Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Academic criteria for promotion and tenure in faculties of biomedical sciences: a cross-sectional analysis of 146 universities

Source: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/802850v1

Academic criteria for promotion and tenure in faculties of biomedical sciences: a cross-sectional analysis of 146 universities

Danielle B Rice, Hana Raffoul, John PA Ioannidis, David Moher


Objectives To determine the presence of a set of pre-specified traditional and progressive criteria used to assess scientists for promotion and tenure in faculties of biomedical sciences among universities worldwide.
Design Cross-sectional study.
Setting Not applicable.
Participants 170 randomly selected universities from the Leiden Ranking of world universities list were considered.
Main outcome measures Two independent reviewers searched for all guidelines applied when assessing scientists for promotion and tenure for institutions with biomedical faculties. Where faculty-level guidelines were not available, institution-level guidelines were sought. Available documents were reviewed and the presence of 5 traditional (e.g., number of publications) and 7 progressive (e.g., data sharing) criteria was noted in guidelines for assessing assistant professors, associate professors, professors, and the granting of tenure.
Results A total of 146 institutions had faculties of biomedical sciences with 92 having eligible guidelines available to review. Traditional criteria were more commonly reported than progressive criteria (t(82)= 15.1, p= .001). Traditional criteria mentioned peer-reviewed publications, authorship order, journal impact, grant funding, and national or international reputation in 95%, 37%, 28%, 67%, and 48% of the guidelines, respectively. Conversely, among progressive criteria only citations (any mention in 26%) and accommodations for extenuating circumstances (37%) were relatively commonly mentioned; while there was rare mention of alternative metrics for sharing research (2%) and data sharing (1%), and 3 criteria (publishing in open access mediums, registering research, and adhering to reporting guidelines) were not found in any institution reviewed. We observed notable differences across continents on whether guidelines are accessible or not (Australia 100%, North America 97%, Europe 50%, Asia 58%, South America 17%), and more subtle differences on the use of specific criteria.
Conclusions This study demonstrates that the current evaluation of scientists emphasizes traditional criteria as opposed to progressive criteria. This may reinforce research practices that are known to be problematic while insufficiently supporting the conduct of better-quality research and open science. Institutions should consider incentivizing progressive criteria.
Registration Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/26ucp/)
What is already known on this topic
  • Academics tailor their research practices based on the evaluation criteria applied within their academic institution.
  • Ensuring that biomedical researchers are incentivized by adhering to best practice guidelines for research is essential given the clinical implications of this work.
  • While changes to the criteria used to assess professors and confer tenure have been recommended, a systematic assessment of promotion and tenure criteria being applied worldwide has not been conducted.
What this study adds
  • Across countries, university guidelines focus on rewarding traditional research criteria (peer-reviewed publications, authorship order, journal impact, grant funding, and national or international reputation).
  • The minimum requirements for promotion and tenure criteria are predominantly objective in nature, although several of them are inadequate measures to assess the impact of researchers.
  • Developing and evaluating more appropriate, progressive indicators of research may facilitate changes in the evaluation practices for rewarding researchers.

Why DOI?

Source:  https://blogs.libraries.indiana.edu/scholcomm/tag/digital-object-identifier/

Why DOI?

