The Winning Move for Open Access recorded at London Book Fair 2017
for podcast release Monday, March 27, 2017
•Caroline Burley, Royal Society of Chemistry
•David Prosser, RLUK
•Brett Rubinstein, IOP Publishing
•Amanda Ward, Springer Nature
KENNEALLY: Publishing and chess would not seem obvious soulmates, but they share much in common. Like chess masters, publishers almost never make a quick strike that leads to victory. It’s possible to win chess in as few as two moves, though most tournaments last much longer. It’s also possible to publish Harry Potter, though it is useful to recall that the first novel by J.K. Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before Bloomsbury acquired it for an advance of only £1500. Indeed, publishing is a long game. The reputations of many publishers exhibiting here at the London Book Fair rest on foundations that are decades, even centuries old.
But this is 2017, and resting anywhere or on anything is no longer a reliable business strategy. In the dynamic open access publishing environment, especially, nothing stands still for long. The gold road model that allows researchers to pay article processing charges may have become the preferred route of many funders and institutions. But as OA continues to gather momentum, tracking and reporting compliance have proven a challenge. The push is on, not only to drive out costs, but also to move toward automation and scalability. Ideally, integrated workflows that leverage standards and best practices can help to build an open, sustainable infrastructure. Through innovative approaches that create a seamless workflow, publishers, funders, and institutions hope to make a market together.
Like chess, the winning move for open access requires a thoughtful strategy. The challenges are complex, but the principles are easy to summarize. Develop multiple pieces early and often. Get them out of their starting spots to open up your options, control the center, and protect the king.
With that as an introduction, I want to introduce my panel who will be discussing these issues with me, and we’re very happy that they can join us. I’ll tell you about them. From my very far left, David Prosser, he’s the executive director of RLUK. David, welcome.
PROSSER: Thank you.
KENNEALLY: David Prosser became the executive director of Research Libraries UK in March of 2010. RLUK is the representative body for the UK’s leading research libraries. Before moving to RLUK, David was, from 2002, the founding director of SPARC Europe, an alliance of over 110 research-led university libraries from 14 European countries. Previously he worked for Oxford University Press and Elsevier Science. David received a Ph.D. and a bachelor of science in physics from Leeds University here in the UK.
Then to my immediate left is Caroline Burley. Caroline, welcome.
BURLEY: Thank you.
KENNEALLY: Caroline is journals operations manager, publishing services and production for the Royal Society of Chemistry. She oversees the RSC Journal’s customer service team for authors, users, and referees.
Then to my right, immediately, is Brett Rubinstein. Welcome.
RUBINSTEIN: Thank you.
KENNEALLY: Brett is the head of business development and Europe, Middle East, Africa sales at IOP Publishing, a leading scientific society promoting physics, with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000. Since 2012, Brett has helped lead IOP’s efforts in developing new revenue streams across product development, business models, partnerships, and other areas of commercial strategy. Prior to joining IOP, Brett spent seven years at Springer, where he was a VP of library sales North America.
And then finally, to my far right is Amanda Ward, head of program management for the Open Research Group business operations at Springer Nature, and Amanda, welcome, as well.
KENNEALLY: Amanda is responsible at Springer Nature for providing a clear, market-focused vision for the management of the Open Research Business Group through the full publication lifecycle. She’s worked in the STM publishing industry for over 15 years.
Caroline, I’d like to start with you because innovation is what the winning move for open access really seems to be about. We’ll talk about a program that RSC started a few years ago. But you have some news that’s come out of RSC just the end of last year, which is the Max Planck pilot that you’re working on. It’s very innovative, it’s attempting to address some of the challenges that people have been discovering as they learn their way through open access. The Max Planck pilot is called Read and Publish. Tell our audience about what it’s trying to achieve.
