23 October 2014

Open Access Week: "Hybrid" Open Access

Hybrid open access is similar to gold OA, but also completely different! Under the hybrid OA model, traditional publishers, upon payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC), will grant immediate open access to individual articles that appear in otherwise subscription-based journals.  Most of the big journal publishers have now adopted a version of this model, e.g., OxfordOpen, WileyOnlineOpen, etc. (See this table for a complete list of publishers offering paid OA options.)

Here are some recent examples of forced migration-related articles published under the hybrid OA model:

- "Associations between Life Conditions and Multi-morbidity in Marginalized Populations: The Case of Palestinian Refugees," European Journal of Public Health, vol. 24, no. 5 (Oct. 2014) [published by Oxford Journals]
- "Colonialism, Decolonisation, and the Right to be Human: Britain and the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees," Journal of Historical Sociology, vol. 27, no. 3 (Sept. 2014) [published by Wiley]
- "Contextualising Typologies of Environmentally Induced Population Movement," Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 23, no. 5 (2014) [published by Emerald]
- "Interpretation, Translation and Intercultural Communication in Refugee Status Determination Procedures in the UK and France," Language and Intercultural Communication, vol. 14, no. 3 (2014) [published by Taylor & Francis]

This arrangement offers authors the twofold benefit of continuing to publish in their journal of choice and having open access provided to their research articles immediately, rather than waiting for an embargo period to pass. Typically, however, the APCs for hybrid OA journals are significantly higher than those levied by pure OA journals - almost double. (The UK's Wellcome Trust recently released data on the amount they have paid for article APCs which supports this finding.)

Even when funders and employers are willing to finance hybrid OA APCs, studies have found that the number of authors choosing this option is still relatively low.  So far, this appears to be true for forced migration-specific journals that offer a hybrid option. For example, here are the tallies for articles published under this model in the three Oxford titles, as of 2005:
Journal of Refugee Studies = two articles (in 2006 & 2008, respectively)
Refugee Survey Quarterly = one article (in 2014)
- International Journal of Refugee Law = zero articles

These figures may change as publishers experiment with adjusting their pricing terms and as more funders/employers adopt open access mandates and offer grants to cover publication fees.

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