Open Access: Case Studies For Societies & Journal Publishing
- Deni Auclair, Vice President & Lead Analyst, Outsell Inc.;
- Esmeralda Galán Buchanan, Journals Director, American Cancer Society;
- Rachel Burley, Vice President & Director of Open Access, John Wiley & Sons;
- Philip Wright, Chief Executive, The Physiological Society
Recorded October 21, 2014
For podcast release, November 19, 2014
KENNEALLY: Good day, everyone. We’re very happy to welcome you to our program today. As you can see from the list of senior executives that we have gathered for this particular Webinar, we’ve got a very rich program, a lot to cover. And really, why are we doing this is always a good question to start with. And we understand at the Copyright Clearance Center that open access is helping mission-driven publishing societies to disseminate knowledge, which is their primary goal, but it’s also causing them to reevaluate their financial business models.
And so we thought by working together with our partners on this program at Wiley, that we would give you all an opportunity to hear from your colleagues and get to understand better some case studies from our panel of experts. And they’re going to share insights on the challenges and solutions that they have put in place for open access and perhaps provide you with some keys and some clues for your own strategies to implement open access journals. And so we look forward to having you with us for the next hour or so.
So we’ll take 45 minutes, because we’re going to give you some time for questions, as Casey Bassett said. We will ask you to use the chat box in the lower right corner of your screen to let us know what’s on your mind, if you have an immediate clarification that you need to be made or if you have a question. In particular, if you have a question for one of our panelists, please try to indicate if it’s for one or the other, and we’ll make sure to direct it to them.
So what are we going to get to today? We’re going to understand just how we got to 2014 and look ahead. We will take, as I say, a careful study of several particular society publishers and how they have approached this issue. We’re going to hear from Philip Wright at the Physiological Society, as well as Esmerelda Buchanan at the American Cancer Society. And we’ll also give you some of our own commentary and review from colleagues here at Copyright Clearance Center and at Wiley. And, as I say, we will take your questions. We are tweeting. We used a hashtag for this particular program, #OAandSOC, so that’s #OAandSOC. You see that in the lower left hand corner of your screen. And Copyright Clearance center is on Twitter @copyrightclear. And we’ll give you Twitter handles for all of the panelists as we get to them.
And it’s important, I think, to acknowledge that we are speaking to you today as part of Open Access Week, a global event that is now entering its eighth year, an opportunity for the academic and research and publishing communities to continue to learn about open access and share what they’ve learned with their colleagues. Just a quick check on Twitter this morning shows me that this is indeed a global event. As we know, we have participants on our Webinar today from across Europe, North America and even in Asia, so we’re very much a part of that global effort. It’s a really terrific chance, Open Access Week, to connect and understand all the various policy changes, to bring together universities, colleges, research institutes, funding agencies, libraries, as well as publishers and authors, indeed, to discuss all of these issues.
And one interesting thing to say, we have been chatting about Copyright Clear – sorry, we’ve been chatting about open access here at Copyright Clearance Center, through these Webinars, with you for nearly two years now, and you would think that we’ve said all that there is need to be said. But in fact, a recent survey just published this week as part of open access, by the Nature Publishing Group and Palgrave Macmillan, gives us an idea of just the continuing need for information. They surveyed something like 30,000 authors about open access, and they found that one in five science authors, and roughly one in 10 of the humanities and social sciences, do not know if their main funder requires them to publish open access. And a significant number of authors are also unaware of the requirements of even the largest OA funders with long established mandates. So a report, a survey that I think everybody on this call will want to have a look at. You can find that online and perhaps on Twitter as well, as part of the Open Access Week celebrations, and we can call them that.
I’d like to turn right now to our first presenter, Deni Auclair. Deni, welcome to the program.
AUCLAIR: Thank you.
KENNEALLY: Deni Auclair, we’ll tell people about your background. Deni Auclair joined Outsell Incorporated, the only research and advisory firm focused on the information industry, in November of 2013, as vice president and lead analyst, covering science, technology, medical and healthcare. Before joining Outsell, Deni Auclair was president of Media Growth Strategies, and she was previously vice president, corporate development, at John Wiley and Sons and served as CFO at the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. And she is on Twitter @outsellinc.
And so Deni Auclair, again, welcome to the program. And what I think is important for our audience to understand, and we just heard it in your background, is that you simply haven’t been watching this from the outside. You have been part of this. And so you have some perspective that I think is important to share. And what I’d like to do very quickly is to look backward and look ahead with you. Open access isn’t new, necessarily, but it certainly has been dominating the headlines in the STM publishing community and indeed in academia for some time. Can you give us a quick retrospective on how we got to where we are today?
AUCLAIR: Sure. Well, one of the most interesting things I heard recently was at the SSP meeting in Boston, when a person from the OSTP, from the President’s office, said that the minute President Obama came into office, he said that he was going to make sure that research would be opened. And from that point on, it has had a snowball effect, and we’ve seen the growth of open access, albeit not meteoric, but certainly the conversations have been expanding rapidly. But the growth of open access has not been as fast as the advocates would like it to be, but we’ve definitely seen the growth of an acceptance, by the commercial publishing sector, of open access.
