For Scholarly Authors, Journal Transitions to Open Access Likely Entail Lower Publication Fees and Higher Discoverability

The growing adoption of Open Access appears to reflect not only the position of scientific communities that scholarly content needs to be universally accessible but also the evolving models for partnerships between academic societies and science publishers.

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As the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology plans to transition three of its journals, such as the Journal of Lipid Research, into Open Access starting from 2021, it, on the one hand, heeds the growing consensus among scientific communities that scholarly knowledge need to be freely accessible, involve reduced barriers and promote innovation as well as discovery. Likewise, in the domain of biomedical research, funding bodies increasingly require that sponsored study results appear in Gold Open Access journals that ensure the immediate and unrestricted availability of scholarly knowledge.

On the other hand, this academic society has partnered with Elsevier to effect this transition, which involves reduced author-facing article processing charges, as compared to industry-wide levels. In this respect, via agreements such as this, Elsevier becomes not just a journal publishing service provider but also a digital platform developer, given its emphasis on content discoverability, cross-platform compatibility and technological innovation.

Similarly, in its ground-breaking, for the Asian Pacific market, agreement with an alliance of Japanese library consortia, namely, the Japan Alliance of University Library Consortia for E-Resources (JUSTICE), Elsevier has included an Open Access component into its three-year subscription agreement commencing from 2021. Apparently, this agreement offsets fully or partially the scholar-facing article processing charges vis-à-vis Gold Open Access journals from its portfolio and partner societies. 

Since the JUSTICE alliance comprises over 500 Japan-based organizations, this agreement can be largely approached in terms of a country-wide transition to Open Access as a long-term funding and policy goal. In other words, to meet this demand in Japan and internationally, Elsevier provides Open Access publication options across practically its entire journal portfolio, as subscribing institutions seek to make sustainable transitions to Open Access, such as via custom-tailored transformative agreements.

This also evolves the business model of Elsevier in the direction of value-added service provision, rather than solely journal publishing. For this, Gold Open Access journals, e.g., Blockchain in Healthcare Today, can be especially amenable, since they tend to be positioned on the cutting edge of research in their areas, leverage networking ties with university departments and industry partners and demonstrate agility in their response to market needs.

Moreover, other than attracting early-career researchers, such as through competition awards, media interviews and social media promotion, existing and new Open Access journals seek to provide capped or discounted article processing charges for target scholarly audiences. This is not infrequently associated with the hosting of industry-affiliated conferences, business events and keynote presentations. Given that innovation-driven technological change in the industrial sector is likely to benefit significantly from immediate access to evidence-supported results based on original, peer-reviewed research, Open Access journals can be expected to become increasingly important players in technological innovation ecosystems. 

By Pablo Markin

Featured Image Credits: 金沢海みらい図書館, Kanazawa Umimirai Library, Kanazawa city, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, May 18, 2018 | © Courtesy of YELLOW Mao. 黃毛, Photographer/Flickr.

Pablo Markin

Community Manager, Open Research Community


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