Advocacy Working Group
Working Group Members
- Max Weber Stiftung – MWS (contact point)
- Associazione Italiana per la promozione della scienza aperta – AISA
- Georg-August-University Göttingen – UGOE
- The Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, The Digital Humanities Centre – CHC IBL PAN
- UiT The Arctic University of Norway
- University of Turin
To learn more about the activities of the working group or to get involved, please contact Elisabeth Heinemann (heinemann[at]maxweberstiftung.de).
OPERAS Advocacy White Paper
This White Paper has been prepared by the OPERAS (Open Access in the European Research Area through Scholarly Communication)1 Working Group on Advocacy for Open Access Publishing in the Social Sciences and Humanities. OPERAS is a European research infrastructure for the development of open scholarly communication, particularly in the social sciences and humanities (SSH). The consortium comprises 36 organisations from 13 European countries and is coordinated by a core group of nine members. OPERAS’ members come from diverse backgrounds and include publishers and publication platforms, infrastructure providers, libraries, universities, and research organisations.
The paper addresses the importance of Open Science for the SSH, highlighting the role of a distributed research infrastructure like OPERAS in advocating for Open Access publishing models. Furthermore, the paper discusses the importance of the SSH in Open Science, showing how Open Science itself benefits from considering and accommodating the needs of researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds. While OPERAS does not endorse a specific Open Access publishing model, the infrastructure partners advocate for publication processes that can meet the present demand for Open Access, transparency, and open source tools in scholarly communication.
This document is intended for all stakeholders actively involved in Open Access in the SSH. This includes publishers and publication platforms as well as libraries and infrastructure providers. However, the White Paper ultimately focuses on advocacy targeting researchers at different career stages. In order to support stakeholders in advocating for Open Access, the White Paper presents the benefits of Open Access publishing for scholars, while also addressing common concerns in the SSH research community. These include, but are not limited to, reputation, research evaluation, financial issues, a general lack of information, intellectual property rights and other legal concerns, and the availability of Open Access publishing models.
This White Paper draws on experiences from OPERAS partners to illustrate researchers’ concerns and to develop a guide with FAQs and solutions to address these issues. The White Paper concludes with advocacy suggestion sheets tailored to different stakeholders involved in Open Access in the SSH.
This White Paper has been written by the OPERAS Advocacy Working Group with contributions from the Associazione Italiana per la promozione della scienza aperta (AISA), Georg-August-University Göttingen (UGOE), Max Weber Foundation – German Humanities Institutes Abroad (MWS), OpenEdition, The Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IBL PAN), UiT The Arctic University of Norway, and the University of Turin (UniTo). Contributions were made by Charles III University of Madrid (UC3M).
The OPERAS consortium comprises a variety of stakeholders who are actively involved in Open Access in the social sciences and humanities (SSH). Their means to advocate to researchers for Open Access and to address scholars’ concerns vary. This paper approaches Open Access and Open Science advocacy by identifying common concerns about Open Access publishing and offering possible solutions, while proposing stakeholder-specific means to support them in their joint effort of Open Access advocacy.
To increase the acceptance of Open Access publishing models, the White Paper primarily addresses scholars at different career stages, i.e., early career researchers as well as established scholars, but also researchers as readers and authors. While this paper has a clear focus on the SSH, it will also be useful for other disciplines as some of the issues addressed are interdisciplinary.
1.1 Social Sciences, Humanities, and Open Science
Considering the specific character of scholarly research in the SSH, the becoming more and more open of these disciplines must not be viewed as an accidental development: in a fundamental sense, this process represents the coherent fulfilment of the modern idea of knowledge as a process requiring autonomy and critical confrontation with the widest possible audience.2 The SSH and Open Science are inextricably linked not only because Open Science practices arise as a natural development of the SSH, but also because the demands and insights of the SSH are of great importance for the development of Open Science. In fact, the concepts of Open Science and Open Access themselves have become the object of investigation in several SSH disciplines, for example in relation to the idea of greater participation in the research process by involving the wider research community as well as citizens that are not directly involved in scholarly research. Disciplines such as law, economics, ethics, philosophy, and history make decisive contributions to our understanding of the driving forces, ethical principles, and policies behind the Open Science movement, and how it has evolved. Besides, the publishing traditions and habits particular to SSH disciplines have driven innovation and progress in Open Science. The specific needs of SSH scholars concerning publishing formats (importance of monographs), academic evaluation, and funding availability have spurred the development of alternative, non-fee based publishing models that rest on consortial funding mechanisms and crowdfunding, such as the Open Library of Humanities (OLH)3 and Language Science Press.4 The transition of SSH disciplines towards Open Science still has to overcome several barriers5 of conceptual, technical and economical nature. However, the fact that nowadays SSH research can utilise digital tools is accelerating this process dramatically.6 The possibility of digitisation can be considered a core catalyst for the progressive opening of the SSH for two reasons. First, new digital publishing formats allow for faster, wider, and more efficient dissemination of scholarly outputs. Second, new tools, such as text and data mining services, require non-restrictive licences for research outputs so that researchers are able to use these tools.
In order to realise the functional primitives of SSH research,7 i.e., the basic activities underlying each research process, in the most effective and efficient way, the publishing process should integrate the most advanced tools for organising, editing, annotating, and disseminating knowledge. The successful development of digital tools enabling a more effective fulfillment of these activities requires involving the diverse group of stakeholders during the development phase. In addition, it is important to mediate two essential aspects of intellectual work: on the one hand, the autonomy and independence of scholarly activity and, on the other hand, the need for collaboration, both between scholars themselves as well as between scholars and institutions providing tools and services for scholarly publishing. Here, distributed research infrastructures present a suitable way to address these demands – OPERAS could contribute to the progress of “open” SSH by supporting scholars in navigating through the magnitude of technical tools and resources, as well as in communicating their needs to publishers and service providers.
1.2 On Publishing and Making Public
The transition to Open Science represents a profound cultural turning point, a paradigm shift in scholarly communication,8 which involves a semantic rearrangement of vocabularies and concepts. This is particularly true for the concept of publishing. Within the “closed” scholarly communication system, publishing has tacitly been defined as “[t]he occupation or activity of preparing and issuing books, journals, and other material for sale” (“Publish”).
With the advent Open Science, it is worth to go reconsider the original sense of the word in a modern context, i.e. “to make generally accessible or available for acceptance or use (a work of art, information, etc.); to present to or before the public; spec. to make public (news, research findings, etc.) through the medium of print or the Internet.” (OED)
Although these two meanings can coexist in the communicative practice, the latter is going to play an increasingly important role in the transition to Open Science:
Publishing is in one sense now easily achieved by anyone with access to the internet. But publishers perform a wide variety of functions— selection, quality assurance, editorial support, design, production, sales, marketing, distribution, copyright protection, and so on—with varying amounts of effort devoted to each of them. A key issue for the future is precisely what publishing services are needed, at what level, and the benefits to be derived from them, for different kinds of ‘book’, digital or print, multimedia or text-only. Clarity on these issues might help to clarify also some current questions about sources of revenues to meet the costs. (Deegan, 2017, p. 63)
This White Paper will mainly focus on edited forms of Open Access publications, with the intention of addressing other forms of publication in a second paper. However, the meaning of publishing, in all its variety, should always be taken into account when advocating for Open Access, and the OPERAS partners recognise that traditional and new publication formats also complement each other. As a general observation, the FAIRness9) of publications should always be taken into account as it is common practice for sharing research data. Moreover, online annotating through Hypothes.is10 and PaperHive11, and scientific blogging are becoming increasingly important aspects of scholarly work and show how valuable the combination of traditional and new forms of publication can be. Scholarly blogging not only stimulates a lively discussion within and outside of academia, thus improving dissemination and resonance of scholarly works, but it can also lead to finding new research questions within the scientific community.12
1.3 The Scale of Open Access
OPERAS does not favor a specific Open Access publishing model, but pragmatically different ways to make the research and publishing processes in the SSH as smooth, efficient, and effective as possible. In order to achieve this goal, OPERAS bases its advocacy recommendations on the following fundamental premises about scholarly work and Open Science:
- Knowledge is a communicative process, which takes place between researchers and their community of readers,13 and is mediated by publishers.
- Knowledge discovery and dissemination are the primary aims of scholarly research.
- Publishing is an integral part of the research process; in order to perform the scholarly primitives, SSH scholars need the tools and services currently provided by publishers through exploiting new technological resources.14
- Knowledge dissemination involves a variety of scholarship and scholarly works; the same applies to publishing models: ‘closed’ and ‘open’ do not only represent mere alternatives to each other, but the extremes of a continuum of highly differentiated publishing practices.
From these assumptions it follows that research infrastructures, in order to promote the full transition to Open Science in the SSH effectively, should support the development of publishing models that adhere to at least three fundamental principles:
- Open Access to research outputs, because this guarantees the widest possible dissemination of knowledge and greatest public engagement in research.
- Transparency concerning the authors’ rights and costs involved in the publishing process, because this allows to reduce publication costs and thus to shift resources to other research activities. Priority should be given to non-fee based publishing models.
- Being as technologically advanced as possible and using open source software and code, because this accelerates the pace of scholarly work, ensures a more efficient publication process, and opens up new ways of collaboration between scholars.
2. Benefits of Open Access Publishing
Making scholarly research openly available allows knowledge to spread freely and to be built upon. Open Access removes restrictive access barriers and is beneficial for a number of groups. OPERAS’ advocacy should emphasise the benefits of Open Access for scholars and society in general. The following points are derived from desk research.
