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A presentation about Open Access (OA) in research with a case study of journals in oncology and discussion about issues relating to OA and implications for Higher Education Institutions. This was a short paper presented at the OER14 Conference at the Centre for Life, Newcastle.
The Internet has radically changed the Music and Book industries. It is Research publishing
REF = Research Excellence Framework
UCU Email:Dear AllUCU strongly supports OA publishing but there are many aspects of its implementation that have been causing concern. One has been the invidious decision by RCUK to no longer allow any publication costs to be charged to RCUK grants. Instead it has allocated a fixed amount of money to each Institution to cover publication costs. Some Universities, including Newcastle, had taken the view that only the extra charges associated with OA publishing could be claimed from this publishing fund, making it very unclear how the regular article processing charges [page charges] that many journals and publishers levy would/could be paid. In addition, there has been much controversy over potential restrictions on the journals that would qualify for money from the RCUK publishing fund.Following extensive discussions, Newcastle UCU has been successful in persuading the University that the RCUK publication fund should pay not only for open access charges but also for page charges. In addition, it has been clarified that RCUK funded postgraduate students as well as RCUK funded staff will be eligible to claim publication costs from the fund, and two of the Faculties, FMS and HASS, will no longer have journal restrictions. Unfortunately, SAGE is continuing to use an "upper quartile journal list". UCU is strongly opposed to there being any restrictions on where work can be published. The notion that journal impact factors provide an accurate measure of the quality of published work is now widely rejected by the academic community, and the REF rules make clear that panels must not take any account of where outputs are published. The costs of publication and the use of journal lists have potentially serious implications for both career development and academic freedom.Members should also be aware that HEFCE have now made clear that outputs will only be admissible in the next REF if they have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository on acceptance for publication, and made OA within a specified time period. For full details see:http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/year/2014/201407/More information [although not entirely up to date] on OA can be found at the University's OA websitehttp://www.ncl.ac.uk/openaccess/and the Library also has an OA websitehttp://libguides.ncl.ac.uk/openaccesseprintsand there is a helpline email@example.comNewcastle UCU has a seat on the Open Access Steering Group and attends relevant meetings of the University Research Committee. It will continue to monitor the situation closely, and do whatever it can to ensure that the new publishing environment does not disadvantage any staff. We would be grateful to hear from any members who have encountered problems.
Academic backlash to OA?
Trends in Open Access to Research Publications - Case Study of Oncology Journals
Trends in Open Access to Research Publications:
Case Study of 274 Oncology Journals
Learning Technologies for Medical Sciences
School of Medical Sciences Education Development
Newcastle University, UK
The advent of the Internet is
changing the Publishing
industry and its relationships
Image c/o Wikimedia Commons
research should be
freely available to the
The growing requirements
from research funders for
Open Access (OA) is
also having an impact.
Cancer: broad field that cuts across many medical specialties
• Cancer-related journals were identified from multiple
– Reuters & SCImago list of journal rankings
– Publishers Websites
• Criteria were broadly inclusive with the requirement that
the journal is current and specifically related to oncology
(or on Reuters or SCImago subject list of journals).
• Journals were assessed for their level of OA (open, ‘hybrid’
or none), embargo times, and up-front costs for ‘Gold’ OA
(access to the full published article).
• What proportion of articles from ‘hybrid’ journals are
– Analysis of a sample of 14 journals, which had deposited in
PubMed Central (PMC).
– Script written to download from Entrez all articles published in
2012 from these journals were assessed to see how many had
free full-text access in PMC, as a proxy for ‘Gold’ OA.
– The data was also analysed to see if a funder or grant number
had been recorded, as an indicator of public funding.
• 274 oncology journals were identified
– 54 (20%) were immediate full OA
– 14 (5%) were fully OA after an embargo period (typically of 12
– 107 (39%) had some articles open access (‘hybrid’)
– 99 (36%) no indication of OA on Journal Web page
• Of the 54 journals with full and immediate OA
19 were launched within the last 4 years.
• Observation: growing number of online-only journals
List of Journals
• From the sample of ‘hybrid’ journals 8,182
articles were identified in Entrez for 2012
– Of these 2,430 (29%) were available free via PMC.
