Little over five months away from its conclusion, the EC FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot has shared an up-to-date dataset for the APC payments it has made thus far with the OpenAPC initiative run at Universität Bielefeld. The OpenAPC project started in June 2014 as a tool funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) to collect standardized inputs for APC payments from different stakeholders – mainly institutions at the time – arising from the Gold Open Access funding initiative implemented by the DFG across German Universities. In November 2015 OpenAPC became part of the DFG-funded INTACT project.
OpenAPC soon saw the need for the initiative to become an international endeavour for the sake of promoting transparency around the costs of Open Access publishing and the implementation of standards for data exchange and sharing on APC payments. The funding for the initiative has of course remained national even if it’s now serving stakeholders in various countries, but this seems to be a standard issue around the funding of Open Access-related services that we have only recently started discussing how to fix.
In the current state of the Open Access publishing market and under the top-down guidelines for Open Access implementation resulting from the European Council of Ministers earlier this year there is a clear need for an initiative like OpenAPC that will make the costs transparent for Open Access publishing across countries, research funders and business models (eg fully Open Access vs hybrid journals). Besides the 38 German institutions that take part in the distributed Gold OA funding initiative implemented by the DFG, many other additional stakeholders from different countries have already shared their datasets with OpenAPC such as the Austrian FWF, the Wellcome Trust, Jisc and Harvard University to mention but a few. The interest of sharing the dataset for the APC payments made by the EC FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot with OpenAPC was also evident for OpenAIRE from the start of the initiative. This has happened now, nearly 19 months into this 24-month post-grant funding initiative, at a time when the sample to share is already large enough to be significant but also while the initiative is still ongoing – meaning there will be a further update on the data once this pilot comes to a close.
The inclusion of OpenAIRE among the data providers for OpenAPC was actually announced by Christoph Broschinski last Oct during his presentation at the Open Access Tage 2016 event in Munich. This followed an earlier participation of the FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot in an inspiring coordination event (see presentations) held in Bielefeld earlier this year by the Intact project where a number of Gold Open Access funding managers at German Universities came together to discuss the workflows, the costs and the opportunities for cross-institutional coordination in this specific area of work. A similar effort has been going on in the UK under the leadership of Jisc Collections. A Knowledge Exchange workshop on Open Access monitoring to be held in Copenhagen at the end of this month will offer good chances for discussing the international alignment of workflows, policies and monitoring initiatives. This is part of the arising infrastructure around the management of APC-based Gold Open Access, one of whose main aims is to find the means to contain the spiralling costs of scholarly communications. OpenAIRE is proud to now have joined the common effort by having shared its (still partial) data for the FP7 Post-Grant OA Pilot.
Finally, the inclusion of this dataset in OpenAPC offers an interesting and completely up-to-date insight on this European post-grant funding initiative itself (see the treemap for the dataset). OpenAIRE has shared a dataset for 546 APC payments, which makes it the fifth largest one in OpenAPC after the Max Planck Society, the Wellcome Trust, the Austrian FWF and Uni Göttingen. All such payments have been made to fully Open Access journals with an average APC payment of €1,452 which is 6.5% above the average €1,363 payment for the aggregated OpenAPC dataset with 12,575 articles. This is because the FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot has regularly granted partial funding for APC fees above its €2,000 funding cap while other initiatives would simply reject any APC payment above that (common) maximum amount. However, when compared to the average APC payment for hybrid journals, which is presently €2,549 for the dataset of 6,547 articles stored in OpenAPC, the average value for the post-grant pilot is of course much lower. This lower average payment clearly makes the case for the no-hybrid policy that this post-grant funding pilot shares with many other national-level Gold OA funding policies across Europe.