Benefits for scholars
Open Access maximises the discoverability and visibility of their work. This means more readers (Adie, 2014), media attention (Adie, 2014), citations (The Open Access Citation Advantage Service), and potential collaborators.
Through Open Access, scientists fulfill funding requirements and qualify for new funding opportunities. Increasingly, funders worldwide are including Open Access to publications in their policies.15 Moreover, there are several special funding opportunities for Open Research (e.g., Shuttleworth Foundation,16 Mozilla Science Fellowships17).
Open Access enables the use of advanced research methodologies and technologies, such as text and data mining, which are essential to SSH research. Open Access provides large scale access to scholarly literature without any legal restrictions around digital methods (LIBER, 2014).
d) Author rights
As part of the publishing process, many subscription publishers require authors to sign a copyright transfer agreement, whereby authors no longer own their work and publishers decide who can read, share, or reuse the content.18 Publishing Open Access allows authors to retain their rights and to choose their own licence.
Benefits for socio-economic actors
a) Public access and engagement
Research is often publicly funded through taxes, therefore the general public should have access to scholarly literature. This access can be provided by Open Access and can also increase public engagement in research (Rathgeb Smith, 2014; Zuccala, 2011).
Open access supports the principle of lifelong learning and can greatly benefit society at large and in particular the educational sector, NGOs, and governments (Beddoes et al., 2012; Look & Marsh, 2012).
Transcending geographical borders, academic affiliation, and financial status, Open Access provides access for everyone with an internet connection.
Open access can accelerate discovery and innovation (Parsons & Holland, 2011; Picarra, 2015). This holds especially true for small businesses and entrepreneurs but is also the case for a wide range of business types.
3. Researchers’ Concerns
This chapter identifies five main concerns about Open Access publishing that SSH researchers commonly share: reputation and research evaluation, money, lack of information, legal issues, and the availability of Open Access publishing channels. It analyses each of the areas in more detail and proposes how to overcome the specific concerns.
3.1 Academic Reputation and Research Evaluation
Addressing the issue of academic reputation in Open-Access-related conversations has long been avoided as it was not considered helpful in convincing researchers. Whereas, emphasising the benefits of Open Access publishing, for example the increased visibility and higher accessibility of scholarly research, was thought to be more effective. Reputation and prestige, however, are the primary concerns for SSH researchers to publishing Open Access (Dallmeier-Tiessen et al., 2011), and are hence worth to elaborate in more detail.
Scholarly communication is essential for building an academic profile. Publishing, which is embedded within scholarly communication, constitutes a two-fold communication process for scholars: disseminating research results and, by choosing a particular publication venue, defining their position within schools and traditions as well as methodological commitments. Consequently, scholarly publishing helps scholars to better define their academic profile. Because SSH authors do not usually receive economic revenues from their publications, academic reputation becomes their compensation.19 It is the extreme specialisation of research interest that compels scholars to have a clearly defined and easily recognisable scientific profile. This implies that scholars consider their scientific communities’ expectations and evaluation when disseminating their research outputs,20 although ideally their primary focus would be on society at large. In other words, reaching their own community is more important than sharing their research with the greatest possible audience. From the scholar’s perspective, it can therefore seem logical to choose publishing venues that place them within a specific micro-community, despite the potential lack of openness and/or transparency.
When evaluating candidates for various positions (e.g., tenure, scholarships, grants, funding), committees often have to review a large number of applications. The initial sifting is often done by considering the candidates’ academic credit, which does not only depend on the scholar’s research output itself but also on the publishing venue. Journal rankings used for evaluation purposes further encourage this situation. An outstanding academic reputation, thus, means better chances to receive research funding, which consequently increases the scholar’s need to build their reputation, creating a vicious circle that is hard to break.
The Norwegian Publication Indicator (NPI)21 exemplifies the potential negative impact of research evaluation on Open Access publishing. In Norway, a small amount of government funding is re-distributed among institutions depending on their “publication points”. A publication yields publication points if the publication venue has been accredited by the National Board of Scholarly Publishing. Accredited journals are divided into two levels, with Level 2 representing the most prestige.22 Even though the system was initially designed to compare institutions and to stimulate competition among them, it is frequently used for internal evaluation and researchers are being encouraged to gain as many publication points as possible. As prestige is accumulated over time, Level 2 Open Access journals are rare.23
However, it is problematic when a researcher’s reputation does not correctly reflect the quality of their publications. This is the key factor that differentiates Open Access publications from traditional subscription-based formats. If each publication is seen as an investment resulting in academic credit based on prestige, scholars’ needs and desires are not always best served by Open Access publishing venues. First, because the disciplinary offer of Open Access journals and book series is not sufficiently diversified and second, because these venues are often regarded as less prestigious. Moreover, there are still reservations about paying for publication and the amount of publishing charges, which again fuels the vicious circle. If researchers publish their work in an Open Access journal or book series, they are concerned that traditional venues might not accept their work in the future. However, as Suber (2010) points out, there is no intrinsic reason why Open Access journals “can’t be as high in quality in prestige as the best [toll access] journals”.
The system governing scholarly publishing appears gridlocked and imminently impacts the possibilities of starting an academic career. However, through greater uptake of open and transparent research practices and publications, the current situation can change – in fact the transition is already underway. As evaluation criteria for hiring and promotion decisions often include bibliometrics such as citation counts, the journal impact factor, or h-index, Open Science presents an opportunity to further open up the evaluation process, and could lead to more transparent and easily verifiable decisions. Citation counts are one way to assess research impact and, hence, many scholars publish in formats where they hope to receive high attention (i.e., journals or series with a high citation index). Being noticed by the academic community is the first step to being cited and although Open Access publishing, in some cases, can mean to depart from niche venues, it ultimately increases the authors’ reach, discoverability, and visibility. The widespread adoption of bibliometric indicators by funders in STEM disciplines has had a huge impact on authors’ behaviours even in the SSH: Monographs, which previously have clearly resonated with SSH research, seem to lose their stronghold over more “citable” channels such as journal articles. Because researchers in the SSH see impact factors not yet as important to their reputation as compared to the STEM disciplines, the SSH have a great opportunity to adopt new strategies
Certifying peer-review for Open Access publications
When disseminating their research, scholars choose venues with high quality and high standards, as this increases their academic reputation. The publications’ quality is ensured through editorial and the peer-review processes, and the latter, although not always transparent, is often perceived as the gold standard of scholarly communication. Journals and series employing any kind of peer review process (i.e., closed, partly open, or completely open) are regarded as legitimate and of high quality, and can thus increase the authors’ reputation. Many Open Access journals and series follow high peer review standards but, as stated before, the quality of publications does not always translate into reputation properly, since Open Access journals are often perceived as having lower quality and standards than traditional venues. However, certifying the peer-review process adds another layer of trust to Open Access journals and can thus be a first step towards resolving this misperception and enable authors to receive credit where credit is due.
Rethinking evaluation methods
Funders and boards in charge of setting research assessment criteria play a crucial role in the advancement of Open Access. Using journal ranking as a proxy indicator for research quality has long been criticised, but the recent uptake in signing DORA24 is a clear step towards new evaluation processes that focus more on the content than on the cover.
The possibility of annotating and commenting documents online gives new impetus to traditional forms of scholarly writing, such as the commentary, the disputed question, and the dialogue. Enhancing the publishing process through technical innovations, streamlined workflows, and digital services can not only increase the discoverability of SSH research, but also reorientate the current reward and incentive system, which is largely based on publications. This paves the way for new tools and services to emerge.
As van de Sompel (2017)25 reminds us, the necessary technological resources are already there. What is needed is a cultural change in opening up the entire research process, starting with moving away from the stereotype of single author in the SSH. As Fitzpatrick (2011) puts it, authors should allow themselves to be “engaged” with their texts26 and see the publication not as the final stage but as the starting point of a wider conversation, involving peers and society as a whole. In such a scenario, reputation should be based on the impact an author has not only on their community, measurable by comments and annotations, but also on the society, measurable by the reuse of the published outputs. As early-career researchers often follow the path of already established scholars, senior academics are key to driving this change. In order to foster cultural change, established researchers need to advance the usage of new formats.
3.2 Financial Concerns
In this section, the financial concerns about Open Access publishing are addressed. If journals or book publishers charge publishing fees, the authors’ concerns frequently include access to sufficient funding, lack of information about what services are covered, administrative hurdles when applying for funding and, more generally, attitudes towards “paying to publish”. It is important to emphasise that not all Open Access publishing models depend on author fees – there are other, APC- and BPC-free, business models based on institutional support, consortial funding, membership, freemium offers, and crowdfunding.27 Authors may also consider financial consequences of Open Access after publication, such as loss of author royalties or loss of stipends awarded by collecting societies.
Publishing charges are not an invention of the Open Access era – charges for extra pages, colour pages, and figures have existed in subscription journals long before the internet. Likewise, for toll access monographs, some publishers may partially cover their costs through author-side fees – usually when a monograph does not have good profit prospects.
