(First of all, for anyone who’s not familiar with the plural of “pubis”, it’s spelled “pubes” but pronounced “pyoo-bees”. Stop sniggering at the back.)

As Matt and I struggle to figure out the partial pubis that is one of the elements of the Apatosaurusminimus specimen AMNH 675, one of the most helpful references is Osborn and Mook’s (1921) epic monograph on Camarasaurus. It’s not that 675 particularly resembles Cam — it doesn’t. It’s just that Osborn and Mook is very lavishly illustrated, so that it is (as far as I know) the only published paper in the history of sauropod studies to have shown a sauropod pubis in more than one aspect.

Here is one of the two pubes that they illustrated in the six cardinal aspects:

This shows the left pubis AMNH 5761/Pb.2. Top row: proximal aspect, with anterior to left. Middle row, from left to right: anterior, lateral, posterior, medial. Bottom row: distal, with anterior to left. Heavily modified from Osborn and Mook (1921: fig. 102) — cleaned up, lettering and lines removed, recomposed in a more informative layout, views rescaled to better match each other, and tweaked for colour.

As usual, click through for full resolution (only 1159 x 940 this time).

As you can see, the pubis is a very strangely shaped bone, twisted and with odd rugosities everywhere. If you’re very lucky, we’ll discuss these in more detail later. For now, the take-home message is that sauropod pubes are very weird and confusing, and the simple lateral view that’s typically all you ever see is terribly misleading.


More of my thoughts on the Finch Report; you may wish to read part 1 first. As before I will be quoting from the executive summary (11 pages) rather than the full report (140 pages).

Changing culture

Section 4 (What needs to be done, on page 7) begins as follows:

Implementing our recommendations will require changes in policy and practice by all stakeholders. More broadly, what we propose implies cultural change: a fundamental shift in how research is published and disseminated.

This is a crucial point. Cultural change is exactly what’s needed — not just in how research is published, as noted in the report, but even more importantly in how it’s evaluated. In particular, we’re going to have to stop assessing research by what journal it’s published in, and start looking at the value of the actual research.

This is already important — it always has been, because the use of journal reputation as a proxy for research quality has always been appallingly error-prone and misleading. But it’s going to become more and more important as open access grows more prevalent and a greater proportion of research moves into OA megajournals such as PLoS ONE, Sage Open and NPG’s Scientific Reports. These things are just too darned big to have a meaningful reputation. If you try to judge a PLoS ONE paper on the basis of the journal’s impact factor (4.411), you’ll quickly run aground: that’s a weak IF for a medic, but very strong for a palaeontologist. PLoS ONE is increasingly one of the journals of choice for palaeo papers, but it’s looked down on in astronomy. A question like “what’s the quality of PLoS ONE papers” is as about as meaningful as “what’s the price of property in London?” It depends on whether you’re talking about Knightsbridge or Peckham.

This is one of the fringe benefits of the shift towards megajournals: it’s going to make everyone see just how fatuous judgement by impact factor is. We’re going to see the end of comments on Guardian articles that say “my department actively discourages us from publishing in journals with IF less then 6.0”.

Unilateral action by the UK

Well, I seem to have gone off on a bit of a tangent there. Back to the Finch Report, pages 7 and 8:

Key actions: overall policy and funding arrangements

v. Renew efforts to sustain and enhance the UK’s role in international discussions on measures to accelerate moves towards open access.

This is also important. I like it that the Finch Report seems generally to advocate that we in the UK should lead the way in open access. But it’s also true that if we push on ahead of other countries, implementing mandatory open access unilaterally, we’ll be at a disadvantage compared with other countries: they will get our research for free, but we won’t get theirs till they follow suit.

And I am fine with that. Obviously it can’t continue indefinitely, but if taking a short-term financial hit is what it takes to get the world onside, that’s cool. Doing science costs money. And you haven’t done science till you’ve published your result. And you haven’t really published it until everyone can get it.

