le titre du livre 2. From Open Access to Open Science: fueling our success in the service of global knowledge


From Open Access to Open Science: fueling our success in the service of global knowledge

Why is Open Access the first step to Open Science?

A key element of our mission as a publisher is to maximize the impact of scientific research through openness and global collaboration and everyone in the company truly believes in our motto: science works best when research is open!

Open Access (OA) has long been at the core of our approach, and our innovative workflows and platforms have resulted in us being one of the largest fully OA publishers in the world.

We are a leader in the OA market because we are unencumbered by multiple systems, workflows, and bespoke editorial practices. Our radical openness, scalability, and willingness to keep innovating allow us to take a leadership position in the development of a new type of publishing experience that explicitly creates sustainable services for Open Science (OS).

We have the platform (Phenom) abilities, and resources to take an evidence-informed approach to open science solutions and interventions — piloting at a small scale before testing and rolling them out across the fully OA portfolio, at ever-increasing scales.

We primarily exist as a company to drive and facilitate open access publishing, however, the purpose of creating an open science system is to innovate and drive change at scale in a way that meets the rapidly changing requirements of science communication. Succeeding in this will ensure we continue to evolve into a publisher of the future.

‘Open Science — fueling our success in the service of global knowledge’

The three key aims of our Open Science approach are:

  1. Identify options to advance Open Access and commercialize the benefits of Open Science
  1. Coordinate the implementation of Open Science solutions across the organization
  1. Reinforce our Open Science credentials and leadership

What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) means research is free to read, reuse, and share. In traditional publishing models, readers pay through subscriptions — usually via university libraries. In our OA business model, authors pay at the point of acceptance of their article with an APC (Article Processing Charge).

Core to our mission is the belief that science works best when research is open. Open Access enables greater visibility, sharing, and potential for real-world impact of research. Having its roots in the Budapest Open Access Initiative, open access is quickly becoming the norm for science publishing, and it is increasingly the expectation that funded research will be published OA.

All our journal articles are published under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). This license means that they can be downloaded, shared, and reused without restriction, as long as the original authors are properly cited.

Why Open Access?

Publishing OA under a CC-BY license not only accelerates scientific discoveries but also encourages collaborations and ensures that the research is compliant with the OA mandates from funders and institutes.

OA publishing increases the potential benefit of research globally. Important research published in subscription access journals may not be available to researchers in the same field depending on their institution. This leads to inequity in publishing, disadvantages researchers in poorer countries (particularly in the Global South), and hinders the progress of science. While not completely without problems of equity, Open Access means that, at the very least, articles are freely available to a global audience.

The progression to Open Science

What is Open Science?

One of the clearest ways to understand Open Science is through the perspective of a researcher. In 2017, Jeff Rouder, Professor of Cognitive Sciences​ at the School of Social Sciences​, University of California, Irvine, tweeted:​

What is Open Science? It is endeavoring to preserve the rights of others to reach independent conclusions about your data and work​

At the heart of this statement is the ability for others to evaluate a researcher’s work in full, including the data or code underlying the findings of the paper, and the methods. It also means sharing the limitations of experiments or those that do not work out as expected or give negative results.

The evaluation of a researcher’s work should not only focus on the final publication output but all other output types that the research produces — including data and software. and the expertise and time researchers invest in peer review — as either an author, editor, or reviewer. All of this contributes to the advancement of science and allows others to build on its findings. If a researcher upholds standards of integrity, then all these contributions are valid and the scholarship should be acknowledged.

Open Science has now been embraced as a global concept and practice, exemplified through the formal ratification in 2022 of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science by more than 190 countries worldwide.

The UNESCO report states that the aims of Open Science are

The UNESCO Recommendations on Open Science

The General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), held in Paris from November 9 to 24, 2021, recognized the need of addressing complex and interconnected environmental, social and economic complex and interconnected challenges (such as climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty, technology, and innovation gaps).

UNESCO responded to these challenges by considering the effectiveness of more open, transparent, collaborative, inclusive, interdisciplinary, and reliable knowledge to inform society and support an evidence-based decision-making process.

This Recommendation aims to provide a framework for open science policy and practice and to outline a common definition, shared values, principles, and standards for Open Science at the international level. The core values of Open Science stem from the rights-based, ethical, epistemological, economic, legal, political, social, multi-stakeholder, and technological implications of opening science to society and broadening the principles of openness to the whole cycle of scientific research.

The recommendations not only define Open Science but also provide a lens through which scholarly publishers can drive innovation in the communication of scholarly knowledge. They provide a framework within which a business can align the value of shareholders with those of their stakeholders.

