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Open science round-up: May 2024

Welcome to the latest edition of our Open Science Round-up, curated by Moumita Koley. Join us as she brings you the key reads and news in the world of Open Science.

In this issue, we feature an editorial by Curtis Brundy, Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Communications and Collections at Iowa State University, who presents the Subscribe to Open (S2O) model as an equitable open access solution to the financial barrier posed by article processing charges (APC).

An Equitable Model for Open Access: Subscribe to Open

The transition to open access is underway and accelerating, fueled largely by new institutional agreements between libraries and publishers that allow authors to publish their work openly. Unfortunately, the predominant open access model relies on article processing charges (APC) that impose a financial barrier for authors not covered by an institutional agreement. Beyond this equity issue, APC-based models also introduce a volume incentive for publishers that can lead to the prioritization of article quantity over article quality, since more articles mean more revenue. This incentive has negatively affected publishing integrity and is helping fuel the ongoing paper mill crisis. Fortunately, an equitable open access model that helps hold the line on publishing integrity is available. Subscribe to Open (S2O) offers a sustainable and equitable pathway to making scholarly content freely accessible.

Subscribe to Open leverages the existing subscription framework to transition journals to open access. Here’s how it works: current subscribers, such as libraries and institutions, are invited to continue their subscriptions for the upcoming year. If enough subscribers renew, the journal’s content is made openly accessible to everyone. If subscription targets are not met, the content remains accessible only to subscribers. This conditional approach was designed to encourage continued subscriber support. The result is an equitable open access model that does not rely on authors paying charges. And because publishers do not earn revenue based on the number of articles published, there is no incentive to lower quality standards.

The S2O model is seeing growing adoption by scholarly publishers, with over 300 journals on track to be covered by the model in 2025. A thriving community of practice made up of publishers, librarians, and funders has emerged to guide and support S2O adoption. Participation in the community of practice is open to all. If you would like to learn more about S2O or the community of practice, please visit us at

About the author:

Curtis Brundy is the Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Communications and Collections at Iowa State University, where he oversees collections and open strategies and is active in efforts to transform scholarly communications. His research and advocacy focus on advancing equitable open access for journals and scholarly monographs, controlling prices, and increasing transparency in scholarly publishing. 

Big stories in Open Science

Advancing Global Open Science: Key Outcomes from OECD’s Ministerial Meeting 

During a pivotal OECD ministerial meeting on science and technology policies held on 23-24 April 2024 in Paris, key global leaders, including the French Minister for Higher Education and Research, convened and put forward a joint action program in Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI). The discussions, enriched by a diverse multi-stakeholder dialogue, emphasized the central role of open science in fostering transparent and responsible international scientific cooperation. France reaffirmed its commitment to enhancing open science, advocating for international collaboration through initiatives like the Global Research Initiative on Open Science (GRIOS) and the Open Science Monitoring Initiative (OSMI). These initiatives aim to address critical gaps in open science metrics and understanding, marking a significant step towards realizing its full potential for societal benefit. 

The entire Editorial Team of Philosophy & Public Affairs Resigns to Start a Diamond Open Access Journal 

In a recent move, the complete editorial team of the Wiley-owned journal Philosophy & Public Affairs, including all executive and associate editors, resigned on Wednesday. Citing long-standing issues with the commercialization of academic publishing, they announced the creation of a new “diamond” open-access journal supported by The Open Library of Humanities. It will be free for both readers and authors, set to begin accepting submissions in September. The move reflects a growing concern among academics over access inequalities and the pressures of the profit-driven publishing model, emphasizing the need for a more equitable approach to disseminating research. 

Springer Nature Strikes Open Access Deals with Korean Institutions 

Springer Nature inks two separate open access deals with the Seoul National University and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. These agreements will allow researchers affiliated with these two institutions to publish open access articles with fees covered in journals across the Springer Nature portfolio. As part of the agreement, researchers will be able to read, use, and reuse research published in over 2,000 Springer Nature journals across the Springer, Palgrave Macmillan, and Adis, and in the Academic Journals on Starting 01 January 2024, both the agreements will run through 31 December 2026. 

