Skip to Main Content

Scholarly Communications News: Open Access News

This site provides information about Scholarly Communications issues.

Open Access Actions and Propositions

Take Action

Consider sharing your materials more freely by utilizing the Creative Commons rights approach or by contributing to Open Educational Resources Commons (OER), which contains high-quality, openly licensed, online educational materials that offer an extraordinary opportunity for people everywhere to share, use, and reuse knowledge. 

Review the Latest Activities

The Academic Spring initiative began with a boycott and petition by Timothy Gowers, a mathematician at the University of Cambridge, stating his frustrations with detrimental impact of the commercial actions of the STM publisher Elsevier. By April 2, over 8,900 academics have signed onto the site, agreeing to boycott Elsevier, vowing not to peer-review or submit papers for any of its scientific journals. They have now created a more formal statement of their concerns.

The protest not only questions the long-terms impact of Elsevier's actions, but it also highlights the company's support of three proposed US laws: the SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills and the Research Works Act (RWA), which aims to prevent government-funded researchers from being required to publish in open-access journals. NOTE: Many other publishers also support these bills. Elsevier dropped support for the RWA, and they have produced a response to the boycott.

  The recent Finch Report has generated a great deal of reaction from the supporting British government, other governments, and Open Access supporters.  The focus is on whether agencies should support Green or Gold open access models.  (September 25, 2012)

   Opinion piece by Hugh Gusterson,professor of cultural studies and anthropology at George Mason University, questioning the continuation of giving away expertise by authors and reviewers in the current model.

   MLA protects their job board behind a firewall, and some scholars attempt to create a free version. (September 25, 2012)

   SCOAP3 is a consortium that facilitates Open Access publishing in High Energy Physics by re-directing subscription money. This answers the request of the High Energy Physics community. Geneva 1 October 2012. Representatives from the science funding agencies and library communities of 29 countries are meeting at CERN today to launch the SCOAP3 Open Access initiative. Following the effective award of contracts to several journals, and starting January 1st 2014, these journals will publish all SCOAP3 Articles submitted by any author as Open Access in perpetuity under a CC-BY license. Publishers will reduce their subscription fees, where those exist, to account for this conversion of entire journals, or parts thereof, to Open Access. SCOAP3 Articles are defined as either all articles appearing in journals mostly carrying High-Energy Physics content, or articles appearing in “broad band” journals which have been submitted by researchers to under the corresponding categories.

 Hathi Trust copyright decision (October 11, 2012) he District Court issued its opinion (full text) in the case, finding that:

  • The fact that libraries have specific enumerated rights to make certain kinds of copies does not mean that they can't call on fair use to make other kinds of copies. (Section 108 does not limit libraries' section 107 rights.)
  • Providing access for users with disabilities is a valued purpose under fair use.
  • Providing digital copies to make analog works accessible to users with disabilities is transformative use.
  • Making copies of an entire work can be transformative fair use when it is for a transformative purpose, such as making the work searchable.
  • Hathi's activities are fair use.

Elementa is a new Open Access journal created through a collaboration among BioOne, Dartmouth, and several other leading research universities, that will publish original research on new knowledge of the Earth's physical, chemical, and biological systems during this era of human impacts.  

(See earlier news items in the box below).


January 14, 2019 -- The entire editorial board of Elsevier-owned Journal of Informetrics resigned Thursday in protest over high open-access fees, restricted access to citation data and commercial control of scholarly work. Today, the same team is launching a new fully open-access journal called Quantitative Science Studies. Additional background info.

January 18, 2019 -- After nearly three years of contract negotiations, a consortium of nearly 700 German libraries, research institutes, and universities called Project DEAL has forged an agreement with the scholarly publisher Wiley that moves the publishing industry towards more open access. The contract signed January 15 allows German researchers at these organizations to read Wiley’s online content for a yearly fee while making their papers published through Wiley free for all. 

February 28, 2019 -- The 10-campus University of California system will cancel its Elsevier subscriptions. They claim that this result represents a win for open-access advocates who saw the talks as a way for major research universities to reshape the lucrative landscape of academic publishing. 

April 1, 2019 -- Forbes article pointing out the underlying fallacies of the recent NEJM position on the failure of Open Access models.