With the advent of Open Access journals, it became possible for journal publishers to base their “revenue mechanism for funding the publishing operations” (Solomon & Björk, 2011) on publishing charges. Article Processing Charges (APCs) for Open Access articles are now raised by the majority of scholarly journals. Van der Graaf (2017a) presents the following scholarly publishing landscape: of the 34,500 active peer-reviewed journals, 31.8% are Open Access journals (and half of those are journals with APCs), 32.2% are hybrid journals,28 and 36% may be subscription-only journals.29 Van der Graaf further estimates that Open Access journals with APCs stand for 10–15% of the total article volume, whereas hybrid journals claim 60–70% of the article volume, which means that authors encounter APCs quite often – even if they ultimately do not use that option. In the book industry, Open Access publishing has not yet developed as much as in journal publishing, however within the context of decreasing monograph sales, Book Publishing Charges (BPCs) have become an alternative revenue stream for publishers.
Access to Open Access funding
First of all, not all researchers have access to funds that cover publishing charges. According to Dallmeier-Tiessen et al. (2011), the lack of funding is one of the two main reasons – the other one being perceived journal quality – for SSH researchers to not publish Open Access. Even though a growing number of research institutions have been establishing publication funds for their researchers and some European countries also administer funding on national level, not all SSH researchers have access to publication funds. The situation for monograph funding is even more acute, as BPCs tend to be much higher than APCs, and institutional BPCs funds are less common.
The pay-to-publish barrier excludes researchers who cannot or are not willing to pays such fees, from the scholarly conversation. An opinion that has been expressed in connection with publishing charges is that they take away money that could be used for other research activities within a project or an institution.30 This opinion is largely a consequence of academics being unaware of the business model of subscription-based publishing, where libraries and universities bear the costs that are invisible to researchers. At the same time, if publishing charges continue to grow, from the economic point of view it does not make much sense to replace the subscription system with a pay-to-publish system that is equally (or more) expensive. However, researchers should also be reminded that they do not need to pay to make their work Open Access: there are publishing alternatives without any charges, and the possibility of self-archiving.
The question of developing sustainable alternatives in Open Access publishing that do not charge authors, has become more urgent in the recent years. For example, the “Jussieu Call for Open Science and Bibliodiversity” encourages scientific communities, professional associations, and research institutions to contribute to the development of Open Access publishing models that do not involve “the exclusive transfer of journal subscription monies to APC payments”. So far, APC-free Open Access journals do not have a high volume of articles: Van der Graaf (2017a, p. 11) estimates that only about 5–10% of all articles in the recent years were published in APC-free Open Access journals. According to Ferwerda et al. (2017), the monograph sector shows more variety of Open Access business models, including some BPC-free possibilities – but traditional publishers, who attract the most monograph authors, usually charge BPCs for Open Access monographs. The majority of non-fee based Open Access publishing services are located within research organisations. These publishing services vary in quality: some are led by professionally trained staff, whereas others are run by library employees with no prior publishing training. The Open Library of Humanities has been a well-received addition to the SSH publishing landscape. The OLH is based on consortial funding with libraries around the globe as the main contributors, and all of its journals are APC-free. Some European countries (e.g., Finland31) have followed suit and launched national efforts to flip subscription journals funded by the government to APC-free Open Access publications. The consortial funding is also present in monograph publishing. One notable example is Knowledge Unlatched32 that makes selected titles from traditional publishers openly available, with no costs to the authors.
Payment of publishing charges may be associated with additional administrative work for the authors. Authors of Open Access monographs do not seem to be as bothered by the administrative processes as Open Access journal article authors. This may be due to the fact that the number of published Open Access monographs is still very low (and of the few already published, only a subset were financed by author-side publishing charges) – and researchers have little experience with the process and few expectations. In addition, administering the payment of publishing charges may be a relatively smaller part of the monograph publishing process as it is much more comprehensive than the publishing process for articles. In any case, the current (lack of) availability of funding presents a more severe problem for Open Access monograph authors than the potential administrative hurdles. This subsection therefore deals mainly with articles.
Funders and institutions list varying conditions33 for APC grants, and it may take authors some time to find out whether a particular journal fulfills those conditions. Further, the application procedures may be described unclearly, or the payment administration may be inefficient. According to van der Graaf (2017b), authors feel that APC-related administrative efforts are too time-consuming. Nowadays, researchers’ everyday work is increasingly filled with more administrative tasks, and the additional administrative burden of Open Access charges may, for some researchers, be a serious disadvantage of Open Access. Van der Graaf (2017b) points out the need for “clearer, more streamlined administrative procedures within the research organisations”. Research organisations with publishing funds must make the application process as easy as possible for the authors.
In order to spare researchers from this administrative trouble, research organisations have been establishing agreements with publishers to handle publishing charges directly. Offsetting agreements with hybrid journals enable researchers to publish in their familiar journals and provide Open Access without the concern about publishing charges. However, offsetting agreements are but an intermediate step – research organisations are now advised to aim for pay-as-you-publish models (Geschuhn and Stone, 2017). It is important that, during the process of large-scale shift of subscription funds to pay-as-you-publish agreements, research organisations do not forget pure Open Access publishers: the smooth administration of publishing charges (if there are any) is required here as well, so researchers do not associate Open Access publishers with additional work.
“Paying to publish” and quality
The principle of paying to publish and the amount of publishing charges are often associated with various assumptions about the publications’ quality.
In some SSH disciplines, “paying to publish” is viewed negatively. Τhis stems from the belief that publishers charging publication fees, do not have high peer-review standards and accept low quality manuscripts in order to maximise profits. This concern is especially prominent when APCs are the sole revenue of the journal. Regarding monographs, publishing charges may be associated with the old phenomenon of vanity presses.34 Senior academics strongly advice their peers against publishing with vanity presses (Murray, 2014), and their doubts are often directed across-the-board towards all venues demanding publishing charges. Researchers need to be informed about the idea of publishing charges; the incurring costs must be covered through other means when subscriptions do not exist, and publishing charges alone are not an indicator of the peer review or journal quality. Information campaigns such as Think. Check. Submit35 can help guide authors through the quickly changing landscape of scholarly publishing. Quality Open Access Market (QOAM)36 is a resource authors can use to gather information about journals’ service quality.
Another common perception is that the higher the publishing charge, the better the quality. This assumption is problematic because a publishing charge is used as a proxy indicator of the quality of a publishing venue and because publishing charges are often opaque. Publishers seldomly specify what costs and services are covered by the charges and attempts to compare different venues rarely result in evidence-based decisions about which outlet delivers best value for money. Consequently, authors may assume that a more expensive outlet is of better quality and provides better services.37 Quality control, involving editorial review and peer review, is a publisher service that is deemed as one of the most important by authors. Some authors may assume that a higher publishing charge is motivated by better editorial review and peer review. Here it is important to remind authors that editorial work and especially peer review in scholarly publishing is done by their peers for free, and hence these aspects do not factor into publishing costs.38
Loss of royalties and other financial gains
In some cases, authors receive royalties from the sales of their toll access monographs. Only few scholarly monographs have considerable commercial potential – monograph royalties commonly “range between zero and meager” (Suber, 2012, p. 107) – but even a potentially small amount of royalties may be a pleasant bonus for authors, and authors may feel that royalties are lost when publishing Open Access.
Furthermore, in some countries, such as Germany and Norway, authors may receive grants or small remunerations from collecting societies. Open Access publications, however, do not bring royalties to the collecting society or authors. In Norway, authors cannot list Open Access publications on their CV when applying for travel grants by the Norwegian Non-Fiction Writers and Translators Association – an association with 5,500 members that distributes grants worth 7 million euros every year. Such arrangements may discourage researchers from Open Access.
It should be noted, however, that publishing a monograph Open Access does not necessarily mean the loss of any potential financial gain. Publishers may choose to release the digital version Open Access and sell other formats: a short run of paper copies, a print-on-demand service, or enhanced digital formats. Moreover, the free availability of monographs on the internet does not necessarily have a negative effect on monograph sales: according to Ferwerda et al. (2017, p. 38, 126), it may also have a positive effect, or no effect at all – the evidence so far is inconclusive.
Authors who have concerns about royalties and other potential financial gains, need to weigh those against the benefits resulting from Open Access publications: increased exposure, and positive consequences for the author, together with societal benefits. Authors expecting considerable royalties from monograph sales, should consult with their publisher and estimate expected sales and royalties. These discussions contribute to greater transparency in the relations between the author and the publisher, and can help both parties to understand whether Open Access is a better solution for a particular monograph.
SSH researchers may have various financial concerns when considering to publish Open Access. Some of these concerns are due to misperceptions or a lack of information and must be dealt with by comprehensive communication. Other concerns are well-founded and must be addressed through the development of scholarly publishing infrastructure, greater transparency, and more efficient administrative workflows.
Research institutions should look into possibilities for establishing funds for OA publishing charges, for example by shifting part of their subscription budget.39 These measures must be accompanied with efforts to control the rise of publishing charges through funding caps, more transparent pricing models and negotiations between research organisations and publishers. Giving authors – and their institutions and funders – insight into the provided services should be common practice, regardless of whether the publishing model is subscription-based or Open Access. Transparent services should furthermore be complemented by explaining the motivation behind those services (Neylon, 2015) for why publishers should engage in conversations about their services with researcher communities. This should contribute to prevent publishers from demanding unjustifiably high publishing fees by giving more control over the publishing market to the customer side (i.e., research organisations, authors, and funders).