COS Launches SMART Project to Automate Trustworthiness Assessments in Research 

The Center for Open Science (COS), in collaboration with researchers from the University of Melbourne and Pennsylvania State University, has launched the SMART project to automate confidence evaluation of research claims. Building on the SCORE program, this project will blend human and AI assessments to evaluate the trustworthiness of research papers, providing valuable feedback to authors. Supported by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant, SMART aims to enhance automated scoring algorithms, generate more data, and invite researchers to contribute by submitting their papers for evaluation. 

ResearchGate and PLOS Form a Partnership to Boost Open Access Content 

ResearchGate, the professional network for researchers, and PLOS, a leader in nonprofit Open Access publishing, have announced a new partnership to increase the visibility and reach of PLOS journals through ResearchGate’s Journal Home offering. Over 300,000 full-text articles from PLOS’s extensive catalog will be accessible on ResearchGate, enhancing interaction with its network of over 25 million researchers. This collaboration not only makes PLOS content more accessible but also integrates articles into authors’ ResearchGate profiles, fostering deeper community connections and increasing the impact of their work. 

MIT Press Reports Significant Impact of ‘Direct to Open’ Program  

The MIT Press has released a report on the success of its ‘Direct to Open’ (D2O) initiative, which has transformed access to academic monographs by shifting to a library-supported open access model. Since its launch in 2021, D2O has funded 240 books across humanities and social sciences and STEAM, resulting in increased usage and citations, significantly higher than paywalled counterparts. The program, praised for making scholarly works more accessible and engaging worldwide, continues to expand, inviting more libraries and consortia to join as it moves into 2025. 

DFG Launches New Program to Enhance Research Software Infrastructures in Germany 

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) has announced a new funding program to support the development, establishment, and organization of research software infrastructures across Germany. Open to researchers and members of research information infrastructure facilities, the program seeks to improve the handling of research software and foster a community-based structure nationwide. With proposals accepted until November 4, 2024, for this cycle, the ongoing program will allow submissions twice yearly starting in 2025. 

Nature Journal Staff Ballot for Strike Over Pay Dispute with Springer Nature 

UK staff working on the prestigious Nature portfolio of journals, including the leading science magazine Nature, are balloting for industrial action due to a pay dispute with Springer Nature. Despite the publisher reporting substantial profits in its latest annual report, talks have broken down, leading nearly 400 staff members to reject a 5.8% pay increase as insufficient amidst rising living costs. This marks the first ballot for industrial action since the early 1990s for Nature magazine, highlighting the growing discontent among employees over wage stagnation and increased living expenses. 

DORA Introduces New Guidelines to Enhance Fairness in Research Assessment 

The Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) has launched a new guidance document to help the community use quantitative indicators like the h-index, citation counts, and altmetrics in responsible research evaluation. This document builds on DORA’s initial principles to address the complexities and potential misuses of such metrics, promoting clarity, transparency, specificity, contextuality, and fairness in assessments. Developed with input from an international cohort of bibliometricians and assessment experts, the guidance encourages nuanced application and continuous feedback to further improve research evaluation practices. 

University of California Strikes Transformative Open Access Deal with Wiley 

Starting January 1, 2024, the University of California, in partnership with the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC), has launched a three-year open access agreement with Wiley. This agreement establishes open access publishing as the default for UC corresponding authors in Wiley journals, offering a 15% discount on article processing charges and automatic contributions towards these fees. Additionally, the deal ensures unlimited reading access across all ten UC campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, furthering UC’s mission to enhance global access to research and maintain affordability in scholarly publishing. 

Open Science events and opportunities 

Job Opportunities

  • PhD Position on Understanding the Global Movement for Open Research Information is available at Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), Leiden University. The application deadline is 4 June 2024. More information is available here.  
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) is seeking a Scientific Coordinator for Open Science to fill a full-time or two part-time temporary position(s) from 1st January 2025 to 31st December 2027. The application deadline is 15 July 2024

Our top ten Open Science reads


The information, opinions and recommendations presented by our guests are those of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the values and beliefs of the International Science Council.

Image by Ricardo Gomez on Unsplash.

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