Diamonds for authors #1: Subscribe to Open

Subscribe to Open logoThis post, the first in a series, introduces City Tech faculty to free-to-author, immediate open access publishing options.

Diamond iconNot all open access is funded the same way and the scholarly publishing community has proven highly creative in designing new models and related initiatives that grow diamond open access, open access without fees to authors. One of the larger programs is Subscribe to Open (S2O). Libraries pay part of their journal subscription funds to support ‘flipping’ a subscription journal to diamond open access. S2O, with funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, was created by non-profit science publisher Annual Reviews. As of the end of 2023, 151 journals are using the S2O model.

S20 doesn’t convert all journals from a specific publisher to diamond open access but rather clusters of titles deemed important enough to merit the funding to convert. Publisher and library participants in S2O represent a wide variety of disciplines and geographical locations. You can peruse the list of the specific journals that have been flipped under S20.  Interested in finding other diamond open access journals? It’s easy to use the Directory of Open Access journal search tool and filter by ‘without fees.’

Mathematical Sciences Publishers recently announced that, via S2O, five of their most popular journals are now diamond open access: Geometry & Topology, Algebraic & Geometric Topology,  Algebra & Number Theory, Analysis and PDE, Pacific Journal of Mathematics.

How Subscribe to Open works

Diamond by Nadia Zilfah from Noun Project (CC BY 3.0)

New study further supports open access advantage

A new study in Scientometrics finds that open access articles garner more citations and a broader and larger readership than those behind the paywall. It is not surprising that open access results in a citation advantage; however, this research confirms that another benefit of open access is that it enables scholars’ work to reach larger and more diverse audiences geographically and by institution and discipline. In other words, open access truly fosters bibliodiversity, or, in Spanish, bibliodiversidad, a Latin American ethos that calls for diversity in publication format, language, content, and readership. Bibliodiversity is a grounding concept in addressing epistemic inequality. Scholars based in the Global South and at low-resourced institutions in the Global North face myriad disadvantages that perpetuate their obscurity or limited impact.

I was surprised to learn that, in particular, ‘green open access,’ open access in repositories like CUNY Academic Works, had an even more diverse readership than immediate upon publication ‘gold open access.’ Why? In a summary in Science, the study’s first author, “speculates that might be because a green paper may appear in multiple repositories—institutional and discipline-based—whereas gold papers tend to appear in only one, the publishers’ website. ‘People might be able to find a paper more easily when it’s available in multiple places” and then cite it, Huang says. “That remains something we need to study further.'”

That suggests, that the more the merrier! If you want to be read and cited, share your work in diverse venues including CUNY Academic Works.

Open Access and knowledge as a public good

Open Access Week 2023 Open access is not a business model; rather, it is a philosophy and ethos as well as a practice. It expanded and came into full maturity in the mid-aughts after its initial development during the 1990s, followed by several years of innovation in the early-aughts. During this era (the early 2000s), the movement grew significant enough that a turning point had been reached; stakeholders in scholarly communications came together to issue a series of three declarations supporting open access. These three declarations are, in shorthand, called the 3Bs: Budapest (BOAI) (2002), Bethesda (2003), and Berlin (2003).

The concept of knowledge as a public good is referenced in the BOAI:

“An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good. The old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment, for the sake of inquiry and knowledge.”

Open access is at its essence a philosophical notion with the guiding principle that scholarly content should be available to all readers without restriction because knowledge itself is a public good and cannot be bought and sold.  The idea of knowledge as a public good derives from the work of Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom’s conception of knowledge-as-commons.

Peter Suber provided an excellent overview of this important economic concept in an essay, originally published in the SPARC Open Access Newsletter (Nov. 2, 2009), reprinted in Knowledge Unbound: Selected Writings on Open Access, 2002–2011. In brief, a public good is “non-rivalrous and non-excludable,” meaning that it is non-competitive and available to anyone and unaffected by consumption. New knowledge only adds to existing knowledge, and anyone can gain knowledge by learning in varied ways. It is important to differentiate knowledge as a public good versus knowledge captured in texts which are not a public good. Suber argued that when knowledge in text form is digital, it is no longer rivalrous or excludable. Unfortunately, the scholarly publishing system has not evolved to embrace this ethos.