I remember very well when there was just vigorous lobbying against open access by the commercial publishers, the big guys, and the resistance on the other side from the open access advocates. And I just remember the ripple, the waves that went through the industry when it really became known that it was going to happen. And it has. So it – yeah?
KENNEALLY: Yeah, well, indeed, I was going to say that in a sense we’ve been thinking about this as revolution, but indeed it has turned out to be an evolution in the publishing world.
AUCLAIR: Exactly, exactly. It has turned into what – it’s been a discussion around what are the business models that are going to work, how is everybody going to come out satisfied and happy. In other words, how are publishers going to maintain their margins through what business models? And the business models have continued to proliferate. We have very interesting range of from green to gold to – hybrid is not really a model, but it is when you’re looking at the journal level as society’s gold-for-gold model. There’s PRJ’s membership model. There’s just all these different models and people testing the waters to see what’s going to work. And we’re stilling working on that.
And I think what’s been interesting is how there’s been a convergence, where now everybody’s on the same page to try to make this work so that everybody can come out where they want to be in the next 10 to 20 years.
KENNEALLY: Indeed, I’m thinking about another evolution, and I believe the quote was, let a thousand flowers bloom. And in this case here, with open access, we are at least seeing dozens of business models. Just a couple of weeks ago at the Frankfurt Book Fair, I had an opportunity to host a town meeting discussion about open access, and who holds the power was the question that we put to our panelists and a variety of people from around the STM publishing world, indeed from around the world. And one of the things I was reminded of was that when we go all the way back to the very beginning of the last decade, with the launch of BioMed Central, there was really no business model. So it shouldn’t surprise us that it has taken this amount of time to get where we are with a proliferation of those models.
AUCLAIR: I think that’s a very interesting question, who holds the power, because clearly for generations it was the publishers, the large commercial publishers. I think when the “serials” crisis came into play, it started to shift towards the librarians when they formed their consortia. And now that open access has become active, now the authors are going to be more and more empowered, although that has yet to happen. The funders, I think, are stepping in on behalf of the authors to try and have a little more sway, hold a little more sway over how things develop. And they’re still, I don’t want to say getting their act together, but they’re still deciding the approach that they’re going to take towards their mandates. And that is all going to form the future of open access.
KENNEALLY: Well, indeed. And one of the things that you are – at Outsell, you’re famous for numbers, of course, and I know you’ve got some information about the size of the marketplace that I think it’s important to share to people, or share with people, because it gives us some perspective. So while open access is here to stay, we have to, again, see it within the world of publishing, and you’ve got some numbers about that.
AUCLAIR: Right. I’m sorry, I’m seeing that people are having trouble hearing me. I’m hoping this helps. When Outsell sized the market, the 2011 open access market, it was sized at 172 million and growing by 34%. There’s different opinions on what the size of the market is, but this is a fairly granular analysis. We are working on a new one that will be coming out by the end of the year. But assuming consistent growth rates, the market at that rate would be around 300 million by the end of 2014. But that’s still only 1% of the total STM market, which most people agree is in the 30 billions. So it’s still not – it’s still a speck, but it’s not growing – it is growing at a fast pace.
KENNEALLY: Well, indeed. And one of the things, as we say, that it is certainly doing is capturing people’s attention, and certainly it will be part of the landscape for the future, although there’s still – can we say there’s still some time for people to think through their strategies?
AUCLAIR: Oh, definitely. I think there’s plenty of time. And that’s what’s happening, is what’s going to work the best for in order to both maintain bottom lines, margins, and also to make sure that information is freely available, which is what the generation that is coming into power now, coming into – moving into our seats, the older generation’s seats, that’s what they expect. They expect information to be free or mostly free. And I think that that’s where we’re going to converge, is to try to maintain margins and have free information that is valuable to the general public.
KENNEALLY: Well, Deni Auclair from Outsell, vice president and lead analyst there covering science, technology, medical and healthcare, thank you so much for that introduction. And I think it really does set the stage for our own program today, because we are going to hear about some attempts that people have made, some approaches that they have taken to address this issue.
And where we want to turn next is with a company that is very much in the forefront of all this and to someone who is leading all of that effort, Rachel Burley from John Wiley and Sons. Welcome.
KENNEALLY: Hello, Rachel. Welcome to our program. Rachel Burley is vice president and director of open access for Wiley, where she has responsibility for Wiley’s open access publishing activities, and leading a team that’s dedicated to open access. Wiley now publishes 30 open access journals, with 20 more launching this year. Wiley’s hybrid option has also been expanded to nearly 1300 journals, about 82% of Wiley’s journals program. And originally from the UK, as we will hear, Rachel now lives in New York and is based at Wiley’s Hoboken offices. And again, Rachel Burley, welcome to the program.
BURLEY: Thank you, Chris.
KENNEALLY: Well, one of the things that I just have to draw attention to is your title, director for – vice president and director for open access at Wiley. Deni Auclair was giving us a look back over the last decade or so on this story, and maybe 10 years ago people would have thought that was a contradiction in terms, rather like jumbo shrimp, open access at Wiley. But here you are very much a leading force in that.
