New developments on Open Access publications
By Ingemar Pongratz
The European Commission has promoted Open Access publications for some time now. Open Access publication implies that research findings are published in scientific journals. The findings are made available to other researchers and to the wide general public at no cost.
In practical terms researchers pay a fee to the publisher of the scientific journal and make their work freely available. Therefore, readers do not need to pay a subscription fee to the journal.
Currently, there are also other alternatives where subscription journals allow researchers to make their work freely available provided that the authors pay a higher publishing cost.
This approach is called hybrid publishing. This is used by a wide number of established scientific journals, many of them with very high impact factors.
In fact, this is currently a key problem. The research community and individual researchers are dependent on their publication record, and always strive to publish in journal with high impact factor. Most of the high impact factor journal are subscription based or adopt a hybrid publishing strategy, where scientists are offered the alternative to make their work open access at a higher fee.
New developments on Open Access publications are on their way.
The current plan (Plan-S) calls for making all research publications open access. In addition, The EU is against the hybrid publication plans.
It is not surprising that the researchers are concerned with these ideas. However, the European Commission and other funding agencies, such as the Gates foundation and the Wellcome Trust have decided to support this model.
The view of the EU has been that research supported by for example the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation scheme should be Open Access but has allowed for publication in hybrid journals. In fact, EU representatives state that they were expecting opposition from the scientific community. However, the EU views the old publication practices as archaic and outdated and see researchers as obsessed in impact factors.
However, it is clear that a transition to Open Access Platforms will take time. It is important to remember that researchers apply for funding from multiple funding sources, many of which still view High Impact factor journals are a sign of quality. In fact, Universities themselves view High Impact articles as important for the careers of the individual researchers. It is therefore very doubtful that this view will change in a few years. However, the European Commission is planning for Plan S to start by 2020.
However, open access is an excellent strategy. The strategy needs to be regulated and widely communicated to all parties, including the universities.
Ingemar Pongratz is founder of Fenix Scientific AB / Pongratz Consulting. We help organizations to apply for funding from public sources including European schemes. These include the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation scheme. If you require assistance to plan and prepare an application, please contact us through the online contact form (opens in a new window) or by email to:
Ingemar.pongratz (a) pongratzconsulting.com