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cOAlition S starts building its Journal Comparison Service to help create visibility of publishing services and prices


The Plan S Journal Comparison Service is now open for publishers to register and deposit price and service data


cOAlition S is pleased to announce that work has commenced on building the Journal Comparison Service to help the research community better understand if the publishing fees they pay are commensurate with the services delivered and to gain better insight into the elements of those services.

After concluding the tender process, the European Science Foundation (ESF), on behalf of cOAlition S, has assigned to Cottage Labs the task to build and provide the technical support for the Journal Comparison Service. Cottage Labs, a UK data services and software company with solid experience in providing open access services for academia, will deliver the work in partnership with Antleaf consultancy.

Under the contract, Cottage Labs will build a secure, multi-factor authentication web-based service which will enable academic publishers to upload data in accord with one of the approved cOAlition S Price and Service Transparency Frameworks. At the same time, approved users will be able to determine what services are provided and at what price for a given journal or compare the services offered and prices charged by several journals. Richard Jones, Director of Cottage Labs, says: “Building on the experience we have gained in developing the Journal Checker Tool for cOAlition S, we are proud and delighted that we have been selected to build a secure, multi-factor authentication-enabled service, that will confidently enable authorised users to access price and service-related data, provided by participating publishers”.

Providing information via this platform is an opportunity for publishers to demonstrate their commitment to open business models and cultures, build awareness of their services and value, and build understanding and trust.

In addition, ESF assigned to Information Power, a consultancy service specialising in Open Access and research information, the task to work with key stakeholders, such as publishers, library consortia (and their members), encourage them to engage with the Journal Comparison Service, and ensure that the service becomes a useful and well-used resource. Lorraine Estelle, Director of Information Power, adds: “We are pleased to be asked to assist with preparations for the launch of the Journal Comparison Service, which will support the research community by shedding light on publishing fees and services. We invite publishers, libraries, and consortia to learn how the service works, how information is provided, and how it can and cannot be used”.

Beginning in Spring 2022, cOAlition S plans to release the Journal Comparison Service in a phased approach, starting with accepting data from publishers. The online service will be accessible to authorised users later in Summer 2022.

Commenting on this progress, Niamh O’Connor, Chief Publishing Officer at PLOS, stated: “At PLOS we recognize that the future of Open Science has to be built on trusted, inclusive business models. Participation in the Plan S Price Transparency work aligns exactly with PLOS’ commitment to openness and is vital to building this trust with institutional partners experimenting with us on new business models”.

Liam Earney, Managing Director of Higher Education and Research at Jisc, also stressed: “Our members consistently tell us that transparency is essential to their decision making. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to improve the transparency around our agreements”.

Notes to Editors

  • cOAlition S is an international consortium of research funding and performing organisations supporting Plan S, an Open Access publishing initiative launched in September 2018. Plan S requires that, with effect from 2021, all scholarly publications on the results from research funded by public or private grants provided by national, regional, and international research councils and funding bodies, must be published in Open Access Journals, on Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo.
  • Cottage Labs is a software and data consultancy, specialising in software for data lifecycles, especially within the research and higher education communities. They have worked extensively on Open Access infrastructure services and standards, and have been involved in Open Source development within that community for more than a decade.
  • Antleaf is a digital consultancy working in the higher-education and research domains, with particular expertise in scholarly communications, repositories and related infrastructure, data and metadata management, and web-system design, prototyping & development.
  • Information Power offers specialist consultancy services and has considerable expertise in supporting a wide range of organisations transition to open access.