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Issue 35 – March 2012

Open access….a term widely used but what does it really mean? In this special issue we find out.

Articles

OA Steve Saxby

Editor in the Spotlight – Steve Saxby

Professor Steve Saxby is Director of the Institute for Law and the Web, and Professor of Information Technology Law and Public Policy at the School of Law, Southampton University. He is also founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of Computer Law and Security Review – The International Journal of Technology Law and Practice (CLSR). Published six times […]

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Professor Steve Saxby is Director of the Institute for Law and the Web, and Professor of Information Technology Law and Public Policy at the School of Law, Southampton University. He is also founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of Computer Law and Security Review - The International Journal of Technology Law and Practice (CLSR).

Published six times a year and now into its 28th volume, the international journal focuses on  technology law and practice, providing a major platform for publication of high quality research, policy and legal analysis within the field of IT law and computer security. The journal receives circa 200 papers per annum, of which around 30% are eventually published.

Computer Law & Security ReviewSteve Saxby’s current research interests lie in the public policy issues in public sector information; both its use and exploitation as well as new forms of information such as geospatial data. In 2011, he updated his research with a paper examining the politics and process of policy development in public sector information over the past three years. He is presently a member of a research team involving seven universities/research groups taking part in a £1.85m Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded project examining ways to improve understanding and authentication of identity in the digital environment.

Q. What does being a journal Editor mean to you and what do you find most rewarding about this role?
A. It’s immensely rewarding. It’s my window on the world; it keeps me on my toes and up to date with what’s going on. You accomplish more in the working day if you are an Editor as you have to keep up. So long as you have the drive to do that it is a great position to hold. I also love to give folk the opportunity to break through if they have a good paper on a new topic. Finding these gems and getting them out there is a real buzz. As Editor, I can maintain contact with the profession and academic community all over the world. It is better than Facebook for keeping in touch!

Q. What are your biggest challenges as Editor of Computer Law and Security Review?
A. You cannot let your standards drop and for that reason you have to put in the time to get reviews done, improve papers, work with authors and make sure that you keep track of what’s new. You have to love what you are doing. As CLSR was founded back in 1985, it was around during the period when critical legal thinking was taking place to upgrade the law from the offline to the online world. So, from its early beginnings when there was - quite frankly - not much ‘computer law’ about, it now embraces a field in which the scope of legal development and change is immense and fast moving. My biggest challenge then is to keep up with what’s going on and there’s no easy way to do that.

Q. How do you overcome these challenges and what extra support can Elsevier provide?
A. My eyes and ears are my colleagues serving on the Editorial and Professional Boards and my colleagues here at the University; I value their opinions very much.  I found the Elsevier Editors’ Conference in Budapest in May 2011 a real eye opener. It was great to engage with other Editors and to see all that Elsevier is doing. Being an Editor for a long time certainly helps too, as does being a specialist in the overall field - after a while you get an instinct for a topic and an idea gels. It also helps to know where the major research centres are in the field.

Prizewinners

Best paper award winners at a CLSR international conference

With regard to competitor challenges, one must always be prepared. Hard work and being open to a regular review of your methods is important. Getting out into the field is vital too and CLSR does this through its sponsorship of www.lspi.net. I think it is also important to bring new people on to the Boards of CLSR from time to time. That does mean saying goodbye to existing Board members, but it is important that the journal keeps refreshing its advisory team so that the impetus for new ideas and advice remains.

Q. In many areas of research, the growth of paper submissions is outpacing the growth of qualified reviewers and resulting in pressure on the peer-review system. What do you think the solution to this problem is and how do you see the peer-review process changing in the future?
A. I don’t have easy answers. You just need to keep your network going and bring in new people when you can. You have your tried and trusted reviewers and folk who in the past have published papers and have the expertise to advise. You have to value these reviewers and try to keep them on board.  It is also vital to keep talking to the wider community of authors and researchers, for example at conferences and workshops. The rewards for reviewing are usually intangible - most folk do it because they want to stay on the cutting edge. If you are interested, researching or practising professionally in a field, then you are naturally interested in a good paper. No half measures, hard work and commitment is all I can suggest but I do believe the peer-review process is vital to maintaining quality.

Q. We have observed a recent trend that researchers are increasingly accessing journal content online at an article level, i.e. the researcher digests content more frequently on an article basis rather than on a journal basis. How do you think this affects the visibility of your journal among authors?
A. The key thing for me is that the papers are published in CLSR. If they don’t carry that seal of approval then the reader is not aware of the provenance of the paper. It has to be linked to the journal and to an issue. Of course, folk will download but they will do so because they know from whence the paper comes. It is the hallmark of peer reviewed quality if it comes with the CLSR imprint on it. That link must not be lost.

