Nature Journals reveals the terms of this historic open access option

nature And another 32 subscribing titles in the Nature family will offer open publishing capability from 2021.credit: nature

Publisher Springer Nature announced how scientists can make their research papers in their most eclectic titles free to read once they’re published – part of a long-awaited move to introduce open publication in Nature’s journal group.

From 2021, the publisher will charge 9,500 euros, $ 11,390, or 8,290 pounds for an open paper access (OA) in nature And 32 other magazines currently keep most of their articles behind an unpaid subscription ban and are funded through subscriptions. It is also experimenting with a scheme that would cut this price in half for some magazines, as part of a joint review system that could direct papers to a number of titles.

The organic farming advocates are pleased that the publisher has found ways to provide open access to all authors, which is what they committed to at the start in April. But they are concerned about the price. Evolution is a “very important” moment in the movement to make scholarly articles free for everyone to read, but “looks pretty pricey,” says Stephen Curry, a synthetic biologist at Imperial College London.

The change was driven by The ‘Plan S’ movementWhere funders require grant recipients to make their work open source as soon as it is published; Funders will generally cover the costs of looking for it in journals that meet their requirements. Last month, Springer Nature I signed a deal Some German scholars have been allowed to publish publicly in Nature journals for free, at a price of 9,500 euros per article that is calculated in the subscription fees of their institutions. But today’s announcement reveals the options available to any author who wants to publish free access. (nature Independent of its publisher.)

Very selective magazine publishers, such as nature And the Science, Trying to figure out how to switch from subscriptions to OA since Plan S was announced. A large percentage of their production costs come from evaluating scripts that were ultimately rejected; When revenue can only be collected from the few articles that are published, the fees per article are high.

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very expensive

No other journals charge up to 9,500 € per available sheet: Higher fees elsewhere Less than $ 6,000 (about 5,000 euros). Some organic farming advocates criticize Springer Nature’s fees as being too high. It is a “prestige tax” because it will pay for the high rates of rejection of journals, but it will not, in his view, guarantee a higher quality or higher discoverability, says Peter Soubier, director of the Harvard Office of Science Communications in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “I think it would be absurd for any funder, university or author to pay it,” he says. But Lisa Henschliffe, a librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, says the fees aren’t necessarily too high for authors. “I think many authors will find this an affordable price for value,” she says.

Although the announcement “indicates that universal open access is inevitable,” says Juan Pablo Alperin, a communications scientist at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, the costs are out of reach for researchers in poor countries.

A Springer Nature spokesperson replies that the costs are higher than in other headlines because Nature-branded journals review more papers than they publish, and because they employ in-house editors and press officers, their work is “of great value” to researchers. “Comparisons are difficult, as there is no other group of highly selective journals offering free access on this scale,” they say. Authors who do not choose OA can continue to publish their research freely behind the unpaid blocking system, as the speaker notes: These papers are available to subscribers, and authors can make their accepted manuscripts available online after a delay; For nature That is, six months after publication.

The group of funders backing Plan S, called cOAlition S, says publishers should provide data to split how publishing fees relate to the services offered. “Once this information becomes available, the research community will be in a better position to decide whether the fees charged by publishers are fair and reasonable,” says coalition coordinator Robert Kelly, who is also head of open research at the Wellcome Foundation in London, a funder of biomedical research.

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Pilot ‘guided’ OA

Springer Nature also presents a scheme that would cut free access fees nearly in half for some magazines, which they are trying out. Nature PhysicsAnd the Nature Genetics And the Nature’s ways. Under the scheme, called indicative OA, authors submit scripts – if they pass a convenience screen – they pay a non-refundable fee of € 2,190 to cover the editorial evaluation and peer review process. In exchange, they receive a review document, which the publisher says includes a more detailed editorial evaluation than the Model Review Reports, and are told the title of Springer Nature which their work is recommended for.

Authors who submit to Nature PhysicsFor example, they may be accepted into that journal or told of the reviews they need to access; They may be referred to the less selective magazines Nature Communications or Communication Physics; Or their manuscripts may be rejected. They can then turn away from their report or, if accepted, pay an increase fee of 2,600 euros for publication Nature Physics or Nature Communications. The total fee of 4,790 € is half of the standard organic farming fees Nature Physics, And a slight increase in the price of publication in Nature Communications, The only Nature branded title that’s actually fully organic farming. A refill fee of € 800 Communication Physics, Again, making the total cost a slight increase over the current price in OA magazine; The publisher says the increase is to cover the additional editorial work involved in the directed open access pathway compared to direct submissions to these journals.

This mechanism “shares cost more evenly with multiple authors” and will save time by avoiding multiple rounds of review in different journals, says James Butcher, vice president of journals at Nature Portfolio and BMC, a footprint owned by Springer Nature. Henschliffe sees it as “an innovative experience for authors and publishers to manage financial risk”.

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Alperin says this scheme could be tempting to researchers, who hope to publish it in a journal branded in Nature. Compared to the full-price organic option, it “provides a lower initial barrier to entry with a higher threshold for success,” he says. Carey says that peer reviewers who evaluated the manuscript under this scheme might feel that Nature’s titles “essentially sell their free tokens to the authors” if the revised paper is not finally published.

Testing Range

Kelly will watch the idea with interest. “Ultimately, we believe that publishing costs should be divided to reflect the different services that publishers provide, and this experience through [Springer Nature] It will help guide this approach, “he says.

The magazines in the Nature family have committed to increasing their free access content over time, so most Plan S funders have said they will pay the free access fee, despite a general reluctance to support mixed magazines (which keep some papers behind a paywall and keep others open). But some, including the European Commission and the Dutch Research Council (NWO), have it He has not yet agreed To this.

Other publishers of the highly selective magazines have yet to announce response policies for Plan S. Cell Press (owned by Elsevier in Amsterdam) that says the magazine prison cell It finalizes its approach: It currently offers open access publications for $ 5,900, but only to authors who “have a proper agreement” with the journal that funds it. Kelly says this policy does not suit Plan S.

Scientific journal publisher, American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., says he’s still thinking about how to adapt to Plan S. Since 2013, authors have been allowed to post an acceptable version of their article in online when their paper is published. But this does not satisfy the Plan S funders, who require the manuscripts to be shared under an open license that allows anyone else to redistribute or adapt the work. ScienceThis policy currently does not allow.

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