cOAlition S is pleased to report that 27 publishers – who publish more than 2000 journals – have embraced the Journal Comparison Service (JCS) and shared their service and price data, responding to the call for transparent pricing of publishing services. cOAlition S wishes to praise these publishers for incorporating the values of openness and price transparency into their processes, in line with Plan S principles. The JCS was developed in response to the growing calls from the research community for greater transparency regarding the services publishers provide and the prices they charge. Through this free, online service, the publishers’ clients – primarily libraries and library consortia who procure publishing services on behalf of the research community – are able to better understand how journals and publishers compare on a range of key indicators. This information can be used to help determine whether the prices charged are commensurate with the services provided.
Starting to walk the talk on transparency
The 27 publishers who have provided data through this service include large, mixed-model publishers such as Wiley, fully Open Access publishers including PLOS, the Open Library of Humanities, and F1000, and a number of society/university publishers including the Royal Society, Rockefeller University Press, and the International Union of Crystallography. A complete list of publishers (and journals) participating in the JCS can be found at https://journalcheckertool.org/jcs.
Kathryn Sharples, Vice President of Open Research at Wiley, explained the motivation behind their decision to participate in this service:
“Wiley is committed to exploring new ways to provide greater visibility of the services our journals provide. We are participating in the JCS because we believe it is important to engage with a range of stakeholders to increase transparency in research publishing. We look forward to learning lessons from this first year in the JCS and evolving our approach to transparency for the future”.
Michael Markie, Publishing Director at F1000, added:
“Openness and transparency around our pricing allow us to clearly demonstrate the value of F1000’s publishing services. We feel it’s important to show libraries, institutions, and funders exactly what they are getting for the prices we charge”.
A supportive service for future investment decisions by libraries
Access to the JCS is open to any library and library consortia (End Users) who negotiate and participate in Open Access agreements with publishers. Since late September, when the end-user portal was launched, an increasing number of libraries and library consortia from Europe, Africa, North America, and Australia have registered with the JCS. This clearly shows the need for a service that provides a better understanding of the nature of publishing services and the prices charged for them and can pave the way for library consortia to add contractual terms to their future agreements with publishers requiring them to share such data.
Caren Milloy, Director of Licensing at Jisc, stated:
“The data supplied via the JCS is a key step in fostering a shared understanding of publisher services. It will enable us and our members to transparently assess value derived and support decision making about the future investment of institutional and public funds”.
Although researchers do not have direct access to the data held on the JCS, they can see whether a specific title has provided data to the JCS or not, thanks to an integration with the Journal Checker Tool. Robert Kiley, Head of Strategy at cOAlition S, commented:
“Through the integration with the Journal Checker Tool, researchers can see whether their preferred journal supports values like openness and transparency. They can then use this information in determining where to submit their manuscripts for publication”.