Further, funders and hiring, promotion, and tenure committees should refrain from using the impact factor as an indicator of the impact or quality of scholars’ work, since the impact factor not only “has a number of well-documented deficiencies as a tool for research assessment” (The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment,40 DORA), but is also used as a marketing tool and a justification for high and increasing APCs.41 Funders in Europe have started signing DORA – among them are the Wellcome Trust, HEFCE, the Norwegian Research Council, the Research Council of Lithuania, and the Estonian Research Council.42
More attention must be directed towards the development of OA publishing models with no or low publishing charges. The development of sustainable APC- and BPC-free publishing models will be the long-term solution for the administrative issue. Research organisations need to invest more into the development and professionalisation of their own publishing services – OPERAS can help its partner institutions with informational resources and training. Funder-run publishing platforms are another approach that addresses both the problem of high publishing charges and administrative hurdles. An instance of this is Wellcome Open Research – a publishing platform established by the Wellcome Trust for their beneficiaries; the APCs on this platform are low and are administered by the funder itself.
3.3 Lack of Information
Overcoming the lack of information and knowledge is another important step on the way to Open Access publishing. This chapter presents common issues that researchers may encounter due to not actively seeking or receiving information about Open Access, and touches upon the following questions: Why is Open Access necessary? What happens to my rights as an author? What do funders require? Why was I not told about this discount before I paid the full APC from my project fund?
Unclear rationale behind Open Access
Due to the shift from print to digital journals and from individual subscriptions to big deal bundles, researchers at well-funded institutions may feel that they already have sufficient access to journal content – in terms of quantity of content and speed of access.43 Hence, many researchers do not realise that access is provided by their institutions in exchange for highly priced subscription fees and that their peers at lesser funded institutions, as well as individuals outside of academia only have restricted access to scholarly literature. Consequently, for some researchers (early career researchers as well as established scholars), the motivations behind Open Access may seem unclear – although active advocacy efforts have been made for the last two decades.
Lacking understanding of author rights
Moreover, due to a lack of information, especially concerning intellectual property rights (e.g., the distinction between copyright and licence) and the possibility to uniquely identify their publications (e.g., Crossref DOIs), researchers may be afraid to lose the rights to or control over their work when publishing Open Access. As a consequence, publishers may also be less inclined to launch new Open Access venues.
Funders not communicating their OA requirements clearly
Funders’ Open Access mandates are not always stated in clear terms so that researchers understand what is required from them. Besides, the general terminology for Open Access types (gold, green, hybrid) can add to their confusion, as can the information about the required Open Access type and allowed embargoes. As a result, projects (or the authors’ institution) that do not comply with their funders’ Open Access requirements may face financial consequences and potential difficulties in receiving grants from the same funder in the future.
Untransparent APC discounts
Some research institutions negotiate APC discounts with publishers of hybrid or fully Open Access journals such as offsetting deals or membership benefits. However, these discounts are not always well communicated by institutions and/or publishers, and researchers may be unaware of the lower costs. If researchers are unaware of these discounts, they can be discouraged by high APCs as these seemingly exceed their project funds, and choose the traditional, closed access option instead.
Create information and support channels
The problem of lacking information must be dealt with through comprehensive efforts in terms of Open Access policy (related principles, range, mechanisms, tools, possibilities), advocacy, and information sessions within stakeholder groups (e.g., government, publishing houses) and researchers. Publishing houses, as representatives of researchers, need to provide legal knowledge to researchers. Hence, close cooperation with intellectual property rights lawyers is essential in order to elaborate and establish standardised models of cooperation (including suitable procedures, tools, documentation drafts), adaptable to the needs of different publishing entities and their collaborators.
Clear communication from funders
Funders need to ensure that their Open Access mandates as well as the consequences of non-compliance are clearly stated and well-communicated. Funders also need to take measures to communicate these requirements through other channels, such as training workshops, webinars, or fact sheets. Raising awareness about funders’ requirements among researchers is already being done at institutional level – by libraries and research administrations – but communicative efforts from the funders directly may be more efficient. Furthermore, if a funder has strict Open Access requirements, these must also be present in funding decisions.
Transparent APC discounts
The problem of untransparent APC discounts seems to be a consequence of several factors, such as inefficient administrative workflows, counterproductive costs sharing or distribution, unsatisfactory implementation of available technical solutions. Consequently, it seems necessary to establish more open and transparent communication between researchers and publishers, especially regarding APCs, to manage shared and distributed funds and costs more efficiently.
Research and advocacy
Further, it will be useful to conduct further case studies showing that Open Access does not negatively impact sales of print monographs. It is essential to make researchers aware that Open Science has become one of the leading ways of conducting scientific research and that the landscape is evolving quickly, increasing the possibilities of scientific research, not limiting them.
3.4 Legal Issues
This chapter focuses on the legal issues that authors potentially encounter when publishing Open Access. The most prominent difficulties include the difference between copyright and licencing as well as using third party content.
Authors, publishers and their contracts
As scholarly publishing is a global endeavour, it involves national and international copyright laws. This makes it difficult for researchers to know which law is relevant to them. Moreover, in countries that are subject to civil law, such as continental Europe, copyright laws are referred to as author rights, adding another difficulty. Universities and research performing organisations often do not provide legal support, neither do publishers, and so researchers are left alone trying to find their way through complex copyright issues.
Authors, including SSH researchers, often shy away from tackling legal issues involved in scholarly publishing on their own and, to a great extent, do not regard legal matters as part of their work. In doing so, researchers sign most contracts publishers offer them and are often not concerned about signing away their author rights, even if they are aware of the consequences. Publishers are often seen as the agents of author rights and, hence, authors generally accept the contracts handed to them. This contributes to the perception that Open Access, including open licences (e.g., CC BY), is not crucial for their work.
Yet, open licences can help SSH research to reach its full potential by giving scholars “the possibility to quote longer excerpts and include academic images; the ability to translate texts; and the ability to textmine works for digital humanities projects” (Eve, 2014). Further, they enable researchers to disseminate their work as widely as possible, while ensuring that authors are properly credited when their work is cited or reused. Open licences, and consequently Open Access, are thus supporting authors in receiving recognition and building their academic profile. In contrast, by publishing closed access, the reach and visibility of scholarly work are being limited, which can undermine the level of recognition authors receive. In the digital age, copyright seems to play a controversial role, more restraining the circulation of the works than effectively protecting the authors’ interests. Hence, the authors’ interests would be better served through Open Access publishing as this maximises their reach and visibility while protecting their rights.
Common concerns about Open Access shared by many SSH researchers regard the integrity of scholarly work (e.g., plagiarism, undesired re-contextualisation) and the author’s moral rights. It should first be noted that scholarly integrity is not a legal issue but rather one of academic ethics, although copyright plays an important role. However, scholarly content can be plagiarised regardless of how it is licenced. All Creative Commons licences require attributing the original author (in the manner chosen by the author), hence failing to do so constitutes copyright infringement.
The author’s moral rights are handled in a similar manner. If, for example, derivatives of the original work were created, the original author would need to be attributed; it must be clearly indicated that changes have been made to the original work; and it must not be implied that the author endorses or supports these changes. If however the work is reused in a way the original author does not agree with, they can become disaffiliated with the reused work and the attribution must be removed.
Open Access makes it possible for authors to reach the widest audience possible and grant readers greater reuse rights through open licences such as CC BY, while protecting the authors’ rights and enabling them to retain control over how their work can be used.
Third party content
Third party content refers to any material, which has not been created by the authors themselves, such as audio files, figures, images, and tables. If authors want to use (e.g., reproduce, publish, perform, display, or create “derivative works”) such material in their publication or supplementary material, they have to obtain permission. Third party rights need to be cleared regardless of whether publishing open or closed access – before the final version of the manuscript is submitted to the publisher. However, it can be difficult to identify the relevant copyright law as there is no globally universal law, and in some cases publishers do not explicitly label scholarly outputs with licences.
Provide legal support for authors
Individuals acting alone trying to retain copyright to their still-unpublished articles may not always be successful if not backed by funder or university policies. Universities can use the Harvard Model Open Access Policy,44 which requires faculty authors to grant the university a nonexclusive, irrevocable right to distribute their scholarly articles for any non-commercial purpose. If, however, no such policy is in place, authors should, as a minimum, use lawyer-drafted author addenda to frame their requested contract modifications in legally precise and enforceable language. A list of available addenda can be found on the Open Access Directory.45 Moreover, copyright and licencing training for researchers should be provided by universities as part of research support structures.
Frame open licencing as part of scholarly research
There is a fundamental mismatch between what is possible in the digital age and the current publishing system, which locks away knowledge behind technical, legal, and financial barriers and prevents research to reach its full potential. These restrictive access barriers do not just minimise the potential audience but also prevent the use of new research techniques. Open access allows unrestricted access to research and use of modern research methods, such as text and data mining.
Universities play a key role in making open licencing a natural part of scholarly research. Not only can they provide legal support to researchers, but they can also incentivise openness. Open access should be anchored within institutional hiring, promotion, and tenure policies to encourage and reward sharing. Creating such incentive structures embeds recognition for open practices and sharing at the core of academic institutions and will greatly ease researchers to align their practices. Universities can directly benefit from sharing scholarly research as well as this “increase[s their] funding, visibility, and recruiting power” (McKiernan, 2017) and “could help [them] meet their stated missions to create and disseminate knowledge for broader public good” (ibid).
