UC concludes open access agreement with PLOS to reform publication of academic journals

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Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Dennis Ventry Jr. was the vice-chair of the University Senate Academic Committee on Libraries and Scholarly Communication. In fact, he’s the president. The original version of this article also incorrectly stated that the cost of processing the article could be up to $ 6,000. In fact, they go up to $ 3000. The original version of this article also incorrectly stated that Dan Morgan is the PR director of PLOS. In fact, he is the director of community relations.

This article was updated on March 9 at 3:57 p.m.

The University of California entered into a two-year open access agreement on Feb. 19 with the Public Library of Science, which the researchers say is part of a disruption to the traditional academic publishing model.

As part of the deal, the UC Library will cover the first $ 1,000 of the article processing fees required for researchers to publish in PLOS journals, which typically range from $ 1,500 to $ 3,000. Researchers without sufficient funds can ask the library to cover the remainder of the costs.

Academic research has traditionally been closed access, which means that universities have to pay publisher subscription fees to give researchers access to publications in academic journals.

Conversely, articles in open access journals are accessible to the public at no cost to readers. Instead of subscription fees, open access journals charge article processing fees from researchers once their article passes peer review.

The UC agreement would benefit researchers with low funding, such as early-career researchers and researchers in the humanities and social sciences, by making it easier for them to submit their work to PLOS for publication.

The agreement is part of a larger transition to open access academic publishing practices by UC.

The UC has reallocated its journal spending to support open access publishing, Ivy Anderson, associate executive director of UC California Digital Library, said in an emailed statement. UC believes that making its research openly serves the public good by discovering and imparting knowledge, Anderson said.

The Academic Committee on Libraries and Scholarly Communication announced it would focus on a transition from closed subscription publishing services to open access services in an April 2018 statement, citing reduced library budgets and exorbitant price increases from publishers.

Commercial publishers have some of the highest profit margins of any industry, and the majority of UC research resides behind a subscription pay wall, the release said.

“We believe we have a duty to define clear terms and conditions that ensure that this taxpayer money is spent in the most ethical, moral and socially responsible manner, and expressly for the greater good,” the statement said.

Open access agreements generally shift publication costs from the university to the researcher, said UCLA graduate student Arun Durvasula. However, UC’s arrangement with PLOS shifts the burden of article processing fees back to the university, while also giving members of the public and researchers at small universities access to university research, he said. -he adds.

Although academic research has historically been on closed access, Durvasula added, most scientists support open access – they want anyone interested in research to be able to read their papers.

“I think (open access) is the future,” he said. “I would like to be in a place where it’s the norm, things are just open access and it’s not really a discussion.”

Dennis Ventry Jr., chairman of the University Senate Academic Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication, said UC began switching to open access journals in the early 2010s, in part because it had the printing to pay traditional academic journals twice – once to access journals, and again to pay the article processing fee if they wanted to make the article open access.

Subscription services have also started to lose value as federally funded research papers can only be kept under a paywall for one year, he added.

The deal with PLOS comes after UC announced it would not renew its subscription with leading publisher Elsevier in July 2019. Even though researchers lost access to some Elsevier journals, many researchers were able to use UC open access agreements – a UC survey in February found that the termination of the Elsevier agreement had limited impact on UC researchers.

The UC plans to negotiate with Elsevier again in the first fiscal quarter of 2020. Although the agreement with PLOS is separate from any agreement with Elsevier, Ventry said the new negotiations would be influenced by the agreements with PLOS and ‘other major publishers.

Dan Morgan, director of community relations at PLOS, said open access publishing practices provide more transparency by charging flat publishing fees and help people understand what their money is paying while academic journal fees traditional are less clear.

There are a few bad actors in open access publishing, but the same bad actors exist in traditional publishing, and in general, open access always offers more transparency, he added.

Making academic research public allows everyone to benefit from academic research and learn about important issues, such as climate change, said Alan Barreca, associate professor at the Institute of Environment and Sustainability, in a press release sent by email.

“There are only positives with open access journals,” he said. “The negative points are that there are too few (journals) in open access. “


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