BURLEY: Well, I think open access has been around at Wiley in the form of a hybrid option for quite some time, since 2006. But it’s fair to say that around about 2011, when we first launched our fully open access journals, there was recognition that this was a model that was here to stay and that we wanted to fully support that and make sure that we were offering open access options to our authors.
KENNEALLY: Indeed. And we should mention, Rachel, that some of those authors may be listening and certainly members of societies’ publishers and others who you work with on a regular basis are there. If they’ve got a question, if anyone has a question for Rachel, we would ask you to use the hashtag, sorry to use the chat box in the lower right corner of the screen. And as we did mention at the top of this, we are tweeting, and we invite you to join in the tweeting. We’re using the hashtag, #OAandSOCS. So that’s O-A-A-N-D-S-O-C-S. Please use that Twitter hashtag if you would, and we invite you to join the conversation with us as well as online.
So Rachel Burley, challenges and opportunities, that’s the dilemma that everybody faces here. And Deni Auclair certainly teed that up for you. There’s a concern that societies have. After all, journal publishing is a critical part of their operations.
BURLEY: Well, I think that’s right. And I think when I’m talking to society partners, that’s really one of their major concerns around open access. And of course, we know that many societies use the income from their journals to support their other critical activities. And they’re concerned that in an open access world, that that could place their journals into financial jeopardy. So I think that’s one of the major challenges.
And then a second challenge is really just the infrastructure that’s needed to support open access. It does have some major differences to the infrastructure needed to support a subscription model, and I think that’s, for societies that are self-publishing can also be a concern. By that, I mean things like managing the payment and administrations of APCs, although of course we do have platforms, like RightsLink, for open access, which are now available to help with that.
KENNEALLY: Indeed. And one of the things that is happening here, and I believe surveys such as Wiley has conducted itself with authors as well as the one I mentioned at the top of the program from Nature and Palgrave Macmillan, really show that there’s a shift going on here, bringing the authors much more towards the center of this picture and really changing, as you say, the infrastructure needs as a result.
BURLEY: I think that’s right. I think it’s been said before, but in an open access world, it’s an article-based economy rather than a collection of content-based economy. And of course in that model, the author is the customer, and the paying customer of course, and so it does sort of change the whole dynamics of the system.
KENNEALLY: Indeed. And we are speaking today about open access and societies with Rachel Burley, who is with us from John Wiley and Sons. And we speak about societies, but of course as you know at Wiley, that covers a broad range of scholarly research. And OA predominantly, open access is predominantly a concern for the health and life sciences group, but it is also increasingly a part of the discussion on the humanities and social sciences side as well. Is that right?
BURLEY: Yes, I think that’s right. It’s a growing, but still relatively small proportion of our open access publishing. So about 80% of papers that we publish open access are in the life and health sciences, and then there’s about 10% each of the physical sciences and social sciences and humanities.
KENNEALLY: And so really, when it comes right down to it, you mentioned about funder mandates. The relationship that publishers and authors have is obviously a very intimate one, but as a result of these funder mandates, some of them coming from government agencies in the UK, RCUK, the Research Council for the United Kingdom, as well as from Wellcome Trust, they have really become a part of the picture. And they very much are at the table when you’re trying to think about how to approach all of this. Isn’t that true?
BURLEY: Well, I think that’s right. And I think one of the concerns for societies is how can they make sure that authors can be compliant with funder mandates when they’re publishing in their journals. And at Wiley, we’ve done quite a lot of work in this area, making sure that authors have access to resources to help them understand what’s required of them, and also just introducing tools along the publishing process that make sure that they do comply. For example, making sure that authors who are mandated to use the CC BY, Creative Commons by attribution license, are only given that license. So we’re doing things to try to make it easier for them.
KENNEALLY: Indeed, that’s really what it comes down to. And for societies who are looking at all of this, there are a number of options that they should consider. And Rachel, you can give us a 30,000-foot view on that, and we will dive down closer when we speak to our other guests, Esmerelda Buchanan from American Cancer Society, and Philip Wright from the Physiological Society. Let’s look at that. One of the things that has happened is real growth in the hybrid option. And I know, as we introduced you, that has been expanded pretty widely in Wiley’s journals program. Just briefly define that and what’s been the attraction for that growth.
BURLEY: I think that’s right. I think the growth of the hybrid option has been partly supported by the funder mandates in the UK. They have obviously put a lot of grants in place to enable authors to publish open access, so that’s clearly been a driver. We published – the number of hybrid open access papers that Wiley published last year trebled from the year before. And interestingly, the growth was across all regions. And in fact, the growth rate in the U.S. was higher than the growth rate in the UK. So I think what we’re finding is that, yes, the funder mandates are driving the growth of open access, but also the authors globally are electing to publish open access and using their research grants to fund that.
KENNEALLY: Well, it –
BURLEY: Sorry, I was just going to say I think for many societies, the hybrid option is actually a very good option.
