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OA interviews: Michael Cairns, Publishing Technology

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With the raft of policies and mandates that impact researchers and their institutions Sian Harris asks a range of publishers and publishing services companies about their approaches to open access

Michael Cairns, chief executive officer, Publishing Technology

There is an increasing awareness of the need for OA – not just of the fact that OA is growing, but also wider issues around which forms of OA are being adopted and by whom. Our aim is always to be in a position as a business to provide our customers with the best levels of support, should they choose to move in that direction, or not.

We can adapt our technology to meet the needs of publishers. Recently, we have seen a growing interest in gold OA models, as well as hybrid models. This means that we have to produce technology that respects the differing speeds of adoption amongst traditional publishers and other clients including smaller publishing companies whose speeds of adoption of the newer models of OA may be more rapid.

The impact of ‘megajournals’ cannot be overlooked. It will be interesting to see how this affects the OA landscape and whether it forces more traditional publishers’ hands.

It appears that many publishers no longer consider OA to be a challenge and more as an opportunity. As publishers become more accommodating towards these models, other pressing issues can also be addressed. The first of these is metrics. In an industry that is so deeply rooted in peer influence and how much impact an author, paper or journal has within its community, academics have long been seeking an alternative measurement tool to the traditional Thomson- Reuters Impact Factor of journals. In a world where online views, downloads and social media mentions matter just as much as citations, the emergence of article level metrics (ALM) tools that take these digital realities into consideration, is a major industry development.

The peer-review process, particularly in science publishing, is also undergoing a shake- up. Criticised for being slow and ineffective, academics across the globe have been calling for a more effective and fair process from publishers.

Megajournals and the online communities that envelop them have demonstrated that they are able to manage this process quite efficiently so I would envisage that new processes are structured around their open peer-review models.

The next few years will be pivotal for the scholarly market and OA will offer many more opportunities for the publishing industry to reinvigorate its traditional models to become faster, more responsive and increasingly efficient.

Our clients work across a range of gold and green OA models and we tailor our products to offer solutions for the different range of models. Different approaches have different sensitivities and we are conscious that each model has its challenges for our clients. Whether there will be industry-wide standardisation of the green or gold models remains to be seen, but many publishers certainly appear to be looking upon these options increasingly favourably.

Publishers are now, more than ever, making valuable data discoverable and accessible in the long term. Our approach is to provide support to make sure our customers are able to make their data as open or closed as their market requires.