The Open Access Revolution

June 11, 2014 Rachel Burley

The post below is an excerpt of an article first published in issue three of the Horizon 2020 Projects Portal.

fish jumping into bigger bowl
Source: RomoloTavani / Thinkstock

Between 2009-2012, the number of peer-reviewed academic journals increased by about 10%. Authors now have a choice of over 28,000 journals worldwide1 in which to publish the outcomes of their research. The rising volume of research literature has been a theme of scholarly publishing for many decades, but Open Access (OA) – the most talked-about (and controversial) development in research publishing in recent years - has led to an unprecedented explosion in author choice. Calling for the free availability of research articles via the Internet, OA is an opportunity for authors to amplify the impact of their work. In this increasingly article-based economy the power of transaction is with the author, but these new publishing models - coupled with increased pressure from funders to track the outcomes of the research they fund - mean that authors are now navigating an increasingly complex publishing environment.

At Wiley we have been working closely with our authors and exploring new services and products to meet their changing needs. We understand that authors want to publish their work quickly, they want their research to be known, and they need support around complying with the ever-increasing array of (sometimes conflicting) publishing mandates. Our goal is to develop the best possible publishing experience for authors, which will in turn help funders achieve their goals.

Open Access

First, a refresher: there are two forms of Open Access— gold and green. In gold OA, articles are made freely available by the publisher immediately upon publication (typically under a liberal license, such as Creative Commons By Attribution – CC-BY), in return for payment of an Article Publication Charge (APC) that is usually covered by the author’s funding source. A gold OA article may appear in a completely OA journal or in a hybrid journal mixing OA and subscription content.

We recognize the need to support our authors with a range of options, including immediate OA publication of their articles in most Wiley journals through OnlineOpen, our hybrid option. In addition, we have a growing portfolio of fully OA journals - Wiley Open Access.

The appeal to authors of immediate, free access to their work in a prestigious journal is compelling and payment of APCs is not necessarily an obstacle, particularly in better funded disciplines, such as life sciences.

Wiley offers a choice of creative commons licensing arrangements to authors in our OA publishing program, taking into account the specific requirements at an article, journal, and discipline level as well as addressing the various needs of authors, funders, and our society and other publishing partners.

In green OA, the author’s accepted manuscript (AAM - a peer-reviewed but otherwise unfinalized version of an article) is deposited in an institutional repository (IR) or a subject archive such as PubMed Central, and made freely available, typically following an embargo (usually between six to 36 months) after the article’s formal publication in an academic journal. At Wiley, we recognize that authors need the flexibility of a green OA option in order to comply with funder mandates, and have adjusted our self-archiving policies to make it easier for them to do so.

Embracing Change

From the 30,000-foot perspective, OA is part of a much larger trend toward Open Science, an exciting global movement that encourages collaboration between researchers through the open sharing of data, supported by evolving technology and funder participation. With 32 fully OA journals and 1,250 journals offering OnlineOpen, many of which are published on behalf of scholarly and professional associations which are increasingly interested in OA, we are forging ahead in this new open environment. We are also finding new ways to meet the changing needs of authors, providing practical tools to help them disseminate their research and taking a fresh look at how we engage with them throughout the publishing process.

English Language Editing

For the growing proportion of authors who are not native English speakers, Wiley offers a language editing service, developed through a program of market research, and implemented through a partnership with American Journal Experts. ELES offers a suite of services allowing authors to access English language editing including translation to and from Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese and English, manuscript formatting, and customized figure preparation. This service comes with a clear guarantee of quality and rapid turnaround times to meet exacting author requirements. Authors can also opt to receive a certificate to illustrate to journal editors that their article is ready for submission and the English language has been reviewed and verified.

Author education

New and less-experienced authors need to learn the publishing process. Our global author workshop program guides them through all aspects of research writing and publication, from “How the peer review process works” to “How to publish a paper” to “Ethics Guidelines.” These sessions are customized for each individual market and author audience and are often hosted in collaboration with our partner societies. We ran more than 180 such workshops during 2013, both live and as virtual events or webinars. Our program in emerging markets such as China, Brazil, and Turkey is especially robust, but we also run workshops in mature markets like the US and UK, since young and early career researchers do not always have access to this sort of training at their institutions.

We are also creating brief videos, for example to help authors understand how to comply with the recently implemented Research Councils UK (RCUK) mandate.


In April 2013, we launched the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS) in order to simplify the licensing process for journals and their authors, timed alongside the release of the RCUK mandate. 70% of journals published by Wiley now use WALS, and one year later just over 100,000 licenses had been signed in the system.

Our Wiley Author Services (AS) application incorporates production tracking, author resources, and other features for our journal authors. AS enables authors to track their accepted article online right through the production process to publication. Once an article is published, authors receive free access and are encouraged to nominate up to 10 colleagues who also receive access, to drive readership and citations.

The AS website includes many valuable resources for authors, including information on publication ethics, copyright, English-language editing, tips on optimizing articles for search engines, and funder requirements, as well as links to journal-specific author guidelines, manuscript submission sites, and e-alert sign-up. We are currently developing new functionality (such as single sign on), features (such as transfer of articles), and content enrichment (through semantic tagging and application of taxonomies) to create a more streamlined and valuable experience for authors.

Helping authors make more impact

Through our technology partners, we are offering some exciting new tools to help researchers collaborate and authors achieve greater impact for their articles.

Article level metrics (ALMs) have become an important tool to establish a more complete picture of the impact of individual papers, as distinct from the publication in which they appear. Following a successful pilot phase, Wiley is partnering with Altmetric, a service that tracks social media sites for mentions of scholarly articles. Altmetric creates and displays a score for each article measuring the quality and quantity of attention that the particular article has received.

77% of users during the pilot phase felt that altmetrics added value to the article and most of them used the information to gauge the overall popularity of articles, discover researchers interested in the same area of work, or understand a paper’s influence.

Another new partnership is with Kudos, a service that helps researchers and their institutions harness their expertise and networks to measure, monitor, and maximize the visibility and impact of their published articles.

We have launched a one year trial, working with select Wiley authors to drive social media activity, and to rework abstracts and headings for better use in social media. The results will inform our future services to authors.


The OA movement represents a challenge to the traditional journal subscription model, but within a complex, shifting landscape it is also opening up opportunities for new relationships between publishers and authors and new ways for publishers to add value for researchers, funders, and libraries. “Funders and authors want to make more impact,” says Bob Campbell (Senior Publisher at Wiley), “and we are now organized to help them achieve that in this new world. It will be a fascinating time. Embrace the changes.”


1. STM Report 2012 (Ware and Mabe, 2012)

About the Author

VP and Director, Open Access, Wiley

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