KENNEALLY: Indeed. And there’s another option, which is – because of course, as we’ll hear again from our guests, there’s some really established journal names, high impact factor and important brands that go with them. One of the things that societies can do is to launch entirely new journals, and that’s something that you have done with them. Tell us about what would encourage societies to think about starting a new fully open access journal.
BURLEY: Well, I think most of the journals that we’ve launched open access with society partners have tended to be, obviously, in the life and health sciences. And they tend to be affiliated with journal brands that have very high rejection rates. One option that we’ll hear about a bit later from the other speakers is the cascade model option. And for societies that publish a number of journals and are rejecting a lot of papers, then obviously it’s an option for them to capture more of that content by launching an open access journal that will publish some of the papers that are not meeting the priority bar for the primary journals.
KENNEALLY: Right. And they can launch their own fully access open journal, or they can become, if you will, a feeder to other existing open access journals that Wiley may be publishing.
BURLEY: Well, that’s right. I think for some societies that are in quite small niche fields, it’s hard to launch a journal into that field. Sometimes there just isn’t the volume of papers to support it. And in some of those cases, an option is to refer papers that have been peer reviewed, but rejected, to an open access journal in the same field. And I know Esmerelda will talk about that, so I won’t talk too much about that here.
KENNEALLY: OK, that’s fine. We will, as you say, hear from Esmerelda Buchanan at the American Cancer Society. Another option is to flip the journal, as they say internally, from the subscription model to open access. Before we get to that, though, we do have a call for a clarification, and I suppose it’s worth taking a moment. The hybrid option is simply to, if I understand it and I’ll let you elaborate, Rachel Burley, is that once a paper has been accepted to an established journal, one that would have principally a subscription model for its funding, the author is given the option to make the piece immediately available as an open access journal by paying a fee. Isn’t that right?
BURLEY: That’s right, yes. So the authors, they’re not – they’re used to making payments for publications. And we’ve found that when you offer authors that choice, you say, well, your paper isn’t suitable for journal A, it is suitable for journal B and we can transfer the manuscript with the peer reviews that have already been conducted, in many cases the authors are not unhappy to pay a publication fee, because the process is so much quicker for them.
KENNEALLY: Indeed. And we were speaking about flipping journals, and this is a question, I think, that is much on the minds of people on our program today. Why would they make that choice? And it is all the same, relatively uncommon, at least in Wiley’s experience, but there is a kind of, if you will, a mathematical equation that you can do to see whether it’s worth trying to do. And I understand that for Wiley, it’s where the uptake on open access in this hybrid option is relatively high.
BURLEY: Yeah. So I think that’s one reason that societies would decide to flip a journal. I should say that we have only flipped eight journals from subscription to open access. We do have another four that we’ll move next year, but it’s still a relatively small number. So you’re right, but if the journal has an increasing volume of open access content, then there’s clearly demand in the field, and the journal may be a candidate for moving fully open access. Some other journals, we’ve found, had basically more authors than readers, and these are journals where they have very high impact factors, high rejection rates, but they were launched really at the height of the serials crisis and just never really picked up on subscriptions. So those journals also have been good candidates for flipping.
KENNEALLY: OK. And a question from the audience is also worth raising, which regards assessing APCs, so-called article processing charges. And some of the societies that you work with have made the funding of APCs a membership benefit.
BURLEY: Well, that’s right. It is fairly rare, I should say, but we have had a few society partners, particularly in Asia, where they have actually subsidized or fully funded the publication charges on behalf of their members as a benefit. But as I say, it hasn’t been particularly common.
KENNEALLY: Indeed. I mentioned the program we did at the Frankfurt Book Fair on open access, and we heard about institutions as well deciding to subsidize APCs for a journal. That was a kind of a law review, but another interesting choice there. And finally, and we do want to get on with the program here, but we have another term that’s worth giving a definition to, Rachel Burley, and that would be this notion of go green.
BURLEY: Well, yeah. So I think while green open access, which obviously means self-archiving of the author-accepted version of the paper, so it does support the subscription model, to a certain extent, but it is a concern because there is a push for short embargo periods. And as we know, that could trigger subscription cancellations as more content is freely available. And so I think particularly for journals in the social sciences and humanities, this is a fairly big issue, because there isn’t the funding necessarily available to pay for gold, but the embargo periods that the funders require are generally too short for those fields since they represent a risk.
KENNEALLY: And it’s a point worth underscoring. We’ve been discussing all the various business models. Deni Auclair really made the point strongly that we’re still very much at the beginning of all of this, and there are a variety of models. We’ve covered all of them pretty much, but there are even some others out there that you think we may see in coming years. And very briefly, they include the premium as well as the third-party sponsorship. In particular, premium is about bringing the authors into the business in ways that they haven’t been before.
BURLEY: Yes. And we haven’t seen this yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we did in the future. Premium is obviously a model where the core product is given away to a large group of users and then you sell premium products to a smaller fraction of the user base. And a good example of that is Skype. But we haven’t really seen that in scholarly publishing, and I think there could be potential for it.