Non-commercial use

Now we come to a part of the report that I am really unhappy with. This is from the list in the section Key actions: publication in open access and hybrid journals, on page 8:

x. Extend the range of open access and hybrid journals, with minimal if any restrictions on rights of use and re-use for non-commercial purposes.

There’s that non-commercial clause again. This is worrying. If the Finch Report really is about what’s best for the country and for the world, there is no justification for NC. We want businesses to thrive as well as universities. And there are more businesses in the world than publishers! Cameron Neylon said this best in his Finch Report review, Good steps but missed opportunities:

This fudge risks failing to deliver on the minister’s brief, to support innovation and exploitation of UK research. This whole report is embedded in a government innovation strategy that places publicly funded knowledge creation at the heart of an effort to kick start the UK economy. Non-commercial licences can not deliver on this and we should avoid them at all costs.

That’s exactly right.

I will have more to say on this in a future post.

The role of repositories

There is a section headed Key actions: repositories on page 9. Tellingly, it has only two points, compared with 5, 6 and 5 for the other three key actions sections. Here is the second of those points:

xviii. Consider carefully the balance between the aims of, on the one hand, increasing access, and on the other of avoiding undue risks to the sustainability of subscription-based journals during what is likely to be a lengthy transition to open access. Particular care should be taken about rules relating to embargo periods. Where an appropriate level of dedicated funding is not provided to meet the costs of open access publishing, we believe that it would be unreasonable to require embargo periods of less than twelve months.

Who is the “we” that believes a six-month embargo period would be “unreasonable”?

Obviously not Research Councils UK, who recently stated “Ideally, a paper should become Open Access as soon as it is published. However […] the Research Councils will accept a delay of up to six months in the case where no ‘Article Processing Charge’ is paid.”

Obviously not the Wellcome Trust, whose policy states that it: “requires electronic copies of any research papers that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and are supported in whole or in part by Wellcome Trust funding, to be made available through PubMed Central (PMC) and UK PubMed Central (UKPMC) as soon as possible and in any event within six months of the journal publisher’s official date of final publication”.

No. “We” can only mean the publishers’ lobby. They hate repositories, and were somehow allowed to nobble all references to Green OA in the report. Don’t believe me? Search for the word “green” in the executive summary: zero hits in eleven pages. Try it in the main report? Three hits in 140 pages: one on page 16, parenthetical (“… a version of a publication through a repository (often called green open access)”), one on page 120, a repeat (“… a version of a publication via a repository, often after an embargo period. This strand is often called green open access”) and one on page 130 (an unrelated mention of the HM Treasury Green Book).

This is one of the most disturbing aspects of the report, and I can see why Stevan Harnad is irate.

Let us move on to happier matters.

Transparency and competition

From page 10:

One of the advantages of open access publishing is that it brings greater transparency about the costs, and the price, of publication and dissemination. The measures we recommend will bring greater competition on price as well as the status of the journals in which researchers wish to publish. We therefore expect market competition to intensify, and that universities and funders should be able to use their power as purchasers to bear down on the costs to them both of APCs and of subscriptions.

I think this is a very important and much neglected point, and it makes me want to write a blog on why author-pays is inevitably more economical than reader-pays. (Short version: granularity of transactions is smaller, so the market is efficient and real competition comes into play, as we are seeing with the launch of PeerJ.)


From page 10:

Our best estimate is that achieving a significant and sustainable increase in access, making best use of all three mechanisms, would require an additional £50-60m a year in expenditure from the HE sector: £38m on publishing in open access journals, £10m on extensions to licences for the HE and health sectors and £3-5m on repositories.

*Cough* *splutter* Hey, what now?

So let’s get this straight. Transitioning from subscription to open access is going to cost us £10M more on licences than we’re already paying? Rather than, say, £10M less, as we start cancelling subscriptions we don’t need?

This seems to be pure fantasy on the part of the publishers.

