Open access strategy: De Gruyter expands Subscribe to Open program to accelerate OA transformation

Academic publisher De Gruyter is implementing the Subscribe to Open (S2O) model at scale to transform its journal portfolio to Open Access over the next 5 years. De Gruyter will gradually transfer about 85% of its currently 320 subscription journals to free online access via Subscribe to Open in close collaboration with journal editors and societies. De Gruyter is the first major academic publisher to use Subscribe to Open as its central open access transformation model.

Currently, De Gruyter offers 16 journals as open access via Subscribe to Open. Another five will follow in 2024, and the publisher plans to transfer around 40 journals to open access by 2025. By 2028 around 270 De Gruyter journals are planned to be available as open access titles via Subscribe to Open. In the pilot phase, De Gruyter has had a positive experience with Subscribe to Open as a sustainable transformation model, especially for humanities journals. The participation of subscribing institutions has been high, and responses have been positive.

Compared to other models, Subscribe to Open offers advantages for all stakeholders in the publication system. Authors can publish their articles in established journals on an open access basis at no additional cost. Libraries retain guaranteed access to journals through their subscription, while enabling the open access transformation of those journals without additional administrative effort or cost. Booksellers continue to organize journal purchases for their customers in the usual way.

In addition, unlike the APC model, which is widely established in the sciences, Subscribe to Open is suited to transforming all journal types in all disciplines, including in the humanities and social sciences (HSS). For De Gruyter’s journal portfolio, which is strongly focused on the humanities, Subscribe to Open is therefore a logical choice to function as the main way to open journals.

Researchers and readers all over the world benefit from the fact that content from journals becomes freely available via S2O. Usage of De Gruyter’s journal Linguistics, for example, which was transformed via S2O in 2022, has increased sevenfold over the previous year, and the number of countries from which content is accessed has grown massively.

“More than other established models, Subscribe to Open represents a fair, sustainable, and egalitarian path toward open access – not just for our humanities journals. We are proud to be the first major academic publisher to take this route and to contribute to the important task of opening scholarly content,” said Carsten Buhr, Managing Director, De Gruyter.

Subscribe to Open is a model that enables the Open Access transformation of journals on a year-by-year basis by continuing existing subscriptions and without incurring publication fees for authors. Subscribing institutions continue to subscribe to them as usual, thereby enabling open access for all and fee-free OA publishing. S2O is thus an alternative to the APC model, which charges publication fees per article, and transformation mechanisms such as Publish & Read.

De Gruyter is an active participant in the Subscribe to Open Community of Practice, which works to establish S2O as a sustainable path to open access.

More information on De Gruyter’s Subscribe to Open program and transformation plans can be found here and here.