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Plan S Journal Comparison Service: open for libraries and library consortia to register and access price and service data


cOAlition S releases today the end-user portal of the Journal Comparison Service (JCS). This secure, free, online service aims to shed light on publishing fees and services and enable those who procure publishing services to better understand how journals and publishers compare on a range of key indicators.

As of today, libraries and library consortia who negotiate and participate in Open Access agreements with publishers can sign up for the JCS. Once they sign the End User agreement, they can start comparing data across journals and across publishers, such as publication frequency, times from submission to acceptance, and the range of list prices for APCs and subscription prices.  Crucially, the JCS also provides information on how the price is allocated over a standard set of services, such as managing peer review, post acceptances services (copyediting, XML creation etc.), and sales and marketing.

Since the launch of the publisher’s portal in May 2022, a number of publishers – including the Royal Society, the International Union of Crystallography and the Polish Botanical Society – have already responded positively to the research community’s need for greater transparency and started sharing information, at journal level, regarding the services they provide and the prices they charge in line with one of the Plan S approved price and service transparency frameworks.

The deadline for providing price and service data for 2021 is the end of October 2022.  We hope that by this date, a significant number of publishers will have deposited data with this service, thus addressing calls from the research community that has asked for greater transparency on these issues.

JCS: benefits to libraries and library consortia

By registering to the JCS, educational establishments, and library consortia involved in negotiating Open Access agreements with publishers can obtain more standard, transparent, and granular price and service information. Such information enables them to better understand what services and service levels publishers offer and assess whether the fees they pay are commensurate with the publication services delivered. At the same time, publishers are demonstrating their commitment to open business models and business cultures.

Robert Kiley, Head of Strategy at cOAlition S, welcomed the release of the end-user portal, saying: “cOAlition S developed this service in response to the growing calls from the research community for greater transparency on the services publishers provide and the prices charged. We are delighted that we can now make this service available. We hope it will be well used and become the de facto standard for assisting libraries and library consortia in the open access negotiations with all publishers”.

Timo Vilén, Information Specialist at the FinELib consortium commented: “We have long pushed for greater transparency in our OA negotiations and anticipated the launch of this service. I’m sure that our consortium will make good use of the JCS – and I hope that publishers will respond positively to the call of the wider community and share their price and service data”.

To further explore the JCS, please visit https://journalcomparisonservice.org and https://www.coalition-s.org/journal-comparison-service.  Any questions should be sent to info@coalition-s.org.

Notes to Editors

The service has been set up and will be run and managed by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funding and performing organisations implementing Plan S, a mandate aiming to make full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality. cOAlition S is supported by Science Europe and hosted by the European Science Foundation (ESF).