BURLEY: The idea behind our Read and Publish deal is that it’s an offsetting deal, so in speaking with our institutional customers we’ve learned that what they really want is for us to take on some of the burden that they’ve been managing and overseeing in terms of the administration of the open access process. What we’re doing with this pilot with the Max Planck Institutes is that we are identifying the papers that are submitted to us from the eligible institutes, and we are then directing them down the route of open access. The Max Planck Institutes are funding that open access as what we’d previously call part of the subscription deal, and that subscription is now a subscription to not only read our content in our hybrid journals, but also to publish open access within them.
KENNEALLY: And for everyone here, to be sure that we understand, so offsetting there is attempt to find, if not a balance, at least a fair exchange from subscription models to APC. So I have that right?
BURLEY: Exactly, yeah.
KENNEALLY: But this another effort by RSC, a really innovative effort to do things differently and to come up with some formulas that work for authors, as well as for their institutions. Previously RSC had a program called Gold for Gold, which I believe goes back as far as 2012. Success in many ways, but it’s now kind of reached the end of its line, and that’s what pilots are supposed to do.
BURLEY: Exactly. Our Gold for Gold deal was a deal where all subscribers to our Gold package of journals would receive vouchers up to the value of their subscription, and they could use those vouchers to pay for the APC charges to make articles open access. We launched this in 2012, as you said. The aim of this was really to provide support to our customers through a period of uncertainty in the open access landscape. This was at a time when it was really unclear where a lot of the funding for APCs was going to come from. So we saw this was part of our role in helping our community make that transition. It really enabled us not only to raise the visibility of open access within our chemistry community, but it also enabled us to have really useful conversations with our customers in our wider community to understand their needs. As you say, we’ve completed that pilot phase now. We’ve learnt a lot through it, it’s been very successful, we’ve published over 8,000 articles open access as a result.
But what we learned from the conversations we were having was that this model of publication wasn’t meeting everybody’s needs, and we needed to find a more sustainable route towards open access publishing. That involves developing pure open access journals, of which we now have two, but also looking towards these other needs of institutions and how we can better support them in actually taking on the administrative burden such as these read and publish deals.
KENNEALLY: That’s what I was going to say because what’s happening with open access is it’s taking all the various stakeholders in this workflow out of their silos, and they’re now meeting each other. David Prosser is joining us here at publishing event, which is I think very informative to what this discussion is all about. You said the Gold for Gold pilot helped you learn some things, and maybe some positive things and things that you really had to work on. But it opened up a dialogue with the universities, and that was probably the most important result.
BURLEY: Absolutely. We have been able to learn what their priorities are, how much they do or do not want to manage the process themselves, how they want to identify papers that are going to be eligible for these sorts of workflows.
KENNEALLY: The onus, though, I think you said it, you are now taking on more of the burden of this. Tell us about that and what that’s going to me.
BURLEY: Well, that’s really the key challenge for us. In the past with our voucher schemes this has been managed by the Institutes themselves. They have been able to identify which papers they want to make open access, and then they’ve alerted us to that. While we haven’t had sophisticated workflow systems behind the scenes, we’ve been able to cope with that in a quite manual process, but fairly easily. Now the big challenge for us is how we take that on and how we now can identify all the papers that are going to be submitted to us from an eligible institution or from, say, an eligible funder in the future. That’s really the key to making these new workflows work, but really that’s the really big challenge to us at this time.
KENNEALLY: And Brett Rubinstein at IOP, I’m sure that sounds fairly familiar to you. The concerns that you bring to this discussion really center around offsetting. Can you fill us in a bit and maybe tell us, from what Caroline was just saying, how familiar that really is. Is it the same challenge?
RUBINSTEIN: It’s very similar. At IOP we’ve been working with different institutions on these offsetting agreements for a few years. We worked with the Austrian consortium KEMÖ and the FWF, we’ve worked with the UK institutions through RLUK, and effectively we’re doing similar things. We’re trying to set up a model and structure where authors can publish open access through the library channels. The fees that they pay can be offset from the library subscription fees. In effect, this is trying to address the cash flow issues that publishing in either route would present.
The challenges is that – some of the challenges, I should say, is that in order to manage these agreements and report on these agreements, we’re having to tie together systems in ways that we haven’t had to before. In the past the editorial system and the peer review system would have been managed by our publishing or editorial departments and the authors would use that. Now information from that has to be verified against information in our licensing system.
