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New milestones in open access publishing

How Elsevier is working with the research community to expand open access

Authors, more than ever before, have a much greater choice in determining how they publish their research. In fact, it is estimated that 70 percent of journals across all publishers provide a gold open access option.

Elsevier recently launched its 100th open access journal: Case Reports in Women's HealthAt Elsevier, we too have been scaling our open access publishing program, and we're marking the launch of our 100th open access journal: Case Reports in Women's Health.

However, it is not only the launch of this title or the actual number of new journals we are celebrating, but all the opportunities open access has created to bring publication choices to researchers. For our part, we have done this by working with the different research communities to launch open access journals, provide open access options in existing titles and continue to establish programs to help expand public access.

Elsevier fully supports the goal to make scientific research publically available, and we are encouraged by authors' enthusiasm and uptake of this option. In fact last year, at Elsevier we published over 6,000 author-paid open access articles, as well as a multiple of that under centrally-paid open access models. We recognize the importance of offering publication choices to our authors, since we also published over 330,000 subscription-based articles in 2013 – 20,000 more than the previous year.

Launching open access journals

Creating new open access journals at Elsevier has been about identifying and addressing real needs in the research community. One such journal, Methods X, was was launched after a survey of authors revealed that a staggering 80 percent of their time was taken up adjusting technical protocols in order to make them work in their particular setting. We discovered that most of this work was not actually published yet can benefit other researchers, saving them time and enhancing the reproducibility of published research. By creating a new outlet for publishing the small but important customizations authors make to methods every day, we can bring extra credit to authors and greater efficiency for researchers.

Research data is another area where our open access journals are helping to create visibility and facilitate reproducibility for data-driven research. The latest open access data journal, Genomics Data, brings interpretation to complicated datasets. The journal provides a way for genomics researchers to bring their data – along with the details necessary to understand and reuse the data – to the wider community. The journal's signature "Data in Brief" articles describe publicly available genomic datasets thoroughly so the data can be easily found, reproduced, reused and reanalyzed.

In other areas, our open access journals help increase readers' understanding of the article. The open access video journal, GI endoscopy, is another way to help make science more accessible. It saves time for readers, as they can watch the procedure in a fraction of the time it would take to read a detailed article. The format of a video also helps people outside the discipline understand the content by providing information in an easily accessible visual format.Other new journal launches really represent the close collaboration we have had with our society partners. In fact our first open access journal, the International Journal of Surgical Case Reports , was launched in 2010 together with the Surgical Associates as a companion journal to the International Journal of Surgery. The journal was one of the only online general surgical journals dedicated to publishing case reports. Since then, we have worked with other society partners to create a range of journals, including FebsOpen Bio, Redox Biology and Stem Cell Reports.

Another milestone has been to expand open access options in our established journals. All authors publishing in Elsevier journals now have the option to publish gold or green open access, creating over 1,600 hybrid journals. These new options have been valuable for authors, who can continue to publish in well-known and respected titles and also make their research open access. This way, the hybrid OA option provides a platform for OA transition within existing journal communities.

Open access publishing

In launching new open access journals or expanding open access options, one aspect of publishing that remains very important, regardless of business model, is quality. For this we have to thank the many editors and reviewers who devote their time to peer review and maintaining editorial standards. In most cases, they too have undergone their own personal journey, and we have encouraged them to share their own perspectives. For example, Marion E Broome, PhD, RN, FAAN, Editor-in-Chief of Nursing Outlook, documented her journey in Editor's Update in her article "The road to open access – an editor's story." And Peter Griffiths, PhD, BA, RN, Executive Editor of the International Journal of Nursing Studies, documented his motivations in his Editors Update article "Why I dedicated my journal editorial to open access."

We also focus on quality with our abstract and citation database, Scopus. Independent assessment criteria are used to review the journals' editorial practices rather than using the business model of a journal as a basis for inclusion into the database. This helps ensure that the 20,000 titles covered by Scopus are included based on quality; today, these include nearly 3,000 gold open access journals that are also registered at Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). 

For our readers, knowing whether an article is open access is also important. We have made changes that let readers search and filter on open access, as we documented in "6 ways to find open access content."

We continue to refine, adapt and update our systems to improve the labelling of all the content on ScienceDirect.

Working with the research community

We have also been actively working with the wider research community to establish agreements with funders and institutions. These help us design and implement workflows that make it easier for authors to publish in Elsevier journals and comply with the open access policies of their funders and institutions.

We have also been involved in a number of pilots around open access. For example, we have supported the SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) initiative, a new program that centrally supports the open access fees needed to fund open access journals in this community. This collaboration has also involved flipping two of our subscription titles to open access in January — Physics Letters B and Nuclear Physics B.

Elsevier is also continuing to help expand access to research by participating in new industry initiatives. Recently, Elsevier participated in and supported the Access to Research initiative, which gives the UK public free access to academic research at their public libraries. In the US, we are participating in a pilot called CHORUS (Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States), which aims to increase public access to peer-reviewed publications that report on research funded by the federal government.

Our journals continue to reflect their unique research community, publishing articles in ways which best suit how they want to distribute, read, digest and use the research. Open access is about providing more options for researchers to do exactly that. We are working closely with multiple different stakeholders to help support and implement new ways for authors to share their research and always welcome feedback via universalaccess@elsevier.com. [divider]

Elsevier Connect Contributor

Philippe Terheggen, PhDAs Managing Director of STM Journals, Dr. Philippe Terheggen heads Elsevier's journal publishing globally. He is a governor of the Dutch Publishers Association and an alternate board member of the Publishers International Linking Association (CrossRef), a nonprofit organization. Originally a medical scientist, he has an international background in book and journal publishing, operations, marketing and product innovation.

Over the years, Dr. Terheggen has met with journal editors from around the world. One question they often ask him is, "How does Elsevier decide to launch a new journal?" In this article, published in Editors' Update and Elsevier Connect, he shares key factors he and his colleagues consider when deciding whether to add a new title to the Elsevier collection.

Based in Amsterdam, he is married to an immunologist and has two children.



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