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A visualization of Gold Open Access options

August 30th, 2012 | Posted by rmounce in Open Access

To try and publicize the variety of Gold Open Access article publication options on offer, I’ve decided to create a visualization of the journal data that has previously been collected as part of my survey of ‘Open Access’ publisher licenses’ spreadsheet.

Here is version 0.1 of the ‘Mounce plot’ (much more data still to be added! It’s a work in progress) I may well refine and perhaps add a third axis or variable to the plot in future versions:

UPDATE: version 0.2 of the plot is now available here

 


 

Not all “open access” options provided by publishers actually provide BOAI-compliant Open Access, and this is very important – thus I have used the y-axis in this plot to reflect the level of openness supplied for the fees paid (x-axis). Therefore, the ‘best’ journals providing CC BY BOAI-compliant Open Access for the lowest fees possible appear in the top left of the plot. The ‘worst’ journals providing a far inferior level of openness for a high price appear in the bottom right of the plot. The lowest level of ‘free’ access is provided by journals and societies who provide free access to papers, but seem not to provide them with recognised standard licences such as those from the Creative Commons suite. Ambiguity is arguably the worst and laziest thing a publisher can offer from a re-user / reader POV and thus I score this as the lowest class.

 

Kudos then to Cellular Therapy and Transplantation , Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute , Copernicus PublicationsJournal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems (an American Geosciences Union journal, ’tis a shame they charge $3500 for other AGU journals!), Standards in Genomics Sciences and others for providing low cost BOAI-compliant immediate Gold Open Access publishing options. [...and what a mouthful that last statement was. It is such a pity that the meaning of 'open access' has been degraded and loosely applied since it was originally (well)defined, that I have to apply so many additional adjectives to describe exactly what I mean.]

I’d be amazed if The Lancet & Cell Press journals (e.g. Cell) published by Elsevier could still get away with the absurdly high APC’s they ask for in 5 years time. I hope all researchers are sensible enough to realise that they can publish their manuscripts in other Open Access venues and have just the same research impact (and avoid these hugely expensive options).

I may well make further posts in future with updated, corrected and further explored and deliberated plots. There’s a lot still to talk about!

 

UPDATES:   I sometimes encounter academics who have never heard of fee waiver schemes before. If you look at this plot as an unfunded academic with no or little institutional funding, you might panic. DON’T : a lot of good Open Access publishers offer ‘fee waiver’ schemes to such academics that really cannot pay the APCs. Examples are PLoS and BMC . You can’t always get your fee waived but it is certainly worth asking if you think your circumstances deserve it.

PMR has noted that I have included some ‘predatory’ Open Access publishers in this plot e.g. the OMICS publishing group. I will just state that by placing publishers on this plot I am not especially endorsing any of them unless otherwise stated. There are of course other important criteria aside from ‘price’ and ‘openness’ in choosing where to submit a manuscript. Choose your venue wisely!

 

Further Reading:

[1] Page, R. 2010 http://iphylo.blogspot.com/2010/12/plant-list-nice-data-shame-it-not-open.html

[2] Murray-Rust, P. 2010 http://blogs.ch.cam.ac.uk/pmr/2010/12/17/why-i-and-you-should-avoid-nc-licences/

[3] Hagedorn, G., Mietchen, D., Morris, R., Agosti, D., Penev, L., Berendsohn, W., & Hobern, D. (2011). Creative Commons licenses and the non-commercial condition: Implications for the re-use of biodiversity information ZooKeys, 150 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.150.2189

[4] Carroll, M. W., Nov. 2011. Why full open access matters. PLoS Biol 9 (11), e1001210+. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001210

Technical notes:

  • Some journals charge a fee per page thus I have assumed 10 pages per article for my plot
  • Where fees are not listed in USD I have converted them into USD using the current exchange rates.
  • Where the journal permits authors to choose a licence I have assumed authors will choose the better, less restrictive licence option (although sadly, in reality some authors do opt for a more restrictive licence for their work).
  • Some journals offer discounted ‘OA fees’ if they are at a ‘member institution’ or some such. This usually involves additional cost to the member/subscribing institution thus I have used the full ‘non-member’ rate in such instances for a fairer comparison.
  • I only included a couple of BMC journals, just to show the range of prices offered (small: BMC Research Notes, and larger: BMC Biology). They split their prices quite finely between journals so I chose not to overcrowd the CC BY layer with too many BMC journals.
  • When I get time I’ll update WileyOpenAccess to the CC BY top class (they recently changed policy). Sadly, the Wiley OnlineOpen (hybrid) option, which is available to 100 times as many journals,  is still NC-restricted and less open.
  • Don’t see your publisher or Open Access option on the plot? Make your own plot then – the data is all there on the spreadsheet. I don’t doubt that many could make a better job of visualising it than I have done here…

Comments, extra data and/or corrections are welcome as always.  This data was hand-collected, so there may be errors.