And by third-party, what I mean there is that the advertising revenue in an open access model journal is really something that seems to have gone away, yet the advertisers still need to reach those audiences. So what I’d quite like to see is an open access model that’s third-party subsidized, where advertisers pay for the open access, the authors publish free, but what we haven’t come up with yet is a way to do that that doesn’t damage integrity.
KENNEALLY: Well, Rachel Burley, vice president and director, open access for John Wiley and Sons, thank you. And we’re going to turn right now to our next guest and begin the case study portion of our program. We have Philip Wright on the line from the UK. Philip Wright, welcome to our program.
WRIGHT: Hi, Chris.
KENNEALLY: Hello. And we’ll tell people briefly about your own background. You are currently chief executive of the Physiological Society, where you’ve been for four years. You have extensive experience in the pharmaceutical, biological and biomedical science sectors. Indeed, in 2007, you founded and led Stem Cells For Safer Medicines, a public-private research collaboration, to develop the use of stem cells in early drug safety screening. And you were director of science and technology at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, and director of scientific and educational affairs at Glaxo Wellcome.
And Philip is – the Twitter handle there for the Physiological Society is on the screen there, ThePhySoc. And we are, as we say, and we’ll correct that hashtag there, we’re using the hashtag open access and S-O-C-S. So that’s #OAandSOCS if you are tweeting, and we hope you’ll join us on that. If you have a question, you can use the chat box in the lower right hand corner of the screen.
And so Philip Wright, you’ve heard from Deni Auclair and Rachel Burley just now, setting the stage for all of this. And when it came time for the Physiological Society to examine what your approach to open access would be, you really took that seriously and, in fact, I believe, formed a task force to look at all of this.
WRIGHT: Yeah. It might be worth just contextualizing it. We’re a society created in 1876, and our preeminent journal, The Journal of Physiology, was created in 1878. So it’s got a long history, with multiple Nobel Prize winners, 24 publishing their work in the journal. Our second journal, Experimental Physiology, is also high quality, was launched in 1908. So we have a long history.
Interestingly enough, our journals in 2005, both of them started opening up all of the articles, after 12 months, to open access and also provided a gold option. The positioning of those was slightly different. Our main journal, The Journal of Physiology, has a slightly higher APC, about $3000. And our second one, Experimental Physiology, is around $2250. So they’re both meant to focus on high quality science and those papers which are relatively high impact. (inaudible) –
KENNEALLY: Well, indeed, and – I’m sorry.
WRIGHT: Yeah, and I was going to say 86% of our authors are outside the UK, so we really have to take a global perspective. And about –
KENNEALLY: Well, the – I’m sorry.
WRIGHT: Yeah, go ahead.
KENNEALLY: So with that global perspective, you also have to be concerned about the future of the society. As you say, it’s done tremendous work over more than a century, and so as you looked at open access, you had a variety of considerations to make. You have to support the society, make sure that it stays strong and healthy. You’ve got to respect the wish of funders. You’ve got to support the journals, which have their own reputations, without undermining them. So that’s a delicate balancing act.
WRIGHT: Yes. And that’s precisely why we introduced the task force that you mentioned. And that’s had both internal experts and we had external expertise as well, providing some independent view. And what we did was we developed it and looked at it holistically, not that we were going to change our main journals, but to look at how we should really adapt and change or indeed introduce something new in relation to the external trends and pressures from funders.
Ironically, at that time, so (inaudible) holistic strategy, we also knew as a society that we had a very strong community. And I think that was shared, interestingly enough as well, with our American colleagues. And we started looking at this, and ironically, I think we were looking at a brand around originally open physiology. And our American counterparts, the American Physiological Society, were looking at physiology open. So we thought, this is mad, we ought to get together. So we created a small task force, and we actually owned the new journal we launched, which is called Physiological Reports. And Wiley, actually, were very positive in terms of coming up with a proposal in getting it launched and driving it forward.
So we introduced the journal, and that allowed us to create, I think, an option, an alternative option. If you look at – we were looking at the number of so-called physiology papers going into other OA journals, and we were missing out. Most of our main journals have an acceptance rate between 25% and 30%, so there’s a number of high quality papers which we were losing. So our new journal, Physiological Reports, was designed really to capture the high quality papers that otherwise wouldn’t make it into our main journals through cascade. But it would also attract de novo submissions into, I would say, the community. So I think that’s been working very well.
We also made it clear that the first 100 submissions, we waived the fee for them, to actually try and create some critical mass. And within the first year, we really hit all the targets. So that’s great work by our editorial boards and, of course, by Wiley as well. But I think one of the key things was actually both of the societies had strong journal brands, and the journals that we had supported the new journal in terms of the cascade. And the community has also supported it. So I think that’s been very, very helpful.
KENNEALLY: And you mentioned community, and I think we want to underscore that. We heard about a program, when we did the Frankfurt Book Fair, on who holds the power. And a common answer to that is authors. But I like the word “community,” because the community here isn’t simply the researchers. It’s those, like yourself, who are directing the publishing program. And the effort to create this particular journal, The Physiological Reports, that, as you say, launched just about a year and a half ago, was really about having a journal for the physiologists, if I can call them that. It was a journal, I think you called it a journal for us.
