IOP Publishing launches open access deal

27 May 2014

Universities that pay for their researchers' papers to appear in IOP Publishing's open access journals could have most of the costs offset against their library subscription fees

IOP Publishing launches open access deal

Under a three-year pilot project announced today, universities taking part will be able to offset much of their expenditure on hybrid article publication charges (APCs) – payable by an author or their institution to have their article published on a “gold” open access basis – against subscription and licence fees for IOP Publishing’s journals.

Gold open access allows a final published paper to be made available immediately under certain conditions, as well as being published in a particular open access journal.

While APCs are usually paid by researchers out of their research grants or departmental budgets, subscription fees normally come out of the university library budget. As the project will enable an individual institution to free up part of its library budget, it is anticipated that this will be used to pay for APCs, but this will be for institutions to determine and detailed arrangements are likely to vary.

Hybrid open access in IOP Publishing’s journals is expected to grow but is currently at a fairly low level. At this initial stage, IOP Publishing will offset 90% of a university’s expenditure in one year on APCs or the total cost of their subscriptions, whichever is the greater.

As open access grows, all institutions will expect subscription prices to reduce, and the balance of offsetting will shift towards all of IOP Publishing’s customers. This means that early adopters of the scheme – of which there are currently 21 – are expected to see the most benefit.

An agreement to set up the pilot project – the first of this type in the UK – followed discussions between the IOP, Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and the Russell Group of universities. Bodies that fund or support UK research, such as the research councils and the higher education funding councils, have funder mandates in place that require research papers to be published through open access, and the scheme will facilitate this.

Minister of state for universities and science, David Willetts, gave his support to the scheme. He said: “This imaginative pilot is a valuable initiative. It enables IOP Publishing customers to publish their publicly funded research by the most effective route of gold open access without feeling financially penalised. I welcome this bold step and strongly encourage other publishers to follow suit to the benefit of science and the future prosperity of our country.”

Steven Hall, managing director of IOP Publishing, said: “The IOP has developed this pilot in direct response to the strong demand from UK universities for collaborative approaches that will help them to support gold open access and funder mandates while managing their costs. We have created an extensible and scalable offsetting model that benefits both the UK and international scholarly community. We look forward to working with our colleagues from the participating universities to maximise the pilot’s potential.”

Phil Sykes, University of Liverpool librarian and RLUK board member, said: “RLUK welcomes the offsetting model developed by IOP Publishing. It sensibly balances the interests of the publisher and our universities and makes it possible for us to make more of our research output instantly and universally available. We look forward to working with other publishers to implement similar models.”