Q. The move from print to electronic publishing has stimulated a broad discussion around alternative publishing models. These models are often termed open access and include:

  • Author pays journal
  • Sponsored articles
  • Free access to archives
  • Open-archiving

What is your opinion about the open access movement and how does it affect your journal?
A. Open access after publication and in the author’s imprint on peer to peer sites like SSRN is fine with me. There are plenty of folk out there who will also want the added value of SciVerse ScienceDirect and the tools available for finding papers. I have no problem with that at all. I would never go down the path of making CLSR an Author Pays journal – to me that would undermine the independence of the journal’s content and its position as an academic journal of repute.

Q. Researchers need to demonstrate their research impact, and they are increasingly under pressure to publish articles in journals with high Impact Factors. How important is a journal’s Impact Factor to you, and do you see any developments in your community regarding other research quality measurements?
A. The Impact Factor is not used in Law journals nearly as much. Lawyers tend to use primary sources when they write, rather than cite other authors. It is not a factor that will be used directly in the forthcoming academic review of legal research known as the REF – Research Excellence Framework.

Q. As online publishing techniques develop, the traditional format of the online scientific article will change. At Elsevier we are experimenting with new online content features and functionality. Which improvements/changes would you as an Editor find most important?
A. Lawyers want embedded web links to primary sources and whatever added value can go with that. The new online content features you mention are probably going to be more useful in the scientific, rather than the legal community. However, I am always open to suggestions.

Q. Do you use social media or online professional networking in your role as an Editor or researcher? Has it helped you and, if so, how?
A. I do belong to LinkedIn but do not use it yet as much as I should. I think it could be useful for informing users about content as well as finding folk out there with expertise who might like to write or review for CLSR. Pressures of work have prevented me getting stuck into professional networking and social media yet, but it is on the agenda.

Q. How do you see your journal developing over the next 10 years? Do you see major shifts in the use of journals in the future?
A. Since 2005, I have linked CLSR to the series of International Conferences that Professor Sylvia Kierkegaard of the CLSR Editorial Board and I run together. I think this is an excellent way to connect CLSR to its readers and the author community. CLSR sponsors best paper awards (see photo) and I lead an annual CLSR seminar at the conference. It has been a great success, especially as it brings early career researchers from all over the world into face to face contact with me and some of my board. I will continue to build on that connection and to ensure that CLSR also uses its capability to contribute to policy debates and to government and EU consultations. This is where journals have to go in the future.

Q. Do you have any tips or tricks to share with your fellow Editors about being a journal Editor?
A. You have to be an early starter - getting into work early helps, e.g. 6.45am. You build experience over time and that helps in the day to day management of the journal. I juggle many tasks each day and knowing when to prioritize a task is vital and I have never been short of copy for an issue or missed a deadline in 28 years as Editor. The secret is keeping on top of everything and being flexible too. I don’t let things pile up. When a new paper comes in I try to sort out the reviewer fairly quickly and then chase things up if need be. I negotiate with my authors and use the reviews to improve papers wherever possible, even if we are not taking it. You build up a relationship that way. It is a privilege to be an Editor and the responsibility one carries is high, but I have loved every moment of my 27 years so far. I may get into the Guinness Book of Records one day for my length of service. Roll on the 200th issue in 2018!

OA Shutters

Experience from the Field – Open Access Article Options

As discussed earlier in this issue, Elsevier’s open access article options offer authors the opportunity to make individual articles within subscription journals available open access. Biophysical Journal has experienced a reasonable uptake of this option and we asked Editor-in-Chief, Professor Edward Egelman, for his thoughts. He says: “While I do not view the open access […]

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As discussed earlier in this issue, Elsevier’s open access article options offer authors the opportunity to make individual articles within subscription journals available open access.

Biophysical Journal has experienced a reasonable uptake of this option and we asked Editor-in-Chief, Professor Edward Egelman, for his thoughts. He says: “While I do not view the open access option that we offer as highly significant, it remains a useful source of revenue for Biophysical Journal.”

Edward Egelman

Edward Egelman

He adds: “We have some papers, where research has been supported by HHMI or the Wellcome Trust, which require the authors to use our open access option. This option involves a payment for immediate open access for that paper, as opposed to our normal policy of providing access to subscribers for one year, after which all of our papers are freely available to everyone. If we look at the last 24 papers published in Biophysical Journal with open access, only seven of these have been supported by HHMI or Wellcome. The rest have used other funds to pay for this open access, and we do not know if the open access was mandated by the source of the funds.”

Biophysical JournalIn terms of the importance of sponsored articles within the field, Professor Egelman is yet to be convinced. He says: “The reason that I feel that the open access option is not terribly important within the biophysical community is that the vast majority of people who are reading and citing our papers within the first year after publication are either at institutions which have subscriptions to the journal, or are members of the Biophysical Society, where access to the Biophysical journal is one of the benefits of membership. I do not see many individuals who are involved in biophysical research who would not have such access to the journal.”