We also have to work extensively with libraries in communicating these agreements to authors. That’s one of the largest challenges that we still have. We’re trying to educate the authors in a certain way so that they understand that these arrangements have been made for them by their institution. At the same time, there’s also the desire from authors to publish as quickly as possible, and also not to have to get into too much detail about this.
So I think the three separate groups, there, of the authors and the publishers and the libraries are gradually working through this together. Our focus, now, is on making investments in various areas to try to tie them together in a better way.
KENNEALLY: Let’s talk about some of those investments, but first I want to follow up on something I think you alluded to, but it’s important to bring out. You were talking about developing new systems, but there are some new behaviors that have to happen as well. You mentioned communications and being sure that the communication is really open and continuous, I would assume.
RUBINSTEIN: It is. And it varies from institution to institution. I’m sure David could chime in on this, as well, but there are some institutions where the libraries are very close with the faculty, and the libraries are very involved in the publishing process, in working with publishers on their behalf. There are other institutions, probably a majority of institutions, where that communication doesn’t exist at all. So it is a behavior change on that side. Of course, it’s up to us, by working with the libraries and by investing in these systems to try to enable that in as easy a way as we can.
KENNEALLY: Is that an infrastructure challenge, then? How can you do that enabling besides encouraging in a warm way?
RUBINSTEIN: Well, we haven’t cracked it all yet, sad to say. Again, it depends on the institution and the group of authors. I think with some of the participants in these agreements, we’re working with libraries and we’re actively going out and communicating with authors at the time of acceptance. With others, they’re handling that on their end. One of the complexities about the pilots that we’re running is that there are different requirements from different libraries, from different funders, and the blanket agreements operate differently. Then there’s also variation at the institutional level. I wish I had a better answer for you.
KENNEALLY: It’s a good answer.
RUBINSTEIN: In a few years I intend to.
KENNEALLY: It’s a good answer, and we’ll be back with you to talk more about that. But I want to turn to Amanda Ward at Springer Nature to talk about your ideal situation you described to me earlier, which is to introduce the APC – the article processing charge – within the system, rather than a kind of a plug in or a retrofit. I’m sure that’s a challenge.
WARD: I think it’s one of the challenges that at Springer Nature we have a number of different systems in play for all of our publication processes. One of the things that’s happened, as open access has become more of prevalent business model is that we’ve had to kind of retrofit the ability to facilitate open access to some of those publication processes. One of the things that we’re really trying to do, going forward, is actually re-address this and start looking at this from a more native perspective, so that everything that we do now is mindful of the fact that there are multiple business models associated with open access that we need to support now, instead of having to put those just as an add-on into part of the submission and publication process it already is.
KENNEALLY: And working with authors, it’s not that easy. I think that’s been a common discovery. I was at an earlier presentation today at the Research and Scholarly Publishing Forum. It was clear that authors are frustrated. I heard a librarian say that librarians are working to make things easier for authors, but authors think the librarians are working to make it as difficult as possible. So one of the things that’s had to happen recently is a number of publishers have begun to mandate things like some certain standards. I believe Springer Nature and probably others here have done mandates around ORCID and others. Can you talk about the importance of that?
WARD: We are just about to start mandating ORCID for some of our publications, not all. It’s a trial, we’ll see how it goes. I think what we’re really trying to do is look at capturing the best amount of author metadata as early on in the process as we can so we can best serve authors with their options. The earlier we know about an author’s affiliation to an institution or any other funding options that they might have, the better we can push them towards that, so we can actually put the author at the heart of the process, rather than hoping that they might know how they will find their funding.
In addition to that, we have a number of add-on services that are associated throughout the publication process, such as our institutional funder database, which if authors are unsure, we are able to give them some help on the telephone, via e-mail, as to how they might actually – what funding they might be eligible for at any point during that process as well. So there’s a number of things we’re doing both system-wise and support-wise to try and enable authors to have better visibility and easier access to the funding that they’re entitled to.