April 12, 2019 -- The University of California announced its first open-access pilot with a major publisher, Cambridge University Press, this week. A key component of the Cambridge deal — and what makes it a departure from traditional subscriptions — is that the subscription “reading” fee will go down as UC’s open access publishing goes up, so the university will see no significant overall increase in cost. They have now released a toolkit for running a university assessment of journal package plans. 

June 3, 2019 -- Plan S, a major push by some science agencies to make the research they fund open- access on publication, has been delayed by a year. Funders now don’t have to start implementing the initiative until 2021, to give researchers and publishers more time to adapt to the changes the bold plan requires. 

June 13, 2019 -- Physical Review Research (PRResearch), the new multidisciplinary open-access journal published by APS, is now open for submissions. To allow all authors an opportunity to experience this exciting new offering, APS is waiving open access article-processing charges (APCs) for all articles received in calendar year 2019 and subsequently published in the journal.

August 7, 2019 -- UC Berkeley faculty warn Elsevier that they will resign their editorial board positions and refuse to provide peer review support if Elsevier does not resume negotiations with the 10-campus system. 

October 18, 2019 -- MIT releases their Ad Hoc Task Force on Open Access to MIT’s Research.  It aims to support and increase the open sharing of MIT publications, data, software, and educational materials. 

October 23, 2019 -- Harvard University produces a message about a commitment to more equitable solutions than APCs

November 20, 2019 -- a new journal, Advances in Combinatorics is a Diamond Route open-access alternative for top quality research journals in combinatorics (such as Combinatorica). Run as an overlay on arXiv, the minimal cost of running the journal, which is in the order of tens of dollars per article, is covered by Queen's University Library. 

November 22, 2019 -- Carnegie Mellon University reached a transformative agreement with the scientific publisher Elsevier that provides CMU scholars access to all Elsevier academic journals. Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, articles with a corresponding CMU author published through Elsevier also will be open access. No details were released about funding expectations and/or inflation caps.

January 7, 2020 -- pubpub is an MIT Press platform that explores new approaches to scholarly publication and associated support methods. 

February 20, 2020 -- PLoS and the University of California system have partnered on an agreement in which the Library will partially support the APCs for their authors. This is already an open access journal, so there is no double dipping with associated subscription fees. 

April 13, 2020 -- Nature develops a tentative plan to gradually move toward OA, in the process softening the Plan-S stance against hybrid journals and transformative institutional subscription plans.

April 14, 2020 -- UNC (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) cancels their Elsevier Big Deal package plan

May 22, 2020 -- The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and Elsevier are delighted to announce a new partnership to publish the ASBMB Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular & Cellular Proteomics (MCP) and the Journal of Lipid Research (JLR). As part of this agreement, all three titles will move to a gold open access (OA) publishing model, making articles immediately and permanently available for everyone to read, download, copy and distribute. The journals will be hosted on Elsevier beginning January 1, 2021. NOTE: Author Page Charges (APCs) will subsidize these articles. 

June 18, 2020 -- the University of California system announced a transformative open access agreement with Springer Nature, which will give UC campuses access to more than 1,000 scientific journals, some of which were not part of their existing package plan. The UC system will see an immediate reduction in spending and can save money that can be invested in other scholarly resources and communications efforts, according to MacKie-Mason. 

July 6, 2020 -- After the great success of supporting more than 35,000 articles Open Access, SCOAP3 is expanding the scope of the initiative to include books. The SCOAP3 Open Books Working Group has identified a list of 78 relevant titles and has tasked CERN with the procurement process to identify a service provider that can facilitate the conversion of these books to Open Access.

July 8, 2020 -- MIT terminated journal negotiations with Elsevier over open access issues and higher costs, saying the publisher’s proposal did not align with the MIT Framework for Publisher Contracts

September 9, 2020 -- Preliminary results of a partnership between Springer Nature Publishing and ResearchGate showed increased use of articles intentionally added to ResearchGate. Plans now include additional explorations of institutional validation in order to track usage, and the removal of free articles for those without institutional affiliations. This is a step back from the initial test of providing access via alternative networks. 

September 11, 2020 -- OpenStax, Rice’s educational technology initiative, is vastly expanding its library of free textbooks, working toward a goal of ensuring that no student ever has to worry about textbook costs again. This work is possible as a result of new grants totaling $12.5 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Charles Koch Foundation and the Stand Together community.

September 16, 2020 -- A study has discovered that dozens of AO journals have vanished from the Internet.  