WRIGHT: Yeah, that’s right, it is. And the benefits that come back, obviously there’s a feeling of community and working to contribute to it. Just like we have – and this is about understanding our authors. We know that we have a loyal following in our main journals, and we wanted to capture that. But we also wanted people to want to think about supporting Physiological Reports in the longer term and not just in the short term, so the importance of de novo submissions. And that’s been quite successful. We’ve got 28% of all submissions are de novo anyway, so it’s not just cascade.
KENNEALLY: Well, indeed, I think that is an important point. And it was interesting, you have found, I think, a contrast in the uptake when it comes to UK authors and U.S. authors. Briefly, tell us about that.
WRIGHT: Yeah. One of the things that we’ve noticed is, and it’s really a different approach, I think, from our American colleagues to ourselves, in both The Journal of Physiology and Experimental Physiology, our main journals, we don’t have any page charges, we don’t have any color charges. And I think, then, although we have a large number of referrals, there is a lower acceptance of the referrals by the authors. And I think this is a mindset. Our American colleagues do have page charges and color charges, so I think it’s an easier step for them to move from maybe several hundred dollar charges up to the $1500 OA charge for Physiological Reports than it is for those who come to us, because there is no charge.
And so we’re having to think about how we address that, if we should address it. We certainly don’t want to change the model for our main journals, because they’re highly successful, but it does mean we have to think about how do we encourage those to cascade when they have high quality journals that we think we still want, but maybe don’t fit into our two preexisting journals.
KENNEALLY: It’s fascinating, Philip Wright, because you are really discussing what one of our attendees has asked about, which is navigating the challenge of quality. And so your approach to it really does try to emphasize the quality of the work.
WRIGHT: Yeah, and we don’t – so we’re looking not necessarily at high impact papers. We’re looking at good quality scientific papers. We’re looking at good quality scientific confirmatory papers and negative result papers, which we have accepted into Physiological Reports. We’re not reducing the level of peer review, in the sense that we want the papers to be sound. They’re not going to skimp on that. I think that would undermine what our community is about, in terms of supporting physiology as a discipline. That’s something we’re not going to compromise. And I think it’s something slightly different, maybe, from some of the other large volume OA journals, which are not necessarily discipline-specific. They probably don’t have quite the same threshold in terms of the quality of the scientific papers. So it is important for us.
The other thing is, actually, if there is a cascade from our journals, that normally goes with a – the peer review actually goes over with the journals. And we’re finding 90% are then published in the OA journal, Physiological Reports. So it is working, I think, very effectively, and it’s retaining quality while addressing the specific need and the specific targeting of our open access journal.
KENNEALLY: Well, Philip Wright, chief executive of the Physiological Society, thank you for that. We want to turn to your colleague in the U.S., and a very different type of society. And we’re going to welcome now to our program Esmerelda Buchanan. Esmerelda, welcome.
BUCHANAN: Thank you.
KENNEALLY: We’re happy to have you join us. Esmerelda Buchanan is the journals director of the American Cancer Society. And you’ve been with the ACS for almost 15 years and oversee the editorial and business operations for the journals Cancer, Cancer Cytopathology, and CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. You’re also responsible for ACS’s continuing education program and related journal-based activities. Twitter handle for Esmerelda Buchanan would be @JournalCancer. And again, if you’re tweeting, please use the hashtag #OAandSOCS. S-O-C-S is our hashtag for today. OA and open – I’m sorry, OA and societies.
So Esmerelda Buchanan, I think the thing to start by asking you to do is to set the stage for everybody listening right now and to distinguish the American Cancer Society. The society in the name there is a very different type of society than many people on the line right now. The ACS is, of course, not a membership society.
BUCHANAN: That’s right. The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization. We’re dedicated to eliminating cancer, so we focus on patients, caregivers, families and survivors. We’re funded largely by individual donations and fundraising. And as you mentioned, we have no professional membership.
KENNEALLY: Indeed. And so the educational goal of these journals is important, but of course you need to make sure that they are funded properly, that they have – that they are financially strong. And so there are a number of ways that you do all of that. And if you could, so tell us about some of the models, or the business models that existed before you began considering open access.
BUCHANAN: Sure. So we have three journals, as you mentioned, and one of them, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, publishes solicited reviews and is our flagship journal. The audience for that journal is primary care and oncology. That journal has an interesting model, which I call free access, because we publish all the content in that journal for free online. And there are no publication fees for any of our titles, no page charges, no color charges, no submission fees. But it was important for the society to make the content from that particular journal be free online so that everyone could access it, because it’s highly educational, very important for progress in cancer. We publish guidelines and statistics and other information on the latest treatments for cancer.
