Wellcome Trust takes publishers to task

The Wellcome Trust has long had an open access policy, expecting all the authors that they fund to make their published outputs available immediately upon publication in an open access form.Wellcome Trust London

However, in recent years they have stepped up their compliance monitoring, not only of their authors’ publishing behaviours, but also of the publishers’ practices subsequent to publication.

This post, published this week, analyses Wellcome Trust open access spending for the year 2013-2014.  It makes fascinating reading.

Some key findings:

  • Over 2500 articles were published under an APC model (i.e. paying article processing charges); the (mean) average APC was £1837.
  • Around one quarter of these articles were published in fully OA journals; the remainder went to ‘hybrid’ journals (ie. subscription journals with a paid for OA option) – this being despite the fact that costs for the latter are 64% higher and the publisher also receives a subscription income.  The conclusion is that researchers’ clearly have a strong preference for their traditional publishing outlets.
  • When Wellcome pay publishers an APC they expect some additional services to be provided, including deposit in PubMed Central and the attachment of a CC-BY license to the article. Only 61% fully complied.
  • APCs charged by Elsevier and Wiley were among the highest charged by all publishers, and Wiley was one of the least compliant in terms of deposit in PubMed Central.

The article is interesting because it highlights some of the key challenges of establishing and monitoring an open access publication policy.  With over £4,000,000 of APC spending, Wellcome Trust are putting a lot of money into publishers’ coffers – read the article to find out how they intend to ensure it is money well spent.

Posted on March 6, 2015, in Library and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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