Keeping it fair and square

In relation to Professor Egelman’s comments, it is important that we discuss the element of pricing. Currently, Elsevier charges a standard charge for sponsorship of $3,000 across our journals, with Cell Press and The Lancet being the only exceptions. We do not differentiate our pricing according to journals, nor in different disciplines of science and medicine. This is something that we are evaluating and we would ask you to provide feedback to your publishing contact on the appropriate pricing of this option within your field.

Further to this, and to expand on our discussion about 'double dipping' in the article Open Access: Developing New Publishing Models, it is important that we distinguish and account for revenue we receive from subscriptions and from sponsored articles within the same journal. To do this, we have developed an approach to ensure that revenue from sponsored articles is taken into consideration when setting journal prices.

First, we correct our prices across the overall Elsevier list price, so the average price is corrected in relation to this additional revenue. Next, as there are significant differences in uptake of sponsored articles at journal level, we correct journal prices at individual journal level too, so the higher the percentage of sponsored articles in a particular journal, the higher the correction to that individual journal’s price. We believe this is a fair way to ensure we do not double dip and, even though open access article option uptake remains a very low percentage of our total revenue (less than 1%), we take this no double dipping policy extremely seriously. As the uptake increases, this may have a more profound influence on our journal pricing moving forwards, but we have not seen a huge growth in uptake and, consequently, this correction remains at a low level.

This is a topic on which we would greatly appreciate the opinion of our Editors. You can post your comments below, or please feel free to raise it with your publishing contact.

 

Peer Review and Open Access

There have been some questions around the continued quality of peer review in an open access environment, as several 'mega journals' have been launched by other publishers. These journals often operate under a 'sound science' perspective, which does not assert a quality seal in accordance to the aims and scope of a journal.

Elsevier remains firmly committed to upholding the principles of quality peer review. To us, whether a journal is subscription or open access is not of any significance when it comes to assuring the publication of the highest quality articles within our journals. We continue to support industry initiatives such as CrossCheck, which screens published and submitted content for originality. We are also committed to the development of our own peer-review initiatives and pilots - more information on these will be available in the next issue of Editors’ Update.

Author Biography

David Tempest

David Tempest

David Tempest
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF UNIVERSAL ACCESS
David’s role focuses on the development of a wide range of strategies and implementation of access initiatives and he is a key contact between Elsevier and funding organizations, universities and research institutions around the world. He has worked at Elsevier for more than 15 years, including periods in both editorial and marketing positions, and spent the majority of his career managing the scientometric research and market analysis department within the company. David speaks frequently at various global events about the development of new universal access initiatives and technologies, as well as publishing matters in general.  He has a BSc in pharmacology from the University of Sunderland and an MBA with distinction from Oxford Brookes University.


OA Copyright image

Copyright in an Open Access World

Copyright plays a vital role in the world of publishing scientific, medical and technical content. It provides authors with a set of rights to enable them to utilize their work and to be recognized as the creator of the work.  Publishers are empowered to act on behalf of the author through a copyright transfer or […]

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Copyright plays a vital role in the world of publishing scientific, medical and technical content. It provides authors with a set of rights to enable them to utilize their work and to be recognized as the creator of the work.  Publishers are empowered to act on behalf of the author through a copyright transfer or exclusive license to copy, publish, and adapt works, whilst protecting their integrity. In this way, publishers are empowered to do various things on behalf of the author, for example to ensure that the article is widely disseminated, that all requests for the rights to re-use content and provision of permissions are answered efficiently, and to ensure that the original is correctly attributed. Each month, Elsevier receives more than 10,000 rights and permissions requests for content – both books and journals - and we have developed sophisticated systems to facilitate these requests and make the process as simple and timely as possible. We take this role very seriously.

The importance of protecting content

But what about copyright in an open access world? Does it make a difference that articles are being made available to all and should we be concerned? The answer is…well, yes and no.

To all intents and purposes, the fact that journal articles are being made available to all through open access, or to subscribers under the subscription model, should not really affect things.  Issues can arise, however, as there is a common misperception that open access means anyone can do anything with an article  – in fact, the rights in the content must still be understood and upheld.

In addition, from an editorial perspective, copyright helps to prevent elements such as plagiarism, multiple submission and fraud in journal articles, and whilst is does not actually detect these elements, it acts as a protective measure to uphold the quality of journals.

Within open access publishing there seems to be a dilemma over copyright and the three choices facing an author: retain copyright, share it or transfer it. Elsevier believes that it remains a fundamental role of a publisher to act on the author’s behalf and by continuing to transfer copyright, we can ensure and uphold the rights of the author and handle all subsequent permission requests. If copyright is retained, then this process remains with the author and, if it is shared, there is a greater risk that fraudulent use may occur, which is why we continue to advocate the transfer of copyright for our journals.

Clearing up the confusion

Some believe that in an open access world these factors become blurred and journal articles are easier to copy and incorporate into other works. For example, open access journals offer additional usage rights which may introduce some confusion in relation to copyright. These factors may threaten the rights of the author and make it difficult for publishers to enforce copyright policy. However, if it is clear where copyright lies through consistent application, the usage rights of the article in question become independent of the publishing model and work for both subscription and open access content.

