Journal article Open Access

Transformation: the future of society publishing

Tasha Mellins-Cohen; Gaynor Redvers-Mutton

The release in September 2018 of Plan S has led many small and society publishers to examine their business models, and in particular ways to transform their journals from hybrids into pure Open Access (OA) titles. This paper explores one means by which a society publisher might transform, focused specifically on the institutional set-price Publish & Read package being developed by the Microbiology Society based on assessments of: the geographic diversity of our author and subscriber bases; trends in article numbers, article costs and revenues; the administrative complexity of the options; and the reputational and financial risks to the Society associated with the package. We outline the process we followed to calculate the financial and publishing implications of Publish & Read at different price points, and share our view that these kinds of packages are a stop on the way to new models of OA that do not rely on Article Processing Charges (APCs). Our hope is that in sharing our experience, we will contribute to a collective best practice about how to transform society publishing.The release in September 2018 of Plan S has led many small and society publishers to examine their business models, and in particular ways to transform their journals from hybrids into pure Open Access (OA) titles. This paper explores one means by which a society publisher might transform, focused specifically on the institutional set-price Publish & Read package being developed by the Microbiology Society based on assessments of: the geographic diversity of our author and subscriber bases; trends in article numbers, article costs and revenues; the administrative complexity of the options; and the reputational and financial risks to the Society associated with the package. We outline the process we followed to calculate the financial and publishing implications of Publish & Read at different price points, and share our view that these kinds of packages are a stop on the way to new models of OA that do not rely on Article Processing Charges (APCs). Our hope is that in sharing our experience, we will contribute to a collective best practice about how to transform society publishing.

Submitted to Insights, the UKSG journal, September 2019
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