Subscribe to Open: How to Make the Shift to Open Access More Inclusive

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the transition to Open Access. Find out why we think Subscribe to Open is the way forward to open up scholarship more inclusively and sustainably.

This post is part of a series that provides think pieces and resources for academic librarians.

“It’s a charmingly simple model, and yet not so easy to explain.” With these “foreboding” words Christina Lembrecht, Senior Manager Open Research Strategy at De Gruyter, started off her presentation about the Subscribe to Open (S2O) model in the webinar “Advocates for Open Access!” on 28 September. And yet – fortunately for the participants from libraries all around the world – most questions seem to have been answered subsequently.

From De Gruyter’s first dip into the S2O business in 2020/21, to it playing a key role in our open access transformation strategy today, Christina covered the basics of our journey towards a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable way of opening up scholarship.

The 101 of S2O

In the Subscribe to Open model, subscription-based journals are transformed into open access, one year at a time. It uses existing library relationships and subscription processes, without imposing any publication fees on authors. As long as a sufficient number of libraries continue to subscribe to a journal, that year’s content is published in open access. If there is insufficient participation, the journal remains behind the paywall.

The model is particularly suited to publications in the humanities and social sciences, where lack of access to funding and a high prevalence of non-research articles (e.g. book reviews) are common. It forges stronger international research communities and reduces barriers to information, especially in the Global South.

Currently, De Gruyter offers 16 OA journals via S2O, and our long-term goal is to have around 270 journals be published via S2O in 2028.

We’re proud to be the first major publisher to make S2O our highway to open access transformation. Learn more about our DG2O program in this infographic!

[Title image by Li Zhang via Unsplash]

The Editors

Articles signed by the editors were written in a collective effort.

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