Transitioning to Open Access: Dealing with Complexity and Building Trust

In a series of Copyright Clearance Center seminars, two scholarly publishing experts share their experience of transforming open access. (Sponsored)

From left to right: Christopher Kenneally (CCC), Sybille Geisenheyner (American Chemical Society) and Matthew Day (Cambridge University Press)

Publication of the staff report on the outlook

Over the past decade, scholarly publishing has evolved into open access business models, driving enormous changes at all stages of the research workflow. In the UK, Europe and North America, publishers are turning to technology and organizational innovation to ensure sustainability during this transition.

This spring, the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) presented a special series of seminars on OA innovation. Behalf Publication prospectsChristopher Kenneally revisited comments from two guests who have appeared on this series and are seeing positive results in their transition to Open Access.

Sybille Geisenheyner, American Chemical Society

Sybille Geisenheyner, director of open science strategy and licensing at the American Chemical Society, focuses on data and workflow innovations. We spoke with her shortly after ACS announced the first-ever California-wide transformative open access agreement. In total, the California university system produces more than 11% of scholarly journal articles in the United States and teaches more than one million students.

Geisenheyner: You can imagine how much of a journey trading on this scale has been. It was not only the level of the participants in the negotiations, it is also the influence to which the agreement committed us.

The workflows behind editing are complex, and I think everyone in editing knows that from the bottom of their hearts – from submission to peer review, and if it goes through open access or the traditional publishing channel.

Communication with authors plays a key role here: informing authors of the most appropriate route to publish as they wish, in the journal of their choice, and complying with any funder mandates, if any. a.

PP: Some funders and research institutions have adopted open access mandates that require their grantees to make their publications open access. Your California agreement emphasized bringing donors into the process, making them a collaborative partner. Why is this important?

Geisenheyner: Funders play a vital role in the research system, not only because they fund research, but also because they have certain requirements and set certain standards or have certain policies. Their involvement as a partner in such agreements can be very important and provides greater transparency as to who pays what and who is responsible for what.

PP: Transformative agreements require and produce a lot of data, and quality data is essential. Which data points are important and why?

Geisenheyner: You need to be able to organize the data that goes through a transformation deal and see it come out clean on the other side. In a reading and publishing environment, institutions, authors, and publishers ensure that an article has the correct affiliation and institution, author names, funder numbers, and all of that in place.

You have to trust the data, and that’s always something we start with. Data will never be 100% perfect, but it can still improve. How many articles are published?
What is the APC spend on an individual basis? What is the subscription expense? We don’t have a lot of data. And sharing this data with partner institutions or donors is essential.

Matthew Day, Cambridge University Press

Matthew Day, head of open research policy and partnerships at Cambridge University Press, also appeared in CCC’s OA Innovations seminar series. CUP may be the oldest university press in the world, but Day’s work involves responsibilities as new as they are in 2022.

PP: What’s it like to be a change agent in the midst of change?

Day: It forces me and many other people here to think in ways that we didn’t have to think before. And it constantly reveals things we didn’t expect. The weight of history rests on our shoulders. We have to balance massive and radical change with the health of the press. We can look back 500 years and hopefully we can also look forward 500 years.

We can’t progress – no one is really going to make open search work – unless we have a detailed and shared understanding of the worlds others live in and their challenges. There has been a lot of confidence building, and that has been vital.

The emphasis on communications and collaboration is to move the company from what was a commercial product – the actual physical journal – to a service, and in particular, a service for researchers. It’s no surprise that communications are important, because it’s customer service, fundamentally, that will be the measure of success.

We are not selling you a newspaper. We sell the ability to produce high quality content. Almost everyone now understands that for the infrastructure of scholarly communication to work effectively, digital information needs to be moved, and that requires systems. It requires data.

Journal teams want to know how many submissions from that region they receive or how many articles they published last year. How many articles does University X publish? These are not easy questions, but they should be easy, and they will be. We all share information with each other – with publishers, institutes, funders, authors – the flow of information matters, and that means standards and a shared infrastructure that didn’t exist until now. now.


On Thursday, October 20, at 2:30 p.m., in Hall 4.0, Europa Room, Sybille Geisenheyner joins the round table “The Data Quality Imperative: Improving the Scholarly Publishing Ecosystem”, presented by CCC .

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Editing Perspectives Staff

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Sharon D. Cole