SILVER SPONSOR COPERNICUS PUBLICATIONS ANSWERS OUR QUESTIONS ON DOAJ AND OPEN ACCESS

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?

Absolutely. The DOAJ plays a leading role in the development of best practices in open-access publishing. For example the DOAJ developed – together with OASPA, WAME and COPE – the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly 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.

We are also committed to enabling reproducibility of published research. Therefore, we provide authors with the opportunity to connect their article with underlying or related materials such as data, model code, physical samples, and videos deposited in suitable repositories through DOI linking. In this regard, we also signed the Enabling FAIR Data Commitment Statement in the Earth, Space, and Environmental Sciences.

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.

 

 

Silver Sponsor Federation of Finnish Learned Societies answers our questions on Open Access publishing and DOAJ.

Janne Pölönen, Head Of Planning at the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies answers our questions.

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– 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.

 

 

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Silver Sponsor Hindawi Answers our Questions on Open Access Publishing and DOAJ

Paul Tavner, Head of Institutional Outreach at Hindawi, answers our questions.

Artboard 1– Your organisation has been supporting DOAJ for some years now. Why is it important for Hindawi to support DOAJ?

DOAJ is a crucial tool for authors when assessing open access journals. Its use is taught by librarians around the world as part of Open Access 101. Hindawi strongly believes in supporting the development of tools that the community can rely on to make informed decisions about their publishing activities.

Importantly, DOAJ was designed as an ‘open first’ service – unlike legacy systems that are gradually retrofitted to support open practices. Developing and supporting new services dedicated to serving the open movement – such as DOAJ –  is a key priority for us.

– What benefits does being indexed in DOAJ bring to your journals?

The way that people think about and assess journals is changing. Prestige will always be an important factor when considering publishing venues, but open access – and open science more widely – adds new considerations to this decision-making process.

In a world of evolving practices and priorities, DOAJ encourages authors to think carefully about the most fundamentally important qualities a journal offers. A journal listed in DOAJ provides reassurance to authors that essential standards are met and that they can expect a certain level of service when submitting.

The fact that many librarians train authors to use DOAJ as a discoverability platform – as well as a tool for assessing journals – also means that more authors are finding and submitting to Hindawi’s journals for the first time via DOAJ.

– What is Hindawi doing to support that development? Do you have any exciting projects underway?

Hindawi’s current priorities are around the development of a truly open infrastructure for scholarly publishing. Although we’re actively developing our own solutions in-house, we strongly believe that collaborative community-led projects are where real progress will be made in this space. We’re therefore contributing significantly to initiatives including Crossref, the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) and the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation (CoKo).

Our CEO, Paul Peters, wrote a detailed blog post on this subject at the end of last year, which you can read here.

– What are your personal views on the future of Open Access publishing?

The Open Access genie is out of the bottle. It’s no longer a questions of ‘if’ Open Access will become the dominant paradigm, it’s just a question of ‘when’. As more and more digital natives become practicing researchers and take over from predecessors, the mental contortions needed to justify the old-fashioned practices of legacy business models become increasingly difficult to sustain.

That said, OA has a lot of problems that need to be resolved. APCs are a clever solution in many ways, but much more needs to be done to explore how they can be more rationally deployed. We need to do more to support researchers in countries with poorer access to funding. OA also has a huge problem with jargon – specifically around the varieties (gold, green etc.).

– 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?

My main wish is that as many people as possible could critically assess what they think they know about open access. Conflations of gold OA with APCs; slurs about ‘pay to publish’; general suspicion about publishing operations from non-Western countries. These are all examples of dogmatic prejudice that could all be addressed with a little simple research.

We all have a responsibility to ask questions about why things are done in a particular way. Challenging convention is key to improving our systems and processes. This applies just as much to publishers as it does to researchers and librarians. Every person who challenges the status quo helps to encourage change and development.

– 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?

More people have greater access to scholarly content than ever before in human history. We’re succeeding by some metrics, but lagging behind by others.

The BOAI has had a huge impact on the landscape of the scholarly communications, but it was the result of a specific set of challenges and opportunities at a particular point in time. Rather than concentrating on its vision then, we should be looking more at the challenges and opportunities available to us now.