Image 1: Oprah with text “You get a DOI, everything gets a DOI”While many researchers have heard of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), some may not know why and when they should be used. The single most important characteristic of DOIs is that they can be attached to just about any digital, online research output. If something has a URL, or a specific location on the web, it can be assigned a DOI. The versatility of DOIs means they can be tied to journal articles, datasets, supplemental material and addendum; to video, audio, streaming media, and 3D objects; to theses, dissertations, technical reports, and visualizations. More recently, DOIs are being assigned to pre-prints of articles, acknowledging the pre-print’s role in some disciplines to be as valuable as the published version.
Why does this matter? As the APA Style Blog explains,
The DOI is like a digital fingerprint: Each article receives a unique one at birth, and it can be used to identify the article throughout its lifespan, no matter where it goes. (https://shar.es/1VECYv)
This digital fingerprint grows in importance as we move into an era that scholar Péter Jacsó has described as a “metadata mega mess.” Keyword searches by title or author in Google, for example, and even Google Scholar, which relies on mechanisms rather than unique IDs, often return inaccurate information: titles are attributed to the wrong authors, especially those with common names; citations of articles are mistaken for the original article; publication years become volume numbers; and a score of other inaccuracies. Researchers who rely on Google Scholar often quip that the service provides an easy way to begin a citation search, but that sources must be verified by DOI through Crossref and other registries. An article with a DOI reduces its risk of becoming lost in this “metadata mega mess” (Péter Jacsó, “Metadata mega mess in Google Scholar”, Online Information Review 2010: 34.1: 175-191, https://doi.org/10.1108/14684521011024191).
The second essential feature of the DOI is that it is persistent. As a unique identifier, it enables digital objects to be found anywhere, anytime with a one simple click on a link. This means that a paper or dataset is accessible and discoverable without requiring a separate search. Incorporated into a citation, the DOI becomes a guaranteed location for the item cited because it will always resolve to the right web address (URL). When attached to a resource, the DOI is also machine-readable, supporting online discovery as well as targeted aggregations and indexes.
The Anatomy of a DOI
Every DOI has three parts:
anatomy of a doi diagram
Source: http://www.ands.org.au/online-services/doi-service/doi-policy-statement. CC-BY
  • Resolving Web Address. Like web addresses (URLs), DOIs enable research output to be discoverable and accessible. Online publishing and digital archiving have made them almost a necessity for scholarship, and they have become the de facto standard for identifying research output.
  • Prefix. The prefix is the beginning of a unique, alphanumeric ID that irrefutably represents a digital object, and as such it creates an actionable, interoperable, persistent link to the work. The prefix is almost always associated with the entity or organization, and can allow users to trace the digital material back to its source.
  • Suffix. The final part of the alphanumeric ID is unique to its assigned object.  Integrity of DOIs are guaranteed because they do not rely alone on URLs and the web’s DNS (Domain Name System) servers for resolution. A DOI, then, is both an online location and a unique name and description of a specific digital object. Moreover, while the DOI base infrastructure is a species of the Handle System, DOIs run on a managed global network dedicated to their resolution.
A recent data DOI created for a data set in the IUScholarWorks repository (https://doi.org/10.5967/K8SF2T3M) illustrates one of our unique prefix “shoulders” (10.5967/K8) and a randomly generated alphanumeric string that is unique to this object (SF2T3M). Our open access journal system, on the other hand, is configured to create DOIs that are more semantic and tell us more about the object. This DOI (https://doi.org/10.14434/v17i3.21306) also has a unique prefix for Indiana University’s open journal system (10.14434). What’s more, the rest of the ID tells us that it is from Volume 17, Issue 3, article number 21306 of its originating journal.
So, Why DOI?
The short answer is that DOIs increase the reach and impact of your work. Publishers, repositories, aggregators, indexers, and providers of research and academic profiles are now relying on DOIs to identify specific works accurately, which in turn more reliably links that work to its authors and creators. Furthermore, metadata and information about individual works are increasingly tied to DOIs.
Crossref — one of the largest providers of DOIs for publications and the provider of DOIs for our open journal program — continues to expand the metadata that can be tied to DOIs, thereby increasing what your work can do in the world. The Scholarly Communication Department plans to deploy two specific Crossref programs that use DOIs to improve the accuracy and accessibility of usage data, bibliometrics, research profiles, and altmetric impact. Cited-by uses an object’s DOI to track where and how a digital publication or data has been cited, and can be displayed alongside an article with other metadata, such as authors’ bios (https://www.crossref.org/services/cited-by). Event Data, a program currently being rolled out by Crossref, goes even further. It will leverage the increasing ubiquity of DOIs to enhance the metrics available to scholars for their work. Known commonly as altmetrics, Event Data will collect a publication’s appearance on social media and online communities, such as Wikipedia, Reddit, Twitter, Stack Exchange, and blog posts (https://www.crossref.org/services/event-data).
Furthermore, for any research products — from software and datasets to technical reports and presentations –created and authored by IU faculty, staff, and students that do not have a previously assigned DOI, the IUScholarWorks Repository can mint them free-of-charge for any and all submissions.
Posted in Categories Miscellaneous, User Guide | Tagged: Tags , , ,