KENNEALLY: Now, in 2011, I believe, Springer purchased BioMed Central. That brought in one of the largest, in fact, probably the very first serious open access publisher. That meant a kind of a cultural infusion of open access for Springer. Talk about the lessons that you’ve learned and the transition that’s been made as BMC becomes really a part of Springer Nature itself.
WARD: BMC is 15 years old now, and is a native open access publisher, and as such, has grown up having only that business model to support. So as part of the merger, one of the things that became very clearly apparent was that we really needed to try and align all of the open access offering that we have, both then, at the time, with BioMed and Springer, but now, actually, as Springer Nature, as a whole. As we’ve gone through multiple mergers and migrations, what we really need to make sure is that an institution can deal with us with one view onto our business, rather than having to understand how they deal with BioMed, how they deal Springer, and how they deal with what was the (inaudible) science open research journals.
KENNEALLY: David Prosser, you’ve been listening to publishers wrestle with these issues, and you’ve begun your own wrestling match, as well, on it all. I guess the question is, and what Caroline had to say about RSC and its various pilots, Gold for Gold, and now the Max Planck Read and Publish pilot is where the responsibility lies in all of this. So I have to ask you, do the institutions feel that there’s a responsibility of publishers, there’s a shared responsibility, what’s your sense of that?
PROSSER: I think it’s very much a shared responsibility. I think that the library community and academic community has been very grateful for those publishers who have experimented with different offsetting forms. By accident or by design you have put me on a platform with three publishers who have been experimenting with that. There are some extremely large publishers which stands not that far away from here who have refused completely to engage with us on issues of offsetting, which is very, very disappointing.
I think the problem for institutions has been the variety of offsetting deals. So when we started, there was a very strong feeling of let a thousand flowers bloom, which was very encouraging, but with each deal which was slightly different to another publisher’s deal, it meant that the institution had to understand, the finance department had to understand a range of criteria. The library had to understand, the academics had to understand it. So you had an academic who would say, well, I want to publish open access with this publisher, and the library saying, well, you can’t there because we don’t have a centralized deal. Do you have the funds? So it made for some very difficult conversations. Beginning to come to some sort of industry and community understanding of what works for both institutions and publishers is very important.
I do think there’s a bigger question. All these discussions around offsetting are on hybrid open access. Everybody here, knows, I’m sure, that’s authors paying to make their paper, which would otherwise be behind a subscription paywall, to make that open access. It seems to me that most of the problems we’re having around processes are around hybrid. Thirteen years ago I wrote a paper suggesting that hybrid could be the way to transition. I’m beginning to feel that that may have been a false optimism, and I worry that actually we may be getting ourselves a little bit bogged down in hybrid, and that actually looking to pure-born (sp?) open access journals or completely 100% transition journals might be the way to get ourselves out of some of these very tricky process problems that we’re getting ourselves entailed with.
KENNEALLY: I want to ask you the same thing I asked Brett Rubinstein, which is that you have a process challenge, a systems challenge, but also a culture challenge, a behavioral challenge. Talk about from the university side of things.
PROSSER: The culture is definitely changing. The attitudes towards open access have changed. We live in an environment in the UK where the funders are very comfortable putting open access mandates in place, and requiring –
KENNEALLY: Funders such as Wellcome Trust.
PROSSER: Wellcome Trust, the Higher Education Funding Councils, the Research Councils, they all have variant policies in place. So they’re very comfortable with that. For academics themselves, it is clear that the level of engagement changes discipline by discipline. So a subsection of the physics (inaudible) have been comfortable for 25 years of sharing preprint through archive. The chemists are much less so, but even now, that’s beginning to move, as well.
So there have been shifts. There’s been shifts within the library community and there’s been a fundamental shift within institutions. If you go back 20, 30 years ago, institutions would – their academics would publish research, they would publish journals, they would publish monographs, working papers, etc., and the institution, as a whole, corporately, paid no attention to that at all. Today, every vice-chancellor wants to know what his or her researchers are publishing. So there is a much more ingrained feeling that institutions view their research outputs as part of the institution’s intellectual wealth, and they have to be paying attention to it. They can’t be quite as casual and cavalier as they were 30, 40 years ago.