And then our other two journals – I consider that one sort of a free access journal, and we don’t really call it an open access journal because we don’t charge APC. Cancer and Cancer Cytopathology publish research content. Those journals have content that is made really available after 12 months. And then we do publish some content immediately and make it available, such as supplements and from news content. So that’s the free access option that we have. In addition to that –
KENNEALLY: But what’s interesting – I’m sorry, Esmerelda, what I was going to say, what’s interesting about ACS is because of the very unique nature of your business, of your research, of your mission, you are able to invent and to innovate. And so, as you say, the free access approach is one way you’ve done that. Another way that you’ve done it is through what you call online open, which is your version of hybrid OA. Tell us about that.
BUCHANAN: Yes. A while ago, Wiley, who’s our publisher for our titles, approached us about offering online open as an OA option to our authors. And we were very happy to get involved with that, because we wanted to make sure that authors had the option of fulfilling whatever mandates they needed to fulfill. And also, if they felt strongly about open access and wanted to pay a fee to make their content available immediately upon publication, we wanted them to have that option.
So we did begin doing that, and we have not seen a huge – we haven’t had a huge number of online open articles, but in 2012 we had six papers published with online open, and in 2014 we’ve had 28. So it has increased. Our papers tend not to have as much government funding, and we don’t get as much from the UK, so that may be one of the reasons why those numbers are not as high. But we have seen it grow a little bit over the last couple of years.
KENNEALLY: Right. Well, Esmerelda Buchanan, one of the things you have done is to work with Wiley. Of course, Wiley is the publisher for your journals. But they created an open access journal, launched it in 2011, called Cancer Medicine, and there, ACS has really had an opportunity to be an important part of the growth of that particular title. Tell us how it works and what are the benefits for ACS in working with that journal.
BUCHANAN: Sure. Wiley had approached us a few years ago regarding a new journal that they were publishing, called Cancer Medicine, an open access title that they wanted to see if we were willing to allow our two biggest journals, Cancer, which receives about 30,000 submissions a year, and Cancer Cytopathology, which receives about 150-200 submissions a years, to feed rejected articles with their reviews to Cancer Medicine and allow the authors to have the option of transferring their paper over to that journal, if they so chose, and then paying OA fees if they got accepted, etc.
So we liked this idea, because it meant that some of those reviews, which can be very difficult to acquire, would not be wasted. They would transfer with the paper. And Cancer Medicine could take a look at that information and request additional reviews or use those reviews to make their own decisions about the acceptability of that content. For Cancer in particular, we only accept about 16% of what we receive, so we do reject a lot of papers. And they’re good papers, but they’re not necessarily up to the standards of Cancer. And the same is true for Cancer Cytopathology. So we felt that it was a good option for us, because we weren’t really thinking about launching our own OA journal. It has never really been a huge focus for us or part of our main strategy, but we wanted to offer options to our authors whenever possible.
KENNEALLY: I was going to say, Esmerelda, is that as Philip Wright was emphasizing in the efforts that the Physiological Society has made, Physiological Reports and so forth, it’s about the community. And it sounds to me like working with Cancer Medicine and referring people to Cancer Medicine is, in a sense, a kind of a service to the community of researchers that are submitting to your journals.
BUCHANAN: Yes, I would definitely agree with that. It’s easier – if somebody submits to Cancer, for instance, and then they’re rejected but they have very good reviews, they’re looking for a place to publish, it’s a lot easier for them to just say, OK, sure, I’ll transfer my paper over here. They know what the reviews are, maybe they think they’ve got a better shot, and maybe it’s a faster process for them and it’s a little bit easier and less time consuming, and maybe they eventually get accepted. So it saves them some of those extra steps they might have to take otherwise, which I think is good.
We have seen, I do have some numbers. From 2012 to 2014, we referred over 2700 papers from Cancer to Cancer Medicine. And of those, 300 authors chose to transfer. And then on our other title, Cancer Cytopathology, we referred 28 papers and one has chosen to transfer. Of those transfer papers, about 100 were accepted. So that’s 100 authors that were able to find a place to publish and hopefully continue to use those reviews that we already went through the trouble of acquiring.
KENNEALLY: Right. And really, when it comes down to takeaways, we see those on the screen right now, the one I want to just ask you about briefly, Esmerelda, before we turn to an additional guest, is you at ACS, again, given the very special position you’re in, are approaching open access very carefully. You’re looking at it within the context of your other operational goals and looking for other models, looking for the opportunity to innovate. And I think that that is a good takeaway for everybody in the audience here. Open access isn’t just a one size fits all, I have to do what everybody else is doing. You can adjust open access to your own particular society’s needs.
BUCHANAN: Exactly. We have to be very careful about protecting the revenues, subscription and other revenue that we have, because the society survives on donations, individuals giving money. And so it’s important for the journals program to support itself. When you have one journal that you put online and publish all the content for free and don’t deny access to anyone and don’t have subscriptions, that journal has to be supported. And so the other two journals that do have the subscription models that work well right now, and offer hybrid options and we do the cascading, we have all these other options. With all of that, you’re still able to support the entire program without delving back into the main revenue that comes into the society from fundraising and donations. And that’s really important (inaudible) society.
KENNEALLY: Right. And just to make it clear, Esmerelda Buchanan, so in the cascading model, there is a financial relationship there, isn’t there?
