‘Transformative’ open access publishing deals are only entrenching commercial power | Times Higher Education (THE)
peter.suber's bookmarks 2019-08-15
"Plan S has already been credited with sparking something of a revolution in journal publishing. Major publishers are beginning – slowly and reluctantly in some cases – to replace their traditional “big deals” with what are being called “transformative deals”. Often negotiated with national consortia of libraries and research institutes, these combine access to subscription journals with an ability to publish open access without any additional charge.
However, I believe that we should think a lot harder before celebrating a tipping point.
The open access movement has always been intimately bound up with a critique of the whole concept of handing over billions of pounds of public money to wildly profitableprivate companies in exchange for publishing papers that are written, reviewed and edited by academics. Yet the current “transformative” deals do precious little to drive down margins that are often in excess of 35 per cent....
Instead of recklessly funnelling billions of taxpayers’ money into for-profit entities, funding bodies and research institutes could easily support these more sustainable ventures instead. This is already happening in some parts of the world, with initiatives such as Redalyc and SciELO in Latin America demonstrating leadership....
Every time we sign one of these so-called transformative contracts, which often contain multi-year lock-ins, we lose the opportunity to create something more just, sustainable, efficient and effective. We actively work against efforts to return control of publishing to the academic community. It is time to take a step back and to think again about what we really want."