Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SCOAP3 stuff at ALA Midwinter

Saturday Morning, January 24th, 2009

Dr. Salvatore Mele (from the CERN Scientific Information Service) provided some background of the SCOAP3 project and the High Energy Physics (HEP) community in general. (More info on SCOAP3 can be found in the "Towards Open Access Publishing in High Energy Physics: Report of the SCOAP3 Working Party" report and in this ARL report, "The Audacity of SCOAP3".)

For the most part, the HEP community is divided in two parts, experimental and theoretical. He then talked a little about the LHC and the basics of Open Access (OA) publishing. About six journals (PRD, JHEP, PhysLettB, NucPhysB, PRL and EuroPhysJC) from four publishers provide about 80% of the peer-reviewed content. (This article provides some data -- "Quantitative analysis of the publishing landscape in high-energy physics.") The HEP community is international in scope.

He then describes the two major preprint archives. The arXiv hit a plateau in 1999 for preprint submits. About 90-95% of the peer-reviewed HEP articles are in arXiv.

A survey was given to researchers to see how they discovered articles in high energy physics. Over 2000 people responded. About 40% use arXiv and 49% use SPIRES. 82% preferred the arXiv version over the peer-reviewed journal article. The role of the journal is for peer review. They are the "Interface with officialdom".

OA journals are the natural evolution of publishing. Dr. Mele then describes three OA models: 1) hybrid 2) author pays and 3) institutional membership. he cites an exampled of seven OA articles that describe the construction of the LHC. They have 1,600 pages, 8,000 authors and 60,000 downloads.

He would like to see funding bodies and libraries contribute to SCOAP3 for the peer review service and for the long term management of the OA articles.

The HEP price tag for the peer reviewed articles is about $13 Million per year, at about $2,000 per article. The 6-8 HEP journals publish about 5-7,000 articles per yr.

Dr. Mele then described the SCOAP3 "tender". The HEP journals are ranked by a combination of high quality and low price. Some journals are left out because the funding can only support 6-8 journals, give or take. The funding will be up to $13 Million.

Features of the project:

* Meets the expectations of researchers, funders, librarians and publishers
* Countries pledge contribution
* In the United States, individual institutions and consortia can join
* $7.5m currently pledged out of the $13m that is needed.
* The US HEP share is only $3.5 Million.

Japan and China should contribute about $800,000 each. More money from a major country will be officially pledged next week.If you are interested in supporting the project, please fill out the "Expression of Interest" at www.tinyurl.com/scoap3us. It was noted that the institution could estimate the amount they would be able to support the project. See Question 11 of the form.

Once a large fraction of the $13 Million is pledged, then it can go forward. The following steps were liberated from http://www.bice.rm.cnr.it/Convegno_Open_Access/Mele.pdf

• Bodies which today buy HEP journals (libraries, consortia, institutes which finance them) estimate their current expenditure on the HEP journals targeted by SCOAP3.

• Partners pledge a re-direction of their current expenditure as their contribution to SCOAP3 through an Expression of Interest.

–A single partner (or a joint venture) partner pledges funds for an entire country, organizing the re-direction of subscriptions in that country
–In the U.S., decentralized funding means many partners each pledging their present expenditures

• Once a sizeable fraction of budget is pledged

–SCOAP3 formally established, with international governance
–SCOAP3 can issue a tender to publishers

• Publishers answer the tender, with agreement on:

1. Journal license packages are unbundled, the OA titles are removed and subscription prices are reduced accordingly
2. In the case of long-term subscription contracts, publishers will be required to reimburse subscription costs pertaining to OA journals

• SCOAP3 partners adjudicate contracts and commit funds
• Contracts with publisher are signed and funds are transferred toSCOAP3
• Aim to 3-year tendering cycle and funding in sliding windows

David Stern asked the question -- Why pay for all this when it was just demonstrated that the preprints were the most used and read by physicists? Dr. Mele responded with their need for the long term preservation of the peer-reviewed versions of the articles.

Sunday Morning, January 24th, 2009

The STS Vendor Session had a panel consisting of Dr. Salvatore Mele from CERN, Tony O'Rourke from IOP and Wim van der Stelt from Springer.

Dr. Mele provided another quick overview of the SCOAP3 project. No need to go into that again.

Tony O'Rourke discussed and tried to answer the following points:

Do learned societies want Open Access? (The short answer is yes because it creates greater visibility for the society and their publications.) The use and citations of IOP publications are increasing. Authors and institutions are not enthusiastic about paying subscriptions and fees for journals and their articles. The OA New Journal of Physics was launched in 1997, and that has been very successful, but it still needs a subsidy. The Journal of Physics: Conference Series was launched in 2004. NJP averages about 700 downloads per article, and there have been millions of downloads total.

The Journal of High Energy Physics has been published since 1997, but SISSA stopped funding the journal since 2002. The IOP now hosts the journal.

What is the definition of sustainability in publishing? The British Library definition is 200-300 years, and the IOP agrees with that assessment.

Researchers want VIP for their publications. VIP = visibility, impact and prestige.

Wim van der Stelt discussed the Springer perspective on OA. Is SCOAP3 sustainable?

He provides some background of Springer. (~1,800 journals, 5,500 books a year.) Springer provides authors with the option for OA with their "OA Choice" program. Authors can pay about $3,000 (2,000 Euro) for AO in any of their journals. He discussed the arrangements Springer has made with the California Digital Library, Max Planck Institute, a Dutch library system, and some others. Springer bought out BioMed Central because it is a good platform for OA publishing.

Questions and comments from the audience

Is the tender process transparent and public? The terms for "tender" are not clear at this point. Unbundling of the journals (and figuring out their value and price) can be difficult or impossible for librarians. Is each subject community going to have to do this? Librarians don't want to see dozens of silos for each subject community. Dr. Mele noted that this is an experiment, and it might as well start with the HEP community.

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