Open access journals, according to the BOAI, “will not charge subscription or access fees, and will turn to other methods for covering their expenses.” This proviso related to “other methods” is important to subsequent discussion of the various models for open access publishing and how article processing charges (author fees) fit in. Open access publishing has increasingly taken the form of a business and this year’s theme for Open Access Week is Community over Commercialization.

When open access is positioned as a business model that will solve the problem of overpriced journals, this interpretation of open access has proven troubled. Open access has not resulted in moderating journal pricing, whether for subscriptions or, in our current environment, author fees for immediate open access. The 20th anniversary of the BOIA declares that diamond open access, open access without fees to authors, should be supported instead of commercialized open access. Lastly, let’s not forget that platforms like CUNY Academic Works also allow us to share our work freely.

this blog post is adapted from my forthcoming book (Winter/Spring 2024) from the Association of College and Research Libraries.

We’re running our annual Academic Works Demystified workshop next week, Nov. 1, 4-5 PM. The workshop addresses what is Academic Works and how it benefits you as a scholar. You will learn more about how and why publishers allow you to contribute to Academic Works and the many benefits to sharing your scholarship openly to you, your students, and the public. The workshop will be on Zoom.

Why Open Access Matters: Rewarding Open in Hiring, Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure)

Rethinking Research Assessment for the Great GoodOpen Access Week is this month and we’re celebrating by posting a series of blogs about WHY OPEN ACCESS MATTERS [yes, I’m being shouty here]. Last May, the Higher Education Leadership Initiative (HELIOS) invited Erin McKiernan, formerly head of the ScholCommLab, and currently community manager at Open Funders Research Group’s community manager and professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City. This blog post discusses how we can reward “open” in our college reward systems.

Read more about the ScholCommLab’s research on scholarly assessment and how it is often misaligned with college and university priorities related to serving and engaging with the public.

Event! Scholarship for the Public Good: Paths to Open Access Online, 2/9, 4 PM

open access logoScholarship for the Public Good: Paths to Open Access Online

Thursday, February 9, 2023
4:00pm – 5:00pm

Open access scholarly literature—roughly, scholarly works that are online and free of charge for all—has developed over the past 20 years from wild idea to widespread reality. Open access journals, books, and repositories are now established parts of the scholarly ecosystem, and many consider near-universal open access to be inevitable.

But publishing itself is not cost-free, so how can open access be achieved? There are many possible paths, some now common, some more experimental. Which of these paths align with our values as researchers, and with the mission of the Graduate Center and CUNY as a whole? Which empower the research community? Which should we pursue, and which should we eschew?

The first event in the “Scholarship for the Public Good” series (learn more below) will explore various paths to open access. The event will feature three experts:

•    Peter Suber (Harvard University) will describe the institutional open access policies passed by the faculties of Harvard and many other universities.
•    Heather Paxson (MIT) will discuss the transition of society journal Cultural Anthropology from subscription-based to open access, and its ongoing quest to fund publication without article processing charges (APCs).
•    Leslie Chan (University of Toronto) will examine high-profit publishers’ problematic approaches to open access (high APCs, vertical integration, and more).

Scholarship for the Public Good Event Series
“We believe that knowledge is a public good.” This statement of institutional values is emblazoned on the Graduate Center website. But there are many ways to interpret the statement, and many ways to enact the belief. How can we move from words to action—or to greater action—in the context of our scholarship?
•    How can we ensure that the public, as a matter of course, has cost-free access to scholarly works authored by Graduate Center researchers?
•    What changes could we collectively bring about if we centered our values in decisions about where we publish, peer review, and serve in editorial roles?
•    How can the library and institution as a whole support these efforts and resist high-profit publishers’ exploitative practices?
•    How might we reimagine “impact” and rework systems of evaluation and reward?
•    How does considering these questions and contributing to these changes benefit our students, our colleagues, our fields, and the public?

