Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Taylor & Francis adopts a hybrid OA program

Taylor & Francis is the latest publisher to adopt a hybrid OA journal program.  From today's announcement:

Taylor & Francis are today delighted to announce the introduction of an “iOpenAccess” option for authors publishing in 175 journals from T&F’s Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics portfolios, one behavioural science journal from Psychology Press, and medical and bioscience journals from Informa Healthcare.

From October 2006, all authors whose manuscripts are accepted for publication in one of the iOpenAccess journals will have the option to make their articles freely available to all via the Journal’s website for a one-off fee of $3100.

Commenting on the launch of the initiative, Journals Publishing Director, Dr David Green, stated: "...We are introducing iOpenAccess only after the widest possible consultation with the editor, author and funder communities. We are doing so in a manner which will continue to guarantee the integrity of peer review and the rights of authors, and which will ensure the continuing viability and quality of major international journals with whose publishing stewardship we are entrusted."

Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, commented: "I am very pleased that Taylor and Francis are now offering an open access choice to publish in their journals. We all want to maximise the impact of biomedical research. Ensuring the widest distribution of the results of biomedical research is a key part of achieving that aim."

  • Authors will be asked to grant a publishing licence or assign copyright in the normal way. Selection of the iOpenAccess option and payment of the appropriate fee will then allow the article to be made available to all under a Creative Commons Licence (Attribution-Non-commercial-No Derivatives version 2.5 ). Under this licence we will allow tagging and cross-referencing of articles within repositories so that they relate back to the original research grants and programmes.
  • Authors selecting the iOpenAccess option will have no embargo restriction on posting their version of the published article to any institutional or subject repository. Where appropriate, we will facilitate deposit on behalf of authors into PubMedCentral.
  • We undertake to review the subscription prices of each journal with respect to the uptake of the iOpenAccess initiative, and the relevant information will be published on each journal’s home page at

Comment. The T&F program is better than some and worse than others. It gives positive answers to three of my nine questions for hybrid OA journal programs.  It uses CC licenses on participating articles.  It allows deposit in OA repositories independent of T&F.  It adds no new embargo for self-archiving.  What are the weaknesses of this program?  It doesn't let authors retain copyright; it doesn't waive the fees in case of economic hardship; it promises to "review" (but not to reduce) subscription prices in light of the rate of author uptake.  It will apparently charge its iOA fee even for authors who wish to self-archive (a retreat from its previous no-fee green policy); and it will apparently even charge authors for the right to comply with a previous contract with their funding agency to deposit their postprint in an OA repository.  Finally, the fee is one of the highest in the industry.

Update. Taylor & Francis has posted new details on its the iOpenAccess program. In short, (1) it does let authors retain copyright when T&F owns the journal and the author gives T&F a license to publish; (2) it is willing, in the right cases, to waive the iOA fee for authors who cannot afford it; (3) it is willing to reduce subscription prices in light of author uptake; (4) it has not retreated from its policy to allow no-fee self-archiving after an embargo, but it now also allows no-embargo self-archiving for a fee. Authors who need to comply with a funder's OA mandate may choose either form of self-archiving. On point #3, the new online clarification merely repeats the original position; but in its email correspondence with me T&F made clear that will review uptake data in order to consider reducing subscription prices.