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      Trans-O-MIM—An International Research Project on Open Access Transformation: Outcomes and Lessons Learned

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          Abstract

          Background  During the last decades, the Open Access paradigm has become an important approach for publishing new scientific knowledge. From 2015 to 2020, the Trans-O-MIM research project was undertaken with the intention to identify and to explore solutions in transforming subscription-based journals into Open Access journals. Trans-O-MIM stands for strategies, models, and evaluation metrics for the goal-oriented, stepwise, sustainable, and fair transformation of established subscription-based scientific journals into Open-Access-based journals with Methods of Information in Medicine as an example.

          Objectives  To present an overview of the outcomes of the Trans-O-MIM research project as a whole and to share our major lessons learned.

          Methods  As an approach for transforming journals, a Tandem Model has been proposed and implemented for Methods of Information in Medicine . For developing a metric to observe and assess journal transformations, scenario analysis has been used. A qualitative and a two-tier quantitative study on drivers and obstacles of Open Access publishing for medical informatics researchers was designed and conducted. A project setup with a research team, a steering committee, and an international advisory board was established. Major international medical informatics events have been used for reporting and for receiving feedback.

          Results  Based on the Tandem Model, the journal Methods of Information in Medicine has been transformed into a journal where, in addition to its subscription-based track, from 2017 onwards a Gold Open Access track has been successfully added. An evaluation metric, composed of 5 scenarios and 65 parameters, has been developed, which can assist respective decision makers in assessing such transformations. The studies on drivers and obstacles of Open Access publishing showed that, while most researchers support the idea of making scientific knowledge freely accessible to everyone, they are hesitant about actually living this practice by choosing Open Access journals to publish their own work. Article-processing charges and quality issues are perceived as the main obstacles in this respect, revealing a two-sided evaluation of Open Access models, reflecting the different viewpoints of researchers as authors or readers. Especially researchers from low-income countries benefit from a barrier-free communication mainly in their role as readers and much less in their role as authors of scientific information. This became also evident at the institutional level, as Open Access policies or financial support through funding bodies are most prevalent in Europe and North America.

          Conclusion  With Trans-O-MIM, an international research project was performed. An existing journal has been transformed. In addition, with the support of the International Medical Informatics Association, as well as of the European Federation for Medical Informatics and of the German Association for Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology as European and German medical informatics organizations, we did run an international experiment on Open Access incentives. Both together are, as far as the authors know, unique. We therefore expect that this research could add new knowledge on Open Access transformation.

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          Open access versus subscription journals: a comparison of scientific impact

          Background In the past few years there has been an ongoing debate as to whether the proliferation of open access (OA) publishing would damage the peer review system and put the quality of scientific journal publishing at risk. Our aim was to inform this debate by comparing the scientific impact of OA journals with subscription journals, controlling for journal age, the country of the publisher, discipline and (for OA publishers) their business model. Methods The 2-year impact factors (the average number of citations to the articles in a journal) were used as a proxy for scientific impact. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) was used to identify OA journals as well as their business model. Journal age and discipline were obtained from the Ulrich's periodicals directory. Comparisons were performed on the journal level as well as on the article level where the results were weighted by the number of articles published in a journal. A total of 610 OA journals were compared with 7,609 subscription journals using Web of Science citation data while an overlapping set of 1,327 OA journals were compared with 11,124 subscription journals using Scopus data. Results Overall, average citation rates, both unweighted and weighted for the number of articles per journal, were about 30% higher for subscription journals. However, after controlling for discipline (medicine and health versus other), age of the journal (three time periods) and the location of the publisher (four largest publishing countries versus other countries) the differences largely disappeared in most subcategories except for journals that had been launched prior to 1996. OA journals that fund publishing with article processing charges (APCs) are on average cited more than other OA journals. In medicine and health, OA journals founded in the last 10 years are receiving about as many citations as subscription journals launched during the same period. Conclusions Our results indicate that OA journals indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus are approaching the same scientific impact and quality as subscription journals, particularly in biomedicine and for journals funded by article processing charges.
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            The academic, economic and societal impacts of Open Access: an evidence-based review

            Ongoing debates surrounding Open Access to the scholarly literature are multifaceted and complicated by disparate and often polarised viewpoints from engaged stakeholders. At the current stage, Open Access has become such a global issue that it is critical for all involved in scholarly publishing, including policymakers, publishers, research funders, governments, learned societies, librarians, and academic communities, to be well-informed on the history, benefits, and pitfalls of Open Access. In spite of this, there is a general lack of consensus regarding the advantages or disadvantages of Open Access at multiple levels. This review aims to to be a resource for current knowledge on the impacts of Open Access by synthesizing important research in three major areas of impact: academic, economic and societal. While there is clearly much scope for additional research, several key trends are identified, including a broad citation advantage for researchers who publish openly, as well as additional benefits to the non-academic dissemination of their work. The economic case for Open Access is less well-understood, although it is clear that access to the research literature is key for innovative enterprises, and a range of governmental and non-governmental services. Furthermore, Open Access has the potential to save publishers and research funders considerable amounts of financial resources. The social case for Open Access is strong, in particular for advancing citizen science initiatives, and leveling the playing field for researchers in developing countries. Open Access supersedes all potential alternative modes of access to the scholarly literature through enabling unrestricted re-use, and long-term stability independent of financial constraints of traditional publishers that impede knowledge sharing. Open Access remains only one of the multiple challenges that the scholarly publishing system is currently facing. Yet, it provides one foundation for increasing engagement with researchers regarding ethical standards of publishing. We recommend that Open Access supporters focus their efforts on working to establish viable new models and systems of scholarly communication, rather than trying to undermine the existing ones as part of the natural evolution of the scholarly ecosystem. Based on this, future research should investigate the wider impacts of an ecosystem-wide transformation to a system of Open Research.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Methods Inf Med
                Methods Inf Med
                10.1055/s-00035037
                Methods of Information in Medicine
                Georg Thieme Verlag KG (Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany )
                0026-1270
                2511-705X
                07 February 2023
                September 2023
                1 February 2023
                : 62
                : 03-04
                : 140-150
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Peter L. Reichertz Institute for Medical Informatics of TU Braunschweig and Hannover Medical School, Braunschweig, Germany
                [2 ]Institute for Communication Science of TU Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence Reinhold Haux, FACMI, FGBHI, FIAHSI, MBWG Peter L. Reichertz Institute for Medical Informatics of TU Braunschweig and Hannover Medical School Muehlenpfordtstr. 23, 38106 BraunschweigGermany Reinhold.Haux@ 123456plri.de
                Article
                ME21-05-0016
                10.1055/s-0043-1761499
                10462433
                36750219
                c0c4a6f7-ae2f-4dc2-99cf-8b2bd3755d57
                The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ )

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License, which permits unrestricted reproduction and distribution, for non-commercial purposes only; and use and reproduction, but not distribution, of adapted material for non-commercial purposes only, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 17 December 2021
                : 06 November 2022
                Funding
                Funded by: German Research Foundation (DFG)
                Award ID: HA 1438/17-1
                Funding This research has been funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under grant number HA 1438/17-1. TU Bruanschweig's Publication Fund made it possible that also this final Trans-O-MIM article could be published in Open Access.
                Categories
                Other Type of Manuscript

                open access,journal transformation,medical informatics

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