International Open Access Week – Publishers talk about OA (Part II) 

We continue to celebrate International Open Access Week with our blog series, where we ask some fantastic publishing professionals to answer a few questions on OA. In this episode, we asked them about the different OA models and how these apply to different types of content, like books or journals.

Once again, thank you so much to Sarah Cooper (Promotions & Marketing Manager) and Gaynor Redvers-Mutton (Head of Business Development & Sales) from Microbiology Society, Charles Lusty (former Head of Publishing Operations, The Royal Society), Claire Moulton, (Publisher, The Company of Biologists), and Rod Cookson (Managing Director, IWA Publishing), for their wonderful insights!

What are the different models and how do they work?

You might have heard of expressions like “Read & Publish” or “Subscribe to Open,” but what do they look like exactly?

There are now almost as many OA models as there are publishing houses, but our experts found that the 3 most popular are:

  • Read & Publish (or Transformative)

These are usually agreements between a publisher and an individual institution or library consortia. Transformative agreements can be uncapped, meaning that all articles published by researchers as subscribing institutions are OA without additional costs like Article Processing Charges (APC).

  • Subscribe To Open (S2O)

This is an equitable and fair model that transforms subscriptions into support for Open Access, asking institutions to continue subscribing while at the same time the content is made fully OA. This model makes content immediately Open Access, without adding new cost to the library system and uses existing infrastructure and business practices.

  • Open Access agreements

There are also pure Open Access agreements, especially for journals which are already completely Open Access.

Among these 3, Charles sees transformative agreements as less risky for a publisher, as they can accommodate rises and falls in OA publishing revenues. He also points out that “with the ‘all-you-can-eat’ model there is an opportunity for subjects that don’t tend to get OA funding to publish OA as which will help the growth of OA especially in the Math and Humanities journals.”

Is OA different for books, journals and other content?

When it comes to OA, books and journals have entirely different business models. Charles believes that most of the impetus and funding for OA at present is mostly for research journals, as it can be part of the research grant, but this is not really the case with other formats such as books, reviews and monographs.

Many of our publishing clients have worked with Knowledge Unlatched (KU) and Ebsco on how to improve their workflow, communicate their OA flip and make the transition simple for libraries. KU has also helped some publishers crowdfund to create book packages and to make books Open Access. Some support has also come directly from book authors, who have contributed to paying for Open Access via their research grants of other funds.

Claire also talked about running and investing in community websites with free-to-read content, which although not OA per se, provide community content with no access barriers.

We love learning more about OA by hearing from the publishers who continue to work toward open and accessible research – don’t miss out the next post where we talk about how OA impacts the work of researchers, librarians, funders, and more!

If you are interested in working with the Academic or STM sectors of publishing then do check out our latest opportunities here.