5 Scholarly open access publishers that are accelerating science

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5 Scholarly open access publishers that are accelerating science

Did you know that 65% of the world’s 100 most cited papers are behind a paywall?1 With the increasing awareness of the importance of making research easily accessible, the open access movement is gaining worldwide consensus. More and more scholarly societies, funders, publishers, and researchers are joining the efforts to make research behind pay walls accessible.


In recent times, the COVID-19 outbreak and the efforts by the scientific community to find ways to deal with the virus, has led major publishers to respond by unlocking a significant chunk of their pay-to-read content. But this also poses the question as to why research related to the novel coronavirus should be the only exception. In the words of Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research at Wellcome, “If Open Access is critical to help defeat COVID-19, why not use the same logic to address all the other challenges we face?"2


This is where initiatives like Plan S, which aims to make research funded by member organizations available on open access platforms, come into the picture. In support, a number of publishers have pledged to steer their traditional publishing model in the direction of open access by 2021.


Below, we have identified some of the leading publishers with DOAJ-listed journals and detailed their efforts towards making full and immediate open access a reality.




Hindawi Publishing Corporation - Wikipedia


Founded by the physicist Ahmed Hindawi and his wife, the mathematician Nagwa Abdel-Mottaleb in 1997 in Egypt, Hindawi publishing became fully open access 10 years after its inception. As advocates of openness in scholarly publishing and research communication, Hindawi believes that science works best when research is open.


With more than 250 peer reviewed journals across a range of subjects like Biological Sciences, Medicine, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Education, Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science, Hindawi is a great publishing option not only because of its diverse portfolio, but due to its continuous efforts to promote openness during and beyond the publication cycle. Hindawi is also a founding member of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)—an international community of open access publishers, supporting a transformation in the scholarly community where open access is the predominant publication model.


More recently, the publisher also joined hands with eLife, PeerJ, PLOS, Royal Society, F1000 Research, Copyright Clearance Center, FairSharing, and Outbreak Science Rapid PREreview to lead the Covid-19 Rapid Review Initiative, to help fast-track research related to COVID-19, focusing primarily on open data and encouraging preprints. Hindawi is also Plan S compliant, and has been involved in the intensive nine-month long Plan S Price Transparency Framework project, and is a signatory of the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), facilitating their own core business values of openness and transparency.


Having mastered open access through the years, Hindawi is also known for its several publishing partnerships with academic societies, institutes, universities, other publishers, journals, and leading organizations including SAGE, Wiley, Cambridge University, and CACTUS, to accelerate the impact of research, and communicate their findings to a wider audience.



De Gruyter Open

De Gruyter Acquires Düsseldorf University Press

Even as publishing house, which for the longest time followed a very traditional publishing model, De Gruyter quickly changed their business model and developed a strong presence in the open access market, becoming one of the fastest growing open access publishers. In a study conducted by Heather Morrison on global trends in open access publishing, it was found that in 2017, 82% of open access publishers published only one journal. And yet, between 2014 and 2017, the number of journal titles of De Gruyter Open recorded in the Directory of Open Access Journals had grown from 2 to 454, surpassing Elsevier with 415 Open Access titles by 2017.


At present, more than half of Dr Gruyter’s journals are “pure” open access, and most have an open access option for articles. Moreover, they are also proactively converting subscription journals into open access journals and promoting open access with transformative agreements (TAs) signed with libraries around the world. As per their latest partnership with MSU Libraries, MSU authors enjoy benefits like lower APCs, better visibility, and full access to articles from 347 De Gruyter subscription journals.3 De Gruyter is also working with international organizations and participating in initiatives that help the global academic community, like the HINARI program in collaboration with the World Health Organization, to provide lower subscriptions costs or free online access to journals in the biomedical sciences and related social sciences in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East.


First to initiate open access for scholarly books in 2005, De Gruyter also has one of the largest original-content open access book collections in the world, with more than 1,500 titles freely available to everyone. From 2011 to 2017, De Gruyter published 117 book titles in the fields of World and Regional History, 82 in Philosophy, Psychology and Religion, 56 in Language and Literature, 35 in Science, and 25 in Law, emerging as one of the top five Open Access book publishers internationally.4



Springer Nature


Springer Nature Contact Us : Springer Nature Support


With 600+ fully open access journals, 2,200 hybrid OA journals, and more than 1000 open access books covering a wide range of disciplines, Springer Nature is rightly touted as a pioneer in the field of open research. Not only do more than 50% of their DOAJ-listed journals have zero article processing charges, but they also provide extensive funding and support services to cover article or book processing fees, including personalized information on available access to funding, and advice on applying for grants.


