Hindawi Publishing Corporation, which is one of the largest publishers of fully open access journals, announced its decision of ending its membership in the STM Association. According to Hindawi’s CEO Paul Peters, the reason behind this decision is “STM’s overwhelming focus on protecting business models of the past, rather than facilitating new models.” The decision seems to be based on Hindawi’s focus on making scientific knowledge openly accessible. Although the open access movement is sweeping academia, there continue to be several obstacles in the path such as economic sustainability and transparency among others.
STM Association is the leading global trade association for academic and professional publishers and has over 120 members in 21 countries, including learned societies, university presses, private companies, new startups, and established players. While the association has been supportive of the open access movement, Peters has mentioned that there is a resistance to embracing newer models: “Unfortunately, trade associations do not always embrace this role as facilitators of change, as they get trapped defending legacy models on which their members have long depended.”
Phill Jones, Director of Publishing Innovation at Digital Science, points out in an article on this issue that the STM Association works through consensus of its members and it might be difficult at times to take big decisions quickly. “It’s a big ship to steer and it sometimes takes longer than it should do for good ideas to get accepted as such,” Jones writes. He further states that Hindawi might look out to be associated with an organization that would provide greater support to their ideas or might even act as independent advocacy force.
Although Peters has announced the decision to end the membership with the association, in his post he states that Hindawi would reestablish its ties with the STM Association if they display willingness to deal with the challenges of transitioning to open access. As Jones points out “Hindawi’s announcement should be seen less as a snub towards the STM Association, but more the sign of an evolving company carving out an independent position in a changing marketplace.”