ACRL 2013: Hybrid Open Access

Halfway Open or Halfway Shut?: OA Hybrid Journals in Academia
Robin CHAMPIEUX , Oregon Health Sciences University , Portland , OR
Jill Emery , Portland State University , Portland , OR
Kasia Stasik , Harrassowitz Booksellers & Subscription Agents , Washougal , WA

Why is hybrid open access important? Relationship to what we know about author publication behavior and current journal publication landscape. Deserves consideration – disciplined analysis of what’s going on. Understand the model and have productive conversations with publishers, authors, librarians.

What we know about author behavior – other studies have looked at this. Three factors emerged across two recent studies: fit, quality, and speed of publication. Across both studies, openness was only a minor consideration.

Fit is really about readership – not necessarily the numbers game. In some cases it’s more important to get a very specific audience in their field, not broad dissemination. But we sell OA as a way to reach a broad audience – this doesn’t necessarily resonate.

Quality – impact factors are imperfect but are used by authors, administrators, hiring boards, funding bodies.

Speed – this is from a third study looking specifically at biomed researchers. Willingness to pay article processing charge was based on journal quality, not openness.

Choice – explosion of high quality OA journals. But only represents a small slice of the world of high impact journal publication.

Article processing charges – fees in hybrid are high if you look at average for gold OA titles. But compare against those for highest impact gold OA journals – not a big difference.

Her authors are “flocking” to high impact gold OA like PLOS Bio, PLOS One, etc. but still a smallish number – 7% in 2011.  Her authors published in 833 journals last year, only 53 listed in DOAJ. Small slice.

Think about this in the context of existing and new mandates. NIH has finally stepped up enforcement of their OA policies.

New models – gold OA like PLOS and BioMed Central titles. New models emerging – PRJ, F1000 Research, eLife. Hybrid is a low risk strategy for experiments with OA for a publisher.

Library community has regarded hybrid OA “quite skeptically” for many reasons. Does that benefit the movement to more open scholarly comm. Systems?

Questions and assumptions around the hybrid OA model – is this really a tool to transition to full openness? What about double-dipping? Is this sustainable (question of gold OA as well)? Transparency? Copyright model for this option?

What about the market? Tipping point or failed experiment?

Roles and management? Underwriters? Tracking? third parties? Cost savings for stakeholders?

Survey goals: what are the number of hybrid journals? What business models are in use?  What kind of tracking is being done? Adoption rate – what are publishers seeing? What is the PSU and OHSU uptake of them?

Developed 15 questions for publishers on overview of program, costs, discounts, marketing, growth rate & number of articles, licensing model, and how tracked? But we speak a different language so they had to rework the questions and follow up more specifically – APC fees and what they represent, do they look at funding sources at all, and asked for copyright agreement.

8 publishers surveyed – Cambridge, Elsevier, Nature, Oxford, Sage, Springer, T&F, Wile/Blackwell.

Factors for setting APC – production costs, look at what competitors are charging. (Frankford meeting) but these are starting to drop a bit as libraries put some pressure on.

Double-dipping – what discounts are offered back to institutions and consortia. Number of them feel that uptake of the journals don’t warrant discounts. Oxford is very clear about the discounts in the price lists they send around. Nature is also good about this – in this case they got lots of pressure from librarians and their library advisory council. Springer bases it on what your institution published with them last year (I think that’s what I understood).

Growth rate was hard to get. Oxford again very open. Not all journals included – told that societies they were publishing on behalf of didn’t want to participate (in survey? Or in OA publishing? I am not clear on that)

Marketing – webpage about it in general. Secondary marketing at point of article submission or acceptance.

Licensing: 2012 they were all using CC-BY or something they made up that’s very similar.

Tracking authors: best opportunity to collaborate. Publishers are not tracking very well. They are looking mostly at financials.  We are the ones interested in access and authorship. Springer – can get these lists of you ask the right person.

Harrassowitz – based in Wiesbaden – NA office in Mobile. Most of their business is in north America.

Did an informal worldwide survey on OA – here focusing on responses from US. Questions about how they affect customer workflow, evaluation, discoverability, etc.

Findings suggest that there isn’t an established workflow/decision process to include these in their holdings.  Majority include OA resources in ILS and link resolver, usually finding them in DOAJ. Impact on tech services isn’t high yet but changing rapidly. Very little marketing done about these once they are added to collection. But librarians are very interested to have a reliable source for OA resources.

Typically libraries aren’t pulling usage stats for OA journals, so they don’t have a good sense of how to move forward with other OA journals.

most libraries are not providing much support for managing payments, tracking funding sources, etc for authors. Also not tracking rebates/discounts.

But agents like Harrassowitz are really good at tracking this stuff – that is what they do anyway. Can help with reports – subject specific lists of journals, usage stats, filtered lists by type of OA.  Also can help with managing sources of author payments, discounts and rebates, support for marketing.

They are ready to assist and help bridge gap between publishers & libraries on this stuff.


how to contribute to expenses authors encounter when trying to submit to OA? If no funding authors opt not to participate. More libraries contributing to this? Where does the money come from? Looked at UK – even among ARL level libraries in UK there’s not much. Looking at it as a negotiation point – if we have so many titles with you, let’s negotiate the APC fees. Anecdotally in US – trend of libraries trying to help underwrite. She thinks we need to be in this space but there is broad disagreement. Look at what we know about what faculty value about us – they value our role in securing resources. Question is – if we fund open access, what are we not funding.

How did you account for green OA journals? Did publishers maybe mistake green OA for gold OA? We didn’t use language around green because that was more confusing to them. Did find that some publishers – had to reword what they initially asked. When they were able to get the fees online they were asking to verify – so when they got a “wrong” answer they knew to go back and double check the question.

Research office is primary liaison working with authors on APCs – tried working with research office to help on this? Our research office doesn’t do much on this. Started an OA fund – enlightening and interesting conversations with research office and investigators re: attitudes to OA. They noted in funding rules that they were focused on those w/o grant funding – but they didn’t check it. Left to author’s discretion. Convos with research office initially – arguing that those with NIH funding could pay these fees from grants – they said that takes away from the science, and also that if someone didn’t have a grant they probably aren’t doing good science anyway, so why support that. Research office suggested library have a team to peer review articles of applicants and make the choice of what to fund in that way.

Have been hearing for a year plus that Springer will introduce much lower OA costs – as low as $450. This will have a big impact. How to price this – would the publisher be willing to accept less or to pay something? I didn’t really follow this question – Something about a percentage to the vendor.