As asserted in the Amsterdam Call released in 2016, Open Access to scientific publishing is at a crossroads. After several years of an exacting struggle aiming at persuading somewhat skeptical stakeholders, Open Access has now won strong support and a rapid shift of the scientific communication system to an Open Access publishing model can be expected. “The time for talking about open access is now past”.
The means to achieve the goal of Open Access are yet to be discussed. We believe that the issue of business models has to be refocused in the broader perspective of the editorial processes and methods upon which research and innovation will rely in the future and that they may only develop for the benefit of a very broad bibliodiversity.
We find it necessary to foster an Open Access model that is not restricted to a single approach based on the transfer of subscriptions towards APCs (publication fees charged to authors to allow free access to their articles). Such an approach would hamper innovation and otherwise would slow if not check the advent of bibliodiversity. Therefore, we adhere to the Joint Statement of UNESCO and the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) on Open Access which highlights all the difficulties caused by this single model.
Our goal is thus to develop and implement alternative models matching the aims of open science by asserting the need of supporting innovation for a thorough renewal of publishing functions as proclaimed by the Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) and the International Council for Science (ICSU).
Open Access must be complemented by support for the diversity of those acting in scientific publishing – what we call bibliodiversity – putting an end to the dominance of a small number among us imposing their terms to scientific communities;
the development of innovative scientific publishing models must be a budget priority because it represents an investment into services meeting the genuine needs of researchers in our digital age;
experiments should be encouraged in writing practices (publishing associated data), refereeing (open peer-reviewing), content editorial services (beyond-pdf web publishing) and additional services (text mining);
the research evaluation system should be thoroughly reformed and adapted to the practices of scientific communication;
more investment efforts in open source tools upon which these innovative practices are based should be made and coordinated;
the scientific community needs a secure and stable body of law across different countries to facilitate the availability of text mining services and thus strengthen their use;
the scientific communities must be able to access national and international infrastructures which guarantee the preservation and circulation of knowledge against any privatization of contents. Business models should be found which preserve their long-term continuity;
priority should be given to business models that do not involve any payments, neither for authors to have their texts published nor for readers to access them. Many fair funding models exist and only require to be further developed and extended: institutional support, library contributions or subsidies, premium services, participatory funding or creation of open archives, etc.
We endorse the clear message to the scientific community at large released by the League of European Research Universities (LERU): Research funding should go to research, not to publishers! This is why current journal subscription spendings should be changed into investments enabling the scientific community to regain control over the publishing system and not merely into new spendings only earmarked to pay the publication fees for researchers to commercial publishers.
We call on creating an international consortium of stakeholders whose primary aim should be to pool local and national initiatives or to build an operational framework to fund open access publishing, innovation and sharing of resulting developments. We call on research organizations and their libraries to secure and earmark as of now a share of their acquisition budgets to support the development of scientific publishing activities, which are genuinely open and innovative, and address the needs of the scientific community.