KENNEALLY: It’s interesting that you put that timeline in front of us because it’s an important point, this was going on for some time, not just yesterday. But there are no guarantees in this world, and I know that you’re concerned about the future of government funding here in the UK for gold OA, which as I understand will run out in the coming fiscal year, and it’s an amount of several hundred million pounds. Talk about what’s going to be needed for publishers, universities – the ones that put some skin in the game around this open access process to make sure that that funding continues.
PROSSER: That part of funding is mainly through our Research Councils, and there was a five-year tranche of funding from the Research Councils, which is coming towards the end of that period. The Research Councils had a balanced policy which would allow both green and gold open access, but it was very much characterized as being a push towards gold because there was the money behind it.
The question that I think the Research Councils will have to answer is, have they got value for money over the last five years from this push towards gold, especially a push to towards ABCs. That’s going to be an interesting one for them to try and –
KENNEALLY: How are they going to answer that question?
PROSSER: I’m not sure. They’re going to have to think about that over the next year or so.
KENNEALLY: Are they going to take input? Can people here help them out with (overlapping conversation; inaudible)?
PROSSER: I’m sure they will. The previous reviews that they’ve had of the policy, they have opened up to input. So I’m sure that they will, and they’ll want to be seen to be listening to the community. One of the issues was that (inaudible) this funding came on the back of Finch report into open access from many years ago that lots of people will remember. One of the tenets of Finch report was that there would have to be an increase in funding to get us through a transition phase. So the question would be, we’ve increased the funding, have we transitioned? Actually if you look at the vast majority of the market, you would have to say no, we haven’t. So maybe that would be an issue for the research –
KENNEALLY: Not yet, perhaps.
PROSSER: Not yet, but the UK has moved. It’s not entirely sure everybody has moved in the same direction as we have, so perhaps there would be a question there of if we invested to transition and we haven’t transitioned, should we continue to invest?
KENNEALLY: Caroline Burley at RSC, there are a number of stakeholders that have come up in this discussion, so the institutions, yourselves, the publishers. The public is involved is there’s public money. The authors are at the center of this. They’re not here at the moment, but you think about them a lot. That’s your job, really. Talk about their expectations are, and unfortunately, some of the demands you’re going to have to make – or the requests, I should put it that way – that you’re going to have to make of them because they need to identify if it’s a Max Planck-supported article. Isn’t that going to be a challenge?
BURLEY: Absolutely that’s going to be a challenge. I think as David just alluded to in the chemistry community, the willingness to proactively move towards open access from the authors is less than in some other disciplines. They really haven’t understood what all the benefits to them might be for this. In terms of what we might need them to provide us with in order to correctly identify the eligibility, based on the criteria that the institutes would like, means we’re going to need to ask authors to provide with a bit more information during the submission process.
Really, what we now need to do is work together with our institutions to make sure our authors understand why we’re asking them for that information, and what the formats are such that they do this in a complete and accurate fashion so that we can make this work. We use a lot of standards and identifiers in our workflows, and we mandate ORCID IDs as well. We allow authors to provide funder information through the FundRef registry to us, but we know our authors don’t always understand why they should do this, and often make mistakes even if they’re trying to do this.
We also have to consider that we’ve been talking a lot about what the motivations in the UK for this have been, but our authorship is very global, and we have to make sure that what we’re asking authors to do is going to work across all of those territories, and that an author in China or India is going to understand why we’re asking them about open access options.
KENNEALLY: And Brett Rubinstein at IOP, for physics, is that familiar as well – chemistry, physics. Do the physicists that you work with get it? Do they understand it? Do they need a lot of coaching?