Not only that, the £38M is based on an “average APC” of … get ready … £1,500. (This is not stated in the executive summary, but it’s on page 61 of the full report.) That number is a frankly ludicrous over-estimate, being nearly double the $1350 =~ £870 charged by PLoS ONE, and nearly three times as much as the $906 =~ £585 found as the average of 100,697 articles in 1,370 journals by Solomon and Björk (2012).

So based on this a more realistic APC, the £38M comes down to £14.8M. Throw out the absurd extra £10M that publishers want for extra subscription licences, and the total cost comes from from “£50-60M per year” to about £19M. Still not chicken-feed, but a lot less painful, even in the short term.

And finally …

The report finishes on an upbeat note (page 10) and so do we:

We believe that the investments necessary to improve the current research communications system will yield significant returns in improving the efficiency of research, and in enhancing its impact for the benefit of everyone in the UK.

Yes. Absolutely right. Even if we only thought about academia, the financial case for open access would be unanswerable. But there is more to the world than academia, and the real benefits will be seen elsewhere.


Anyone who is not yet heartily sick of the Finch Report can read lots more analysis in the articles linked from Bjorn Brembs’s article The Finch Report illustrates the new strategy wars of open access at the LSE’s Impact blog.

My awesome employers Index Data flew us all out to Boston a few weeks ago, for six days of food, drink, work (yes, work!) and goofy tyrannosaurs.

There is really no excuse for this, is there?

SPECIAL BONUS: I am wearing my Xenoposeidon T-shirt.


What does it cost to publish a paper  in a non-open access Elsevier journal? The immediate cost to the author is often zero (though page charges, and fees for colour illustrations mean this is not always true). But readers have to pay to see the paper, either directly in the case of private individuals or through library budgets in the case of university staff and students. What is the total cost to the world?

Previous attempts

It’s a calculation that I’ve taken a couple of stabs at in public forums, but in both cases space restraints meant that I couldn’t lay out the reasoning in the detail I’d like — and as a result I couldn’t get the kind of detailed feedback that would allow me to refine the numbers. So I am trying again here.

The first version of the calculation was in my article Open, moral and pragmatic at Times Higher Education:

According to Elsevier’s annual report for 2010, it publishes about “200,000 new science & technology research articles each year”. The same report reveals revenues for 2010 of £2.026 billion. This works out as £10,130 per article, each made available only to the tiny proportion of the world’s population that has access to a subscribing library.

As Kent Anderson pointed out in an otherwise misleading comment, that calculation was flawed in that I was using the total of Elsevier revenue rather than just the portion that comes from journal subscriptions. Trying to fix this, and using more up-to-date figures, I provided a better estimate in Academic Publishing Is Broken at The Scientist:

To publish in an Elsevier journal … appears to cost some $10,500. In 2011, 78 percent of Elsevier’s total revenue, or £1,605 million, was contributed by journal subscriptions. In the same year, Elsevier published 240,000 articles, making the average cost per article some £6,689, or about $10,500 US.

But this, it turns out, is also an over-estimate, because it’s 78% of Elsevier’s Scientific, Technical and Medical revenue that comes from journal subscriptions; the other half of Elsevier, their Health Sciences division, has its own revenues.

The data we have to work with

Here’s what I have right now — using data from 2010, the last complete year for which numbers are available.

Bear in mind that Elsevier is a publisher, and Reed Elsevier is a larger company that owns Elsevier and a bunch of other businesses such as Lexis Nexus. According to the notes from a Reed Elsevier investment seminar that took place on December 6, 2011 in London:

