Wright, Duncan, and Stuart J. Ferguson. "An open chat with… Stuart Ferguson." FEBS Open Bio, (2021).

Stuart Ferguson, a member of the Editorial Boards of FEBS Open Bio and FEBS Letters, has given this interview in celebration of the former journal’s upcoming 10th anniversary.

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Pablo Markin

Community Manager, Open Research Community

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Go to the profile of Pablo Markin
11 days ago

It is not necessarily the case that the costs of publishing in scholarly journals shift to researchers with transitions to Open Access, as these also likely entail savings that departures from existing closed-access journal subscription agreements involve. In other words, whereas traditional subscription models have apparently centralized reading and publishing arrangements with market dominant publishers, while paying for implicit per-researcher costs of these, Open Access models separate, no longer cost-dependent, reading access from consequently explicit, author-facing publication setups. Rather than providing blanket funding to journal portfolios, Open Access, thus, channels budgetary allocation to venues in which publication activities of affiliated researchers takes place. The flip side of this, however, is that, with Open Access models, budgeting limitations become transparent and researchers explicitly participate in funds' allocation decision-making. Incidentally, this also creates demand for financially sustainable Open Access arrangements.

Go to the profile of Wendy Patterson
11 days ago

Just for the sake of extending this argumentation a bit.. According to the recent study commissioned by cOAlition S https://zenodo.org/record/4558704, there are over 29,000 diamond open access journals worldwide – together, these journals publish 44% of the total open access content and 8–9% of the total number of scholarly articles. Such agreements lead to further stratification between the universities and researchers with strong funding and those who do not. Is this really the vision of scholarly publishing we want to support? Is this kind of agreement a strategy that is fair to the global community of researchers? Are people involved in making these agreements aware of the huge difference between the cost and price of publishing in many of the venues they are supporting with these agreements? Lots of rhetorical questions packed in here, but the point I wanted to make is that these new agreements may not be an improvement but rather a way to shift resources around and to maintain the unfair and costly system of traditional publishing. Many of us in the diamond OA community feel that this traditional system is outdated and that we, as a community, can do better.

Go to the profile of Pablo Markin
11 days ago

Indeed, you are referring to the OA Diamond journals study on collaborative, community-supported models for Open Access publishing: https://openresearch.community/documents/the-oa-diamond-journals-study-part-1-findings-jeroen-bosman-jan-erik-frantsvag-bianca-kramer-pierre-carl-langlais-vanessa-proudman-science-europe-coalition-s-march-2021. In very broad terms, given that the Open Access output continues to amount to around 22% of total scholarly papers published, e.g., in closed access and in Open Access combined, this Open Access category has a market share commensurate with its output. However, Diamond Open Access/OA  is not explicitly or formally defined on the report above, other than by suggesting that it does not involve article processing charges (APCs). Thus, it is not likely to be sustainable on its own, as external support needs to compensate for the absence of the revenue streams of Diamond Open Access journals. Furthermore, the no-APC group of Open Access models also includes Green Open Access that combines subscriptions, access embargoes, preprint or postprint arrangements and Open Access to archive papers, across its different sub-types and variations. In other words, Open Access, as a market development, represents a transition toward a more competitive playing field with multiple models that vie for their place in the marketplace. Given that around 90% of newly founded companies across business sectors fail to exhibit longevity, the publishing market will likely continue to see a changing composition of business models that its agents exhibit.