Of course, one of the main issues with copyright in general is that it is often widely misunderstood and interpreted in a different way by each individual. A study published by JISC in 20051 investigated the level of understanding of researchers towards copyright. It found that from a pool of 355 respondents, 30% of researchers did not know who initially owned the copyright of their own research articles and a further 26% of the respondents indicated that they had a low interest in the copyright issues of their own research articles! Clearly, this continues to be one of the important roles a publisher must embrace: ensuring that it is clear and easy to understand what can be done with content.

1 Towards good practices of copyright in Open Access Journals: A study among authors of articles in Open Access journals, Esther Hoorn, University of Groningen, Faculty of Law, Maurits van der Graaf, Pleiade Management & Consultancy, 2005-08-05

Author Biography

David Tempest

David Tempest

David Tempest
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF UNIVERSAL ACCESS
David’s role focuses on the development of a wide range of strategies and implementation of access initiatives and he is a key contact between Elsevier and funding organizations, universities and research institutions around the world. He has worked at Elsevier for more than 15 years, including periods in both editorial and marketing positions, and spent the majority of his career managing the scientometric research and market analysis department within the company. David speaks frequently at various global events about the development of new universal access initiatives and technologies, as well as publishing matters in general.  He has a BSc in pharmacology from the University of Sunderland and an MBA with distinction from Oxford Brookes University.


OA Boyana Konforti

Case Study: Cell Reports and the Creative Commons Path

Cell Reports is not only the latest addition to the Cell Press suite of journals, it also holds the honor of being the group’s first open access journal and the first Creative Commons journal published by Elsevier. Authors in Cell Reports retain full copyright over their articles and are able to choose between two Creative […]

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Cell Reports is not only the latest addition to the Cell Press suite of journals, it also holds the honor of being the group’s first open access journal and the first Creative Commons journal published by Elsevier.

Authors in Cell Reports retain full copyright over their articles and are able to choose between two Creative Commons licenses for publication, one of which is the most permissive license offered by Creative Commons.

Cell Reports_issue2

Cell Reports Editor, Boyana Konforti, spoke to Editors’ Update about why the journal chose this particular open access path.

“Cell Press has always placed a high priority on access to its content; each of the journals offers free featured articles and the sponsored article option*, and all content is freely available after 12 months. Cell Reports goes further by providing authors with an opportunity to publish in a prestigious journal with immediate and unrestricted access.

Why Creative Commons?

“It was important for Cell Reports to be able to offer authors Creative Commons licenses. The most permissive license allows end users to share and adapt the paper, both commercially and non-commercially. The other option allows the article to be copied and distributed, but it cannot be changed in any way or used commercially.

“I’m not sure how much time our authors spend deciding between these two licenses. However, I do know that for open access advocates, the fact that we offer the most accommodating Creative Commons license, and that copyright is retained by the authors, is a big deal.

“It is still early days - we published our inaugural issue at the end of January and we publish new articles weekly – but as time goes on it will be interesting to see whether authors favor one license over the other.

“The aim of Cell Reports is to publish high-quality papers encompassing all scales of biology, from the organism to the atom, with a focus on short papers.   There are, of course, other open access journals – in fact, quite a number have launched just in recent years – though few have the high standards and prestige of the Cell Press brand. There are also other journals that publish short papers, and still others that have a broad remit. But it is the unique combination of these features that will distinguish Cell Reports within Cell Press and beyond. I like to think of the old adage of the sum being greater than its parts.

The peer review process

"So far, we have been very pleased with the number and breadth of papers we’ve been receiving. The in-house editorial team of Cell Reports, which consists of me and Sabbi Lall, are responsible for reading all the papers and deciding which ones go out for external review. In making that decision we have the good fortune to be able to call on the extensive editorial expertise available across all the other Cell Press journals.

"We also ask our Editorial Board for advice. This unique board consists of up-and-coming scientists who are the new leaders in their respective fields and will help shape the journal from the ground up. They are passionate about their subject areas and enthusiastic about the journal.

"Even for those papers that do go out for review, the reviewers are holding the bar high. That way we can ensure we maintain the high quality and selectivity you would expect from Cell Press. As part of the Cell Press family, we also benefit from the manuscript-transfer system between journals, so one review process can serve for consideration at more than one journal.

First impressions

"I have been an Editor for many years and yet it is very exciting to start a journal from scratch – especially a high caliber, broad, open access journal at Cell Press. I am especially proud of the fact that the moment the paper is published it is available to everyone, everywhere.

"I’d like to say a big thank you to all the reviewers and our Editorial and Advisory Boards but especially to our authors who helped us get the journal launched. It’s always a big leap of faith to get involved with a new project like this so I’m very grateful. I look forward to further expanding the scope of Cell Reports so that it truly covers all of biology."

* Cell Press journals permit sponsored articles only in accordance to agreements with funding organizations.

