On October 6th last year Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) organized a roundtable at University College London where they brought together UK institutions and publishers from both the US and UK. CCC is offering RightsLink for Open Access as an intermediary tool for accounting APCs. RightsLink currently cooperates with Aries Editorial Manager, a system used by many publishers to manage manuscript workflows.
The roundtable discussion was set up to explore the implications of managing open access fees on a large scale and how third parties might support the processes.
The executive summary of the recently published report draws the following conclusion: “The current approach to APC management is highly fragmented and undermined by differences of approach between nations and academic disciplines, inefficiencies in process and scarcity of resources. Opportunities exist to overcome many of these issues through improvements in data-sharing and development of common identifiers and vocabularies, but these must be placed in the context of broader trends and continuing uncertainties over the future of academic publishing.”
Among the identified challenges and opportunities in APC Management the report states “author engagement” in the first place. Moreover, according to the report, authors shall be equipped with more information so that they can make a more deliberate license choice. Interesting that the report at the same time quotes Ros Pyne, Research and Development Manager at Nature Publishing Group. Pyne explaines why the decision was made to offer the CC-BY license for Nature Communications by default:
>>”When we altered the order of our licenses, we found they just picked the middle one. It seems like a lot of authors either don’t know or don’t mind what license is applied.” A 3-month pilot of CC BY as the default license across three titles, including Nature Communications, found that only 3% of authors requested alternative licenses. Meanwhile, requests to switch licenses post-publication were very rare, with the only examples coming from libraries and research offices at institutions in the UK. “We concluded that not offering CC BY by default is still pushing our authors down a particular route, so we made a call that we wanted to get behind CC BY,” said Ros. This support for CC BY also extends to APC pricing: “We looked at the landscape and realized that differentiating our pricing was very out of line with what other publishers are doing. We felt we could not support CC BY and be charging more for it.”<<
Pyne’s statement reveals how authors are confused by different license options. It suggests that instead of educating authors journals should go for CC-BY by default.