  • Page 2: 34% of Reed Elsevier’s total 2010 revenue of £6,055M (i.e. £2058.7M) was from “Science and Medical”, which I take to mean Elsevier. This is in keeping with the total revenue number from Elsevier’s annual report.
  • Page 8: Elsevier’s revenues are split 50-50 between the Scientific & Technical division and the Health Sciences division. 39% of total Elsevier revenue (i.e. £803M) is from research journals in the S&T sector. No percentage is given for research journal revenue in Health Sciences.
  • Page 18: confirmation that 78% of Scientific & Technical revenue (i.e. 39% of total Elsevier revenue) is from research journals.
  • Page 21: total number of articles published in 2010 seems to be about 258,000 (read off from the graph).
  • Page 22 confirms “>230,000 articles per year”.
  • Page 23, top half, says “>80% of revenue derived from subscriptions, strongly recurring revenues”. Bottom half confirms earlier revenue of 78% for research journals. I suppose that the “subscriptions” amounting to >80% must include database subscriptions.

The other important figure is the proportion of Elsevier journal revenue that comes from Gold OA fees rather than subscriptions. The answer is, almost none. Figures for 2010 are no longer on Elsevier’s Sponsored Articles page, but happily we quoted it in an older SV-POW! post:

691 Elsevier articles across some six hundred journals were sponsored in 2010. Sponsorship revenues from these articles amounted to less than 0.1% of Elsevier’s total revenues.

So for the purposes of these rough-and-ready calculations, we can ignore Elsevier’s Gold-OA revenue completely and assume that all research-journal revenue is from subscriptions.

The data we don’t have

The crucial piece of information we don’t have is this: how much of Elsevier Health Sciences revenue is from journal subscriptions? This information is not included in the investor report, and my attempts to determine it have so far been wholly unsuccessful. Back in March, I contacted Liz Smith (VP/Director of Global Internal Communications), Alicia Wise (Director of Universal Access), Tom Reller (VP of Global Corporate Relations), Ron Mobed (CEO of Scientific & Technical) and Michael Hansen (CEO of Health Sciences). Of these, only Tom Reller got back to me — he was helpful, and pointed me to the investor report that I cite heavily above — but wasn’t able to give me a figure.

If anyone knows the true percentage — or can even narrow the range a bit — I would love to know about it. Please leave a comment.

In the mean time, I will proceed with calculations on two different bases:

  1. That Health Sciences revenue is proportioned the same as Scientific & Technical, i.e. 78% comes from journal subscriptions;
  2. That Health Sciences has no revenue from journal subscriptions. This seems very unrealistic to me, but will at least give us a hard lower bound.


It’s pretty simple.

If HS journal-subscription revenue is zero, then Elsevier’s total from journal subscriptions in 2010 was £803M. On the other hand, if HS revenue proportions are about the same as in S&T, then total journal-subscription revenue was twice this, £1606M.

Across the 258,000 or so articles published in 2010, that yields either £803M / 258,000 = £3112 per article, or £1606M / 258,000 = £6224 per article. At current exchange rates, that’s $4816 or $9632. My guess is that the true figure is somewhere between these extremes. If I had to give a single figure, I guess I’d split the difference and go with £4668, which is about $7224.

Remember: this is what it costs the academic world to get access to your article when you give it to an Elsevier journal. Those parts of the academic world that have access, that is — don’t forget that many universities and almost everyone outside a university won’t be able to access it at all.

This is less than my previous estimates. It’s still an awful lot.

Why this matters

Over on Tim Gowers’ blog, he’s recently announced the launch of a new open-access maths journal, Forum of Mathematics, to be published by Cambridge University Press. The new journal will have an article processing fee of £500 after the first three years, during which all fees will be waived. I’ve been shocked at the vehemence with which a lot of commenters have objected to the ideas of any article processing fee.

Here’s the thing. For each maths article that’s sent to an Elsevier journal, costing the worldwide maths community between £3112 and £6224, that same worldwide maths community could instead pay for six to twelve open-access articles in the new journal. And those articles would then be available to anyone who wanted them, not only people affiliated with subscribing institutions.

To me, the purely economic argument for open access is unanswerable. Even if you leave aside the moral argument, the text-mining argument, and so on, you’re left with a very stark financial equation. It’s madness to give research to subscription publishers.