Provide comprehensive and easy-to-find information about author rights protection
Funders, universities, and advocacy organisations should inform authors about their rights and provide easy-to-use resources, such as fact sheets. It is important to emphasise that authors of still-unpublished work are the original copyright holders until or unless they transfer copyright to someone else, like a publisher. Publishers only hold the rights that authors voluntarily transfer to them. While these arrangements may sometimes be beneficial in the beginning for the author, for example, because of the prestige of the journal or publisher, these arrangements often prevent authors to share their works in the future. Hence, authors should retain the necessary rights to comply national and/or funder policies regarding self-archiving and re-use when entering into contractual agreements with publishers.
Creative Commons licences allow authors to keep ownership of their copyright and enable them to define under which conditions their work may be used and re-used. As such, Creative Commons licences protect the author’s work against copyright infringement (i.e., unauthorised use of copyrighted material in a manner that violates the copyright owner’s exclusive rights) and plagiarism (i.e., using someone else’s work without acknowledging the original author). Moreover, Creative Commons licences are enforceable in a court of law.
3.5 Availability of Open Access Publishing Channels
One of the most important barriers preventing wide uptake of Open Access in the SSH is the lack of adequate publishing venues. While in some cases the availability of Open Access outlets is in fact low, in others the lack mainly stems from researchers’ concerns about the quality of Open Access publishing venues. This chapter briefly presents the different contexts in which there is a real or presumed lack of suitable Open Access journals, book collections, repositories occurs.
Availability of Open Access Journals
Appropriate publication venues are those ensuring high scientific quality of scholarly contributions and giving them the necessary visibility. For many SSH scholars, the lack of suitable journals represents the most relevant obstacle to publish Open Access. Indeed, there are considerable differences in the availability of Open Access journals for different disciplines. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)46 currently (July 2018) lists the following numbers: Social Sciences (540), Education (506), Language and Literature, (298) Philosophy (General) (24), History (General) (83). Even if not all concerns about Open Access publishing seem reasonable, as sometimes researchers prefer their habits and avoid exploring the evolving journal landscape, it is important to acknowledge that in some disciplines the number of recognised journals is generally low, and the probability of those being Open Access even lower.
Self-archiving articles in institutional repositories is often the easiest way to provide Open Access to already edited and peer reviewed works. While journals offer gold, or immediate, Open Access, institutional repositories play an important role for providing green Open Access (i.e., providing Open Access to a version of a work published with a closed-access publisher by depositing it in an openly accessible repository). The adoption of the green Open Access model, especially if there is no or only a relatively short embargo period, represents a first major step towards the diffusion of the Open Science paradigm. However, it is only the gold model that can fully realise the expectations of wide and rapid dissemination that have accompanied the ideas of Open Access and Open Science from its very origins. Depositing a copy of a manuscript in a repository prior to publication can prompt doubts about low visibility and loss of prestige, which can prevent researchers from considering self-archiving a valid option for providing Open Access. As a survey of 169 institutions from 33 European countries conducted by the European Universities Association in 2016 shows, common concerns about self-archiving further include uncertainty about publishers’ self-archiving policies, copyright infringement, and limited awareness about Open Access and its potential benefits.
While in many disciplines, it may be difficult to find an adequate alternative to traditional journals that provide the desired visibility, rigorous peer review, and prestige, this issue is more acute with monographs, especially because of the high BPCs. Many commercial publishers offer the Open Access monographs, but this is generally very expensive (see “3.2 Financial Concerns” and the OPERAS Open Access Business Models White Paper47). If an university does not have its own university press allowing its researchers to publish BPC-free monographs, researchers are likely to publish in a traditional, non-Open-Access format. However, depositing a copy of an already published monograph in an institutional repository often involves legal obstacles, and much stricter publisher self-archiving policies compared to journal articles. On the other hand, depositing a not-yet-published manuscript, which has not undergone peer review, can raise concerns about quality control.
In the course of its advocacy activities, OPERAS will support different stakeholder initiatives and projects aimed at resolving the above mentioned difficulties. The main tasks are to increase awareness of the quality of the already available Open Access publishing venues and to support the development of new publishing venues and models able to meet SSH scholars’ demands. Among the various possible advocacy initiatives, we consider the following to be of particular importance.
Increasing awareness about the quality of Open Access publishing venues
Organising conferences, workshops, webinars, and direct networking activities is a good way to raise awareness among SSH researchers about the quality of scholarly Open Access publishing venues, such as Open Access journals indexed in the DOAJ and Open Access monograph publishers listed in the Directory of Open Access Books48 (DOAB), which is developing a peer review certification system.
Supporting the development of new services and tools
Research infrastructures like OPERAS can support the collaboration between scholars and service providers to develop services and tools (e.g., digital object identifiers, certification of peer review, annotations, metrics, text and data mining), which can add value to already existing Open Access journals and book series. Providing such tools have the potential to make Open Access venues more appealing.49
Increase support of self-archiving
The importance of green Open Access enabled through institutional and disciplinary repositories should be highlighted – as well as the limitations of sharing manuscripts through academic social networks, such as Academia.edu and ResearchGate. Further, it would be useful to inform scholars and research institutions about the activities of other projects (e.g., COAR50, OpenAire51) working on the integration of different repositories so as to support the cooperation between the different stakeholders involved in these projects.
Moreover, the OPERAS consortium could make an effort to enhance the communication and cooperation between service providers and repository managers who are interested to add new functionalities and to make institutional repositories more useful for different communities – transforming repositories from collections based on administrative units to disciplinary collections, which are interoperable with each other.
Creating new Open Access publishing venues
In cases where reputable Open Access publishing venues are rare, technical and financial support should be provided to interested parties (e.g., individual scholars, research institutions, libraries, publishers) to stimulate development. This can be divided into three subtasks.
Journal flipping: First, research infrastructures could provide information on journal flipping to raise awareness among editorial committees of scholarly journals and scientific societies of the benefits of transforming closed-access journals to Open Access. This should be done by not only informing them about the theoretical process (e.g., during webinars, seminars, conference sessions), but also by providing ongoing technical, financial, and organisational advice for the practical approach.
Quality of new Open Access Journal and Open Access book series: Second, in order to avoid doubts about the quality of Open Access publications among researchers, the establishment of high-quality scientific committees for these venues should be supported. This can be achieved by informing prospective editorial boards about best practices for creating and managing new publishing venues as well as providing training opportunities.
New consortial models
To facilitate a sustainable environment for Open Access monographs, research infrastructures should support the creation of consortial structures primarily involving ‘new’ university presses focusing on Open Access publishing and alternative business models. The consortium, to be developed also in collaboration with the Association of European University Presses (AEUP)52, should have a collective BPC fund provided by university libraries, foundations, and scientific societies.
4. Advocacy Practices: Experiences from OPERAS Partners
This chapter presents a general overview of the practices already implemented by OPERAS partners. Although not all OPERAS partners’ activities are represented in this report, the examples given clearly reflect what benefits international co-operations on common issues can confer on both the European research area, and national scholarly contexts.
The experiences of OPERAS partners show that it would not be suitable to define best practices for advocacy in a general, unequivocal, and timeless way as the effectiveness of communication and advocacy practices is highly contextual based on the local communities, technology availability, and legislation.
The OPERAS consortium engages in a wide range of advocacy activities, including but not limited to:
- Training and education (seminars, summer school courses, THATCamp53, national and international conferences and unconferences, webinars, meet-ups, workshops …);
- Academic publications;
- General information and communication opportunities through websites, flyers, posters, etc;
- Active social networking (largely newsletters on national level) on the themes of Open Access and Open Science;
- Developing and/or providing tools, for green or gold Open Access;
- Access to funding in a subvention like mode, or partnership mode;
- Engagement in publics debates, especially at book fairs;
- Engagement in academia statements and agenda setting at local and national level, and in political agenda setting at national level.
Advocacy through training is widely adopted by almost all OPERAS partners and also by a large number of institutions and initiatives, outside of the consortium, engaged in Open Access and Open Science. What is most characteristic of the OPERAS consortium is the synergie between partners in organising joint learning events.
Two examples of such cooperation to enhance open scholarly publishing can be found in Italy, with the synergy between OpenEdition and Lexis Srl, and in Poland, with the collaboration between OpenEdition and IBL PAN. In Italy, free training events for scholars and publishers have been provided as part of the structured project OpenEdition Italia and in collaboration with the University of Turin since 2014. This joint effort has facilitated several training sessions about scholarly communication, in particular about innovative communication such as academic blogging. At the University of Göttingen, efforts to build an engaged community involved founding Hacky Hour, a monthly Open Science meet-up about computational tools and code.
Another continuous and individualised approach can be seen in IBL PAN’s peer to peer relations practice, encouraging scientists to open up their research results. Working directly with scientists representing scientific communities, and having them promote these solutions among their superiors and peers, remains one of the most efficient and effective ways of spreading Open Access, although measuring its impact can be difficult.
Academic publications allow to reach out to researchers in a format they are already familiar and comfortable with, and uses the same communicative practices OPERAS’ advocacy is concerned with. This communication and advocacy strategy has been an important part of the work of OpenEdition for the last two decades, during which they have led engaged discussions with the French researchers and librarians.
UiT follows this approach as well. UiT’s employees publish articles about Open Access in scholarly journals and in newspapers. Moreover, the library runs a non-peer-reviewed journal Nordic Perspectives on Open Science.54 Other forms of publications can be used as means for advocacy as well, such as exploratory research, comparative studies, and critical studies.