RUBINSTEIN: Not as much. Not nearly as much as chemistry. As David mentioned, there’s a long history of open access publishing, or relatively long, given what we’re talking about in physics through archive and in sharing of pre-prints. There’s also recently been the SCOAP3 project which looked at converting high energy physics journals to a gold OA model, which was a different approach. So I think there’s probably less education needed about the open access, or the advantages of it, to authors, should they be interested. But we certainly struggle with the same challenges about the data that we get from authors, some of the emerging standards and initiatives like ORCID or like FundRef, which again are quite young and haven’t really taken hold. As those continue to improve, I think this will get much easier, and we can really trim back the amount of information we’re asking authors for, which will be easier for us and I’m sure will be much more pleasant for them, as well.
KENNEALLY: And better for the libraries, too. There’s a benefit across the workflow here that actually comes to pass.
RUBINSTEIN: Absolutely. The better information we get from authors, the better we can match those to the affiliated institutions. This is just a big problem that we’ve been grappling with, and I think, to a certain extent, any publisher active in this space is. Identifying the author at submission – excuse me, at acceptance – and linking them back to the institution they’re at hasn’t been an automated process. It’s been manual, we’ve had people checking. If you imagine that we have different agreements operating in different ways, not only do we have to identify the author, but then we have to figure out the communication that’s going to them based on the way their agreement is structured, based on their librarian’s preferences, these sorts of things. At this point, very shortly we’ll be able to automate a lot of that which will relieve a lot of pressure and allow us to focus more on some of the other issues that we’re having, and hopefully we can do the same there.
KENNEALLY: So that automation will take out some of that transactional noise that’s in this. I think a challenge for every publisher – you mentioned it to me earlier for IOP – is APCs amount to a large number of relatively small transactions. That’s a challenge that’s not even something you’re sure you want to take on.
RUBINSTEIN: Yeah. It’s just asking us to do a very different thing, as an organization. We’re a relatively small publisher. We publish about 70 journals a year and a number of books. Like any organization, the more processes and complexity you build into your systems, the more you have to manage and the more investment you need to make. We’ve been doing assessments of various options and various systems that are available from providers in the market, and trying to see where there are ways that we can bring in some specialized databases and operational systems to help us with this so that we can continue to focus as much we can on the author experience, itself, on meeting their needs, and on publishing the best content. The more we get distracted from those areas, I think the less impact we’ll continue to make as publisher.
KENNEALLY: And Amanda Ward, in the Open Research Group, you’re working with authors. How much do they care about all of these challenges? They probably don’t care that much.
WARD: I think they do. Within Springer Nature, we have both hybrid models for authors to choose to go open access and fully OA models. Certainly within the hybrid model, we still see authors, even though they might be eligible for open access funding choosing not to, perhaps not actually being able to see that they are available to them. So I think they do struggle to identify what they’re supposed to do to make it streamlined and easy for them to gain access to the funding that they’re eligible for. I think they care quite deeply because when we’ve gone back and done all the surveys around whether someone who could’ve been published open access would have liked to have been published open access, the answer is very positive, yes.
KENNEALLY: And just getting closer to that customer, I’ve heard it said that what’s happening in this digital transformation that publishing is undergoing is that it brings you, the publishing, closer to the customer than ever before. That implies customer service and that must really focus your attention.
WARD: I think it does. I think one of the challenging, and perhaps most interesting things about open access publishing is the relationship that the publishing has directly with each individual author now. That’s something is both something for us to be really mindful of and something for us to hopefully look at and work with an author to make that process a lot better for them.
KENNEALLY: We have some special guests in the audience that I want to speak to briefly, and then we will get to some of your questions. First want to turn on someone we know well and who’s been on some of these programs before. Rob, please step up. Rob Johnson is the founder of Research Consulting, a mission-driven business working to improve the effectiveness and impact of research and scholarly communication. You’ve read, I’m sure, if you follow open access, a number of Rob’s reports. Rob, earlier today at the Research and Scholarly Publishing Forum, you brought out a report that looked at the situation as it pertains to Europe, so perhaps you could add that perspective. But what’s critical and what echoes what David Prosser was saying, we’re still in transition, and the very ambitious targets, the very ambitious goals may not be met just yet. Tell us more.