  • Peter Murray-Rust

    Many thanks Ross,
    I know how hard you have worked on this and I also know it will be very useful.

    I would urge journals to move to amend their position. For example the J. Machine Learning is a zero-APC, zero-toll journal and in all other respects highly meritorious. But, unless it displays a licence it will remain on the bottom row. I agree with scoring lack-of-licence worse than partially open. licences

  • Richard Van Noorden

    FYI, Scientific Reports now offers a CC-BY option.
    http://www.nature.com/press_releases/cc-by.html

    • rmounce

      Thank you for that useful bit of information – I shall include that change in the next round of updates to the spreadsheet & plot.

    • http://bath.academia.edu/RossMounce Ross Mounce

      Thanks. I’ll update that on the next version.

  • kingleon44

    Is APP or Paleo Electronica on there?

    • rmounce

      Not at the moment.
      I know APP & PalElectronica do great things for the palaeo community BUT they could be just that bit better if they published their articles/PDFs with a clear explicit licence within them stating the terms and conditions of use & re-use of the digital objects. At the moment, if you scour the PDFs there is no such indication within the files themselves what the licencing is which is a shame – very much like the Journal of Machine Learning Research as PMR notes in another comment on this post.

      APP & PalElectronica are thus ‘free to access and read’ but are not Open Access, nor explicitly re-usable for purposes such as content mining (without having to ask further for permission). This could easily be changed though…

    • http://bath.academia.edu/RossMounce Ross Mounce

      Not at the moment.
      I know APP & PalElectronica do great things for the palaeo community BUT they could be just that bit better if they published their articles/PDFs with a clear explicit licence within them stating the terms and conditions of use & re-use of the digital objects. At the moment, if you scour the PDFs there is no such indication within the files themselves what the licencing is which is a shame – very much like the Journal of Machine Learning Research as PMR notes in another comment on this post.

      APP & PalElectronica are thus ‘free to access and read’ but are not Open Access, nor explicitly re-usable for purposes such as content mining (without having to ask further for permission). This could easily be changed though…

      • Mike Taylor

        I agree that Acta Pal Pol should explicitly state CC-BY (and have written to them about this; they were positive about it). But note that, while no licence is stated, their home page does say “Acta Palaeontologica Polonica is an open access journal which follows the guidelines of the Budapest Open Access Initiative“.

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  • http://bath.academia.edu/RossMounce Ross Mounce

    Great. I’ll add it on the next version of the plot.

    • Graeme Moffat

      Great work on this, by the way!

      • http://bath.academia.edu/RossMounce Ross Mounce

        Thanks, just wait til I implement mouse over labels… *then* it’ll be snazzy :)

        And keep up the good work at Frontiers too – it’s definitely one of the good high quality gold open access publishers from what I’ve seen

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  • miv

    Just as someone who stumbled across this – it would be helpful if an explanation was provided in the text what “NC”, “NC+SA”, “NC+ND” actually mean (i.e. meaningful axis labels ;-) ).

    • http://bath.academia.edu/RossMounce Ross Mounce

      Good point. I was pushed for space. NC is the non commercial clause , SA is the share-alike clause and ND is the ‘No Derivatives’ clause (the last of which surely shouldn’t be applied to anything in academia – isn’t it all about building upon the previous works of others? ND prevents this). See the Creative Commons webpages for fuller more detailed information about these clauses.

      • http://twitter.com/oui222 Rafael Santos

        Can you explain how current closed access copyrights compares with OA-ND? Nowadays everyone derives research from one another, so does this mean OA-ND is actually worse (ignoring the access issue)?

  • Mary Summerfield

    A nice summary of programs. You may want to include the SPIE program of CC-BY open access for voluntary payment of page charges of US$100/2-column page which will begin with the January 2013 issues. See http://spie.org/x85022.xml for more information.

    • http://bath.academia.edu/RossMounce Ross Mounce

      thanks for the notification. Never seen your journals before but they look good. CC BY & author(s) retain copyright – very good!

  • Jim Gilden

    Hi Ross,

    This is very useful. Might I suggest when you next update this you include SAGE Open? http://www.sageopen.com. Gold OA, CC-BY and $695.

    Many thanks.

    • http://bath.academia.edu/RossMounce Ross Mounce

      Will do. Thanks for the info.

      Out of interest, do you think the publishers could get together and decide on a metadata standard for this kind of thing? It would be a *lot* easier to collect this data if it was more clearly laid out on publisher websites in a machine readable form. Just an idea…

    • http://bath.academia.edu/RossMounce Ross Mounce

      Wow. That’s cheap. Why then is the hybrid option; ‘SAGE choice’ so vastly more expensive at 3000USD? (Or is that an old price)?

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