I got an interesting email a couple of days ago from Robin Wilson:

Something which I thought may be of interest to a number of people who are keen on OA is your views on what learned societies should do about the closed journals they currently run. I’m particularly interested in this as I have just joined the Publications Committee of a (smallish) learned society in the UK who publish a journal through Taylor and Francis which is currently closed access.

In some ways I want to go to the next meeting and suggest that they make it Green OA – but I can’t see that happening because it brings in a significant revenue stream for the society, thus allowing them to charge far less for their annual conference, employ admin staff, publish a quarterly newsletter etc. Gold OA is possible, but would restrict publication to those whose departments or funding bodies would pay the fee – and as this journal isn’t right at the top of its field the argument may go “Why publish in X for $3000 when I could (try to) publish in Y for free!

It’s an important question. Before I try to answer it, let me make it clear that I have no qualifications whatsoever to comment on this subject. I am an extremely junior researcher — not even a postdoc, I have an honorary position. I have never been an editor of any journal, nor on any publication committee. Regarding the flagship journal of our discipline, the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, I am not even a member of the society that produces it, having not renewed my SVP membership after the society’s cowardly abdication of responsibility over Aetogate. So I have no authority, no experience, and no influence. Anyone who is interested in my opinion anyway is welcome to read on. The rest of you should read this comic instead.

Pros and cons

First, there are vcry good reasons why society journals should go open access. Here are some:

  • It’s in line with societies’ missions. For example the SVP says “The object of the society is to advance the science of vertebrate paleontology and to serve the common interests … of all persons concerned with the history, evolution, comparative anatomy, and taxonomy of vertebrate animals”. Without question, freeing the research in its journal would be a huge step towards fufilling that mission.
  • There is a significant citation advantage. This graph shows the changing impact factor[1] of Acta Veterinaria Scandanavica through time. It’s on a definite downward trajectory from 2000 till 2006; then it goes open-access with BMC, and immediately switches to a strong upward trajectory.
  • Increasingly, authors are reluctant to give their best work non-open journals. (For myself, I no longer give any of my work to non-open journals; I realise that not everyone is in a position to make such a blanket commitment, but many people make it at least part of their decision process.)

On the other hand, there are also reasons why society journals might want to remain subscription-only. Here are a couple:

  • As Robin noted, the big one is subscription revenue. From a quick browse of the SVP web-site, I can’t find any accounts (which is a bit of a transparency fail), but I am guessing that JVP subscriptions are a pretty big part of the society’s income. That income might be threatened by going open-access.
  • A journal that switches to Gold OA (i.e. the author or his institution pays a publication fee) may find that it gets fewer submissions, as authors switch to free-to-submit venues.

(I think I have all the major pros and cons here — did I miss any?)


We know from many independent studies — not just anecdotes like the graph above — that the open-access citation advantage is real. A good summary is found in Swan (2010), which surveys 31 studies of the OACA, showing that 27 of them found an advantage of between 45% are 600%. I did a rough-and-ready calculation on the final table of that report, averaging the citation advantages given for each of ten academic fields (using the midpoints of ranges when given), and found that on average open-access articles are cited 176% more often — that is, 2.76 times as often — as non-open.

By contrast, we have no actual evidence for either of the negatives. To be clear, I’m not saying that the downsides are necessarily not true, only that we have to rely on our intuition about them rather than hard facts. We don’t actually know what effect a switch to Gold OA would have on submissions rates, because there are no studies that analyse this. (At least, none that I know of — can anyone enlighten me?) The example of Acta Veterinaria Scandanavica doesn’t help us here: its impact-factor increase says nothing about how many articles it published, only about how widely cited they were.

