Open access at the Royal Society

Open access at the
Royal Society
Dr Stuart Taylor
Royal Society mission recognise, promote, and support excellence in science
and to encourage the development and use of science for
the benefit of humanity.
Royal Society journals
Publishing science is something we have always done
From 1665 to 2005 we had a purely subscription business
(though not always a profitable one!)
How RS Publishing is governed
Publishing Board
Publishing Management Team
Royal Society finances
Total income
Unrestricted income
Why do we publish journals?
Deliver our mission objectives:
1) by disseminating high quality science
2) by increasing unrestricted funds (mainly from outside UK)
Under the subscription model, one leads to the other
Under a fully funded gold OA system, likewise
But what of we ever had to choose? Which objective is/should be
the most important for an academy?
Royal Society and Open Access
Pre 2005 - concerns about open access from the publishing
leadership  RS administration
Conservative position similar to commercial publishers at the time
Wellcome announce OA policy - May 2005
RCUK announce OA policy - August 2005
64 Royal Society Fellows petition the President – December 2005
June 2006 Royal Society announces hybrid OA programme
Support for open access builds
Hybrid OA - all journals
Most open access articles come from biology and/or Wellcome
funded authors (now also RCUK authors c. 50%)
RS policy position
RS Publishing and RS Science Policy Unit developed a wider position
In keeping with our role as the UK’s national academy of science, the Royal Society
supports the widest possible dissemination of research outputs. Widening access to
scientific outputs is key in promoting discovery and harnessing the benefits of science in
the future...It is essential that the costs of the scholarly communication process are
adequately met in any sustainable open access publishing system…it is important that the
costs of publishing are carefully managed so that APCs may be minimised and that
subscription prices take account of open access income and are set in a transparent way
Public statements:
Finch Group - 2011
Open Letter to the Science Minister – July 2012
House of Lords’ S&T Select Committee – Jan 2013
BIS Select Committee – Feb 2013
RCUK Independent Review of Implementation – Sept 2014
First open access journal
October 2010 launched first fully OA journal – Open Biology
The publishing team proposed that this be PLoS One style –
objective peer review
But, the Publishing Board could
not agree
Some Fellows thought this
marked an historic change from
an approach based on excellence
The journal therefore adopted
the same highly selective peer
review model used by our
existing journals
Extending the program
Introduction of Transparent Pricing Mechanism – Jan 2012
subscription prices based only on non-OA content published
a number of prices have fallen
well received by institutional customers, esp in USA
Introduction of Open Access Memberships – Sept 2012
member institutions get 25% off APCs
35 institutional members, to date
CHORUS signatory
Royal Society Open Science
September 2014 – launch of second fully OA journal
covers the entire range of science
‘objective’ peer review
open peer review
mandatory open data
accepts articles cascaded from other
RS journals
Issues raised by OA for the RS
What is the primary goal of the publishing operation?
Should we be leading or following?
Flipping subscription journals to OA is risky (given that most mandates
are green and APC funding is patchy/uncertain) and would exclude a
large number of authors
What is a reasonable level for APCs? Is a ‘market rate’ sustainable?
Is a PLoS One style journal appropriate for an elite organization with a
mission predicated on excellence?
How well is the wider Fellowship ‘plugged in’ to the publishing strategy?
What should our policy be as a funder?
Thank you
[email protected]

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