A recent study by Springer Nature indicated that the publisher’s national transformative agreements can increase the number of authors publishing OA to over 70%, meaning that any country that has an agreement with the publisher can experience a country-level transition to open access. As open access research is freely accessible, and thus cited more than research in subscription journals, the national Transformative Agreements have led to these countries to not only open up their research, “but their authors are benefiting from greater usage and reach to their content”, says Carrie Webster, VP Open Access at Springer Nature.







The 5th most cited publisher in 2020, Frontiers is recognized as “a leading Open Access Publisher and Open Science Platform” with over a billion views and downloads and 1.6 million citations on their freely accessible articles. In fact, on May 15, 2020, Frontiers achieved a new milestone with the publication of their 150,000th open access article getting themselves and the entire open access movement closer to the overarching aim to make science open.5


Frontiers’ efforts to accelerate open science also came to fruition when they emerged as a publisher with the highest number of citations in subject areas like Psychology, Neurosciences, Plant Sciences, Immunology, Neurology, and Physiology and were placed on the second spot for the highest number of citations in Pharmacology & Pharmacy and Microbiology, according to the 2015 Journal Citation Reports (JCR).6 Moreover, the soaring impact factors led to an increase in journal rankings, with 19 Frontier journals ranking as high as 94 percentile, with an average of 65 percentile out of the 11,365 journals listed in the in the 2015 Journal Citations Reports published in 2016, making it one of the most distinguished and sought-after open access publishers.




Wiley Launches Mastery-Based Adaptive Courseware for Calculus | Business  Wire

With 150+ peer reviewed open access journals across a range of research disciplines, Wiley offers authors quality and open access publishing with its stringent peer review processes and internationally renowned editorial board support. Everyone around the world, including authors, institutions, academic societies, and non-scientists, can freely access Wiley Open Access journals at the Wiley Online Library and PubMed Central, available immediately to read, download, and share.


One of the most significant and much talked about partnerships in the recent history of open access, is the 2019 transformative Publish-and-Read agreement between Wiley and Projekt DEAL—a representative of nearly 700 academic institutions in Germany. According to this agreement, authors of all participating German institutes enjoy immediate open access publication of new articles, fair and reasonable APCs, and full access to all of Wiley’s research content dating back to the year 1997. As part of the deal, both parties will also establish an open science and author services development group with a focus on innovating and accelerating new publishing approaches. It is estimated that by the end of the three year agreement, at least 30,000 open access articles will be produced, making this an extremely noteworthy agreement for advancing open science.7



Publishing open access

As publishers around the world have started advocating open access with makeovers of their publishing policies, special initiatives, partnerships, and transformative agreements, an increasing number of scholars are making a switch to publishing in these journals to enjoy the benefits open access offers.


By going the open access route, you can make your research freely and immediately available to everyone around the world. The benefits of open access publishing for the author, therefore, are quite evident in the form of a higher number of views, reads, shares, downloads, and citations, besides helping other scholars build on your research further.



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1. J. Nicholson, A. Pepe - 65 out of the 100 most cited papers are paywalled, 2016. Retrieved from    https://www.authorea.com/users/8850/articles/125400-65-out-of-the-100-most-cited-papers-are-paywalled

2. R. Kiley - Three lessons COVID-19 has taught us about Open Access publishing, 2020. Retrieved from https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2020/10/06/39677/ 

3. C.H. Morgan - MSU libraries and De Gruyter sign agreement to provide open access publishing for MSU authors, 2020. Retrieved from  https://blogs.lib.msu.edu/news-msu-libraries/2020/feb/msu-libraries-and-de-gruyter-sign-agreement-provide-open-access

4. P Markin - De Gruyter is Among Top Five Open Access Book Publishers Internationally, 2019. Retrieved from https://openscience.com/de-gruyter-is-among-top-five-open-access-book-publishers-internationally/

5. STM Publishing - Frontiers hits new milestone publishing 150,000th open-access article, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.stm-publishing.com/frontiers-hits-new-milestone-publishing-150000th-open-access-article/

6. Frontiers Science News - Frontiers tops open-access journal ranking in several JCR categories, 2015. Retrieved from https://blog.frontiersin.org/2015/09/11/frontiers-leads-in-size-and-quality-in-gold-open-access-comparison/

7. L. J. Hinchliffe - Celebrating 30,000 Open Access Articles … PARs, RAPs, and Exploring Implications, 2019. Retrieved from https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2019/01/22/celebrating-30000-open-access-articles/

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Published on: Oct 23, 2020


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