BUCHANAN: Yes, there is a small, and I do emphasize small, referral fee that comes from any papers that are accepted after they go through peer review at Cancer Medicine.
KENNEALLY: Well, Esmerelda Buchanan at the American Cancer Society, thank you indeed for joining us. And finally and very quickly, I want to turn it to a colleague of mine at Copyright Clearance Center, Chuck Hemingway. Chuck, welcome.
HEMINGWAY: Hi, everybody. Thanks for your time. Chris, I’ll keep my comments brief so you can take some questions.
HEMINGWAY: I did want to say that there are a few things that we’ve picked up in our discussions with publishers far and wide, and some of the themes were mentioned here today. But the first word being evolution. I think OA is an evolution, and publishers and societies should think hard about looking for partners that can help them evolve and support them as they evolve. To the degree that they can align themselves with the goals of their society, I think they need to do some examination, some heavy thinking. How does the publishing program support the goals of the society, whether that’s dissemination, revenue, membership, feedback, participation? Whatever it is, I think if they take the time and look hard at those things, they’ll have success. And if we can help them through our services, we’re happy to do that. And we welcome your questions.
KENNEALLY: Well, thank you for that, Chuck. And Rachel Burley, I want to bring you back, I want to bring back all the panelists here. We have been trying to help people understand the issues regarding open access and societies as part of Open Access Week, in a program we’ve developed jointly with John Wiley here at Copyright Clearance Center. And I think if we’ve been listening, we see these points really have been made by everybody involved, Rachel. Be author-friendly is one that I really think is an important lesson. Consider collaboration. We’ve heard good examples there. And finally, don’t panic.
BURLEY: Yeah, so I think that’s right, Chris. As you said, it’s an evolution and not a revolution. And I think there’s lots of options for societies to become engaged with open access, that there’s definitely no need to panic that we’re suddenly going to become a completely open access world. And that’s going to be something they have to deal with in the next three to five years.
KENNEALLY: Indeed. And we’ve had a number of questions and appreciate all the contributions there. They really have been focused around one particular very large question, and I know it’s going to be hard to get it all in in the very brief time left to us, but I just leave this as a toss-up to Philip or to Esmerelda or, indeed, to Rachel or Deni. And the work that has to be done in creating differences and similarities between existing journals and OA journals. They work hand in glove, but clearly they have different business models, they also have different reputations, maybe even different audiences. Philip Wright, is that a real challenge?
WRIGHT: Yes and no. I think this is the point that we took this holistic approach. Two things. One was looking very specifically at not compromising the scientific quality of the papers, but looking at maybe – not looking at such high hurdles in terms of the impact. So it was differentiating them from our main journals in terms of that assessment of likely impact of the science that was being presented. And the second thing was very much around the level of the APCs. So we have differentiated in terms of the markets and the amount paid.
KENNEALLY: And Esmerelda Buchanan, you clearly have made it a point of offering distinct choices for authors. And obviously with journals like the type of work that’s coming from the American Cancer Society, Cancer and the other journals, it is critical to keep things pretty clear.
BUCHANAN: Yes, it is. We definitely have very high standards for what we accept for Cancer or Cancer Cytopathology. Initially, when we started referring papers to Cancer Medicine, the OA journal, we were referring papers that had been rejected and had reviews attached to them. And then we were asked to take a look at it and see if we would consider referring papers that were rejected editorially from the editor-in-chief level before going on to associate editors. So we did. So the number of papers that we refer now has increased because we are sending those papers that the editor-in-chief has also looked at and said, this is not quite us, or it’s interesting but not cutting edge enough or exciting enough. So we definitely distinguish between what we’re publishing in our core journals versus the OA journal and what we would refer there.
And there are some papers that the editor-in-chief will not refer. I would say about 5% or 6% of what we get that is rejected, the editor-in-chief will not refer them to Cancer Medicine because they’re just not good for any journal, according to him.
KENNEALLY: Well, thank you for that candid reply there, Esmerelda Buchanan. And we will wrap up today’s program, remind everybody online that in partnership with the Association of Lawyers and Professional Society Publishers, Copyright Clearance Center has created an open access resource center. We are online at openaccessresources.org. And you can get all the latest on open access trends, news reports, Websites, white papers, and it is broken down by region. And as we mentioned, as part of Open Access Week, open access is very much a global issue, but with important differences between approaches in Asia, the Middle East, the Americas, UK and Europe and so forth. So do look for all of that online at openaccessresources.org.
And finally, I want to thank all of our participants today. A very rich discussion indeed. And we will make available recordings of it and transcripts, so if people want to review it and really study it and pass it along to colleagues, we urge you to do that. But I want to thank everybody on the line today, Deni Auclair of Outsell, Rachel Burley with John Wiley and Sons, Esmerelda Buchanan of the American Cancer Society, Philip Wright, joining us from the UK at the Physiological Society, my colleague, Chuck Hemingway, and Casey Bassett, who’s directed the program today. For all of us at Copyright Clearance Center, my name is Christopher Kenneally. Thanks so much for joining us.