JOHNSON: That’s right, Chris. It’s a forthcoming report due to be published next week, so it’s not yet online, but I gave a sneak preview this morning. Undertaken on behalf of the European Commission, and looking at how the EC can develop a more effective market for open access. What we found is the EU set out a goal of immediate OA as the default by 2020. However you look at it, if you look at the current rate of change, there’s very little chance of that goal being met. It’s probably 2025 at the earliest, if we look at current trajectories, and actually the rate of growth seems to be slowing. So we’ve got some policy goals that are very much at odds with the reality. We can see a number of reasons for that. Refreshingly, the things we found is exactly what you’ve heard today, so it’s a combination of authors not really being incentivized to publish in open access forums, it’s publishers struggling to find a sustainable business model because generally if you look at APCs, they’re lower than the revenue you might get per article, and there’s challenges around infrastructure, transparency monitoring. So it’s a really difficult situation. But what we’ve concluded, essentially is that if the EU is serious about achieving this goal, it’s going to have to intervene, and it’s going to have to encourage European member states, which, as of today, still includes the UK, maybe not much longer, to take more proactive measures to deliver those goals. So it’ll be quite interesting to see what happens over the next couple of years. But I think the policy environment is going to have to be stepped up because market forces are not delivering the sort of change that the policymakers want.
KENNEALLY: Interesting, and something of a warning, actually, I think. OK, Rob Johnson with Research Consulting, thank you.
I want to also bring up another special guest we have joining us today from Croatia. Sara Uha? is managing director of InTechOpen, which she joined in 2010 as head of journal publishing. Interestingly, InTechOpen has published more than 2900 open access books, making it the world’s largest open access book collection, and representing 43%, nearly half, of all OA books in the Book Citation Index of the Web of Science. Some of these works include work by UK’s Sir Harold Kroto, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and another Nobel Prize winner in 2016, the Japanese cell biologist, Yoshinori Ohsumi. So Sara Uha?, we’ve heard about article processing charges, APCs. You’re tasked with BPCs, book publishing charges. How familiar is some of what you’ve just heard today, and how different is it in the book world?
UHA?: Well, for instance, a little different being a native gold open access book publisher. Authors, when we start working together, they know the environment they’re in. We have two perspectives – the institutions authors are affiliated with, and eventually the research funders on a higher level, so being complying with their mandates. For example, we are complying with all the mandates of the European Commission FP7 program, so authors automatically, they are holders of grants and they publish with us, all the fees are covered. Programs like that exist, and they support authors to publish open access.
We heard that earlier there is a process part of this challenge. There’s as well a system challenge. So there’s a lot of communication, we are as well learning a lot. We try to keep open the communication with the authors, understand exactly they need, what kind of support. We try to work, as well, to automate as much as possible in order to make the process smooth. We are working on a new solution for (inaudible) getting support from their institutions. We’re working as well, we’ve implemented already some of the programs related to the mandates from research funders and (inaudible).
KENNEALLY: Briefly, so at the moment, at least, handling those BPCs, you can do that manually, but I’m sure you’re going to reach a point where having some kind of automation, some kind of workflow system is going to be necessary.
UHA?: Our system is quite agile, so maybe it’s a different perspective. Where we can see there are some operational challenges, certainly, with regard to their requirements from research funders, and there are some – authors have some kind of requirements and then the publisher, as well, so we need to implement some kind of automated system in order to be able to comply with all of the requirements on time, and as well to support authors. We do a lot of that. We support them with some of the things that they should be doing, as well, so this is part of our everyday job.
KENNEALLY: Everyone’s trying to work with those authors and make things easier for them. Sara Uha? at InTechOpen, thank you so much.
At this point, I want to thank our panelists, as well. David Prosser from RLUK, Caroline Burley from Royal Society of Chemistry, Fred Rubinstein from IOP, and Amanda Ward from Springer Nature. I want to thank you for joining us. My name’s Chris Kenneally for Copyright Clearance Center. Thank you. (applause)