Open Access to Scholarly Content

At the 2019 European meeting of ISMPP ‘Circuit Training - Roundtable Session’ on the topic of ‘Open Access to Scholarly Content’, the current challenges and new developments in open access were discussed. The roundtable was well represented by pharma, agency and publishers, providing some lively debate and a good spread of perspective.

  • With Shire’s recent publication policy, as previously announced at the European Meeting of ISMPP, January 23–24, 2018, all Shire-supported research manuscripts are to be submitted to journals that offer open access. 
    • A challenge posed to such a policy is the choice of journal, which is ultimately up to the authors, who may not choose a journal with an open access option.
  • Another challenge facing open-access status for company-funded publications is the various open access and Creative Commons (CC) license options available as discussed at the 2018 European Meeting of ISMPP and described in a subsequent ISMPP newsletter.
    • Pharmaceutical companies may still find they have a need for re-prints, even with a CC BY licence, where physical copies of articles form a key tool for any activities. Some publishers; however, have observed a reduction in re-prints when flipping to a CC licence.
  • Plan S, the open access publishing initiative for all public grants funded research to be published in compliant open access journals or platforms by 2020, was launched in September 2018. This initiative is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders.
    • A gap analysis will be commissioned to identify fields and disciplines with a need for open access journals/platforms. To fill these gaps, incentives will be brought in for establishing Open Access journals/platforms or for flipping existing journals to Open Access.
    • Hybrid journals may continue during a transition period, if they have a transformative agreement in place. Details of such agreements must be listed on a journals website to ensure transparency.
  • Open-access articles have been shown to be cited more than non-open access articles; however, authors are more likely to elect their more impactful, novel and exciting publications for open access.
    • In a study by PM. Davis et al. of 1619 research article and reviews, where open access or subscription access was randomly assigned, there was no evidence found of a citation advantage for open access articles.
    • It was agreed that Mendeley shares were a more accurate metric to compare if making an article open access is advantageous.

The introduction of Plan S is expected to shape the future for publications, promote access to scholarly content and, potentially, drive a change in the attitude towards open access.