STM Publishing – June 2020

STM Publishing – June 2020

New diversity initiative

The Royal Society of Chemistry has assembled a coalition of eleven scholarly publishers to sign a joint statement committing them to take a proactive stance against bias, to work together to better reflect the diversity of their communities, and to remove barriers for under-represented groups. The publishers – the American Chemical Society (ACS), the BMJ, Cambridge University Press, the Company of Biologists, Emerald Publishing, Elsevier, Hindawi, IOP Publishing, Oxford University Press, and Royal Society Publishing – have all agreed on four initial actions, including collaborating on self-reported diversity data collection and uncovering subject-specific baselines in order to set targets to achieve appropriate and inclusive representation of authors, reviewers, and editorial decision-makers.

JISC calls for publisher discounts to help troubled universities

JISC, in partnership with Universities UK, has called upon major publishers to reduce the costs of their agreements with academic institutions, in acknowledgement of the severe financial impact suffered by the sector due to the COVID—19 pandemic. The chair of the UUK/Jisc content negotiation strategy group, Professor Stephen Decent, called for publishers to work together with JISC to ‘reduce expenditure without disproportionate loss of content’.


Wiley has announced two new partnerships. An agreement with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) will see the latter’s entire hybrid subscription journals portfolio transition to a gold open access model; additionally, all articles published from 2013 will be made freely available. In a separate deal, Wiley will take over the management of the Science Careers job board currently run by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

SAGE has extended its partnership with Aptara to launch a new article-processing collections platform, the SAGE Open Access Portal. It makes use of Aptara’s SciPris platform to enable functionality including the auto-detection of article processing charges (APCs) based on publisher-specific business rules and agreements, and the provision of custom insight reports for publishers.

Oxford University Press has announced a new strategic partnership with LGBTQ+ rights charity Stonewall aiming to make OUP a more inclusive organisation.

Transformative deals

Oxford University Press has announced a read-and-publish deal with the National Science Library at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NSLC). The three-year agreement, the first of its kind in mainland China, covers 26 of the academy’s institutions.

Springer Nature has agreed a Memorandum of Understanding towards a transformative agreement with the University of California; the deal will provide read access to all Springer Nature journals and will enable all researchers at the university to publish in more than 2200 hybrid and 500 fully OA journals.

PLOS has concluded a two-year open access agreement with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) that will allow researchers to publish in PLOS journals without paying article processing charges (APC). The deal, starting in July, will see CMU pay an annual fixed flat rate over the two-year term, based on publication levels in previous years.

The Royal Society of Chemistry has agreed a transformative deal with JISC that will provide participating institutions with read access to the entire RSC journal portfolio and the ability to publish at no direct cost in the society’s hybrid journals.

SAGE has completed a new open access publishing agreement with Finland’s FinELib consortium of universities, research institutes and public libraries, providing unlimited open access publishing rights to more than 900 hybrid journals, a 20% discount on APCs in more than 150 pure Gold OA journals, and read access to more than 900 peer-reviewed journals.

The American Chemical Society’s publications division has signed a deal with the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil which will enable university researchers to publish open access articles in any of the society’s 65 journals.

In brief

A report by the Confederation of Open Access Repositories COAR has concluded that most repository platforms currently support compliance with the mandatory criteria specified in Plan S, and that those that do not are planning to adopt the necessary functionality.

Springer Nature has rolled out its In Review service – integrating early sharing and increased review transparency into the journal submission and peer review process – across two Nature Research titles, Nature Communications and Nature Biomedical Engineering. Authors submitting to those titles can opt in to the integrated service, enabling them to cite and share their work while it is still under review and see real time updates on the peer review process on a private dashboard.

Alastair Horne is a PhD student at the British Library and Bath Spa University.

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