Frequently asked questions

With the assistance of LIBRARIA the subscribe-to-open model is being piloted by Berghahn Books, as well as Annual Reviews for 2020, with Brill testing it out in 2021. This FAQ shares ideas with Annual Reviews version, much as these publishers are in discussion with each other over the principles of this open access model.

What is subscribe-to-open?

Subscribe-to-open is a model of sustainable open access for scholarly journals in which research libraries continue to “subscribe” to the journals that their communities value at similar prices and with similar quality to the journals under a gated or closed subscription. Subscribe-to-open is a form of subscription makes journal publication possible and is not a donation or gift to the publisher.

Why would libraries subscribe-to-open?

Subscribe-to-open makes the conversion of gated journals to open access possible on a sustainable basis, as well as being feasible for supporting born-open journals. It does so without charging authors APCs, imposing embargoes on published work, placing restrictions on who can publish, or setting any other limits, such as final draft only, on the benefits of making this work publically available. It also involves libraries in their traditional professional role, as deciding and curating which open access journals merit support.

What happens if libraries do not support subscribe-to-open? 

For journals converting to open access through subscribe-to-open, the publisher expects a similar level of subscription support in order to maintain the quality of publication. If libraries withhold support for journals they previously subscribed to, then those journals will revert to gated subscriptions, with a recent study on such reversion found here.

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