Spreading information through a specific website, as for example the Greek Open Access portal55 run by EKT, is also key in advancing Open Access and Open Science initiatives. The University of Turin built such a knowledge base as well. The Open Access@UniTO56 webpage is the university’s main contact point for Open Access and Open Science issues. In the “Downloads” section, readers can access presentation slides of seminars and training courses. Likewise, the AISA57 website provides information about Italian Open Access policies.
Besides engaging with social networks such as Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter, advocacy practices can also rely on mailing lists. The Göttingen State and University Library (SUB) has two mailing lists – “Goe Teaching Open Science” and “Open Science” – operated by members of the SUB. “Goe Teaching Open Science” organises meetings to discuss how Open Science education and training can be better integrated into the curricula of graduate schools and to jointly develop teaching materials for these sessions. The mailing list “Open Science” informs its subscribers about local and global Open Science events such as meetings, workshops and webinars. Moreover, national mailing lists exist for public discussions around Open Access and Open Science. In France, this includes researchers, research assistants, librarians; in Italy, it is mainly stimulated by academic librarians; in Norway, it is operated by UiT’s library.
The University of Turin, the Max Weber Stiftung, UiT and EKT all have an institutional contact point for Open Access and/or Open Science to provide information and support. This relatively new approach seems especially important for offering support for legal issues (e.g., licencing, copyright) and research funding. The University of Turin’s contact point is open 24/7 and provides support for self-archiving practices. They create specific tools through faculty input (e.g., video tutorials, FAQs on copyright, an overview of copyright policies of Italian publishers not listed in SHERPA/RoMEO), develop feedback tools and download statistics, and other services linked to the repository. The Max Weber Stiftung offers advice to internal and external scholars concerning legal, technical, editorial, and workflow management. UiT library helps researchers prepare dissemination plans when they apply for funding from the EU or Norwegian Research Council. In addition, subject librarians check the journals listed in the dissemination plan and advise researchers on whether the journals are compliant with the funders’ Open Access requirements.
Opening up research to the public is the core activity of all OPERAS partners. When publishing, self-archiving, blogging, or other scholarly communication tools are not provided directly, OPERAS partners give support in explaining and using services provided by other network members.
Quality Open Access Market is a volunteer-led initiative, currently operating as a pilot. It is a marketplace for scientific and scholarly Open Access journals. Journal quality in QOAM is not referring to Journal Impact Factors or other article related metrics, but to the services offered to authors. Libraries fill out so-called Base Score Cards about the transparency of a journal’s website with respect to the editorial board, peer review, governance, and workflow. Authors share their experience with the journal through Valuation Score Cards. Today, QOAM has 5,000 Base Cards and over 4,000 Valuation Cards. Next to these indicators, QOAM shows the journals’ APC – the list price and negotiated discounts via memberships or offsetting deals. Thus, QOAM enables authors to make well-informed publishing decisions.
In 2012, the University of Göttingen has expanded its Open Access strategy and set up its own publication fund to enable its scholars to publish in purely Open Access journals. The fund is financed by the Open Access Fund of the German Research Foundation (DFG), the supplementary fund of the University Göttingen, and the supplementary fund of the SUB. UiT has a publication fund for Open Access as well, which also includes BPCs since 2016.
Public engagement can take the form of public debates, especially in book fairs. The international cooperation between OPERAS partners allows to organise international panels providing a comparative overview to the national public. In 2017, the University of Turin organised a dedicated space for discussing Open Science at the Turin Book Fair. The exhibition created an interactive space for citizens to learn about relevant topics such as fake news, citizen science, and populism. Public engagement can also take the form of public newspaper articles or newspaper articles for researchers, as done by UiT librarians; or it can take the form of participating in governmental workshops, as done by IBL PAN at the Polish Ministry of Education.
Engagement in academia agenda settings can mean to provide periodical impact assessments of institutional policies. The University of Milan provides an annual report on the recent developments in Open Access publishing within the university and organises periodical meetings of the Open Access Commission, comprised of delegates from the university’s 33 departments. The departmental representatives have a slot in each meeting (once a month) to report Open Science news: data on Open Access full text availability per semester, APC costs, actions taken to increase researchers’ awareness about these issues.
At the University of Turin, engagement in academic agenda setting means presenting the policy on a regular basis, organise high-profile events with international guests and committing decision makers. It means establishing a continuous dialogue with institutional, political, and administrative boards, and taking part in drafting the new statute of the university (University of Turin, 2012), creating a Working Group within the Research Commission of the Senate (faculty and technicians) and providing administrative support. CRUI, on the other hand, published guidelines for Open Access policies (“Linee guida per la redazione di policy e regolamenti universitari in materia di accesso aperto alle pubblicazioni e ai dati della ricerca”)58.
In France, OpenEdition publishes an annual report of their activities and achievements, which shows academics, administrative supervisors/representatives, and national representatives the growth of Open Access.
Many OPERAS partners are actively engaged in helping draft Open Access and Open Science policies, at institutional and national level. UiT issued its first (and current) Open Access policy in 2010, stating the university “has as its goal that all scientific publications from the university shall be made available either in an Open Access journal or in an institutional repository”. The policy is presents strong recommendations, not obligations. The university is currently working on a new policy. UiT implemented a research data management policy in 2017, stating that all projects starting after 1 September 2017 must have a data management plan, and all data must be shared openly, unless there are legal, commercial, or privacy restrictions. Open Science is also explicitly mentioned in the university’s strategic plan for the period between 2014–2020.
The University of Milan (Statale) implemented its green Open Access policy in 2014, mandating immediate deposits. The Georg-August-Universität Göttingen first adopted Open Access guidelines in 2005 (updated in 2016), setting the general recommendation framework for Open Access at the University, which were supplemented by the guidelines on research data management in 2014. Likewise, EKT contributes to drafting institutional Open Access policy templates.
Political engagement in the sense of participating in legislative change is a less frequently explored practice. But contributions from OPERAS partners can be seen, for example, in France where OpenEdition contributed to the law for the République numérique approved in 2016. In Italy, AISA is promoting a proposal for law reform in the domain of reproduction (“Proposta di legge sul diritto di ripubblicazione”59). In the UK, Ubiquity Press has been involved in lobbying for text and data mining rights and copyright reform in Europe, especially with regard to ‘licences in Europe’.60
This quick overview shows what being part of OPERAS can mean for the members’ local activities. Sharing experiences with different practices, finding ways to collect and share successful and unsuccessful practices, and making them relatable within “the elements in the environment”, enables partners to adjust their advocacy practices, building upon the experiences of others and learning from them. In short: openly sharing knowledge and experiences at consortium level, allows to better realise advocacy practices locally.
The Advocacy White Paper presents a solution-oriented approach as it addresses concerns about Open Access publishing commonly shared by the research community and then suggests solutions from different angles. First, “1. Introduction” and “2. Benefits of Open Access Publishing” provide a general introduction into the topic of Open Access in the social sciences and humanities, which is followed by an in-depth discussion of researchers’ concerns and possible solutions for their academic reputation, financial matters, the lack of information, legal issues, and the low availability of Open Access publishing venues in “3. Researchers’ Concerns”. “4. Advocacy Practices: Experiences from OPERAS Partners” describes concrete Open Access advocacy practices implemented by OPERAS’ partners, which can offer encouragement and insight for other institutions. Researchers, who are uncertain about Open Access, can find their concerns directly addressed in short form in “Annex1: FAQ and Solutions for Researchers”, which offers an overview of frequently asked questions and proposes solutions. Finally, “Annex 2: Fact Sheets” contains fact sheets directed at three stakeholder groups – publishers, libraries, and research organisations – describing steps that these can take to address researchers’ concerns.
When it comes to scholarly communication and Open Access, different European countries and national research organisations within the same country have varying policies, services, and infrastructure resources. Open Science initiatives in the SSH in Europe are “fiercely independent” (as put by Pierre Mounier during his welcome speech at the final OPERAS-D conference in Athens, May 2018) and the poor coordination of efforts slows down the SSH’s transition to fully embracing Open Science. In this patchwork of initiatives, researchers – who move between countries and institutions, and collaborate with researchers from other parts of Europe – often face various challenges in disseminating their research openly and have concerns about doing so. The OPERAS consortium shares the common goal of highlighting these differences and – where possible and desirable – coordinating efforts in order to achieve an efficient and effective transition to Open Science. This White Paper, together with the White Papers from other OPERAS working groups, is just one step towards achieving this goal. The Advocacy working group will continue to develop OPERAS’ strategy for advocating for Open Access in the Social Sciences and Humanities and making the voices of these disciplines heard in their participation in Open Science.
