COASP take aways

COASP 10, the tenth conference on open access publishing, is over. Many thanks to the organisers from OASPA! Here are my personal takeaways of the conference (dinosaur pictures not included, since my phone died). This is of course a purely personal recollection and not an exhausting and/or official summary of the event. 


Day 1

Falk Reckling (FWF) provided three core principles for an open relation between funders and publishers: 1) research is a public good, 2) the public have a right to be supplied with open products and adequate services at transparent costs and conditions, 3) publishers have the right to receive an adequate compensation for their services.

Guido Blechl (Head of OA office, Uni Wien) pointed towards the importance of OA components in hybrid deals. Universities say they don’t like hybrid but that is what they get at the moment. Important to include workflows in OA deals.

Salvatore Mele (CERN) presented SCOAP3 statistics showing that journal articles are more downloaded after flipping to OA. Journals that have flipped even show increased download of old content, for which payment is still needed.

Christine Ferguson (EBI) presented FREYA, a project to achieve reliably traceable and connected research records through persistent identifiers (PIDs).

Tony Ross Hellauer presented the transpose iniative, including open peer review.

Paul Peters (Hindawi, chair of OASPA board) presented the state of play and future development of OASPA – there are tensions between different goals, e.g. uptake of OA vis-à-vis pricing, OASPA brings together many actors in OA publishing, the diversity of organisations, priorities and beliefs is a challenge but also an opportunity. Some highly contentious issues include hybrid OA, price caps for APCs, long term role of non-OA publishing models. OASPA also has limited resources. Priorities for the future include more active engagement with funders and policy makers, increased focus in outreach and engagement, widening the membership.

Day 2

Iryna Kuchma (EIFL) presented on designing equitable foundations for collaborative open access publishing, highlighting inter alia the concerns about the costs of open access in Central/Eastern European states, such as Croatia.

Jeroen Sondervan  (OA publishing consultant, University of Utrecht) presented on non-APC model, pointing out that from 12.129 peer-reviewed full OA journals listed in DOAJ, 73,6% don’t charge any APCs at all. So – how do they survive? University of Utrecht has created an incubator for alternative non APC gold OA models, exploring a variety of funding mechanism exists, such as getting money from societies, the faculty, the library, grants & foundations. There are significant challenges with these alternative funding streams but also opportunities to make them sustainable and cost-effective in a pragmatic way. He pointed towards some successful platforms such as and

Robert-Jan Smits (EC Open Access Envoy) presented on the plan S and answered questions. Key issues discussed include:

  • An implementation plan will follow by end of the year through a science Europe led taskforce.
  • The aim is also to increase participating funders, also private ones and outside of Europe
  • The plan does not use gold or green as terminology, however, green OA with 0 embargo and CCBY licence is compatible
  • The cap is controversial and may be temporary. RJ is convinced that it will not lead to a race to the top due to competition between publisher
  • Hybrid should not become a business model but may be ok if it is part of a transition agreement monographs may be more explicitly mentioned in the implementation plan
  • We need to move away from the impact factor and respect the DORA principles – we need to change the culture of research assessment

Day 3

The morning of day 3 had a focus on OA to monographs, an issue which has not been at the forefront of OASPA activities so far, but deserves more attention. Sven Fund (Managing Director, Knowledge Unlatched) presented the changing landscape, pointing to the fact that growth in APC journals in flatting. Books remain important for researchers – digitalization does not make books obsolete, nor does OA. Yet, books are less than 10% of the total OA market according to DOAB/DOAJ figures. Its an early stage market with a lot of intransparency as well as double dipping issues. Most of the time, analytics are not used when making decisions about open access; the vast majority of publishers do not share usage data with the OA authors and funders, although showing impact should be at the heart of OA.

Mark Edington (Director, Amherst College Press) pointed to the open access reputation problem: there is the perception that open access means not peer-reviewed, even though this is clearly a false notion. He proposes a simple system – akin to creative commons – with pictorials to show what kind of peer-review has been used (e.g. double blind etc). Rose Pyne (Springer) presented Springer’s approach on open access to monographs. She pointed out that, in a survey, most researchers answered the question whether they would publish their next book open access with “I have insufficient information to answer this question”, illustrating the need for more awareness raining.

Afternoon session and closing not covered.