Author Biography

Boyana Konforti

Boyana Konforti

Boyana Konforti
EDITOR, CELL REPORTS
Boyana earned her PhD at Stanford University with Ron Davis, studying the mechanism of DNA recombination. She then did postdoctoral studies on the mechanisms of RNA splicing at Rockefeller University with Magda Konarska and at Columbia University with Anna Pyle. Boyana has been a professional Editor for more than 13 years, and she brings a wealth of experience in scientific journal publishing, as well as a deep understanding of biology and the communities that Cell Press serves.

OA Creative Commons

Open Access and Creative Commons – Are they Separable?

Picture the scene, a publisher is giving a presentation on new approaches to journals at a large conference. He touches on content innovation, linking to datasets, enhancement of peer review and open access. There is a question from the audience: “Are you using Creative Commons licenses on your open access journal?” The publisher replies: “No, […]

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Picture the scene, a publisher is giving a presentation on new approaches to journals at a large conference. He touches on content innovation, linking to datasets, enhancement of peer review and open access. There is a question from the audience: “Are you using Creative Commons licenses on your open access journal?” The publisher replies: “No, we offer a range of licensing options,” to which the audience member responds: “Then it’s not really an open access journal is it?”

There is a common perception that a journal cannot be open access unless it utilizes a Creative Commons License, but is this really the case?

Creative Commons – the lowdown

Creative Commons licenses are designed to allow authors to permit others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work — and if applicable to indicate whether this can be used in a commercial environment. Creative Commons licenses also try to ensure that authors get the credit for their work. There are multiple versions of these licenses – in total there are four major condition modules, which form six major license options - which can sometimes complicate their use.

The Creative Commons licenses and the icons for them are widely used for open access publishing and so there are benefits to using them. There are some challenges too. From a legal perspective, it is not entirely clear how the Creative Commons licenses would be interpreted in all countries. They are also generic and so do not explicitly address all the issues that matter to our customers, authors and readers. This is a challenge because Elsevier needs to communicate very clearly with these users as each group has its own specific needs. We really like the machine readable versions of the Creative Commons licenses, but wish they could be conveyed in a more accepted communication standard.

Our approach to licensing

In addition to the journal publishing agreement, at Elsevier we are experimenting with a wide array of approaches.  Sometimes we use a Creative Commons license, other times we use a straightforward publishing license we have developed that enables the various groups to use the open access articles.

One key element to consider is that there are many perspectives when thinking about licensing: for example, the author perspective, where agreement between author and publisher is enabled through copyright transfer or license to publish; and the user perspective, where a license or statement is needed to clearly convey what can be done with the article in question and ensure that credit, authority and commercial use are correctly assigned and the moral rights of the author are protected. There is often a blurring of these elements and, indeed, a journal can be open access using copyright transfer for an author agreement and a suitable user license to determine usage – this does not need to be Creative Commons. There are many facets to consider when developing responsible, adequate and protective publishing models to ensure the use of the journal articles by the various groups, the validity of the journal article and to protect the intellectual property of the author.

Author Biography

Jan bij de Weg

Jan bij de Weg

Jan bij de Weg
DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL
Jan studied law at the universities of Groningen and Stockholm and oversees the team of attorneys responsible for all aspects of Elsevier's legal affairs in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. This includes putting the right legal tools and guidelines in place for the appropriate Elsevier staff, editors and authors to use. Jan started his career at a law firm in France and worked for four years as a legal advisor at Akzo Nobel before joining Elsevier. Before taking on his current role, he was an Associate General Counsel based in New York. He is a member of the copyright committee at the Dutch Publishers Association and is a member of the International Publishers Rights Organization (IPRO) board.


OA Sign Post

Open Access: Developing New Publishing Models

The term open access is a hotly debated concept which has many implications and meanings. A number of people are self-described open access advocates, and they can be motivated to achieve a wide array of changes.  Some wish to make content ‘free-at-the-point-of-use’ whereas others wish to make content available without any sorts of restrictions at […]

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The term open access is a hotly debated concept which has many implications and meanings. A number of people are self-described open access advocates, and they can be motivated to achieve a wide array of changes.  Some wish to make content 'free-at-the-point-of-use' whereas others wish to make content available without any sorts of restrictions at all.  Others envision a world where content is paid for but flows over the internet in frictionless ways.  Some believe it is a crusade to replace the subscription-based publication method, or to rid the world of commercial publishers, whilst many don’t see what all the fuss is about!

One thing is certain: open access, in its many forms, is here and open access publishing will continue to grow.

While open access publishing has gained the support of a number of different actors, authors, funders and research organizations, uptake remains modest in many research fields. In certain areas, such as life and medical sciences, open access publishing has reached a point where around a quarter of all research is available at the point of use through the different open access models. In other fields, such as social sciences and economics, there is a reduced focus on open access publishing and we do not feel any particular push from our authors.

