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Journal Comparison Service adopts a single pricing and service framework to simplify data comparison


Starting on 1st November 2024, the Journal Comparison Service (JCS) will exclusively accept data supplied using the Information Power (IP) framework and will no longer support the Fair Open Access (FOAA) framework.

The decision to rely only on a single framework follows a recommendation from the JCS Advisory Panel, which emphasized the need for end users to easily compare data about services provided and prices charged across all journals.

JCS has been using the two frameworks since its launch, as they both responded to the cOAlition S requirement for price transparency to all funded articles.  Data usage from publishers participating to the JCS reveals that 59% of them use the IP framework and 41% opt for the FOAA framework, while a significant 86% of journal titles provide data utilizing the IP framework.

Although both frameworks collect the same bibliographic data, the IP framework gathers more detailed price and service data. For example, the IP framework collects data on a journals’ peer review service – such as the median number of reviews, and the median time from submission to first decision, whereas the FOAA framework does not.  It is a similar case with the price data, where the IP framework asks publishers to allocate fees across eight discrete elements – such as journal development, peer review, and post publication services – all of which should include any profits or surpluses. In contrast, the FOAA framework has just five price elements, including one that is focused on profits and surpluses. These differences make journal comparisons (which used the different frameworks) difficult or even impossible.

Due to these insights, cOAlition S has decided to mandate the use of the IP framework for the JCS, as it is more widely used and more granular, and discontinue support for the FOAA framework. Publishers currently using the FOAA framework are requested to switch to the IP framework for the submission of the 2024 price and service data.

The JCS Advisory Panel acknowledges that ending support for the FOAA framework may pose challenges for some publishers. However, they anticipate that by giving sufficient notice of this change – and making it clear that this aims to make the JCS more useful for end users – most participating publishers will successfully adapt to this new requirement.