[open-science] Openness of academic publishers evaluated first time

Leo Lahti leo.lahti at iki.fi
Wed Jan 31 15:58:52 UTC 2018

Openness of academic publishers evaluated for the first timeOpen access to
research publications and the transparency of research are cornerstones of
the scientific progress. Supporting openness and open science is an
essential goal in Finnish and international science policies. However,
there is a lot room for improvement in the practices and policies of key
international academic publishers, finds the “Opening Academic Publishing”
published today.

The report, commissioned by the Open science and research initiative (ATT)
of the Ministry of Education and Culture, evaluated the implementation of
open science principles in the practices and policies of key international
publishers and developed a systematic evaluation framework, or scorecard,
 for benchmarking. The largest publishers have significant impact on the
research and innovation fields, but systematic tools for assessing openness
have not been previously available. The published report highlights key
areas and improves the possibilities to monitor and develop the practices
for open science and academic publishing.

The evaluation project was implemented by Open Knowledge Finland with
Oxford Research and it studied nine large academic publishers in detail.
The score for openness ranged between 30-70% as compared to the target
level. There are clear differences between the publishers and some
publishers score far below the target levels. The report highlights key
development areas for the publishers to improve on.

*Evaluating openness is crucial for understanding the impact and costs of

The publishers can adopt many ways to support open science, and the
evaluation strived for covering central areas of those principles. The
evaluation employs seven key factors, which were scored on a scale from
0-3. The publishers were evaluated by investigating the fraction and costs
of open access publishing; license policy; the support for self-archiving,
open citation and text and data mining, as well as the accessibility of
information on open access publishing. There was variation between the
publishers, yet each of the publishers scored below the target level in
more than one of the seven key factors.

The lack of transparency and variation in pricing schemes made the
evaluation more difficult. The practices of the publishers differ within
their journal portfolio, and for example across disciplines on pricing and
licenses. This needs more scrutiny in following studies.

Some of the newcomer publishers apply principles of open science across
their offering, not only individual publications. This is a practice we
would like to see also with the more traditional publishers”, states
academy researcher Leo Lahti, who has been coordinating this report.

“Some of the more recently-formed publishers apply principles of open
science across their portfolio of publications, not only in individual
publications. This is a practice we would like to see also with the more
traditional publishers”, states academy researcher Leo Lahti, who has been
coordinating this report.

The contributions to the realisation of open science principles are
reflected in the pricing for license agreements, however, they potentially
also increase the effectiveness and impact of research at the same time.
The scorecard introduced in the evaluation enables a systematic comparison
between publishers with regard to their support for openness.

“The openness of license agreements, to which those negotiating them have
already been committed to in Finland, will make it easier to compare
openness of publishers and the total costs of open access publishing. This
will help improve the negotiating position of research institutes and
result in notable savings”, concludes Lahti.

*Download the Opening Academic Publishing report here *

*Direct URL *

*Further information *

Leo Lahti, Docent / Academy Research Fellow University of Turku & Open
Knowledge Finland ry. leo.lahti at iki.fi / +358 40 5655 872

Teemu Ropponen, Executive Director, Open Knowledge Finland ry.
teemu.ropponen at okf.fi / +358 40 5255153

Anna Björk, analyst Oxford Research Oy anna.bjork at oxfordresearch.fi / +358
44 203 2013

Open Knowledge Finland promotes free access and reuse of knowledge and
advocates for a transparent and inclusive society in Finland. It is the
local chapter of The Open Knowledge Network, which already operates in over
30 countries. Open Knowledge Finland was registered as a Finnish non-profit
association in 2012. The Open Science Working Group received the Finnish
Ministry of Culture and Education award for openness on 2017 for its
persistent work in advancing open science. Web: www.okf.fi

Oxford Research is a specialized knowledge company with offices in Finland,
Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Latvia. OR combines academic competence with
strategic vision and communication, supporting decision making in such
areas as knowledge and innovation systems, development of municipalities
and regions, and social, educational, and labour market policies. Web:
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