Understanding the options

Authors want publishing choices, and Elsevier is happy to provide them!  Let’s take a closer look at the options:

Open access journals – These are often referred to as 'gold' open access journals and the primary business model is that authors pay an article processing fee to support the costs of publishing.

Ted Shortliffe

Ted Shortliffe

Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Biomedical Informatics, Ted Shortliffe, indicates: “Scientists in our community are strongly in favor of open access and a significant number have started to shift towards open-access venues, even if it means that they have to pay the article processing fee.

Blind adherence to open-access idealism is untenable from an economic perspective, even with an all-digital publishing model.

We must not undervalue the role that editorial functions and tools play in quality control and logistical management.  I accordingly look for ways to decrease overall publishing costs, to maintain revenues (from authors or subscribers), and to provide free and open access as soon after publication as is fiscally viable.”

Elsevier’s Open Access Journals

This model is a sustainable form of open access, as long as the article processing fee covers the costs of publishing the article and is affordable for the author. In recent years, several publishers have emerged offering open access journals, including BioMedCentral and Public Library of Science (PLoS).

Elsevier has now launched 12 open access journals and is developing more in collaboration with our author communities. We remain committed to the subscription model of publishing, but also see journals that operate with article processing fees as a sustainable alternative. Consequently, we will proactively continue to develop journals under the most appropriate model, both in discussion with our author communities and Editors, and in reaction to customer requests.

Open access articles – Sometimes referred to as 'hybrid' open access publications, these individual articles are made open access to non-subscribers of subscription journals after the author pays a sponsorship fee.  These fees are often reimbursed by either the author’s institution or funding organization.

At Elsevier, we have had a sponsored option available since 2006 and this is now active on more than 1,200 of our journals. We will continue to expand this option to other journals as there is a demand to do so. In addition, we have agreements with several funding organizations whose grant recipients are specifically asked to ensure their articles are published with open access.

In 2011, Elsevier had more than 1,000 articles sponsored in our journals, with only 10% of these being sponsored by individual authors – the remainder enabled through our agreements with funding bodies. One major element we need to stress for sponsored articles is that we are careful to not 'double dip', that is collect income from subscriptions and sponsorship on the same article. To ensure we do not do this, we alter our journal prices to reflect any revenue we receive through sponsored articles. Click here to view our policy.

Elsevier has sponsorship agreements with:

Elsevier also works with several societies that wish to sponsor open access to journals. Under this model, Elsevier hosts the journal on SciVerse ScienceDirect, makes it open access and also produces print copies for the society. The journals we operate using this model are not branded as Elsevier titles, and ownership and control remains entirely with the society in question – for example, even peer review of the journal is handled by the society. This is a way for Elsevier to facilitate journal development in local and regional markets and promote international visibility of science in emerging countries.

Open archives This involves providing free access to a journal article after a particular time has elapsed following publication. Elsevier now offers open archives for 43 of our journals, including several of our most significant journals such as Cell, Neuron and Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The Journal of Biomedical Informatics recently adopted this model and Shortliffe says: “I have been able to make it clear that our journal and Elsevier are committed to making the scientific literature in our journal available to all while implementing a 12 month delay that allows a subscription-based model to continue and provides open access after a year to everything that we publish.  Many colleagues have welcomed this approach and this may have affected the uptake of sponsored articles since they know that their paper will be accessible in a year (and for many will be accessible immediately through institutionally-based subscriptions).”

Elsevier believes that authors should be able to distribute their accepted manuscripts, e.g. posting to their websites or their institution’s repository and emailing to colleagues etc... Consequently, we have developed an article posting policy that enables them to do this voluntarily.

This approach, often referred to as 'green' open access, is a passion for some academics (e.g. high-energy physicists) and a relatively low priority for other researchers (e.g. economists and social scientists), but several organizations have introduced mandates that require their researchers to deposit articles, often in the absence of any recognition to the journal that published the article - or indeed without any time between publication and deposit.

In cases of mandated deposit, Elsevier is working hard to develop agreements with organizations to introduce a sustainable element to manuscript posting – often involving the introduction of journal level embargo periods, which allow the publisher to recoup the investment made in publishing the article.

We have significantly developed our open access publishing options and also continue to develop and invest in subscription publishing at the same time. In the longer term, we anticipate continued mixed-model publishing, with both subscription and open access publishing operating alongside one another.

Riaz Agha

Riaz Agha

Dr Riaz Agha BSc (Hons), MBBS, MRCSEng, MRCSEd, FHEA is the founder, Managing and Executive Editor of the International Journal of Surgery and a trainee surgeon at Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Surrey. Here he reflects on the launch of The International Journal of Surgery: Case Reports (IJSCR) for which he is Managing and Executive Editor.

“In May 2010, we launched Elsevier’s very first open access journal, the International Journal of Surgery: Case Reports.1 The journal complements its subscription-based sister journal, the International Journal of Surgery. I always felt that open access was a good model for many journals.