Welcome to the new PubMed.

Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Nader+Ale+Ebrahim
6 results

The A to Z of social media for academia

Source: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/a-z-social-media

The A to Z of social media for academia

Your definitive guide to using social and creative media as an academic
October 28, 2019
What I learnt from a social media detox
Why should academics be using social media? And which social media should they be using? There are so many tools and networks that could be of potential use to scholars that it can be difficult to keep track.
Times Higher Education has teamed up with Andy Miah, chair in science communication and future media at the University of Salford, to offer you the definitive guide to the social media tools available to academics, and how you can use them as you go about your scholarly work. There are many, many tools, but we have tried to give an idea of how higher education professionals might use them.
We will strive to keep this page as up to date as possible. If you think that we are missing anything, please let us know by tweeting @andymiah.

More social media resources

Why academics should care about social media
Tips for academics: blogging and social media

Introduction by Andy Miah (@andymiah), chair in science communication and future media at the University of Salford:
“This resource accompanies the Social Media News email list for academics and university support staff, sharing info about the latest platforms for use by academics in their professional lives. It will update periodically, but please also send me your recommendations to add.
“Everything listed here I have tried out. All listed items are recommended by academics for use in their professional lives. Thanks to those who’ve provided links and descriptions.”

The A to Z of social media for academics

Latest update: 10 March 2017
About.me: If you don’t have a website, this is for you. It aggregates your social media content, giving you a stylish, one-page website. EXAMPLE
Academia.eduShare your papers, track their impact, follow colleagues.
Altmetric: Subscription-based tracker for your publications’ impact across different social media metrics.
Amazon Author CentralCreate a profile page, add your authored books, link to social media, upload videos.
AnswerGarden: A neat little tool used for real-time audience participation.
Audiense: Formerly SocialBro. Analytic tool and social media management platform.
Authorea: Write, cite, collaborate, host data, and publish. EXAMPLE


Basecamp: High-powered project management platform.
Bitly: Save, search and organise all your links from around the web. Group them into bundles. Share them with friends.
BoxIf you need more cloud storage before going pro elsewhere, here’s 10gb more (250mb individual file limit).
Buffer: A tool to help you manage your social media postings, it auto-schedules posts; you just need to remember to keep it topped up.


Canva: Various graphic design tools, including mood board creation.
Chanty: Organise team conversations.
Coggle ItCollaborative mind-mapping tool.
CreateSpace: Part of Amazon, helping you self-publish all those books you’ve written.


Devonthink: A useful way to store and manage your work and related media. Finds connections between content where you perhaps wouldn’t find them.
DiasporaAnother Facebook, but with better values. Not strictly for HE, but good networking potential. Add me here! (via )
Digg: User-rated news delivery service, sharing what’s buzzing online.
Diigo: Research and collaborative research tool and a knowledge-sharing community and social content site.
Dlvr.itA service that allows users to link their various social networking tools in order to reach a larger and disparate audience.
Doodle: A useful way of scheduling meetings or making group decisions.
Dropbox: For making sure the essentials are backed up, and sharing large files.