Values and principles of Open Science (image adapted from the UNESCO Recommendations 2021)

Translating Open Science into our mission and business objectives

Taking the UNESCO values and principles as the basis of our approach to Open Science, we can translate the company’s core strategic pillars into relevant Open Science goals within each pillar, namely:

Growth in Content​: we aim to ensure all relevant and sound scientific knowledge that can be published is published and meets community standards of transparency, trust, integrity, and, consequently, reusability​.

Publisher of Publishers​: we provide discrete, cost-effective solutions for publishers that meet the needs of researchers practicing open science and funders and institutions who mandate that publishers report on these practices.​

Operational​ Excellence​: we produce cost-effective, scalable, and efficient solutions that minimize complexity, optimize transparency and interoperability, and enable articles to be evaluated within the wider context of other research outputs and practices, such as data sharing, and preprinting.​

Customer Experience​: we help build trust in our services by adopting a collaborative, evidence-informed approach, and drastically reducing the burden on researchers and publishers when adopting open science practices, such as data sharing, preprinting, and reporting.

Globally Represent​: we build equity for both producers and consumers of scientific knowledge by making our publications open to all, regardless of geography, language, gender, generations, and resources, and by being sensitive to regional and Indigenous communities and cultures.​

Widest Distribution: we fuel the integration and adoption of open scholarly persistent identifiers (PIDs) and the creation of enriched metadata so that the articles we publish, and all the associated research objects, are discoverable by all.​

A service provider for Open Science

The shift to open access has changed the key stakeholders of publishing from readers and librarians to authors, funders, and institutions, as is discussed further in the chapter ‘Generating value for our customers and company.’

This shift in the core customer base has also changed the incentive from exclusivity, where journals want to publish a few high-impact articles, to a more inclusive landscape where the volume of articles published is linked to revenue. While publishing volume is a key consideration, however, we also have a responsibility to uphold high standards of research integrity and ethics.

The changing focus for publishers of open science

The move to open science requires publishers to shift focus from only peer-reviewed articles to a range of research outputs — as well as serving an expanding customer base that creates or funds the content (or wants to be able to access, mine, and reuse it).

Research practices

While conducting peer review and publishing articles will always remain core to reputable publishing, we also need to ensure that the article is embedded and connected to a much wider range of research objects that help validate the findings of the article and make it trustworthy.

These include relevant datasets and code but also protocols and registered reports where appropriate, as well as preprints and peer review reports themselves. Such transparency will help to increase the quality of articles. It also helps to mitigate against fraudulent practices and improves trust and confidence in research.


Our Open Science approach, therefore, aims to support a range of different research practices in our journals, such as preprinting, data sharing, and transparent peer review. We also aim to create a great user experience for authors, so that they can share their articles and data much faster, earlier, and easier.


Discoverability has become a key feature of open science. To meet the needs of customers who reuse and mine scholarly research, we aim to publish content that is as FAIR as possible, by making our content Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. Such discoverability is enabled by an open and machine-readable infrastructure that not only links the different research outputs to each other, but also to the researchers, institutions, and funders (whose help is essential in creating and funding their production).

We have a reputation for high production standards that help others discover the work of researchers. This includes high-quality, open metadata and the use of PIDs such as ORCID and ROR in our workflows. The use of PIDs is essential not only to connect research outputs, increasing their discoverability but also to grant interoperability among different stakeholders and systems.

Cultural change

The drivers of Open Science

The culture of Open Science is crucial to driving a sustainable and innovative ecosystem of scholarly communication. As an advocate for Open Science, we are actively involved in a wide range of OS initiatives to shape the values, behaviors, and practices of the research community as well as the scholarly publishing industry.

We are:

  1. A founding organization for the relaunch of The Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) in 2017 — an initiative finalized to improve how the output of scientific research is evaluated by funding agencies, academic institutions, and other parties
  2. A member of the EC Open Science Policy Platform 2016-2020 — an advisory group that sets a list of recommendations for all the relevant actors and tracks the status of implementation of open science practices
  3. Supporting Open Infrastructure — a collaboration between scholarly publishers, researchers, and other interested parties to promote the unrestricted availability of scholarly citation data and abstracts, and to improve the discovery, navigation, retrieval, and access to research resources through the use of open infrastructure and PIDs
    1. I4OC — founding org
    2. I4OA — founding org
    3. FREYA — project partner
  1. Supporting ASAPbio Publish Your Reviews — an initiative led by ASAPbio to encourage peer reviewers to publish their reviews alongside the preprint of an article

By helping to drive the culture changes around open science, we are confident that we will fulfill our mission to be the leading provider of Open Access publishing services and advance the global expansion of Open Science.