What are the major considerations for authors to publish on a journal?

Open access is important for research and researchers. However, how indispensable open access is for researchers and research? The survey conducted by Ithaka SR (a consulting firm for non-profits) attempted to answer this very question.

The survey result reveals that researcher’s decision to choose a particular journal is primarily influenced by how widely the journal is pertinent to the authors’ faculty. Journals’ circulation i.e. how widely it has been read is also another crucial consideration for authors.

Moreover, journal’s reputation, mostly expressed in terms of its impact factor, is another factor that influences researchers’ decision making as to where to publish. Surprisingly, authors are less interested to publish on journals with APCs (article processing charges), the survey findings reveal.

According to the survey, the time it takes to publish an article is another important factor that affects authors’ decision.

Nevertheless, consideration such as whether the journal is fully open access or not, is not among the top five factors that affects decision making process of the authors. Source

Plan S implementation delayed

The implementation of Plan S has been pushed to 2021. This is, according to the statement by Coalition S, to give authors, publishers and repositories enough time to prepare for the transition. Plan S’ initial goal demands full and immediate open access to scientific articles by 2020.

Plan S mandates all grant receiving authors are to publish articles only on fully open access journals. It requires full compliance from authors and publishers.

According to Plan S Article Processing Charges (APCs) should be covered by funding agencies or universities.

Plan S was a response to a high journal subscription. It was launched in 2018. It is an initiative by 13 consortium of European research funding agencies. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Welcome Trust are also organizations behind the initiative.

Th proponents of Plan S argue that it makes a transition to open access swift and as a result it benefits science and society. Nonetheless, Plan S has been criticized by some publishers and researchers. Researchers concern is that the mandate to publish only on open access journals inhibits researchers’ freedom to publish on journals of their choice. Moreover, it does not allow enough time to transition to fully open access journals, they argue. Read more

Cambridge University Press

Cambridge University Press reached Open Access agreement with the Bavarian State Library

Cambridge University Press (CUP) has reached a major Open Access agreement with the Bavarian State Library (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, BSB), according to STM-Publishing. The Bavarian State Library reached an agreement with the CUP representing all higher education and research institutions in Germany.

According to this agreement institutions reached read and publish deals with the publisher. They also pay article processing changes to publish. Authors from institutions in the consortium will publish publicly-funded articles in CUP’s hybrid journals.

Research university consortiums in the Netherlands and Sweden previously reached a similar deal with the CUP. Read more

International OA week 2018: Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge

Open access has increasingly become the new norm. Countries and research funders are embracing open access. Many set targets to reach 100% open access before 2020. However, issues related to equitable sharing, diversity and inclusion is not fully addressed, according to a statement by SPARC.

Open access should serve the need of all scholarly communities and research output consumers in an equitable way. The challenge in this front so far has been what is open access to an institution might not be the case for others. For instance, students and staff members have free access to their own institutional repositories. Nonetheless, due to log in requirements, individuals without login access are hindered to access articles. There are repositories trying to make open access as open as possible, nevertheless.

It seems that open access advocacy groups are realizing deficiency related to open access equity and inclusion. Emphasizing on the need for equitable sharing as the theme for International Open Access Week 2018 underscores this. Brining equity to the front might help institutions, research funders and policy makers to set equitable sharing of scholarly output as one of their top agenda items.

What is Plan S?

Signed on 4 September 2018, the Plan S is an open access initiative signed by eleven EU members. With the support of the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC), the eleven national funding organisations form the cOALition S, which will work on a coordinated manner to implement the Plan’s key principle: “After 1 January 2020 scientific publications on the results from research funded by public grants provided by national and European research councils and funding bodies, must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or on compliant Open Access Platforms.”

The 11 signatories

Country Organisation Acronym
Austria Austrian Science Fund FWF
France French National Research Agency ANR
Ireland Science Foundation Ireland SFI
Italy National Institute for Nuclear Physics INFN
Luxembourg National Research Fund FNR
Netherlands Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NWO
Norway Research Council of Norway RCN
Poland National Science Centre Poland NCN
Slovenia Slovenian Research Agency ARRS
Sweden Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development FORMAS
UK UK Research and Innovation UKRI


The 10 principles

  • Authors retain copyright of their publication with no restrictions. All publications must be published under an open license, preferably the Creative Commons Attribution Licence CC BY. In all cases, the license applied should fulfil the requirements defined by the Berlin Declaration;
  • The Funders will ensure jointly the establishment of robust criteria and requirements for the services that compliant high quality Open Access journals and Open Access platforms must provide;
  • In case such high quality Open Access journals or platforms do not yet exist, the Funders will, in a coordinated way, provide incentives to establish and support them when appropriate; support will also be provided for Open Access infrastructures where necessary;
  • Where applicable, Open Access publication fees are covered by the Funders or universities, not by individual researchers; it is acknowledged that all scientists should be able to publish their work Open Access even if their institutions have limited means;
  • When Open Access publication fees are applied, their funding is standardised and capped (across Europe);
  • The Funders will ask universities, research organisations, and libraries to align their policies and strategies, notably to ensure transparency;
  • The above principles shall apply to all types of scholarly publications, but it is understood that the timeline to achieve Open Access for monographs and books may be longer than 1 January 2020;
  • The importance of open archives and repositories for hosting research outputs is acknowledged because of their long-term archiving function and their potential for editorial innovation;
  • The ‘hybrid’ model of publishing is not compliant with the above principles;
  • The Funders will monitor compliance and sanction non-compliance.

Failure to comply with these principles may lead to the withholding of the final instalment of a grant, says Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s open access envoy.  


As stated in the ten principles, researchers will no longer be allowed to publish on ‘hybrid’ journals – subscription journals where some articles are open access. The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers claims “banning hybrid journals could severely slow down the transition (towards full open access)”. The giant publisher Elsevier supports these declarations. Springer Nature adds that “removing publishing options from researchers (…) potentially undermines the whole research publishing system”.

“[Plan S] is a very powerful declaration. It will be contentious and stir up strong feelings,” structural biologist Stephen Curry told Nature. In his personal blog, Peter Suber, long-time open access advocate, wrote:  “This isn’t the first bold funder policy. But it’s one of the few that I’d call strong, and it’s among the strongest.”

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