Emaze: If you are bored with PowerPoint and scared of Prezi, then try emaze. It’s pretty snazzy. EXAMPLE
EndnoteWeb: The online bibliographic package for storing your reading lists.
Eventbrite: Socially friendly ticket management system for events.
Eventifier: Create archives of events.
EverNoteIf you like taking notes at conferences and want to share them, or just have them accessible across devices, this works.
ExplainEverything: iPad app to do screencast lectures, import multimedia and more. EXAMPLE


Facebook: Social networking with colleagues and for teaching groups. The biggest social network in the world.
FigShare: Allows researchers to publish all of their research outputs (presentations, figures, papers, data, etc) in seconds in an easily citable, sharable and discoverable manner. EXAMPLE
FilmoraGo: Mobile app for video editing with a good range of functions.
Flickr: For curating and sharing image sets, finding resources and amazing royalty-free images. EXAMPLE
FrontiersIn: The Frontiers Research Network is a science publishing platform with a social networking dimension. EXAMPLE


GithubPowerful collaboration, code review and code management for open source and private projects (recommended by@karenbultitude).
GlisserTurbo boost your live presentations with this interactive social platform.
Google Docs: For collaborative writing.
Google Hangouts: Google video chat app.
Google Scholar: Recently providing additional services, such as Google Authors and citation tracking for you or people you rate. EXAMPLE
Google Slides: Create beautiful presentations with real-time Q&A board link from slide screen.


Haiku DeckA whizzy online presentation app that cleverly embeds imagery from around the web, making it super speedy to make things pretty. EXAMPLE
Hootsuite: A very nice app to bring together all of your social media accounts in one place.
HubZero: Open source software platform for creating dynamic websites that support scientific research and educational activities.
Hypothes_is: Online discussion tool allowing sentence-level critique or note-taking on top of scientific articles and other academic publications. EXAMPLE


iAmScientist: Global community of science, technology and medical researchers who come together to accelerate research, support career development and drive the distribution of discoveries.
InCell VR: Action/racing game with a bit of strategy and science thrown into the mix in a rare and highly unusual micro world of a carefully recreated human cell.
InMind VR: “InMind allows the player to experience the journey into the patient’s brains in search of the neurons that cause mental disorder.”
InMind 2 VR: Explores the chemistry behind human emotion, inspired by Pixar's Inside Out.
Instagram: Widely used picture-sharing and storytelling tool.
ifttt: "If this, then that" is a service that allows users to connect various channels (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, RSS Feeds, SMS, etc) and to create recipes. A recipe includes a “trigger” (if this) and an “action” (then that). Go and have a play!
Infogr.amWho needs a bar chart, when you can present stats in a creative, social format?
Instapaper: Keep track of articles, websites and anything you don’t have time to read immediately but want to save for later.
Issuu: To upload your pre-prints in a beautiful format for online viewing. EXAMPLE
iTunes: A place to upload and share your media content.


Jiscmail: Old school social media using email lists. Loads (and loads) of higher education groups. EXAMPLE
JoinMe: Video chat.
JournalMap: A scientific literature search engine that empowers you to find relevant research based on location and biophysical attributes combined with traditional keyword searches.


Kahoot: Create, play and share games, make your own quiz or poll via @scottcolton2
KeepGoogle’s notemaking app, very quick and easy to use. Use hashtags within a note to a group.
Kialo: A really cool debating platform, bringing clarity to complex issues.
Kred: A visual history of your social media influence.
Kudos: Designed to help you increase the impact of your published research articles by tracking the most effective networks for getting your work discussed and cited.


LinkedIn: If you don’t have a website, and want an online CV, then your LinkedIn profile can substitute. Also home to lots of great discussion groups. EXAMPLE
Lino: A Post-it, or virtual pinboard, with bells on.
Livestream: Create and watch live broadcasts.


