As the first not-for-profit publisher to commit to the Transformative Journal approach, we are excited about this next step in our Open Access journey.
We have offered Open Access publishing options since 2004 and two of our five journals are already fully Open Access. We believe that Open Access is the direction of travel and it is clear that, as well as reader benefits, Open Access provides our authors with a wider readership and higher usage for their articles.
The Transformative Journal strategy signals more clearly our commitment to move towards full Open Access, while allowing us to provide publishing options that support all our authors as we approach this change in the publishing landscape.
This helps us balance these two priorities:
- Making research accessible to everyone, as quickly as possible.
- Supporting our whole author community – whatever their funder or financial status.
What are Transformative Journals?
Transformative Journals proactively champion Open Access publishing and have Open Access growth targets. By providing a transition period, the Transformative Journal model acknowledges that not all of our authors are ready for Open Access (which requires support from their funders and institutions) and ensures that every author in our community can continue to publish with us.
How are Transformative Journals different from hybrid journals?
As hybrid journals, Development, Journal of Cell Science and Journal of Experimental Biology already offered Open Access publishing options.
As Transformative Journals they will continue and extend their Open Access support by:
- gradually increasing share of Open Access research content year on year
- promoting the benefits of Open Access publishing
- providing transparent metrics for published articles
- providing comparative metrics for Open Access articles compared with subscription content
- providing greater transparency on the services covered by the article processing charge (APC)
- offering ‘transformative’ Read & Publish deals to libraries / consortia
- continuing to offset subscription revenue to avoid ‘double dipping’
What does this mean for authors?
Authors will still have the same three routes to publication as we transition towards full Open Access:
Free publication (not Open Access)
With this option, the author pays nothing at all. The article is available to our subscribers for six months and is then freely available to everyone after this time.
This option might appeal to authors whose funders and institutions do not mandate Open Access and authors who do not want to choose Open Access or pay an Open Access fee. This option could be important given the financial challenges expected in the university sector due to COVID-19.
Gold Open Access (author pays)
The author will pay an article processing charge (APC) to publish their article Gold Open Access. Articles will be published under a CCBY licence and will be available to everyone immediately upon publication.
This option will appeal to authors whose funders or institutions mandate Gold Open Access or to authors who prefer to publish Open Access.
Read & Publish deals
The third option is for authors whose institutions have taken up one of our new Read & Publish deals. These cost-neutral deals, agreed with librarians, provide unlimited access to all of our content and allow corresponding authors from that institution unlimited free Open Access publication for research articles. These agreements therefore support institutions and authors working to meet funding requirements and to make Open Access the default publishing choice.
Is this Plan S compliant?
Yes, our commitment to the Transformative Journal approach makes us Plan S compliant, which supports those of our authors with cOAlition S funding. By continuing to offer authors choices, we ensure that we support our whole author community whatever their funder and financial status. We anticipate the proportion of authors selecting Open Access will grow year on year, with the support of their funders and institutions.
Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research at Wellcome, commented: “I am delighted that The Company of Biologists is fully committed to transitioning its journals to full Open Access – as evidenced by the Read and Publish arrangements developed last year and the announcement today that their three subscription journals will become Transformative Journals, from January 2021. We welcome the commitment to transition to full Open Access, to offset subscription income from payments for publishing services and to work to increase the share of OA content, year-on-year. I hope other journals follow the lead set by The Company of Biologists.”
What is the timeline for transformation?
Development, Journal of Cell Science and Journal of Experimental Biology aim to:
- grow the proportion of Open Access research content by 5% year on year (or 15% in relative terms) over the transition period 2021—2024. This will require the support of funders and institutions as we promote Open Access publishing to their authors. To allow flexibility, the annual growth targets may be spread over a rolling 3-year period.
- transition to full Open Access when the journals reach 75% Open Access research content. Journals could transition earlier with the support of the journal communities. Financial support from cOAlition S funders for hybrid journals ends on 31 December 2024.
- report annually on our transformational journey. Our Open Access growth targets are challenging and require real changes in the marketplace such as funder mandates (including financial support for Gold Open Access) and more libraries/consortia taking up our Read & Publish deals. We will monitor our progress on this Open Access journey closely and will openly report on it, ensuring we work together with stakeholders to maximise the chances of success.
We call for authors, funders and librarians to join us on our Open Access journey.