List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
AEUP: Association of European University Presses
AISA: Associazione Italiana per la promozione della Scienza Aperta
APC: Article Processing Charge
BPC: Book Processing Charge
CC: Creative Commons
CC-BY: Creative Commons Attribution licence
COAR: Confederation of Open Access Repositories
CRUI: Conferenza dei Rettori delle Università Italiane
CV: Curriculum Vitae
DFG: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
DOAB: Directory of Open Access Books
DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals
DOI: Digital Object Identifier
DORA: Declaration on Research Assessment
EKT: National Documentation Centre of Greece
ERA: European Research Area
EU: European Union
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
FOSTER: Facilitate Open Science Training for European Research
HEFCE: Higher Education Funding Council for England
HIRMEOS: High Integration of Research Monographs in the European Open Science infrastructure
IBL PAN: Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences
ISIDORE: Integration Services, interconnection of Data of the Research and Education
JournalTOCs: Journal Tables of Content
MOOC: Massive Open Online Course
MWS: Max Weber Foundation – German Humanities Institutes Abroad
NGO: Non-Governmental Organisation
NPI: Norwegian Publication Indicator
OA: Open Access
Open Access@UniTo: Open Access all’Università di Torino
OED: Oxford English Dictionary
OPERAS: Open Access in the European Research Area through Scholarly Communication
OpenAIRE: Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe
OS: Open Science
QOAM: Quality Open Access Market
SOAP: Study of Open Access Publishing
SSH: Social Sciences and Humanities
STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
SUB: Göttingen State and University Library
UGOE: Georg-August-University Göttingen
UK: United Kingdom
UiT: University of Tromsø
UniTo: University of Turin
WG: Working Group
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List of Images
Figure 1: Researchers’ concerns with self-archiving (green route/green Open Access) research publications in a repository
List of Tables
Table 1 (Annex 1): Reputation and Research Evaluation
Table 2 (Annex 1): Financial Concerns
Table 3 (Annex 1): Lack of Information
Table 4 (Annex 1): Legal Issues
Table 5 (Annex 1): Availability of Open Access Publishing Venues
Table 1 (Annex 2): Publishers and Publishing Platforms
Table 2 (Annex 2): Libraries and Infrastructure Providers
Table 3 (Annex 2): Universities and Research Organisations
Annex 1: FAQ and Solutions for Researchers
The FAQ and solutions approach is the outcome of the White Paper’s analysis of researchers’ concerns and the possible solutions. It further identifies best practices from OPERAS partners and comes up with a clear message addressing the specific concern. This part is directed at scholars at different career stages and seeks to find tailored messages addressing specific concerns. It lists the five areas – reputation and research evaluation, financial issues, lack of information, legal issues, and the availability of Open Access publishing venues.
Table 1 (Annex 1): Reputation and Research Evaluation
|My micro-community has certain expectations and judges my work according to the prestige of the publishing venue.||Always make sure the publisher has a high quality peer-review process and can ensure the quality of your publication. This can positively impact your academic reputation. DOAB and DOAJ e.g., certify publishers of monographs and articles.|
|Publishers charging authors may primarily be interested in profits and thus provide low-quality peer review and overall lower quality of publications.||There usually is a rationale behind publishing charges. QOAM, for example, uncovers the pricing of many Open Access journals. Ask your publisher about transparent costs.|
|I am afraid that Open Access publishing will negatively affect my reputation and therefore diminish my chances of receiving grants as well as advancing my career.||Always make sure the publisher has a high quality peer-review process and can ensure the quality of your publication. This can positively impact your academic reputation. DOAB and DOAJ e.g., certify publishers of monographs and articles.|
|If I publish my work in Open Access venues, traditional and prestigious publishers might not accept my research in the future.||This is a misperception! Publishers can evaluate your work more easily if it is Open Access. If you absolutely have to publish in toll access venues, deposit a version of the manuscript in an Open Access repository. Check SHERPA/RoMEO for publishers’ self-archiving policies.|
Table 2 (Annex 1): Financial Concerns
|The publishing charges are beyond my funding cap.||Consider Open Access venues that have lower or no publishing charges. If the only alternative is a traditional toll access journal or monograph publisher – publish there and deposit a version of your work in an Open Access repository. Check SHERPA/RoMEO for publishers’ self-archiving policies.|
|I do not have access to funding to cover Open Access publishing charges.||Journals may offer fee waivers for authors without access to Open Access funds. Both for journals and monographs, you can look for Open Access venues that raise no publishing charges. If the only alternative is a traditional toll access journal or monograph publisher – publish there and deposit a version of your work in an Open Access repository. Check SHERPA/RoMEO for publishers’ self-archiving policies.|
|Administrative efforts associated with the payment of publishing charges are too time consuming.||Universities and publishers are already working to establish more efficient workflows. In the meantime, you can consider publishing in venues free of publishing charges.|
|Publishers charging authors may primarily be interested in profits and thus provide low-quality peer review and overall lower quality of publications.||There usually is a rationale behind publishing charges. QOAM, for example, uncovers the pricing of many Open Access journals. Ask your publisher about transparent costs. Check the DOAJ and DOAB for certified publishers.|
|I do not know what services I am actually paying for.||Ask the publisher for more detailed information: what are the services covered by the publishing charge, and what are the services usually provided by the publisher for free (e.g., peer review).
The minimum technical specifications you should receive are a persistent identifier (handle, DOI), and integration with abstracting and indexing services. Other useful services are annotation, metrics, links to supplemental data, and reference checking and linking. Make sure that your work is licenced under a Creative Commons licence.
|If I publish my monograph Open Access, I will lose potential royalties.||Monograph sales are declining, and royalties for scholarly monographs are low in general, also for toll access monographs. Ask your publisher for an estimate of expected sales and royalties and weigh those against the benefits of Open Access.|
Table 3 (Annex 1): Lack of Information
|There is no clear Open Access policy defining the researcher-publisher agreement, am I losing the intellectual property rights to my work?||Intellectual property rights are always defined in a bilateral contract. There is a strict distinction between licence and copyright, giving the licence to publish, does not mean giving away the copyright (ownership).|
|I am not well-informed about Open Access researcher-publisher agreements, am I losing control over my work?||Once your work is published as Open Access, the publisher is obliged to provide you with publishing identification tools in order to prevent plagiarism or undesired recontextualisation. Moreover, clear reuse conditions are defined through the attached licence (e.g., CC BY).|
|I do not know what potential legal consequences Open Access may bring for my work.||In order to avoid legal issues, publishers are obliged to provide legal solutions concerning Open Access, securing your common interests. This is always defined in the publishing contract.|
|I lack specific information about Open Access publishing venues, tools, and services – what are the benefits?||Open Access helps researchers to disseminate their work to the widest possible audience, thus increasing visibility as well as to enhancing international collaboration.|
|Who can help me become more familiar with Open Access?||All useful information about Open Access should be provided to you by your publisher. But your library and research administration can help you as well.|
Table 4 (Annex 1): Legal Issues
|My research will not be protected when publishing Open Access.||Make sure that your Open Access publication is licenced under a Creative Commons licence. All CC licences require attribution unless it has been specifically stated that the author does not want their work attributed. CC licences make it unacceptable for to misrepresent or misuse an author’s work.|
|Open access makes it more difficult to use third party content in my publications.||There is no difference in clearing third party rights for closed or Open Access works. Creative Commons licences, for example, make it very easy to include third party content by allowing exclusions in the licence.|
|I am unsure about which licence to choose.||Talk to your publisher and take a look at the Creative Commons licence selector (https://creativecommons.org/choose) to help you set appropriate use and reuse conditions for your work.|
Table 5 (Annex 1): Availability of Open Access Publishing Venues
|I cannot find a recognised Open Access journal or a book collection for my discipline.||Quality does not depend on prestige, but for example on a high-quality scientific committee, rigorous peer review, good editing and availability of services (interoperability, metrics, altmetrics, annotations etc.).|
|Already existing Open Access journals or book collections do not seem to ensure the quality of my publication.||Look at the DOAB and DOAJ for certified publishers and publication venues. ‘Quality must not mean tradition’.|
|Self-archiving in repositories does not give enough visibility to my work and is too time-consuming.||Self-archiving is the easiest way to make your work openly accessible and reusable. Open Access advisors at your library can help you. Social networks like Academia.edu and Researchgate don’t offer enough transparency about how your publications will be used in the future.|
|I cannot find an affordable way to publish my monograph in Open Access.||Look for already existing consortial publishing models, ‘new’ universities press, and no-profit publishers.|
Annex 2: Fact Sheets
The fact sheets address the different stakeholder groups involved with Open Access in the SSH: publishers and publishing platforms, libraries and infrastructure providers, universities and research organisations. They contain the researchers’ concerns identified and propose solutions tailored to the three groups of stakeholders. The fact sheets, thus, ultimately serve as a guide on how to tackle researchers concerns about Open Access.
Table 1 (Annex 2): Publishers and Publishing Platforms
|Researchers’ concerns||How can you address them?||Selected approaches by OPERAS partners|
|Lack of general knowledge about legal procedures||Close cooperation with legal affairs lawyers, increasing internal legal knowledge, openly providing such knowledge to researchers.||The University of Turin, the Max Weber Stiftung, UiT and EKT provide an institutional Open Access contact point.
The Max Weber Stiftung offer advice to internal and external scholars concerning legal, technical, editorial, and workflow management.
|Lack of clear Open Access policy regulating bilateral researchers-publishers contracts in terms of intellectual property rights||Close cooperation with Open Access experts and legal affairs lawyers, establishing more researcher-friendly policy/models of cooperation, providing information about intellectual property rights.||Close cooperation with Open Access experts and legal affairs lawyers, establishing more researcher-friendly policy/models of cooperation, providing information about intellectual property rights.|
|Lack of knowledge about Open Access tools and procedures||Providing Open Access methods and procedures knowledge, creating easy-to-understand information material.||EKT and the University of Turin provide Open Access portals.
Cooperation between OpenEdition and the University of Turin, and between OpenEdition and IBL PAN, allow enhancing digital scholarly publishing and academic blogging through jointly organised free training events for scholars and publishers.
|Lack of knowledge about the benefits of Open Access||Providing complex information about Open Access and its benefits.||Almost all OPERAS partners provide training and information material on the complex issues of Open Access, including different business models.|
|Difficulties in covering publishing charges||Providing case studies on Open Access publishing costs.||OpenEdition (2015) contributed to a study on the cost structure for French Journals Publishing in Humanities and Social Sciences.