Medium: Popular blogging site.
MeetUp: Great way to create events and communities around them.
Mendeley: Reference manager and academic social network that can help you organise your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research. EXAMPLE
MentimeterMentimeter is an easy-to-use tool that makes facilitators and presenters look like stars. No installations or downloads required - and it's free!
Mix: Curated news feeds around specific subjects.
Moodle: Open source course management system.
Morfo: Create an avatar from your photo and make it say and do anything (such as read a cyborg article from the future that you’ve written? No? Just me then!) EXAMPLE


NewsNow: Brings together news stories on a topic, ready for sharing. EXAMPLE
Notion: The all-in-one workspace – for notes, tasks, wikis, and databases. It even has an academic free licence.


Overleaf: A real-time collaborative writing and publishing tool (via @Lisa_Hulme).


Padlet: Blank wall on to which you can write, embed and link images and video. Useful for brainstorming, mind mapping, and live collaborative collage. EXAMPLE
PaintVR3D painting app, from Oculus, works with Samsung Gear VR.
Paper.li: Create digital daily newspapers around specific keywords. EXAMPLE
Pinterest: Social website pinboard to keep track of things and share them. EXAMPLE
Pocket (formerly Read it Later): Discover an interesting article, video or web page, save it to your Pocket feed and view it later.
Popplet: Collaborative mapping tool.
Prezi: Spice up your presentations with the zooming software, now with 3D. EXAMPLE
Primary Pad: Open co-authoring space, useful in live settings, for multiple use, no log-in or registration needed. Just share URL.


Quora: Ask a question, find an answer. Subject and topic guides. One tool to initiate research development.


Random42A great VR platform showing biomedical content.
ReadCube: Fed up with going through multiple interfaces to discover and archive new articles? This powerful platform gives you a portal to everything, for article discovery, storage, and annotation. (via @LauraWheelers).
RealTimeBoard: Whiteboard for project planning.
Reddit: A place to share articles/blog posts and a huge traffic driver.
ResearchGate: Social networking site for academics.


Scoop.it: Create a themed magazine.
Scopus: Abstract and citation database of scientific literature.
ScribbleItLiveContent cloud solutions.
Scribd: Share your documents in a large social community. EXAMPLE
SiteSucker: Lets you download whole websites for later analysis/processing.
Slack: Powerful project management and collaboration tool – cut down on email and get closer to inbox zero. (via @ErinmaOchu)
Skype: For videoconferencing on the fly.
SlashDot: Self-described “news for nerds” platform. Science and tech related.
Slideshare: As it says, upload your documents/slides for public viewing.
SnapChat: Creative content without a footprint (deletes after a day) and another way to reach each other. Popular with students.
SoundCloud: For anyone wanting to share or find audio material, this is a neat solution.
Spotify: Well known for listening to music, but you can also upload. Useful for music scholars: research, curate, share, publish.
Squarespace: Website building platform. A current favourite! EXAMPLE
Storyful: Helps newsrooms discover and verify the best content on the social web. Good for media studies.
Survey Monkey: As it sounds, create surveys and share them.


TEDx: “Ideas worth spreading” start off local. Visit these events for great insights into the next thought leaders. Many are run by academics.
Televzr: Download videos from YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
TikTok: Instagram on steroids, but with a bigger youth focus, lip-synch to sound tracks and share your insights. 
TiltBrush VRpaint in 3D.
Tout: Capture 15-second video updates and publish them in real time to your social networks. EXAMPLE
Tumblr: Popular blogging platform.
Tweetbot: Twitter client for MacOS and iOS devices, lets you have multiple Twitter feeds (e.g. different hashtags) open at the same time. Useful for conferences.
TweetDeck: The Twitter-owned space to monitor and tweet.
Twitter: A microblogging platform to end all others. EXAMPLE
TwitterfallVisualise tweets during a conference to create another layer of activity.
TWUBS: Register a hashtag and help people find your event/project, etc.
TypesetWrite your journal manuscript in the cloud with autoformatting to your chosen journal.


Udemy: I guess “Academy for U”? Join, upload a course, slides, video lectures, and even charge for it. It may be a new marketplace for university short courses and the like.
Ustream: If you don’t have technical assistance to film your event, Ustream does it for you with a few clicks.