Most of the open access journals in this field actually charge £1,000-2,000 to publish full length articles. As we wanted to focus on case reports – and that kind of charge is often beyond the affordability of surgeons in training or individuals without access to institutional funds/grants - our charge of £250 per accepted case report is more appropriate.

I am happy to see the number of authors willing to pay this rise year on year as the journal develops. It is also great to see our articles are being read widely too with more than 10,000 downloads in just our second year. Most satisfying is that we have provided a new journal that the scholarly community and surgeons alike appreciate.’’

1 Agha R and Rosin DR.  Time for a new approach to case reports.  International Journal of Surgery: Case Reports 2010;1(1):1-3 PMCID PMC3199611.  Co-published in the International Journal of Surgery 2010;8(5):330-332.  PMID: 20470911.

Author Biography

David Tempest

David Tempest

David Tempest
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF UNIVERSAL ACCESS
David’s role focuses on the development of a wide range of strategies and implementation of access initiatives and he is a key contact between Elsevier and funding organizations, universities and research institutions around the world. He has worked at Elsevier for more than 15 years, including periods in both editorial and marketing positions, and spent the majority of his career managing the scientometric research and market analysis department within the company. David speaks frequently at various global events about the development of new universal access initiatives and technologies, as well as publishing matters in general. He has a BSc in pharmacology from the University of Sunderland and an MBA with distinction from Oxford Brookes University.


OA Open Doors

So, What is Universal Access?

Elsevier made a commitment in 2008 towards a new and exciting approach for our publishing business: to work actively to realize our vision of universal access. The vision is simple, yet powerful, and this is to build a world where everyone has access to high-quality scientific content.  We are tenacious in moving to realize this […]

Read more >


Elsevier made a commitment in 2008 towards a new and exciting approach for our publishing business: to work actively to realize our vision of universal access.

The vision is simple, yet powerful, and this is to build a world where everyone has access to high-quality scientific content.  We are tenacious in moving to realize this goal, and are willing to use all publication models to achieve it.  A small team has been set up at the heart of the business with a remit to work with stakeholders in the community and all parts of Elsevier.

The remit of the universal access team is very wide and encompasses many different approaches including – and keep in mind this was an especially new departure for Elsevier in 2008 – open access publishing. We’ve been quietly working behind the scenes over the last few years to push all of these initiatives forward, but some have only become visible relatively recently.

What we can offer

There has been a concern that Elsevier uses the term 'universal access' instead of 'open access' because we are uncomfortable with the latter.  This is not the case.  Rather, we see open access publishing as one of a number of initiatives under the broader umbrella of initiatives we are using to drive forward our vision for universal access.  These initiatives include:

patientINFORM logoAccessibility:
Extending access to the content we publish for people with disabilities and for patients, for example the patientINFORM program.


Research4Life logoAccess for researchers in the developing world:
Providing free or low-cost access to the content we publish in the poorest countries. Elsevier was a founding participant in the Research4Life program.


Open access journals:
Journals in which authors pay an article processing fee to have their articles published and made freely available.

Open archives:
Journals that make content available to non-subscribers after a time delay.

Licensing models:
The high degree of satisfaction with electronic journal access is a result of widespread licensing from Elsevier and other STM publishers, for example, Elsevier’s freedom collection and subject collections in SciVerse ScienceDirect.

Manuscript posting:
Authors that publish with Elsevier can voluntarily post their preprints or accepted author manuscripts to personal websites and repositories.

Open access article options:
In the majority of our established subscription titles, we offer authors an option to sponsor access for non-subscribers.

Flexible article purchase and rental options:
Elsevier also offers several options to purchase both single articles and groups of articles, as well as rental options (through DeepDyve) and document delivery.

This is just a fraction of what our universal access program provides. We will continue to develop new solutions which continue to maximize access to research content.

Visit www.elsevier.com/openaccess for more details.

Author Biography

David Tempest

David Tempest

David Tempest
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF UNIVERSAL ACCESS
David’s role focuses on the development of a wide range of strategies and implementation of access initiatives and he is a key contact between Elsevier and funding organizations, universities and research institutions. He has worked at Elsevier for more than 15 years, including periods in both editorial and marketing positions, and spent the majority of his career managing the scientometric research and market analysis department within the company. David speaks frequently at various global events about the development of new universal access initiatives and technologies, as well as publishing matters in general.  He has a BSc in pharmacology from the University of Sunderland and an MBA with distinction from Oxford Brookes University.


EU35_open_access

Welcome to this Editors’ Update Open Access Special

In a recent Editors’ Update poll, we asked you to let us know which topics you would like to see covered in upcoming editions. May I begin by extending a big thank you to those of you who responded, and it was interesting to note that the three we had suggested – peer review, ethics […]

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In a recent Editors’ Update poll, we asked you to let us know which topics you would like to see covered in upcoming editions. May I begin by extending a big thank you to those of you who responded, and it was interesting to note that the three we had suggested – peer review, ethics and plagiarism and open access – proved equally popular.

