Expanding open access at Elsevier

How we’re working with the research community to support research, expand publishing options, and help people navigate the ever-evolving system of open access

The Author

Rachel MartinRachel Martin (@rachelcmartin) is the Universal Access Communications Manager at Elsevier, based in Amsterdam. She is responsible for helping to communicate Elsevier's progress in areas such as open access, philanthropic access programs and access technologies.[divider]

Supporting research

Implementing open access has provided an opportunity to continue to work closely with the research community and all stakeholders: authors, funders, librarians, societies, governments, universities and associations.

Because the approach to implementing open access differs according to region and field, Elsevier needs to maintain the flexibility to support a variety of different initiatives. The CERN-driven SCOAP3 project, for example, was the result of publishers, authors and institutions working to implement open access in the high-energy physics field. Elsevier supported this initiative by converting two of our established journals to open-access: Physics Letters B and Nuclear Physics B.

Expanding our publishing options

Elsevier is not always recognized for offering open access choices; in fact, since we first offered open access publishing in our journals back in 2006, we have continued to expand the possibilities to meet the demand from our authors. This week alone, we are launching three new journals: Annals of Medicine and Surgery, IDCases and Meta Gene to add to our growing list of 63 open access journals.

In addition, we have been listening to our authors who tell us they want to publish open access in the established Elsevier journals in their field. Today, we offer an open access option in the majority of our subscription titles – more than 1,600. This has greatly expanded the choices for our authors, giving them a greater choice of not only where to publish but how to publish.

We have also been working with our society partners to develop open access options for the journals Elsevier produces and hosts on their behalf. For example, on ScienceDirect, we host 91 third-party open access journals. These are usually regional journals with an ambition to go global; Elsevier offers them the ScienceDirect platform to help showcase their research and services to improve their quality. Because the supporting organization for these journals covers the costs of publication and organizes the peer review and acceptance processes, the journals are free for authors to publish in and free for everyone to access.

Helping to navigate open access

As open access continues to expand, we also recognize the role we have in spreading the messages about publishing choices to early-career researchers. Elsevier has an established program called Publishing Connect, which offers free workshops – live and online – to explain the mechanics of getting published. It's an invaluable tool for learning about the peer review process and how to write a world-class paper.

This year, we introduced information on open access publishing and how authors can navigate open access choices. We are continuing these workshops during and after Open Access Week with two of our experienced publishers: Floris de Hon, Executive Publisher of Life Sciences, and Anthony Newman, Senior Publisher for Life Sciences. Recently they gave workshops for students at Wageningen University & Research Center and the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.

Navigating the publication choices of open access is not easy. There is a clear role for librarians to help researchers understand open access and how new policies by funding bodies and their own institutions affect how they publish. Last week, Elsevier hosted a Library Connect webinar on how librarians can help researchers navigate open access options. Speakers included David Rew, Honorary Senior Lecturer and Consultant General Surgeon at the University of Southampton; Robin Champieux, Scholarly Communications Librarian at Oregon Health & Science University; and Laura Hassink, Senior VP of Physical Sciences for STM Journals at Elsevier. A record 1,400 attendees signed up for the webinar; for those who missed it, a recorded version is available via Library Connect.

Changing our systems

Journal of Biomedical Informatics homepageFor researchers who are already publishing, open access involves a few additional steps in the overall submission, peer review and publication process. They include choosing a Creative Commons license, paying a fee for gold open access or just figuring out how to comply with a funding body policy – steps that are new for many authors.

This year, we have been working extremely closely with authors to help evaluate and make changes to our submission systems that will result in a simpler publishing process. We are grateful for the many authors and librarians who have given their time to help us identify problems and streamline our systems. We will continue to develop in consultation with the research community, so stay tuned!

Perhaps the most important part of open access is the ability for everyone to access the latest research. This year we have enabled readers on ScienceDirect to easily filter and search for open access content with better search functionality. In addition to searching on ScienceDirect, readers can now locate recent open access articles on the journal homepages on Elsevier.com. All of these features enable users to search and find the latest open access content.[divider]

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