Vimeo: If the short upload limit on YouTube doesn’t suit your needs, then upload to here. EXAMPLE
Visme: Powerful infographic platform, free account with up to five projects.


Wakelet: This platform may mean that you don't need a website anymore. Pinterest on steroids. EXAMPLE
WhatsApp: Private messaging mobile app with encrption, owned by Facebook and be can be used on a browser too.
Wikipedia: Follow and edit terms in your area of expertise.
WixSimple website creation platform.
Wizdom.aiCreate word clouds from data to understand the influence and importance within text.
WordPress: Popular website creation platform.


Yammer: Private social network for use within an organisation. Many universities now using this to collaborate securely across departments, geographies, content and business applications.
YouTube: Still the most popular video upload and share destination. EXAMPLE


Zoom: Video conferencing for teaching
Zotero: A bibliographic tool that also helps you share resources.


Chapter Swap: A place where you can get peer review on your work before submission.
Cinemagram: For the ubercreative academic. Precursor to Twitter’s Vine and more creative. Make an animated GIF from photos (GIFs are back, by the way).
iAmScientist: Global community of science, technology and medical researchers who come together to accelerate research, support career development and drive the distribution of discoveries.
MyOpenArchive: International non-profit organisation that advocates open access for never-before-published research papers on the web and provides self-archiving.
Pheed: Social media platform offering distinct features such as voice-notes, audio clips and live broadcasting.
Prismatic: Create newsfeeds based on your interests.
Posterous:  Microblogging platform, a different way to blog.
Screenr: Ever needed to screencast a presentation? This works without any download and goes live immediately. Give lectures from a distance and publish.
Topsy: Social media insights tool.
Gowalla: Location-based social network launched in 2007 and closed in 2012.
Vizify: For those who want to create a personal website, the content is drawn from all social media feeds. Looks great. EXAMPLE.
Vizibee: Mobile platform for journalists and publishers to capture, break and share short-form quality video with the audience.
Vyclone: App that lets you mix video taken from multiple, simultaneous recordings. Just all point and click and the app does the rest.
We Follow: Can be a good way to find out people in your field who are on social media. Search by subject. It ranks based on your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn data. Acquired by About.me.
Full list here


Print headline: Why academics should make time for social media

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Guest Post — The Future of Open Access Business Models: APCs Are Not the Only Way

Source: https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2019/10/23/guest-post-the-future-of-open-access-business-models-apcs-are-not-the-only-way/

Guest Post — The Future of Open Access Business Models:  APCs Are Not the Only Way


Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Byron Russell. Byron is a new face on the HighWire sales team, but not a new one to publishing – bringing over 30 years’ expertise in the industry garnered at Ingenta, Pearson, Berlitz and Macmillan. Here, he reflects on some of the conversations around business models he’s been hearing in the community, and sheds some light on the ins-and-outs of the many acronyms involved.
At the recent OASPA conference in Copenhagen, there was almost universal concern that the transition to open access (OA) publication of research as posited by initiatives such as Plan S and Horizon 2020 was progressing too slowly; impeded by lack of awareness and importance by authors and researchers, and questions from publishers about long term sustainability and the appropriacy of business models such as author processing charges (APCs).
High Angle View Of People forming and arrow on the street

Problems for authors

There is still a significant lack of awareness of what OA is or means in the research community, particularly in the humanities and social sciences (HSS). Even in STEM fields, where awareness is far greater, authors are faced with a dilemma: to publish in a fully open journal, or in an established subscription or hybrid journal which may fall outside the scope of Plan S. Generally, authors want to join a club which they view as better or more impactful than the one they’re in. If they do wish to publish OA in an established hybrid publication with a high Impact Factor (IF) ranking, how to pay APCs – often accepted to be the most common business model in OA publishing — is a particular problem for those without ready access to funding sources.
In some territories, particularly in the Global South, APC agreements are regarded with suspicion and are not widely used. In South Africa, for example (according to UNESCO’s GOAP), OA is not yet integrated into everyday practice for researchers and research administrators and, “article processing charges…are definitely not the way to go for authors in South Africa”.

