Overview on Platinum Open Access Landscape in Switzerland
Research on the current state of Swiss platinum open access journals is still scarce. The PLATO (Platinum Open Access Funding) project addresses this desideratum by preparing an overview of the landscape of Swiss platinum journals.
- Lead school Business School
- Institute Institute for Applied Data Science & Finance
- Research unit Applied Data Science
- Funding organisation Others
- Duration (planned) 01.03.2022 - 31.10.2022
- Project management Prof. Dr. Christian Hopp
- Head of project Prof. Dr. Christian Hopp
Prof. Dr. Gernot Pruschak
Prof. Dr. Jennifer Hehn
- Partner Universität Zürich
- Keywords Open Science, Scientific Publishing
In cooperation with the SNSF and by order of the SERI, swissuniversities mandated in its 2016 National open access strategy that all publicly funded scientific publications should be freely accessible in 2024. To achieve this goal, the SNSF and Swiss research institutions teamed up in negotiating open access publishing agreements and provide funding for article processing charges (APCs) of gold open access journals (journals publishing open access articles by charging authors a fee). In addition, calls emerged, from the president of the SNSF research council among others, to provide funding to platinum open access journals (journals publishing open access articles for free, for both authors and readers) as part of the open access strategy. Research on the current state of Swiss platinum open access journals is still scarce, however. The PLATO (Platinum Open Access Funding) project addresses this desideratum by preparing an overview of the current landscape of platinum journals in Switzerland. Building on that, it furthermore aims at devising an action plan to establish sustainable business models for platinum open access publishing, in alignment with international standards of scholarly publishing.
Course of action
This study provides the baseline for the project by 1) analyzing the current state of the Swiss platinum open access landscape; 2) investigating the characteristics of Swiss platinum open access journals; 3) assessing the editorial processes and technological infrastructure of Swiss Platinum Open Access Journals; 4) identifying current business models of Swiss platinum open access journals; 5) highlighting the challenges and opportunities Swiss platinum open access journals face and 6) discussing sustainable future business models for Swiss platinum open access journals. We inquire these topics through a mixed-method study. First, we combine bibliometric data with inputs from Swiss open access publishers and institutional experts as well as journal websites to identify Swiss platinum open access journals and their main characteristics. Second, we interview ten journal editors from selected Swiss platinum open access journals as well as, depending on the PLATO committee’s decision, the president of the SNSF research council to generate a thorough understanding of the processes, infrastructures, business models, challenges and opportunities of Swiss platinum open access journals. Third, based upon the results from the interviews, we design three surveys and send them to authors/reviewers, editors and representatives of hosting and funding institutions of Swiss platinum open access journals.
In total, we identified 173 Swiss platinum open access journals in the bibliometric study. The majority of these journals operate within the social sciences as well as the arts and humanities. Most of the Swiss platinum open access journals are comparably small, with less than 25 published articles per year. This is not surprising when we consider that many Swiss platinum open access journals were only founded within the last decade. The primary publishing language is English, although several journals also accept submissions in French, German and Italian. Swiss platinum open access journals are published by various types of organizations including, among others, higher education institutions, academic societies and for-profit publishers. Our interview results indicate that journal editors see the following key opportunities and motivations when pursuing an open access model, namely, (1) to accelerate the scientific discussion, (1) to make their journal better known in their community, (3) to receive more articles from authors, (4) to support open access ideals and values, and (5) to appear modern. When examining challenges, unsurprisingly, funding was a key topic that was highlighted by all interviewees. It appears that funding often relies on extra efforts from individual editors who, for example, use chair funding and/or professional funds or even make funding a part of their job negotiations.
We put our findings into context with existing research like the Equap2 study, thus benchmarking the Swiss platinum open access landscape, and outline theoretical and practical implications in the discussion section. This allows us to derive specific action recommendations for providing enhanced support to platinum open access journals.