Thursday 29 August 2019

1st Basel Sustainable Publishing Forum—Dialog with Learned Societies: Sustainable Solutions for Successful Transition to Open Access

Academic publishing has undergone many changes in the last two decades. Chief among these is the emergence of open access, which have greatly affected the delivery of research to readers and the status of authors, in addition to publisher revenue streams. The current publishing landscape can appear very complex, with a variety of strategies implemented to achieve open access. These include hybrid journals, depositing of draft or accepted versions of articles, embargo periods, levying article processing charges, or seeking benefactors to fund free-to-author open access options.

Learned societies are often relatively small publishers and can be under pressure during times of change. Many rely heavily on publishing revenue to fund valuable services for researchers in their field, and publishing often fulfils a key part of their mission to promote knowledge. Since the emergence of Plan S in Europe, there have been suggestions that some societies face closure if they are forced to convert to open-access-only publishing modes. Is this really the case or are there opportunities hidden within these daunting challenges that could be explored? What are learned societies most concerned about and where do they have the most to contribute to the new publishing landscape?

The MDPI Sustainability Foundation is hosting a forum to bring together representatives from the industry, including learned societies, librarians, and open access publishers, to survey the current status and explore challenges facing the sector. The goal is to ensure a vibrant and diverse landscape within academic publishing. The title of the day is the 1st Basel Sustainable Publishing Forum -Dialog with Learned Societies: Sustainable Solutions for Successful Transition to Open Access and we will hear from representatives of learned societies in order to understand the challenges they face to transition journals to Open Access. A number of publishing experts will also share their views on open access journals and how the current climate might affect learned society publishers. A key point will be how the requirements of Plan S will affect the stability of the research evaluation system, academic publishing, and researchers themselves.

The day will mix keynote talks with discussion sessions. Confirmed speakers include:

A representative of cOAlition S to present the details of Plan S, guidelines and timeline for implementation.

Alicia Wise who will present potential strategies and business models through which learned societies can transition to an open access landscape and adapt to Plan S. These recommendations arise from the consultancy done by Information Power, and commissioned by Wellcome, in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP).

Jan Erik Frantsvåg will present a detailed overview and perspective on the current status of the open access landscape.

Saskia de Vries will present the principles of fair open access, in the context of Plan S and their relevance to societies.

The day will be opened by Antonio Loprieno, President of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, President of the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, and former Rector of the University of Basel.

A full program and registration can be found online at

We are looking forward to a vibrant day of discussion and debate. The talks will be recorded and made available online after the event.

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