• Articles for which funder/grant information
was recorded were more likely to be included
in PMC (75% of 2,151 articles) compared to
those that didn’t (13% of 6,031), p<0.0001
Types of OA
Article Processing Charge (APC) and OA Options for selected publishers (Feb 2014)
Publisher Group Oncology
Scheme OA Cost
Wiley 13 OnlineOpen (CC
Elsevier 39 Varied pricing +
funders for licencing
US$ 500 to $5,000
Springer 43 Open Choice US$ 3,000
9 Open Access Options US$5,200 (CC BY)
US$4,800 (CC BY-NC-
8 Open Access Plus Not stated
Full article is made free at the point of access
(subscription journals and OA Journals usually charge an APC)
Authors archive a final copy of their in an institutional (e.g. ePrints)
or external repository (usually not the publishers final layout version)
Types of OA #2
• Growth in dedicated ‘Open’ journals - competing
with established subscription journals
• Most subscription journals are now ‘hybrid’,
giving the choice to pay to make articles ‘Gold’
• Most journals charge APCs (OA and Subscription
• Most subscription journals permit ‘Green’ OA
publishing (often after an embargo period of
• The study is a snap-shot at one point in time
• The use of publishing in PMC as a proxy for
‘Gold’ access is not exhaustive
• The scope of this study did not include ‘Green’
access (self-archiving, typically a final draft
uploaded in an institutional repository).
Changing technologies and growth in journals:
• financially sustainability?
• quality impact?
• more opportunities for junior researches
• potentially decreased time-lags to final publication.
• The Internet has provided the foundations to make the results of
publically funded research publically available, in its broadest sense, in
that clinicians, researchers, patients and other members of the public
have rapid free access to research findings.
Big unknown: do stakeholders value ‘Green’ OA?
• Are pre-proof versions of articles good enough?
• Do embargo periods reduce impact?
• Are institutional repositories truly ‘discoverable’??
Value relationships (traditional model)
• Publishers deeply entwined with Academia
• Institutional + individual subscriptions
• Esteem of voluntary peer review and Editorships
• Reshaping the Publishing Industry
• Quicker / immediate publishing
• Public access to publically funded research
• Lower barriers to entry for new publishers
esp. online-only journals
Academia / Funding
• “Publish or perish” intensified pressure:
• Reduced funding
• Harder to justify/find time for Peer Review?
• Reduced library budgets, why pay twice?
• Public funders require OA
Beyond the REF
“To be eligible for submission to the post 2014 REF,
authors’ final peer reviewed manuscripts must have been
deposited in an institutional or subject repository on
acceptance for publication. Deposited material should be
discoverable, and free to read and download, for anyone
with an internet connection. The requirement applies only
to journal articles and conference proceedings with an
International Standard Serial Number.”
“Higher education institutions are now advised
to implement processes and
procedures to comply with this policy, which
may include using a combination of the
‘green’ and ‘gold’ routes to open access.
Institutions can achieve full compliance
without incurring any additional publication
costs through article processing charges.”
Welcome to the world of:
Predatory Publishers, Slur and Scam !
• Pressure to publish
• Pay to publish
• Minimal peer review?
• OA to blame?
• Would ‘traditional’ Journals
have done any better?
• OA is now mission critical for HEIs in order to secure
• Need robust institutional processes to support and
monitor compliance with OA + funders specific
• ‘Gold’ OA: often little cost difference between selecting
a ‘traditional’ journal or an ‘Open’ Journal.
• However, it raises big issues for Universities/funders in
paying for OA and for publishers who are dependent
on under threat library subscriptions.
• The definition of ‘Green’ OA was variable, and its value
for stakeholders unclear :: Research needed.
References / Further Information
CancerIndex: List of Journals: http://www.cancerindex.org/clinks9.htm
Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings (‘Finch Group’) (2012). Accessibility, sustainability,
excellence: how to expand access to research publications. Research Information Network: London.
http://www.researchinfonet.org/publish/finch/ , accessed 3 Apr 2014.
RCUK Policy on Open Access and Supporting Guidance,
http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/documents/documents/RCUKOpenAccessPolicy.pdf , accessed 1 Jul 2013.
Wellcome Trust – Open access Policy:
Policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework. HEFCE (2014).
Entrez / NLM Catalogue – National Library of Medicne (USA)
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) http://www.doaj.org/
SHERPA ROMEO database http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/
SJR Journal rankings (Cancer Research) http://www.scimagojr.com/journalrank.php?category=1306