Linking impact factor to 'open access' charges creates more inequality in academic publishing | Times Higher Education (THE)
ab1630's bookmarks 2018-05-16
"Simply adding an ‘open access’ option to the existing prestige-based journal system at ever increasing costs is not the fundamental change publishing needs, says Bianca Kramer and Jeroen Bosman
The prospectus SpringerNature released on April 25 in preparation of its intended stock market listing provides a unique view into what the publisher thinks are the strengths of its business model and where it sees opportunities to exploit them, including its strategy on open access publishing. Whether the ultimate withdrawal of the IPO reflected investors’ doubt about the presented business strategies, or whether SpringerNature’s existing debts were deemed to be too great a risk, the prospectus has nonetheless given the scholarly community an insight into the publisher’s motivations in supporting and facilitating open access.
In the document, aimed at potential shareholders, the company outlines how it stands to profit from APC (article processing charge)-based gold open access in an otherwise traditional publishing system that remains focused on high-impact factor journals. From this perspective, a market with high barriers to entry for new players is a desirable situation. Any calls for transparency of contracts, legislation against exclusive ownership of content by publishers, public discussion on pricing models and a move towards broader assessment criteria – beyond impact factors – are all seen as a threat to the company's profits. Whether this position also benefits the global research community is a question worth asking...."