OA2020 Roadmap

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A. Introduction

This OA2020 roadmap, prepared in principle by the Max Planck Digital Library, is incorporated by reference in the OA2020 Expression of Interest (EoI), but is not binding on EoI signatories. Rather, this roadmap is intended to offer potential frameworks or guidelines for practical steps that can be taken to prepare for the envisaged open access transformation. As the EoI acknowledges, the large-scale transition to Open Access is intended to reflect community-specific publication preferences. While the roadmap will endeavor to encompass a broad range of approaches being adopted by various stakeholder communities as they are developed, the specific undertakings by any particular institution working toward OA2020 may not necessarily align with or conform to the roadmap’s suggestions. Entities that have signed the EoI may develop their own roadmaps reflective of institutional or community needs.

This roadmap is also designed as a living document. At the moment it focuses on the ‘activation phase’ in which some initial steps towards the OA2020 transformation are described; it will evolve as momentum develops. Max Planck Digital Library intends to solicit OA2020 community input to the roadmap on an ongoing basis. For reasons explained below, this document addresses mainly the library level within the structural organization of a research institution.

This document also complements other open access recommendations and policy statements where the necessary steps are outlined, for example:

B. The transformation must start with the libraries

A departure from the subscription system will not happen by itself; it has to be conceptualized and pursued actively as a target. However, most research libraries in the world are still deeply grounded in the subscription system and have yet to recognize and adopt the goal of transformation to an open access publishing system. Even those institutions where open access support schemes are in place have an only moderately developed understanding that their current acquisition budget and licensing practices are inevitably linked to open access. This situation needs to be improved! Open access cannot become a reality on a larger scale without utilizing and re-purposing the massive resources that are spent on journal subscriptions, year after year. As libraries are the organizers of the cash flows in the subscription system, they are the ones who must show leadership in grasping that their acquisition budgets need to be liberated and reinvested in open access publishing services. Libraries are also predestined to be the organizers of the cash flows in an open access publishing system, because they have the skills, the experience with publishers and the staffing to take care of the necessary administration. Their implicit challenge is that they must evolve their roles, responsibilities, profiles and workflows.

C. Key elements of the transformation roadmap

There are five core areas of activity:

1) Framework: Commit to the initiative and establish a transformation network in your country

  • Get the Expression of Interest signed by your institution
  • Invite other organizations to sign, too; start outreach and lobbying
  • Use and extend the open access networks in your country that already exist
  • Establish a transformation network across institutions in your country (perhaps as a dedicated working group, ideally with a mandate from a national research council or the like); this can be the ‘hub’ and ’engine’ on a country level
  • If possible, identify a ‘National Contact Point’ (NCP) in your country; this role can be carried out by a single person or distributed among several. The NCP concept is borrowed from SCOAP3 and serves the function of relating your work at the national level to what is going on in other countries. Together the NCPs will form the global OA2020 NCP Network, which has its own dedicated listserv (ncp@oa2020.org). We recognize that there may be countries where such a coordinated approach may not be practical, but we encourage collaboration at the national level to the extent possible.

2) Analysis: Get a better understanding of publishing output and cost distribution

  • Improve data analytics capacities; in general, libraries must become better informed about where their researchers publish
  • Monitor publishing output in terms of OA shares and publisher distribution
  • Create a comprehensive overview of the costs of the current publication system (e.g. in the sense of the ‘total cost of publishing’, as analyzed in the UK by Jisc Collections and other parties)

3) Re-organization: Get ready to re-organize your payment streams

  • Introduce OA funds (where not already established)
  • Remove any barriers to subscription budgets being merged with publication funds; subscriptions and OA payments need to be consolidated under a single management: don’t allow your system to support separation
  • Implement mechanisms to monitor (transparency!) and analyze costs of scholarly publishing (for instance, build on the example of the German APC initiative or others that document their OA payments, such as the Austrian Science Fund or the Wellcome Trust)
  • Define conditions for a ‘fair APC market’ (APC = article processing charge, also known as publication fee; this is a common term for denominating the payment that is required in the absence of a subscription income to allow an article to be made open access)
  • Develop concepts to cap APCs or for co-funding schemes (to set the right incentives)
  • Based on your improved publishing data (derived in the ‘Analysis’ phase), start with cost modelling scenarios; identify the areas where cost savings are to be expected and others where some of the savings might be needed to compensate for a gap
  • Establish local public funds to support non-APC-based OA-publishing models, and to support local and regional OA publishers and journals

4) Negotiation: Rethink publisher relations and add new dimensions to negotiations

  • Combine subscriptions and OA in publisher agreements
  • Demand that your hybrid publishing costs be ‘offset’ against your subscription spend
  • Take related concepts such as text and data mining (TDM) into consideration
  • Monitor others’ approaches and successes closely to see what you can adopt; ESAC might be an initiative worth following; Jisc Collections’ ‘Principles for Offset Agreements’ are also very helpful

5) Sharing: Connect with others, collaborate and exchange experience

As OA2020 aims to establish a global collaboration among many countries and many stakeholders, it is essential to get connected and work across institutional and national boundaries. The success of OA2020 can be manifested only through a truly global network, so the networking that needs to take place at the national level must be replicated internationally. This task will be undertaken by the network of National Contact Points (NCPs). Please support the emerging OA2020 networks and get connected wherever you can, whether at your national level or perhaps as one of your country’s NCPs. In other words: get involved!



Last modified: 26 October 2016