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Open Access Publishers Team Up to Promote Cost Transparency, in a Bid to Speed Up the Transition to Open Science

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Open Access 2014-19, October 20, 2014 | © Courtesy of Hanne Pearce/Flickr.

As the regulatory pressure for a blanket implementation of Open Access standards from the European Commission grows, the Fair Open Access Alliance has united leading Open Access journal and book publishers into a consortium dedicated to the transition to Open Access and the transparency of publication procedures.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.

Since the European Commission (EC) mandates that in European Union countries scientific output should be published in Open Access by default come 2020, it has also invited external bids for setting up and running an Open Access publication platform that will effectively compete with existing publishers in the Open Access sector. Moreover, according to the European Commission vision, this Open Access platform is expected to afford cost minimization and transparency across the supply and value chain of scientific publishing, which amounts to the deployment of open source software, article publication cost transparency, immediate Open Access to published scientific output and a one-stop-shop interface for accessing Open Access articles funded by other organizations.

By contrast, the Transparent Transition to Open Access (TTOA) consortium, comprising De Gruyter, OpenEdition, PLoS, MDPI, Brill, Ubiquity Press, Copernicus Publications, Open Library of Humanities, the Centre for Science and Technology Studies of Leiden University, Quality Open Access Market, and Max Planck Digital Library, that the Fair Open Access Alliance (FOAA) has called into being on May 30, 2018, argues that existing Open Access publishers are best positioned to ensure quality standards and meet the needs of scientific communities. Moreover, the TTOA consortium proposes that the Open Science standards of the EC can be complied with in the framework of an Open Access publication platform it plans to launch.

In effect, the TTOA consortium intends to increase the transparency of not only article publishing costs, but also peer-review processes, while aiming at making article-related data portable across publishers, hosting the published articles and joint branding of respective Open Access journals. This is expected to facilitate the collaboration between the consortium and national or regional funding bodies, as costs are also planned to be kept down via the utilization of open source platforms and non-profit hosting solutions. In addition to expenses and performance transparency, this initiative also intends to cap article processing charges (APCs) at 1,400 EUR on average, which is likely to contribute to its competitiveness.

This initiative of the TTOA consortium can reduce the barriers to Open Access, as its systemic approach promises to pool APC funding from different sources, while ensuring that individual researchers will not have to cover these costs directly. The APC pricing approach that the TTOA initiative plans to implement will also be significantly lower then the current APC costs that in some scientific domains can reach 5,000 EUR per article published. The centralized platform that the TTOA consortium plans to put into operation will also eliminate redundancies in funding schemes and unnecessary cost increases via information sharing between organizations involved in article publication workflows.

When implemented, the TTOA platform will bring universal Open Access closer to reality.

By Pablo Markin

Featured Image Credits: Open Access 2014-19, October 20, 2014 | © Courtesy of Hanne Pearce/Flickr.

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