Similarly, no study has ever shown that Green OA — allowing or even encouraging authors to deposit preprints in repositories — harms subscription revenue. In fact there is good evidence that Green OA either does not affect subscription revenues or, surprisingly, actually increases them by acting as an advertisement for the “official” versions of papers. For example, Swan (2005) wrote:

We asked the American Physical Society (APS) and the Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd (IOPP) what their experiences have been over the 14 years that arXiv has been in existence. How many subscriptions have been lost as a result of arXiv? Both societies said they could not identify any losses of subscriptions for this reason and that they do not view arXiv as a threat to their business (rather the opposite — this in fact the APS helped establish an arXiv mirror site at the Brookhaven National Laboratory).

For much more on this issue, see the PEER project (Publishing and the Ecology of European Research). For example, the project’s final report says that:

A Randomised Controlled Trial indicates that making preprints visible in PEER repositories is associated with more traffic to the publisher sites at the aggregate level, but this varies by publisher and subject. Overall, PEER is associated with a significant, if relatively modest, increase in publisher downloads, in the confidence range 7.5% to 15.5%.

The likely mechanism is that PEER offers high quality metadata, allows a wider range of search engine robots to index its content than the typical publisher, and thus helps to raise the digital visibility of scholarly content.

Gold, Green, subscription or hybrid?

So what should subscription-based society journals do? Stay as they are? Switch to the author-pays Gold OA model that has served Acta Veterinaria Scandanavica so well? Support Green OA by encouraging preprint deposit? Or become hybrid journals (as JVP is now) by offering optional open access within otherwise subscription-based journal?

It will come as no surprise that I think subscription-only is a disaster, and that some kind of change away from that is necessary. A scholarly society simply can’t best serve its discipline by locking its work behind a paywall. It just can’t.

I also have an increasing sense that “hybrid OA” (i.e. a subscription journal with an optional open-access fee) doesn’t really work. Certainly Elsevier have had astonishingly low uptake, and there are good reasons for this. I’ve heard that JVP‘s optional-OA uptake has been disappointing, too — probably the true reason for the recent price-cut. My guess is that this is pretty representative. So I think that hybrid is really a bit of a fig-leaf that’s used by publishers and journals that don’t really want to do OA but feel they have to be seen to be doing something.

So journals that do want to move to open access have to choose between Gold and Green. My best judgement is that Green is easier in the short term, but that most journals will want to go Gold in the end. The advantage of Green at this point is that it doesn’t require the societies to actually do anything — just to tell authors that they are welcome to self-archive preprints, after revising for reviewer comments, but before copy-editing (if any) and typesetting. A forward-looking society might host an archive for this purpose, but that is not necessary.

The thing is, a society that is serious about open access — that really wants that 176% citation advantage — will need to not just grudgingly allow Green OA, but actively shout about it. That’s maybe the single most important point here. Open access is not a threat to be deflected, it’s an opportunity to be grasped. The journals, and societies, that do that most effectively will be the ones that flourish. Right now, JVP is dead to me, and to some few other palaeontologists I know. I’d love that to change.

(Going forward, I am not sure that Green will remain viable indefinitely, but that is a subject for another post.)



[1] Yes, yes, I know.

Here is another illustration that I prepared for the forthcoming “Apatosaurusminimus redescription. Compare this with the sacrum and fused ilia from the previous post.

Left ischium of AMNH 675, “Apatosaurusminimus. Left column: proximal. Middle column, top to bottom: medial (inverted), dorsal, lateral, ventral (all with proximal to left). Right column, distal. Click through for very high resolution (4810 x 5229).

Can you tell what it is yet?

By the way, I’d appreciate some advice on the directional nomenclature here. Since I’ve illustrated the lateral view with the long axis horizontal, I’m referring to the margin that’s closest to the tail as “dorsal” and the margin closest to the ground as “ventral”. But since the ischium is directed more or less posteroventrally, I guess you could equally make a case for designating those two aspects as “posterior” and “anterior” respectively. The third alternative is to embrace the diagonality and call them “posterodorsal” and “anteroventral”. Is one of these schemes conventional?