Well, you voted and we listened. An ethics and plagiarism special is on the agenda for sometime in the future – please feel free to email us with ideas about what you would like to see covered. Meanwhile, our next edition features an article on the latest peer review pilots and their progress so far.

And open access? Well, we have devoted this entire edition to the topic and we hope you will find the contents useful. Perhaps they will prove enlightening too – after all, this is a subject around which much mystery remains. One thing we hope will become clear is that the open access path is one we are keen to walk down. And indeed one we have already made substantial progress along.

YS Chi

Youngsuk Chi

Youngsuk (YS) Chi, Chairman of Elsevier’s Management Committee, explains: “Elsevier is committed to the science and health communities, and this commitment drives our business decisions.  By heavily investing in making our content more discoverable and more accessible, we allow our customers to achieve their goals faster and more easily. We are committed to universal access and to sustainable business models, and have worked cooperatively and successfully with funding bodies to provide open access.

“Our company has actively and progressively promoted a wide range of access options.  This is important, since no one model will ever be the only solution for every type of journal.  For example, we publish 12 open access journals, including the flagship journal Cell Reports, we offer authors the option to sponsor open access to their article in more than 1,200 titles, and we have one of the industry's most liberal author posting policies for manuscripts and preprints.  We also provide a range of free and low-cost access options through programs like Research4Life, PatientINFORM, and the DeepDyve article rental service that allow our content to be accessed by those who need it most.”

In this Open Access Special, we begin by outlining our vision for the future of access to high-quality research in So, What is Universal Access?. We then burrow a little deeper with Open Access: Developing New Publishing Models, in which we shine a spotlight on the models currently available.

Creative Commons licenses are explored in two of our articles: Open Access and Creative Commons – Are they Separable? and Case Study: Cell Reports and the Creative Commons Path; in the latter Cell Reports Editor, Boyana Konforti, shares her thoughts on the launch of the latest Cell Press journal.

Copyright in an Open Access World takes a look at the complexity surrounding authors’ rights and Experience from the Field – Open Access Article Options discusses pricing and our strict no double dipping policy.

The release of this issue also marks the launch of an exciting new development on our Editors’ Update website – the new Short Communications bulletin board. This area has been created with you in mind; we wanted to develop a place where you can share news and opinions with fellow Editors. Wondering what to post? Why not take inspiration from existing contributors? You can read about Free Radical Biology & Medicine’s exciting Your Paper, Your Way pilot, which allows authors to format papers only after acceptance, or Environmental and Experimental Botany’s experiments with virtual special issues.

Editors’ Update is YOUR publication and we want you to be involved in shaping its future. I encourage you to use the online interactive elements we have introduced; write a Short Communication, cast a vote in a poll, and don’t forget you can post comments on our articles. It may be a cliché but your views are important to us so let us know how we can better serve you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Open Access Special edition and we hope it will shed a little light on this very important topic. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback.

Linda Willems
Editor-in-Chief
Elsevier

http://editorsupdate.elsevier.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/EditorsUpdateIssue35.pdf

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Short Communications

  • Call for Elsevier Foundation nominations for 2015 physics and math awards

    The nomination deadline is Friday 17th October, 2014. Learn more

  • Elsevier is expanding its use of altmetrics

    Learn more about our plans to expand the use of almetrics on our platforms and the other metrics-related projects we are working on. Learn more

  • Open access FAQs for editors now available

    This new resource on the editor pages of Elsevier.com is designed to provide you with answers to some of the most common open access questions. Learn more

  • What role should we play at conferences?

    We would like to hear your thoughts about how publishers can best support you at conferences. Learn more

  • Humanizing the values for publishing in India

    Dr. D Chandramohan argues that Indian researchers should be encouraged to prioritize Indian journals when choosing a home for their papers. Learn more

  • New program offers funding to research on evaluation metrics

    As interest in measurement metrics continues to grow, Elsevier launches a new program to fund research in this area. Learn more

  • Registrations are now open for the first Altmetrics Conference

    A conference dedicated to altmetrics - the first of its kind - will take place in London this September. Find out how you can register. Learn more

  • Registrations open for journal editor webinar series

    Registrations are now open for the remaining webinars in our 2014 series for journal editors. Learn more

  • Finding reviewers in EES just got easier…

    Improvements to the Find Reviewers tool in EES have simplified the process of searching for potential referees. Find out more... Learn more

Other articles of interest

Webinars & webcasts

Upcoming webinars

How to make your journal stand out from the crowd
Tuesday 21st October, 2014

Discover our webinar archive. This digital library features both Elsevier and external experts discussing, and answering questions on, a broad spectrum of topics. Latest addition: Trends in journal publishing from September 18th, 2014.

Learn more about our growing library of useful bite-sized webcasts covering a range of subjects relevant to your work as an editor, including ethics, peer review and bibliometrics.

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Boston, USA (program TBC)
21-23 November, 2014

Learn more about these forums for dialogue with, and between, our senior editors.