Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, July 30, 2007

ALPSP adopts a hybrid OA policy

ALPSP has launched an experimental hybrid OA program for its journal, Learned Publishing.  From today's announcement:

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), publisher of Learned Publishing...announces the launch of ‘ALPSP Author Choice’, an optional Open Access model whereby authors can choose to make the online version of their article freely available to all immediately on publication. The fee for this optional service is £1,250/$2,500 for members of ALPSP and the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) and £1,500/$3,000 for non-members. ‘ALPSP Author Choice’ is being launched on a trial basis by ALPSP, the international association for non-profit publishers and those who work with them. The first article to be published under the new service appeared in the July 2007 issue of the journal  (Volume 20, No 3), and is entitled Going all the way: how Hindawi became an open access publisher by Paul Peters.

Learned Publishing already provides ‘Delayed Open Access’: all papers can be accessed free of charge 12 months after publication. The journal is also freely accessible to all ALPSP and SSP members, and to participants in the HINARI and AGORA projects.

The new open access option is being tested by ALPSP to see if it provides a viable way of sustaining the costs of peer review, editing and other aspects of journal publication.

ALPSP’s CEO, Ian Russell, said today: ‘Many of the over 350 members of ALPSP are trialling open access business models for their journals. We have always supported the need for serious debate backed by experimentation in order to help determine the effects, both positive and negative, of Open Access.  We see this initiative as a useful way of establishing if an author-side payment choice can be viable for a journal such as Learned Publishing, which currently involves a combination of subscription, advertising, and membership income to support its publication.’ ...

The ‘ALPSP Author Choice' service is being offered on a trial basis that will run for 12 months, before being reviewed by ALPSP Council, at which point the current subscription rates will also be considered.

Also see the ALPSP Author Choice page, which includes this new information:

Articles included in the 'ALPSP Author Choice' scheme will be made available under the Creative Commons 'Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works' 2.0 UK: England & Wales Licence.

The copyright in the article/s remains with the author/s, and ALPSP will acknowledge this in the copyright line which appears on the article. All authors are free to use the pre-publication version (after peer review, but not the published article/PDF) of their articles for the internal educational or other purposes of their own institution or company; mounted on their own or institutional website; posted to free public servers of preprints and/or articles in the relevant subject area; or in whole or in part, as the basis for further publications or spoken presentations. 'ALPSP Author Choice' further entitles authors to post the final PDF version of the article which may be posted as specified above, provided acknowledgement to the published original in standard bibliographic citation form is given, together with a link.


  • This policy meets at least five of my nine criteria for hybrid OA journals.  It lets authors retain copyright, it uses a CC license, it provides OA to the published edition, and it allows self-archiving in repositories independent of the publisher.  In addition, ALPSP does not retreat its current greenish policy to allow even non-participating authors to self-archive, although self-archivers who don’t pay the Author Choice fee must still, as now, limit the use of the self-archived edition to the “internal educational or other purposes of their own institution or company”.  (I’m not endorsing this limitation; on the contrary, I criticized it in the June issue of SOAN and stand by my criticism.  I’m only saying that ALPSP has not retreated from the self-archiving policy that includes it.)
  • On one point, the policy is confusing.  On the one hand, it wants to limit the use of self-archived articles by non-participating authors.  But on the other, it seems to apply the same limitation to participating authors.  (Participating authors may “post the final PDF version of the article which may be posted as specified above”; I take the word “above” to point to the terms for non-participating authors.)  That limitation is inconsistent with the policy to leave copyright in the hands of the author and inconsistent with the CC-NC-ND license.  It’s also just silly in light of the fact that the ALPSP's own copy of the Author Choice article is not subject to the same limitation.  Will ALPSP ask readers who learn something from an article whether they are affiliated with the author’s institution and whether they read the publisher’s copy or the self-archived copy?
  • On one key issue, the policy is silent.  ALPSP doesn't say whether it wants to insert itself between authors and their funders by requiring authors to pay the Author Choice fee in order to comply with a prior and independent funding contract to provide OA to their peer-reviewed manuscript. 
  • ALPSP does not promise to reduce the subscription price in proportion to author uptake.  Hence, it's adopting the "double charge" business model for Author Choice articles.