As reported in the last issue of Publishing News, the European Commission (EC) is currently consulting about access to and preservation of scientific literature in Europe. Following a hearing in May, interested parties are now invited to submit their views via an online questionnaire. Despite the fact that learned societies are not specifically identified as an interest group – something which we are already addressing with the EC – we very much hope that our European society partners will contribute to the consultation by completing this questionnaire and, if appropriate, encouraging your members to do so too, as citizens. The deadline for submitting your response is September 9, 2011, so please be sure to act fast. You should, by now, have received an email from your usual Wiley-Blackwell contact point about this but, if not, and/or if you require more information, please don’t hesitate to contact them or Alice Meadows (email@example.com).
In the meantime, we thought that you might be interested in a summary of our response to the questionnaire (a copy of the full response is available on request from Alice Meadows, as before). Note, we also had a number of comments about the survey itself, as follows:
- The questionnaire is not neutral: many questions are designed to elicit specific responses.
- It is ambiguous, with different issues conflated throughout, e.g., data conflated with publications.
- There is no recognition that trade-offs need to be made between the wish for free access and for quality-controlled, trusted access.
- There is no acknowledgement of the important role of learned societies for many of whom we publish.
Wiley-Blackwell supports any business model for the provision of access to scholarly and scientific literature that is financially sustainable and scalable, and that maintains the quality and stewardship of the authoritative version of record. The published version of a research article differs from the manuscript submitted by authors; it has been shepherded through a rigorous peer review process, validating its importance, authenticity, and credibility. Publishers and societies bear the costs of organizing that process and add value by copy-editing, typesetting in XML, adding links to citations, and making the article more easily discoverable through the many search engines used by readers.
In addition, publishers make substantial investments in the infrastructure content platform and functionality, managing editor systems, author services, etc as well as in the launch of new journals and strategic development of existing journals, often working in partnership with scholarly and professional societies. Adding value in this way requires specialized expertise as well as investment. We are concerned that posting versions of published articles in Open Access and Institutional Repositories lacking viable business models may have an adverse impact on the business of scholarly communication.
In order to ensure the widest possible dissemination of the content we publish, including the 770+ titles published on behalf of scholarly and scientific societies and other organizations, we are introducing various alternative models, including:
OnlineOpen: a hybrid open access option currently offered by over 500 journals.
Wiley Open Access: a program of broad scope open access journals, published with several of our society partners, which launched in February 2011 with two titles – Brain and Behavior and Ecology and Evolution – with more announced (Microbiology Open) and others planned.
Fully open access journals focused on more specialized areas, such as Archives in Drug Information, with more to follow.
We and our society partners are also committed to making our content available to researchers and practitioners in developing countries, through our support of initiatives such as the UN Research4Life programs (HINARI, AGORA and OARE), which Wiley helped found. We also participate in INASP’s programs to deliver low cost content in developing countries, and are major participants in the Emergency Access Initiative that provides free access to full-text articles from major biomedicine titles to emergency workers, students, faculty, healthcare professionals, and librarians at academic institutions affected by natural disasters.
Taken together with our continuing commitment to deliver high-quality content in multiple formats that can be accessed anytime and anywhere, through products and services such as Wiley Online Library, available to researchers, academics, students, and others in over 17,000 libraries globally, as well as the licensing of our content via third party aggregators such as Ebsco Publishing and Ovid, which reach users in more than 24,000 institutions globally, we are confident that access to our content is at an all-time high, and that it will continue to increase as we seek to develop new business models appropriate for new customers, such as small and medium sized enterprises.