal publishers that apply to OASPA will now be referred to DOAJ if the journal is not already listed in the DOAJ database.
Both organisations feel that this change is in the best interests of single-journal applicants because indexing by DOAJ is the most effective way for these journals to increase their visibility, and this is often their stated reason for applying to join OASPA.
Once a journal is indexed by DOAJ, applicants that still wish to join OASPA should get back in touch with them. However, publishers should note that OASPA have some specific requirements that differ from ours, particularly with respect to
licensing. Approval by DOAJ will not automatically mean acceptance by OASPA.
Following the implementation of this new policy and other membership criteria introduced last year, OASPA will be working with any of their existing members who don’t now meet their criteria to encourage improvements and apply to have their journals listed in DOAJ.
– Your organisation has been supporting DOAJ for some years now. Why is it important for the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies to support DOAJ?
Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (TSV) produces a Publication Forum rating of academic/scholarly journals and book publishers that supports the performance-based research funding system (PRFS) for allocating part of block funding annually to universities. Similar model, in which the research community – rather than the Journal Impact Factor – is entrusted the rating of outlets, is used for example in Norway and Denmark. The Nordic countries collaborate with support from Nordforsk to create The Nordic list, a common Nordic registry of publication channels. In 2017, TSV and other partners of the Nordic collaboration group agreed to support DOAJ as a trusted international source of whitelisted Open Access journals. In each country, information from DOAJ is supplied to experts to help them identify reliable peer-reviewed outlets.
– What is the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies doing to support that development? Do you have any exciting projects underway?
Especially in the social sciences and humanities (SSH), large share of research is published in national languages and in books. Therefore, important part of the success of OA depends on national solutions and developments. In Finland, learned societies are major publishers of academic/scholarly journals and books. TSV plays a key role in facilitating the transition of the societies’ publishing activities to OA. This includes operating the Open Journal System (OJS) service for the learned societies and launching, in 2017, the Journal.fi portal to OA journals in Finland. An open access plan is required from learned societies to be eligible for the state subsidies that TSV allocates to journals and books series, and a consortium-based funding-model for those transitioning to OA is being sought in collaboration with the National Library. TSV also provides the Finnish scholarly publishers a Label for peer-reviewed publications to promote high standards and transparency of peer-review practices. The Publication Forum list of journals and book publishers helps to disseminate information about open access status and self-archiving policies based on DOAJ and Sherpa/Romeo. Open Access publishing is part of the Open Science agenda, of which TSV is set to become the national coordination body in Finland.
– Much has been said recently about whether open access is succeeding or failing, particularly in terms of the original vision laid out by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002. Do you think that open access has fallen short of this vision, or has it surpassed expectations? What are your personal views on the future of Open Access publishing?
The Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) has admirably set out the ideal that we should have both free access and unrestricted use of research publications. The transition to OA requires the continued will and effort, both at international and national level, of policy-makers, leaders, administrators, librarians, and researchers advocating OA. This movement is making it increasingly difficult for publishers not to facilitate open access with reasonable cost and embargo.The transition is perhaps not happening as fast as we hope because there are many stakeholders, interests, and traditions involved in academic/scholarly publishing. For the same reason, open availability of research publications continues to take place in many forms, some of which fall short of the BOAI ideals. We will be getting free access without unrestricted use and free access delayed with embargoes – these are needed to help the transition. The environment for the development of OA has become more and more complex, for example with the emergence of academic social networks that have increased the ambiguity among the research community over what is OA and what is not. Nevertheless, as many studies show, there has been a global growth in the share of research publications that are openly available to everyone on the internet and it is fair to expect this growth to continue.
– What do you think that the scholarly community could do to better support the continued development of the Open Access movement in the near future?
Most attention has been paid to journal publishing but also open access to peer-reviewed monographs and book chapters need to be facilitated. Researchers can increase their awareness of reliable OA publishing options and make the effort to archive their publications to an OA repository whenever the journal or book publisher permits self-archiving. Institutions should facilitate archiving and identification of OA policies. More studies are needed to show and communicate the added value of open access to research and society. Researchers can also be encouraged to choose channels that either are open access or allow self-archiving with reasonable embargo, and scholarly publishers of journals and books can be encouraged to increasingly develop and offer viable OA options. This will require the development of institutional, national and international OA policies, evaluation practices and infrastuctures. European Commission has already set a strong agenda including rewards and Incentives, indicators and next-generation metrics, future of scholarly communication, European Open Science Cloud, FAIR Data, research integrity, skills and education and citizen science. The next challenge is for all the relevant stakeholders in EU countries to work out how this agenda is best adapted to national and local contexts and cultures to advance open access and open science.