In March 2022, cOAlition S sent a letter to over 100 subscription publishers requesting that, at the point of submitting a manuscript for publication, authors are made aware of:
1]. The licence they will be asked to sign, if their manuscript is accepted for publication;
2]. Any fees which will be levied, if their manuscript is accepted for publication;
3]. Whether their manuscript will be re-routed to another journal as a result of any prior notice of re-use rights, which is included in the submission.
In addition to the individual letters, we also asked a number of publisher trade associations – STM, ALPSP and OASPA – to circulate this request to their members.
cOAlition S provided a form for publishers to provide this information and a request that this information should be supplied no later than the 2nd May 2022. We agreed that we would make this information available to our funded researchers, to help them make an informed decision as to whether to proceed with their submission or not.
Table 1 below provides an at-a-glance summary of the responses we received, with links to publisher websites where further information about their policies can be found.
In cases where a publisher publishes multiple journals – and information is typically provided at the journal level – we provide a link to a single journal, as an example of the policy used by that publisher.
|Company of Biologists
|European Respiratory Society
|Mathematical Sciences Publishers
|Rockefeller University Press
|For fully OA articles our publishing contracts (Licence to Publish or other publishing agreements) offer a Plan S compliant publishing option and are consistent with the prior licenses asserted or granted by the author.
||Yes||Yes||Yes See also here, here and here.||Yes See also here||Yes||Not applicable||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|For subscription articles our publishing contracts (Licence to Publish or other publishing agreements) offer a Plan S compliant publishing option and are consistent with the prior licenses asserted or granted by the author||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes See also here and here.||Yes|
|We provide publicly accessible links to all relevant publishing contracts (Licence to Publish or other publishing agreements) that the author will be asked to sign, should their paper be accepted editorially for publication with the chosen journal.||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes See also here and here.||Yes|
|OA publishing charges|
|Where the article OA (‘gold’) publishing fees are not covered by the funder, or the journal is not part of a Transformative arrangement, we clearly display the publishing fee (APC) that is requested, along with an explicit statement that the funder will not cover this fee.||Yes||Yes See also here.||Yes See also here, here and here.||Yes||Yes. We explicitly state all APCs or hybrid fees, depending on journal type.||Not applicable. APC model not used by MSP||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rerouting to alternative journal for reasons other than editorial rejection|
|We inform authors at submission that, if they wish to apply a CC BY licence and no embargo to their AAM, their paper will be rerouted from the author’s first choice of journal to a different journal that requires the payment of an APC.||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
We are pleased to note that, in all the responses we received, publishers are providing information, at the point of submission about the licence the author will be asked to sign and any fees that might be levied.
We are also pleased to learn that, at least for those publishers which replied, no publisher is re-routing a manuscript to another journal (other than for editorial reasons).
Of course, what is also striking is that none of the big publishers – Elsevier, Springer Nature, Wiley, Taylor& Francis, ACS and many others – replied to our request for clarity. We will continue to encourage them to make their policies and fees clear to our funded researchers at the point of submission.
To help authors ask for the clarity they need before peer review proceeds, we have created the pre-submission letter template and the submission cover letter template as well as a user guide about when, how and why to use these templates. Authors may wish to use one of these templates when contacting publishers who do not provide clarity prior to the point of submission. If researchers feel that publishers are not providing them with this information, we encourage them to reach out to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with examples so that we can follow up on their behalf.
Robert Kiley, Head of Strategy, cOAlition S