UGOE (2018) published an article outlining their main activity areas for developing and running services, activities, and projects in support of Open Access and Open Science.
Table 2 (Annex 2): Libraries and Infrastructure Providers
|Researchers’ concerns||How can you address them?||Selected approaches by OPERAS partners|
|Discoverability of Open Access publications||Organise tutorials, seminars, webinars etc. about tools for discovering of Open Access publications (e.g., ISIDORE).
Add DOAJ and DOAB content to your catalogue.
|OAPEN Foundation runs the DOAB; Huma-Num provides the ISIDORE service.|
|Quality control of Open Access publications||Organise tutorials, seminars, webinars etc. in order to
a) increase authors’ awareness of the difference between prestige and scientific quality.
b) present content providers of peer-reviewed Open Access works;
c) support the foundation of new university presses through the formation of high expertise scientific boards, and coordination of already existing university presses.
|Certification of quality for Open Access books is provided by the DOAB, and by Hypotheses.org for academic blogging. Journal quality based on the services offered to authors is assessed in QOAM.|
|Funding of Open Access publications||Support for grant applications for digital editions.
Highlighting the importance of Open Access.
Providing a list of green and gold Open Access publication possibilities.
Consider establishing an institutional APC/BPC fund.
|Göttingen University set up its own publication fund in 2012. UiT has a publication fund that covers APCs and BPCs.|
|Find information about Open Access policies (are they mandatory? Can I publish with a traditional publisher?)||Create a specific website, an institutional contact point, and contribute to information on Wikipedia (e.g., EU policies).||CRUI published guidelines for Open Access policies in 2013. The AISA website provides an overview of Italian Open Access policies.|
Table 3 (Annex 2): Universities and Research Organisations
|Researchers’ concerns||How can you address them?||Selected approaches by OPERAS partners|
|Lack of information about Open Access||Create information offices; host workshops, lectures, training events for on scholarly communication. Report regularly to track progress.||OPERAS members are present on the main social networks, and manage dedicated mailing lists.
The University of Turin also provide a 24/7 contact point office for support for self-archiving.
UniTo further provides video tutorials, FAQs on copyright, and develops feedback tools, download statistics, and services linked to the repository.
The University of Milan provides an annual report on recent developments of Open Access publishing within the university of Milan and organise periodical meetings of the Open Access commission.
OpenEdition publishes an annual report of their activities and achievements, which shows academics, administrative supervisors/representatives, and national representatives the growth of Open Access.
|Lack of information about funding||Create information offices, host workshops and lectures, report regularly.||Göttingen University set up its own publication fund in 2012. UiT has a publication fund covering APCs and BPCs.
UiT library also helps researchers prepare a dissemination plans when they apply for funding.
|Lack of information about publishers||Create information offices, host workshops and lectures, report regularly.||For QOAM, libraries fill out Base Score Cards about the transparency of a journal’s website. Authors share their experience with the journal via Valuation Score Cards. QOAM currently has 5,000 Base Cards and over 4,000 Valuation Cards. QOAM also displays the APC. At UiT, subject librarians check the journals listed in the dissemination plan and advise researchers on whether the journals are compliant with the funders’ Open Access requirements.|
|Lack of national and/or institutional policy||Advocacy and lobbying activities.||OPERAS partners contributed implementing policies in their own institutions (e.g., UiT, University of Turin, university of Milan, UGOE), or help draft such policies (e.g., EKT, CRUI).
UiT launched a research data management policy in 2017, and Open Science is explicitly mentioned in the university’s strategic plan for the period 2014-2020.
Some partners are also engaged in changing national policy (OpenEdition contributed on the law for the République numérique approved in 2016; AISA is promoting a proposal for law reform in the domain of reproduction ; in the UK, Ubiquity Press has been involved in lobbying for text and data mining rights and copyright reform in Europe).
|Academic reputation||Universities can mandate that all PhD theses are to be published Open Access.||OAPEN provides different resources concerning the quality and impact of Open Access monographs.
The OPERAS consortium contributed to the Knowledge Unlatched (2018) report “The Visibility of Open Access Monographs in a European Context”.
UGOE manages the “Goe Teaching Open Science” mailing lists dedicated on how Open Science education and training can be better integrated into the curricula of graduate schools.
Annex 3: Poster of the Advocacy Working Group presented at the OPERAS Conference “Open Scholarly Communication in Europe. Addressing the Coordination Challenge”, 31 May – 1 June 2018, Athens
This White Paper has been prepared by the OPERAS Advocacy Working Group under a CC BY 4.0 license
Max Weber Foundation — German Humanities Institutes Abroad (MWS)
Associazione Italiana per la promozione della scienza aperta (AISA)
Francesca Di Donato
Georg-August-University Göttingen (UGOE)
The Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, The Digital Humanities Centre (CHC IBL PAN)
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
University of Turin (UniTo)
Charles III University of Madrid (UC3M)
- Although this idea has matured during the European Enlightenment (1715–1789), there is a deep historical connection between the current demand for free access to scientific research outputs and the concept of intellectual property, which developed until the beginning of the 18th century. See Willinsky (2018).
- See Eve (2014) for an insightful and detailed explanation of the context and difficulties of Open Access in the humanities.
- See Fitzpatrick (2011) for a presentation of digitisation as a challenge but also a solution for the financial concerns of research institutions.
- Functional primitives of scholarly research, as defined by John Unsworth (2000), comprise discovering, annotating, comparing, referring, sampling, illustrating, and representing
- According to Dacos & Mounier (2010), the advent of digital publishing can already be considered a revolution whose importance is comparable to the invention of the printing in the 15th century.
- The FAIR principles guide the sharing of research data and publications to enable maximum use and reuse by making shared research outputs findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-usable. (FORCE11, 2014
- As Walker Rettberg (2003) writes, “Research happens in blogs.” See also Blanchard (2010), and Dacos & Mounier (2010).
- See Borghi (2011, pp. 1-27), who following some insights by Immanuel Kant and Hannah Arendt introduces the very promising concept of “author-public coalescence” to describe the knowledge process.
- See Deegan (2017, p. 72) for an example of the Mellon Foundation. Accordingly, these tools and services should also enhance digital monographs, and: 1) be fully interactive and searchable online together with primary sources; 2) support platform independent annotation; 3) incorporate privacy metrics; 4) be preservable for the long term; 5) be portable across reader applications.
- See the Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies (ROARMAP) or SHERPA/JULIET for an overview of funders’ Open Access mandates and policies.
- However, even when choosing a traditional publisher, it is possible to negotiate the terms of the publishing agreement. See “Author Rights: Using the SPARC Author Addendum” (n.d.) for more information.
- See Bourdieu (1975).
- See Cullen & Chawner (2011, p. 469) for a description of a reward system based on an “invisible college” of academics preferring to publish in journals “directed toward their disciplinary group”, without caring too much about accessibility for all, but just accessibility for their colleagues in the same discipline.
- For a more detailed description of the Norwegian Publication Indicator see Sivertsen (2016).
- Level 2, however, is quantitatively delimited as these venues are supposed to account for not more than 20% of all publications in an academic field (globally).
- On Open Access and prestige, see Suber (2010).
- See Curry (2018).
- See van de Sompel (2017).
- See Fitzpatrick (2011).
- For a detailed overview of business models in Open Access monograph publishing, see Ferwerda et al. (2017).
- Hybrid journals are subscription-based journals that also include optional (APC-funded) Open Access articles.
- Open Access journals in van der Graaf’s sample included journals listed in the DOAJ and the JournalTOCs collection.
- See, for example, Dallmeier-Tiessen et al. (2011) reporting that more than 50% of the 36,507 respondents in the Study of Open Access Publishing (SOAP) survey agree or strongly agree with the following statement: “If authors pay publication fees to make their articles Open Access, there will be less money available for research”.
- See “Kotilava” for more information about the joint effort of The Federation of Finnish Learned Societies and The National Library of Finland to flip Finnish journals to immediate Open Access models.
- Some allow publishing in hybrid journals, some do not. Moreover, the type of preferred or mandated license can vary as well.
- See “Common Law of Business Balance” (2018).
- There are publishers that experiment with paid peer review but there are pros and cons with such arrangements – it remains to be seen whether paying reviewers is a fairer model and whether it will increase the quality of reviews.
- Another financial source that institutions should dedicate to Open Access is publishing grants for toll access monographs that exist in some European countries. These grants cover all or part of the publishing costs for toll access monographs and already exist at some universities in, for example, Italy and Norway. The University of Torino, an OPERAS partner, is planning to develop a policy where researchers using institutional publishing grants, will be obliged to publish Open Access.
- See Kramer & Bosman (2018) for a more detailed explanation of the link between impact factors and APCs.
- For a full list of signatories, see https://sfdora.org/signers.
- See Solomon & Björk (2011).
- See Shieber (2015) for an institutional model Open Access policy.
- For an example, see HIRMEOS’ approach and its implementations on digital Open Access publishing platforms at www.hirmeos.eu.
- See https://www.crui.it/images/allegati/biblioteca/linee_guida_policy.pdf
- See AISA “Proposta di legge sul diritto di ripubblicazione”.
- See “Licences for Europe”.