I sent this letter to Wiley today, in response to their announcement of elective open access being available in 81% of their journals. I will blog the response when it comes (or the lack of one if they don’t reply after a reasonable time).

Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2012 11:22:55 +0100
From: Mike Taylor <mike@indexdata.com>
To: cs-onlineopen@wiley.com, info@wileyopenaccesss.com
Cc: sciencenewsroom@wiley.com
Subject: New Open Access option on 81% of journals

Dear Wiley,

I am writing to express my thanks and congratulations on extending your elective open-access policy to 81% of your journals, as announced in yesterday’s press-release.

Wiley is an important publisher and the guardian of many significant journals. Given the increasing inevitability of open access, as noted in recent months by US congressmen, UK government ministers, and numerous academics and publishers, it’s going to be crucial to avoid becoming marginalised during the transition. In concert with your existing all-open-access journals, and your Free Backfiles provision, yesterday’s announcement goes a long way to assuring the community that Wiley will be around to be part of the transformed landscape.

I do have an important reservation, though. When I checked the specific details of what Wiley means by “open access” I saw to my dismay that instead of using the standard Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence, Wiley has rolled its own set of terms and conditions which, in addition to being more restrictive than the standard ones, will not be immediately recognised and comprehended by potential authors.

As you probably know, the CC BY licence unambiguously fulfils all the terms of the original definition of “open access”, as specified in 2001 by the Budapest Open Access Initiative. It is for this reason that it has been overwhelmingly adopted by for-profit and non-profit open-access publishers, including BioMed Central, PLoS and Hindawi. I assume this is also why it was recently adopted by Springer for its own elective open-access programme (“Open Choice”). For a fuller discussion of the merits of fully BOAI-compliant open access, please see the article Why Full Open Access Matters.

The unfortunate upshot is that, as things currently stand, Wiley’s elective open-access programme stands alongside Elsevier’s derided “sponsored article” scheme, rather than having joined the true open-access advocates BMC and PLoS, as Springer’s Open Choice has done. This makes Springer journals currently a much more attractive open-access choice than Wiley’s. At a time when lines are being drawn, and when Elsevier in particular is widely seen in a very negative light, it’s important to establish which side of this divide Wiley is going to position itself on.

So I strongly urge Wiley, with all possible haste, to adopt the Creative Commons Attribute licence for all its open-access activities. In doing so, you will send out a strong statement. I am confident that the commercial benefits will greatly outweigh the loss of whatever minor revenue accrues from the licenced commercial re-use of not-quite-open-access articles under the current scheme.

I hope this is helpful; if desired, I will be more than happy to discuss these issues in more detail with with anyone at Wiley.

Dr. Michael P. Taylor
Research Associate
Department of Earth Sciences
University of Bristol
Bristol BS8 1RJ

P.S. This is an open letter; I will be posting it on my blog, along with your reply. It’s important that the wider community see and understand what decisions are being made as publishers transition to open access.

Update 1 (Wed  4 Jul 2012 17:38:31 BST)

Received a brief response from Wiley’s Director of OA via LinkedIn:

Dear Mike,

Many thanks for the congratulations and for the helpful comments on your blog. We are well aware of the policies of our competitors and review appropriate licensing arrangements regularly. I’ll be out of the office 6-23 July, but otherwise happy to talk further.

Best wishes,


Rachel Burley
Vice President and Director, Open Access
Wiley Blackwell

Quietly promising, I think. Further bulletins as events warrant.

Update 2 (Thu Jul 5 09:57:01 BST 2012)

Another, independent response, from Wiley’s STM publicity manager:

Dear Mike,

Thank you for your timely note. We are considering our options for open access licensing arrangements at the moment, so it’s useful to hear the views of the wider community.

Best wishes

Jennifer Beal
Global Publicity Manager
Scientific, Technical, Medical, and Scholarly

Again, noncommittally encouraging. We’ll see what comes of this.