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#OAWeek2023: Subscribe to Open – an alternative approach to journal transformation

Today is “Tag der Bibliotheken” (translated: Libraries’ Day) in Germany, at the same time the publication culture is dynamically developing and constantly bringing forth new forms and concepts of Open Access publishing. This is a good opportunity to introduce interested readers to a new publishing model from the perspective of the University Library (TUB): Subscribe to Open.

Subcscribe to Open – What is it?

Subscribe to Open (S2O) is a relatively new support model for open access publishing. It was developed by the journal publisher Annual Reviews and first implemented in 2020. Under S2O, existing subscribers to a journal agree to continue paying their previous subscription fees when they switch to an open access model. Thus, the content of the subscribed journal is not only opened or further openly offered to the subscribing institution, but to all interested parties. Through this approach, TU members can, for example, access the offerings of IWA Publishing this year, even though the journals could not be subscribed to with library funds. S2O is considered a Diamond Open Access approach in the OA community.

In this way, a publisher secures the necessary sales and income. In addition, the article processing charges (APC) or publish & read fees (PAR fees) for authors in the respective journals are waived in the context of publishing. The articles are available immediately and without access restrictions.

For all actors in the publication system, S2O also means a reduction in work and administrative effort. The waiver of article processing charges (APCs) relieves authors, the S2O publishers, and the libraries of the usual processing steps for the payment of APCs, such as mail exchanges, invoicing and processing, refunds, etc., if necessary.

Subscribe to Open – Will all journals be made open access?

Journals with S2O model are only guaranteed Open Access if the subscription fees are sufficient. If there are not enough institutions to subscribe to a journal in one year, there may be a return to the paid access model for the respective journal. Content without a CC license would then again only be accessible to subscribers. TUB would then have to conclude a classic subscription for the respective publication in order to continue to allow access for TUHH members. The APC for the year in question will not be waived either. However, articles published once in Open Access remain permanently freely available.

Subscribe to Open – Publications supported by TUB

TUB subscribes to the following titles as part of S2O:

  • ABI-Technik
  • Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics
  • Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ab 2024)
  • Bibliothek
  • Bibliotheksdienst
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Zeitschrift für Soziologie

Subscribe to Open – find more S2O magazines

A list of other S2O journals can be found on the Open Access Directory Wiki. A table showing the number of S2O journals by publisher is also maintained. These lists are maintained by the members of S2O. Therefore, no completeness can be guaranteed. The most current information can be found on the websites of participating publishers. In addition, the search in the Electronic Journals Library (EZB) can be used.

Subscribe to Open – How can I publish in S2O journals?

In order to publish in S2O journals, TUHH members can follow the usual publication process of the respective publishing journal. If the selected title has achieved Open Access status for the publication year, no Article Processing Charge (APC) is required for publication.

Subscribe to Open – Why does TUHH support S2O?

By supporting S2O, TUHH members have several benefits. These include:

  • Permanent access to subscribed content
  • Access to older volumes of the journals in question
  • Participation in a model of joint/cooperative support for the OA movement
  • No APCs for authors

Subscribe to Open – A practical insight during Open Access Week 2023

For further insights into S2O, the event Open Access Models: The Search for equitable global Solutions will be held during Open Access Week 2023. TUHH professors will report on their own experiences in renowned editorial boards.

Update 24.10.2023: Why we need equitable Open Access and how we might achieve it (presentation slides)

Further Reading

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