September 24, 2020 -- An editorial board arranged to flip a major combinatorics journal, the Elsevier-owned J. Combin. Theory Ser. A, to a diamond OA mathematician-owned new journal called Combinatorial Theory. The very crude new website (to be replaced) is here:"

October 16, 2020 -- Jisc, the digital solutions provider for education and research in the UK, and the Public Library of Science (PLOS) today announced two 3-year Open Access (OA) agreements that allow researchers to publish in PLOS journals without incurring article processing charges (APC).

November 17, 2020 -- Cambridge University Press announces that they will migrate their journals to the Plan S transformative publishing model, in which author charges are combined with subscription costs. 

November 18, 2020 -- Plan S announces the Journal Checker Tool which determines compliance and options for authors to make their manuscripts as widely available as allowable according to publisher licenses. 

November 24, 2020 -- Academic publisher Springer Nature unveiled a model today under which it will allow open-access publishing for researchers submitting to its prominent Nature journal and 32 primary research journals carrying the Nature brand beginning in 2021. Starting in January, authors will be able to publish under the gold open-access model, under which publishers make articles available to readers for free but typically charge authors to support the cost of publication. For Nature, this means authors will have to pay an article processing charge of 9,500 euros, about $11,250 using Monday’s exchange rates.

December 8, 2020 -- eLife has announced that it is transitioning to a new ‘publish, then review’ model for science publishing, in which the journal will exclusively review preprints and its editors and reviewers will focus on producing high-quality peer reviews that will be made public alongside the preprints. From now, if a paper that eLife decides to send out for peer review is not already on a preprint server, the journal will post it to bioRxiv or medRxiv, as appropriate, on behalf of the authors. For the first six months, eLife will give authors with lingering concerns about posting a preprint of their work the option to opt out and explain their reasons, so the organisation can understand and try to alleviate their concerns in the future.

December 21, 2020 -- Elsevier announces that authors will have the option to publish Open Access across the entire range of the Cell Press family of journals, with APCs starting from $1,750.

January 15, 2021 -- The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the nonprofit publisher of the six Science family journals, is announcing an update to its terms of open access publication. On a trial basis, AAAS will allow authors funded by cOAlition S organizations to place a CC BY or a CC BY-ND license on their accepted manuscripts. 

January 19, 2021 -- Commercial publisher Elsevier is converting 160 subscription-based journals to fully open access models. The Coalition S movement behind Plan S noted that it has registered 160 Elsevier publications as ‘transformative journals.’ … Transformative journals must increase the proportion of their research articles that are immediately free to read by at least 5% per year. They must also commit to remove subscription fees as soon as 75% of their papers are published open access. Elsevier states that of its 2600 journals, more than 500 are already open access.

January 20, 2021 -- The combined Springer and Academic Journals compact agreement will run from January 2021 to December 2022. Jisc members that have an ongoing Nature journals agreement will have their spend reduced with the move of the Academic Journals to the transformative agreement. 104 UK universities currently subscribe to the Compact agreement with several new institutions joining the agreement this year. In 2020, 4674 articles were accepted for OA publication. With new members and additional journals for both publishing and reading access, it is expected that publishing, participation and usage of UK funded research will continue to increase in 2021. Over 50% of all UK research output is covered by a Jisc-negotiated transformative agreement.

January 21, 2021 -- The Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) and the Public Library of Science (PLOS) today announced an agreement for BTAA members to participate in PLOS’ Community Action Publishing (CAP) program. Community Action Publishing is a type of “collective action” business model that can equitably distribute the cost of selective, Open Access publishing among institutions rather than charging high APCs to individual authors. (Back to institutional subscriptions.)

March 16, 2021 -- The University of California announced a pioneering open access agreement with the world’s largest scientific publisher, Elsevier, making significantly more of the University’s research available to people worldwide. All research with a UC lead author published in Elsevier’s extensive portfolio of hybrid and open access journals will be open access by default. It is claimed this will reduce projected costs by integrating library and author payments into a single contract. They have accepted a lower initial price for the package, a 2.6% inflation cap, and expect to include author grant publication fees in the revenue model. 

Older News items

See our page of Older Open Access News items


Copyright © 2013 | The Library at Saint Xavier University, 3700 W. 103rd St., Chicago, IL 60655 | Phone (773) 298-3352 | Fax (773) 298-5231 | Email: | MyMail | MySXU