Problems for publishers

Publishers – especially small university presses and small society publishers — may not have marketing or administrative resources to raise the IF of their OA journal, or implement the wide-reaching changes to their systems to move to an OA model; they may get around this by publishing via larger publishing partners, losing their independence in the process. If they decide to move to OA themselves by going down the APC route, they may not have the staffing available to administer APC payment processes.
Plan S guidance states funders will not fund APCs for hybrid OA journals where the journal is not part of a transformative agreement, unless the author can deposit their article in a recognized repository at time of publication without any embargo. But this green OA approach, while fast-tracking the article’s availability, is essentially is a fudge which may impact negatively on future publisher revenues and is unlikely to be sustainable long-term.

New business models for OA publishing

In September this year Information Power published its Society Publishers Accelerating Open Access and Plan S (or, more conveniently, SPA-OPS) report, which identified and assessed a range of potential models through which learned societies could successfully transition to the requirements of Plan S. HighWire was pleased to be able to contribute logfile data on behalf of two of our society publishers (Portland Press and The European Respiratory Society) so that the usage of OA articles by various organizations across the globe could be analyzed as part of the project. SPA-OPS describes 27 potential business models, of which the APC-based models number just three.
Transformative models, which repurpose existing institutional spend with publishers in order to move them away from paywalled content to an OA model, are widely viewed as the most promising. The key benefit is that they offer a predictable, sustainable funding stream for authors and publishers. There appears to be  considerable support – at least in principle — from library consortia and their members to target existing spend in this way in order to help society publishers make the move; according to SPA-OPS, more than 75% of respondents indicated such financial support was “very likely or likely” to be forthcoming.
As libraries and library consortia provide publishers with most of their subscription income in any case, it makes sense for such funds to be used to “open up” content – and in theory it is far easier for publishers to administer consortium agreements rather than thousands of APC micro-payments. However, it may still be a challenge for smaller independents, which may well not have the staffing resources required. One way around this is for a third party to manage the various actors.
One of the pioneers of transformative agreements (TAs) was Knowledge Unlatched; under then-director Francis Pinter, KU developed a consortium-powered model to enable publishers to flip books to OA. This type of TA – a “choreographed” model, in which an independent body manages the relationships between author, publisher and funder — has several advantages; not least the reduction of the administrative burden on all key players.
There are at least seven different transformative models currently operating globally. There is insufficient space to outline them all here, but it is worth looking at three of the most interesting:
Read and Publish, Publish and Read: Read and publish (RAP) agreements involve a single fee paid by the institution to cover both subscription access and OA publishing for affiliated authors, with the balance tilted toward subscription charges. Publish and read (PAR) agreements allocate the majority of costs toward OA publishing at the article level, with read-only access and perpetual rights to subscription articles included as a benefit of the agreement.
In RAP agreements, an institutional consortium pays a pre-agreed amount for papers published by affiliated authors, and everyone in the library/consortium gets access to the subscription content for no extra cost. The German Projekt Deal agreement with Wiley (the third largest publisher of German research) is an example of RAP. Corresponding authors affiliated with eligible institutions may publish OA under the agreement in Wiley’s subscription and fully OA journals. However, there can be a tricky balancing act involved: those institutions with larger research programs may pay more than those with lighter research outputs, yet both sets of institutions benefit equally. Publishers offering a RAP model include the Royal Society of Chemistry and – somewhat more controversially – Elsevier.
A PAR agreement is similar, but here the amount of money paid to the publisher for the deal is guaranteed, and in exchange authors (or a subset of authors, depending on the arrangement) can publish OA within that publisher’s journals without paying an APC. Publishers offering PAR models include Springer Compact and Oxford University Press.
As should be immediately clear from the examples above, publishers offering PAR and RAP agreements are bigger fish – those with sizable amounts of content which creates negotiating efficiencies for libraries. So as with the Big Deal, opportunities for smaller publishers and societies to move to a PAR or RAP model are limited.
The Collaborative Organization: Several of the speakers at OASPA stressed that “going it alone” was no longer an option, and that collaboration and sharing would be key to a successful transition to OA. COPIM (Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs) was set up in June 2019, and — among other work plans — aims to pilot diverse business models for OA book publishing, and so to reduce the dependence of publishers on author-facing book processing charges (BPCs), as well as to better facilitate new OA publishing start-ups. The initiative is attracting a lot of attention, and will be funded by a £2.2 million grant from Research England.
Such collaborative initiatives are surely to be encouraged; as mentioned earlier, the transition to OA is more likely to negatively affect small-to-medium sized publishers; particularly those involved in HSS monograph and book publishing. This problem was widely acknowledged at the recent OASPA conference, where Paul Peters (CEO, Hindawi) suggested an OA switchboard whereby a central agency would choreograph APC payments and automate repository deposition, thereby freeing both funders and smaller publishers from the burden of administration. OASPA itself is looking to kickstart this project with $10k in funding from 10-20 initial stakeholders.
While there is still life in the APC model, the overall view seems to be  that it is a transitional model which is in decline. What is certain is that if real progress is to be made towards OA without significant damage to publisher revenues (and in consequence academic publishing), greater collaboration will be necessary between major stakeholders. Transformative agreements underpinning such collaborations are the most promising business model to-date in the OA ecosystem; the SPA-OPS report’s accompanying toolkit includes an implementation model and specimen contract templates, and the hope and expectation is that societies will use this to offer transformative agreements from next year.
HighWire founding director John Sack is currently planning a workshop to be held early 2020, to identify which models are proving most popular and share knowledge around early business impacts. We welcome input from publishers and societies who would like to be involved.


