21 March 2014

Open Access opportunities from a Learned Society and a Cheeky Monkey

It's obvious that Open Access is becoming ever more mainstream when one of the world’s oldest and most reputable publishers is broadening its open access opportunities. Following quickly after the launch of their first purely open access journal Open Biology in 2011, the Royal Society have now announced that they will be launching their second. The new open access journal Royal Society Open Science will cover the entire range of science and mathematics and aims to publish work without the length and scope restrictions observed by more traditional journals. What is of particular interest is that the publishing model aims to offer open peer review as an option, will offer open access to data, implement article level metrics and offer researchers the opportunity to add post-publication comments.

In contrast to the historic Royal Society is the relatively youthful PeerJ, an open access publisher that has invented one of the most daring and innovative open access business models in years. PeerJ uses a model which differs enormously from the major open-access publishers in that the publication fees are levied not per article but per publishing author and at minimal cost.

PeerJ's 'Cheeky Monkey' mascot

Essentially, an author is charged a one-time membership fee that allows them to publish in the journal for the rest of their life. Authors are charged $99 to publish one paper a year, $199 for two papers a year and $299 for unlimited publications per year. Submitted research is judged solely on scientific and methodological soundness and there is a facility to view peer reviews alongside published papers. The PeerJ model is proving increasingly popular with researchers and was judged 'Publishing Innovation' of 2013 by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers.

The good news is that St Andrews is currently offering its researchers support to publish open access with these two very distinctive publishers. The Library has recently renewed its Open Access membership with Royal Society Publishing and this will continue to give University St Andrews authors a 25% discount on standard article processing charges. Open access charges for Open Biology and Royal Society Open Science are waived by the publishers for an initial period.

We have also initiated a PeerJ Basic Plan for St Andrews authors. The Library will support the cost of individual membership for grant funded and non-funded researchers. The Basic Plan will allow individual authors to publish one peer-reviewed publication per year for life. A quick reminder as well (see recent blog post) that PeerJ are offering a free submission period for authors until 31 March 2014.

For further information contact open-access-support@st-andrews.ac.uk

3 March 2014

Knowledge Unlatched pilot exceeds 200 sign-ups

The Knowledge Unlatched team are delighted to inform us that they have reached (and exceeded) the target of 200 libraries joining their pilot project to share the costs of ‘unlatching’ a collection 28 front-list titles from 13 recognised scholarly publishers.

With sign-ups from 19 countries in 4 continents the pilot has revealed the interest in Libraries worldwide in examining new business models that help to decrease the cost of monograph acquisitions. St Andrews signed up at the start of the pilot as we were also very keen to support this new model for OA publishing.

Here’s a brief explanation of how the model works:
The Knowledge Unlatched model depends on many libraries from around the world sharing the payment of a single Title Fee to a publisher, in return for a book being made available on a Creative Commons licence via OAPEN and HathiTrust as a fully downloadable PDF.
The Title Fee represents the basic cost of publishing a book. Because the Title Fee is a fixed amount, as more libraries participate in Knowledge Unlatched, the per-library cost of ‘unlatching’ each title declines. For example:


Access to the Title Fee allows publishers to feel confident that they will not make a loss on a title if it is made Open Access. Publishers are willing to provide libraries with discounts and make books available on Open Access licences if they can be assured that their core costs will be covered.
Due to the success of the pilot, the Knowledge Unlatched team anticipate that the number of sign-ups will continue to increase as will the scope and range of monographs made available for ‘unlatching’. The model is also expected to be financially self-sustaining as the costs of operating the project will be covered by a small percentage of each Title Fee.