This week we are celebrating Open Access Week, where the theme is ‘designing equitable foundations for open knowledge’, the purpose of which is to reflect on a scholarly system in transition, and consider how implementing Open Access (OA) and Open Research (OR) might be achieved for diverse communities.

As a university press, we want to support the transition to Open Access in a sustainable way, mindful of our diverse communities. We are persuaded that converting specific journals to the gold OA model will enable those journals to flourish, with articles benefitting from increasing access, citation and exposure. We are therefore thrilled to announce that we plan to flip four of our STM journals from the subscription model to the gold Open Access model in January 2019. These journals are:

Epidemiology & Infection

Genetics Research

Netherlands Journal of Geosciences

Primary Health Care Research & Development

Flipping to Open Access means that these four titles will publish articles under the creative commons attribution license (CC BY), which permits use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The advantage of a CC-BY licence is that all articles published in these journals will be freely available to users to view, download and share.

Our goal as a university press is to recognise the diversity of our communities, understand their different needs, and work with them to develop discrete solutions. In the last 15 years, scholarly publishing has undergone rapid transformation. A multitude of advances and changes to the journal publishing ecosystem continue to alter the scholarly communications landscape. The emergence of OA (see Peter Suber’s comprehensive overview (1)), and the growth of OA journals have been a vital part of this transformation and there are now over 12,000 fully OA, peer-reviewed scholarly journals in the world (2), about a third of all peer-reviewed journals. These journals contain over 3.3 million OA articles (2).

Some STM (Science, Technology, and Medical) communities that publish with Cambridge lead the way in driving forward Open Access through rapid growth of gold OA publishing. Other communities show very limited growth and will require an evolution of the existing scholarly communication ecosystem to make such publishing sustainable. It has become clear to us, when analysing some specific subject areas within STM, that Open Access papers (published through the hybrid model) achieve greater downloads and become more highly cited, a phenomenon for which  there is increasing evidence(3). At the same time, a growing number of our authors want to publish their output gold OA, with some funders requiring their authors to publish only in fully gold OA journals. Funder policy in this area is evolving rapidly, as is experimentation of transformative OA business models, evidenced by a spate of recent announcements (4, 5, and 6). Changes in funder policies and business models will inevitably result in further, rapid growth of OA.

At Cambridge University Press, we are committed to playing a positive role in the development of Open Research, of which Open Access is a fundamental pillar, working in conjunction with our communities of researchers, institutions, learned societies and their funders. An important outcome of this year’s Open Access Week is for stakeholders to look at ‘strategies and structures for opening knowledge co-designed in and with the communities they serve’. We fundamentally agree with that approach. As such, we are currently assessing which journals could be suitable for flipping in 2020. Look out for further announcements in the coming year!

  1. Suber, P. Open Access Overview ( http://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm)
  2. DOAJ (https://doaj.org/)
  3. Piwowar H, Priem J, Larivière V, Alperin JP, Matthias L, Norlander B, Farley A, West J, Haustein S. (2018) The state of OA: a large-scale analysis of the prevalence and impact of Open Access articles. PeerJ6:e4375https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4375
  4. Plan S: Accelerating the transition to full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications (https://www.scienceeurope.org/coalition-s/)
  5. Championing Change in Journal Negotiations (https://osc.universityofcalifornia.edu/2018/06/championing-change-in-journal-negotiations/)
  6. MIT and Royal Society of Chemistry Sign First North American “Read and Publish” Agreement for Scholarly Articles (https://libraries.mit.edu/news/royal-society-chemistry-3/27769/)

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