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Subscribe to Open: Frequently Asked Questions


IWA Publishing Journals is working with Knowledge Unlatched to move its complete journal portfolio (the IWAP Open Journals Package) to Open Access on a Subscribe to Open (S2O) basis from 2021.

IWA Publishing's mission is to advance scholarship and disseminate knowledge and sees openness as one of its core values. It is therefore supportive of Open Access aims and respectful of Open Access policies. Subscribe to Open seeks to take what is working well in the current system and applies it to achieving a sustainable and potentially universal model of Open Access across publications and publishers of all sizes.

You can find responses to common queries below. Please share any additional feedback or questions by email to catherine@knowledgeunlatched.org


What is Subscribe to Open?

Subscribe to Open is a model of sustainable Open Access for scholarly journals in which institutions continue to “subscribe” to the journals that their communities value at similar prices and with the same quality as when those same journals were accessed under a conventional subscription. Subscribe to Open is a form of subscription that allows libraries to direct funds through the same subscription channels routinely used to provide journal access to their own researcher community, while also supporting the journals’ readership across a wider community as an Open Access publication. In addition, if an institution has also established Open Access funds to support transitional initiatives or author Open Access publication, then these funds may also be used for this model through a simpler, journal-level process.   


Why is IWA Publishing opting for a Subscribe to Open model?

IWA Publishing’s mission is to advance scholarship and disseminate knowledge and sees openness as one of its core values. It is therefore supportive of Open Access aims and respectful of Open Access policies.

 However, given the issue of funding and the inequities in the environmental sciences and how those sparse funds are allocated, we are advocating for funding models that do not place the financial burden on the author, as APCs do. In addition, we maintain that librarian selection plays an important role in the curation of content for researchers and so we support approaches that preserve their role in the process in addition to those intermediaries, such as subscription agents, who reduce the related (and considerable) administrative burdens.

Subscribe to Open is a compelling model because it seeks to take what is good and working well in the current system and applies it to achieving a sustainable and more universal model of Open Access across publications and publishers of all sizes.


What license is supported by the IWAP Journals Subscribe to Open model?  

Authors retain the copyright in their works and may select a Creative Commons license.

IWA Publishing aims to publish all journal article content under a CC-BY 4.0 International license.


What statistics are provided for the IWAP Open Journals (IOJ-S20) Package? 

COUNTER 5 reporting is provided for actively participating IOJ-S2O libraries. In addition, an important goal of this pilot is to upgrade the quality and range of statistics provided to meet the needs of librarians. Future reporting therefore aims to provide a wider overview of community engagement, such as faculty relationships to the journals, whether as authors, editors, board members, or reviewers.


What happens to pre-OA backfile content?

All subscribing institutions will have an immediate access to the portfolio through the IWA Publishing platform.


How is IOJ-S2O pricing determined?

For this year’s pilot project, the pricing will not increase from 2020 subscription prices. The IOJ-S2O model will sustain IWA Publishing’s editorial rigor, high production values, and robust online editions. The subscription rates set each year will continue to support the costs associated with producing each journal, which range from supporting journal editorial offices and their peer review processes to implementing a thorough copyediting stage through to typesetting and online publication. 

Institutional subscription rates are listed here.


Why should libraries support Subscribe to Open?

Subscribe to Open aims to make a full (non-hybrid) conversion to Open Access possible on an on-going and sustainable basis. It does so without charging authors APCs, imposing embargoes on published work, placing restrictions on who can publish, or setting any other limits on what version may be shared, such as draft-only preprint policies. It involves librarians in their traditional professional role, as deciding and curating which Open Access journals merit support, including born-open journals. It allows for institutions with the requisite resources to support the publication of journals so that their research may also benefit those with fewer resources. 

In adopting Subscribe to Open, librarians can ensure that the benefits of making works publicly available can be realized across a more diverse publications landscape in a more equitable manner.


How can libraries support Subscribe to Open? 

Ongoing support for IOJ-S2O from current subscribers is as simple as annually renewing your current subscription(s). An important consideration for this model is to make the process as easy as possible for libraries. To that end, we are working with our partners Knowledge Unlatched and EBSCO so that invoicing and renewals happen through the usual subscription channels. We are happy to help at any point of the process. 

For non-subscribers who are interested in supporting the pilot, single titles can be subscribed to through your normal agent using the usual channels. Libraries who wish to support the entire IWAP Open Journals S2O collection, should contact Knowledge Unlatched, who are supporting us in our efforts: catherine@knowledgeunlatched.org.


What happens if libraries do not support Subscribe to Open? 

This model relies on the generation of subscription revenues from existing and new subscribers to ensure no loss of quality or quantity with Open Access publication. Thus, if an insufficient number of libraries participate in the S2O pilot, IWAP Journals may have to revert to paywall subscriptions for the 10 journals. However, those libraries who have renewed all of their IOJ-S2O subscriptions, or new libraries who have joined in support of this pilot, will be provided with access to the entire IWAP Open Journals collection for the duration of the pilot as part of our longer-term optimism for success.


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