Another experiment in open access: subscribe to open (COMMENT)

Margaret DeLacy's picture


The Scholarly Kitchen blog has a post by Ann Michael on April 2nd. entitled "Subscribe to Open: Annual Reviews' Take on Open Access," concerning a new initiative by Annual Reviews, a not-for-profit publisher that publishes 50 review journals across the sciences.  The plan is to ask current subscribers to continue their subscriptions while posting the content itself via open access. The blog includes interviews with  Richard Gallagher, President and Editor-in-Chief of Annual Reviews, and Kamran Naim, Director of Partnerships and Initiatives.

Below is an excerpt:

" The reviews capture current understanding of a particular topic, including what is well supported and what is controversial; set the work in historical context; highlight the major questions that remain to be addressed and the likely course of research in upcoming years; and outline the practical applications and overall significance of research to society.

Annual Reviews is keen to pursue open access (OA), believing its content to be of wide general interest, but does not consider APCs to be a viable route. The reviews are invited, and it can take three or four months to write them, so the publisher feels that it is not appropriate to present the author with a bill/invoice to publish. In addition, Annual Reviews authors rarely cite funder support, closing off the most obvious source of APC-based funding . . . . The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provided funds to publish the 2017 volume of the Annual Review of Public Health open access and at the same time we made the back volumes freely available. There was dramatic increase in usage. In February 2017, there were 26,000 downloads from the Annual Review of Public Health; in February 2019, there were 144,000. When it was a subscription-only publication, researchers and students from 2,000 subscribing institutions from 57 countries had access. In just the first six months of 2018, the Annual Review of Public Health was accessed from more than 9,900 institutions across 132 countries. This included a lot more universities and corporations, but also government and state agencies, NGOs, schools, hospitals and even prisons. ."