Hosted by the CUNY Graduate Center’s Mina Rees Library and the Provost’s Office, the “Scholarship for the Public Good” event series will examine these questions and more, and explore possible ways that everyone in the Graduate Center community—faculty, students, staff, and administrators—can foster a positive, public-minded ecosystem of scholarship.

Huzzah! 1000th Item Added To Academic Works Today

CUNY Academic Works logoI recently noticed that the automated numbering of records for new items in Academic Works was approaching the 1000 threshold. On a whim, this afternoon I checked to see how many works were posted and today is the day we hit 1000! A mathematics article helped us achieve this goal.

With her permission, I added  Generalization of bi-canonical degrees, co-authored by Dr. Laura Ghezzi (Mathematics), earlier today. Before adding Dr. Ghezzi’s article, we met and had a great conversation about the value of Academic Works as a means to increase the discoverability of one’s publications.

Although Dr. Ghezzi shares her publications on arXiv, a widely used subject repository for physics, computer science, astronomy, and mathematics, we decided that adding this article to Academic Works could potentially bring her new readers and potential citations. We discussed how the version in arXiv is very, very close to the version published formally by Springer so there would be no issue with the version of record (the article formally published by Springer) being meaningfully better than the preprint in arXiv.

City Tech added the most items to the Publications and Research series in Academic Works for 2021-22 of all CUNY campuses. THANK YOU to all the faculty and undergraduate researchers who contributed their scholarship to Academic Works!

Open Access Week 2022, “Open for Climate Justice”

Open for Climate Justice (Open Access Week 2022)



Open Access Week, October 24-30, is here and this year’s theme is Open for Climate Justice.  Follow Open Access Week on Twitter with the hashtag #OpenForClimateJustice. Below is a repost from International Open Access Week:

Climate Justice is an explicit acknowledgement that the climate crisis has far-reaching effects, and the impacts are “not be[ing] borne equally or fairly, between rich and poor, women and men, and older and younger generations,” as the UN notes. These power imbalances also affect communities’ abilities to produce, disseminate, and use knowledge around the climate crisis. Openness can create pathways to more equitable knowledge sharing and serve as a means to address the inequities that shape the impacts of climate change and our response to them.

This year’s focus on Climate Justice seeks to encourage connection and collaboration among the climate movement and the international open community. Sharing knowledge is a human right, and tackling the climate crisis requires the rapid exchange of knowledge across geographic, economic, and disciplinary boundaries.

International Open Access Week is a time to coordinate across communities to make openness the default for research and to ensure that equity is at the center of this work. Selected by the Open Access Week Advisory Committee, this year’s theme is an opportunity to join together, take action, and raise awareness around how open enables climate justice. Open Access Week 2022 will be held from October 24th through the 30th; however, anyone is encouraged to host discussions and take action around “Open for Climate Justice” whenever is most suitable during the year and to adapt the theme and activities to their local context.

For more information about International Open Access Week, please visit The official twitter hashtag for the week is #OAWeek.

Open Access Week Events on Climate Justice, Oct. 24-30

Map of Open Access Week events by geographical location

Open for Climate Justice is the theme for International Open Access Week 2022 which starts next Monday and runs from October 24-30.

There are many events this year of strong interest to City Tech faculty including talks on specific platforms and software for open science and open data. Other events are discipline specific; for example, I noticed several devoted to chemistry.

Climate justice is an interdisciplinary topic and non-STEM faculty will find programs of interest that integrate humanities and social sciences perspectives, for example Pratt and Punctum: A Program on Open Access and Climate Justice — International Open Access Week.

New and Improved! Library’s Site Supporting Scholarly Publishing

Our newly redesigned scholarly publishing page is a portal to services, tools, and expertise for every phase of faculty scholarship and publishing. We welcome your feedback about the usefulness of this page. Is anything missing or confusing? Send us a message.  

Before Publishing

After Publishing
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Your Scholarly Profile
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Workshops and Events
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Open Access, Fair Use,
and Copyright
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Other Resources