Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Steph Macdonald

Featuring the new read-and-publish deal between Elsevier and Carnegie Mellon University, a beta repository for research from UK cultural and heritage organizations and the range of APC across publishers.

Could a new kind of ‘big deal’ win the race towards open access? via Inside Higher Ed

Last week, Carnegie Mellon University became the first university in the USA to reach a read-and-publish deal with Elsevier. From 1 January 2020, Carnegie Mellon will pay the publisher a single fixed fee both to access paywalled content and to publish articles open access. The 4-year pilot deal represents a fundamental shift in Elsevier’s business model and is expected to reduce subscription costs while increasing the number of open access publications. A similar agreement was reached between Elsevier and a consortium of Norwegian research institutions earlier in 2019, leading some open access advocates to suggest that read-and-publish deals are the way forward.

Critics of the Carnegie Mellon–Elsevier deal, however, have suggested that the publishing company risked offering this pilot approach because the university produces a small number of life science publications. Representatives from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Virginia are not convinced that Elsevier would offer a similar deal to their universities or other institutions with a high research output in life sciences.

Launch of the British Library Shared Research Repository via Living Knowledge blog

In addition to curating and exhibiting collections, most major museums, galleries and libraries also conduct their own research. To increase the accessibility and discoverability of its open research outputs, the British Library has created a Shared Research Repository.

The repository, which is currently a beta service, brings together research produced by researchers affiliated to six major cultural and heritage organizations across the UK, namely the British Library, the British Museum, Museum of London Archaeology, National Museums Scotland, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Tate. Each organization has its own repository and is responsible for its own content, but users can explore combined content using the ‘shared search’ function on the homepage of the Shared Research Repository. If the service proves successful, the British Library will look to improve it by increasing the volume and the variety of the content available on the repository.

A comparison of article processing charges between publishers via Sustaining Knowledge Commons

Article processing charges (APCs) are a major barrier to adopting Plan S and universal open access. The lack of a standardized rates has led to a wide range of costs associated with open access publishing. A blog post published this week featured four APC comparisons between publishers or sub-publishers of fully open access journals: Wolters Kluwer Medknow (Medknow) and Wolters Kluwer Lippincott (Lippincot); Universitas Negeri Semarang and Oxford University Press; Oxford University Press and Ubiquity Press; Molecular Diversity Preservation International and Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) and Hindawi. The proportion of journals with APCs ranged from 100% (for MDPI and Hindawi) to just 11.5% (for Universitas Negeri Semarang), and the mean cost of APCs ranged from US$106 to US$1756. This analysis highlights the variability of APCs between publishers and the need to develop a clear set of guidelines for journals requiring APCs for open access publications.