8 Thoughts on "Guest Post — The Future of Open Access Business Models:  APCs Are Not the Only Way"
I think this speaks to the enormous confusion over the structure and nomenclature of these deals. When I spoke to OUP colleagues, they noted that we call our deals “Read and Publish”. Given that each deal by each publisher with each library seems to be fairly unique and bespoke, I have little hope that much clarity is going to emerge around naming conventions.
Actually, that page does contain sufficient info. And, I would agree that all of those arrangements are “read and publish” rather than “publish and read” …. at least per the SK primer (https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2019/04/23/transformative-agreements/) piece I wrote. Conenient to invoke oneself as the authority though? 🙂 Of course there is no legal authority or universal definitions of these things.
Thank you Byron for this overview. Perhaps another way forward is to fund OA through platform fees instead of article payments? There are a few journals and societies that seem to work well on the diamond OA model.
The OA switchboard: I actually tried to set up a similar national initiative a few years ago. I had a decent number of participating (small) publishers and university presses but both the national funder and the university consortium were not interested: I was told the number of annual publications within the switchboard network was not enough to justify their efforts in getting any sort of deal going. It seems that a switchboard need to represents a significant market share in order to be taken seriously, which certainly is a challenge when dealing with small publishers.
The American Thoracic Society would like to attend John Sack’s workshop in 2020 and/or receive more information.
Thanks for this overview, Byron. You mention that APC models are not widely used in the Global South, but there are also challenges with transformative agreements if the institution (or consortium) negotiating receives many of their subscriptions through deeply discounted arrangements, or even completely free-of-charge through a service like Research4Life. Their negotiating power will be minimal and yet their researchers have just as great a need to publish (perhaps even greater) as their peers in the North.
Helpfully, Information Power is also considering one or more pilots with consortia in Africa to explore how they too can benefit from a shift to Open Access; after all, we mustn’t end up with a research communication system that is actually less equitable than the one we have today!

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