New Years tend to start with resolutions and predictions, the former often more optimistic than the latter. Simba Information, market intelligence provider for education, scholarly, and professional publishers, has made several forecasts for the future of Open Access over the course of 2017. It expects to see more library consortia refusing to sign big subscription deals with publishers without concessions on the cost of both subscription and open access models, as controversy over the price of article processing charges continues to grow. The problem of predatory journals will also persist, Simba warns, as unscrupulous businesses cash in on the APC model to defraud researchers. On a more positive note, the company expects more publishers to develop policies that allow the sharing of subscription-funded articles among certain communities, in a bid to cut piracy and increase the usage of scientific content.
Open access mega-journal PLOS ONE celebrated its tenth anniversary in December after publishing more than 165,000 articles in its first decade to become the world’s largest journal, picking up awards for innovation from both the ALPSP and SPARC along the way. Editor-in-chief Joerg Hebler noted that the success of the journal has led to other publishers adopting similar models for journals of their own – a development he welcomes, though he notes that it has resulted in a decline in submissions to PLOS ONE that has, according to an article at Scholarly Kitchen, seen the journal publish 22% fewer papers in 2016 than it did the previous year. Going forward, the journal plans to open up its peer review process, and refine the implementation of its data availability policy.
Springer has announced the launch of Aerosol Science and Engineering, the journal of the Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the latest addition to its Chinese Library of Science collection of more than ninety Chinese research journals. Springer Nature has also partnered with Digital Science portfolio company Figshare to enable BioMed Central and SpringerOpen authors to share their supplementary data on the platform. Journals from by either publisher will each have their own data repository within Figshare, and files deposited within these repositories will be given their own DOI. Articles published in those journals will also now feature a widget that allows readers to browse and preview these additional files within the same browser window, increasing their discoverability; authors will also receive more detailed metrics on how these files are accessed and reused.
ÜberResearch, another Digital Science company, has announced two new partnerships. A deal with the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, published by IOS Press, will see data drawn from ÜberResearch’s grant database added to the Alzheimer’s Funding Analyzer index of research funders available on the journal’s website. A separate agreement with the Health Research Alliance will see the launch of the HRA Reporter, a new database of funding awards made by members of the alliance, which includes a range of non-profit funders of biomedical research. Meanwhile, stablemate ReadCube has also announced a new partnership with the Electrochemical Society to enhance and improve the discoverability of the 60,000 articles in the ECS Digital Library. The Library, hosted by HighWire, contains articles from all five of the society’s journals, including the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.
HighWire has made a major announcement of its own, with the acquisition of Semantico, provider of technology and services for the scholarly publishing market. Formed in 1999, Semantico has worked with a range of publishers to deliver academic content through its Scolaris and SAMS platforms, including Bloomsbury’s award-winning Drama Online Library, and BrillOnline’s Reference Works and Bibliographies platforms. HighWire expects the deal to increase its capacity for technological innovation and extend its publishing expertise; the company, which recently opened an office in Belfast, will retain Semantico’s offices and teams in Brighton and New York, though The Bookseller reports that Semantico chairman and founder Richard Padley will be one of four senior executives to leave the business following the deal.
Alastair Horne is a PhD student at the British Library and Bath Spa University. He writes our Academic Newsletter.