In a recent online conversation , one of the most distinguished publishers of our time noted that “ STM publishers are , at least for the time being , more successful than general publishers in transitioning their business away from reader pays to creator pays ( which strangely is seen as morally superior )”. And it is quite true that there is a moral overtone to the notion that research funded from the public purse , and conducted by people paid from the public purse , should be generally available to the public . But this is not really the point anymore . The issue has grown larger , and recent events and a 21st Birthday highlight a broader emerging question ; if STM publishers were successful in going Open Access , and supporting a creator-pays business model , how will they cope with the next migration , if that is towards Open Platform , and funder pays in a context that does not really seem to require publishers in quite the same way at all . 

But first of all , birthday greetings . Vitek Tracz , consistent presiding genius at the business of forecasting change in scholarly communications , launched F1000 21 years ago , and despite the sneers ( and the big players have always sneered before they  bought his creations ), it is alive and well in the safe hands of T&F and the management of Rebecca Lawrence and her team . They have piloted it through ORC, the open publishing platform for major funders like Wellcome , Gates , HHMI and AMRO (  ). into becoming ORE , the open platform selected by the European Commission to publish research outputs from its funded Horizon 2020 research programmes . The lure for researchers is simple processing , the author gets to publish it the way they want it published , low charges ( F1000 is $1350 , ORE is free) and post-publication and ongoing open peer review . Having asked whether this will catch on for 21 years , I am still in the dark , but one thing is becoming reasonably clear . The rumbling discontent with current peer review , with retractions and with reproducibility create a much better climate for the acceptance of these things than anything we have ever seen before . And as cOAIitionS rolls forward into full application in the next two years the atmosphere will improve . 

One signal which may encourage the birthday celebrant was the announcement made on 6 August that the UK Funding Body , UKRI , in association with the Jisc , had made a grant to a project called Octopus , which they proclaim as “ a platform which will change research culture “ . The funding is pitiful – a mere £650,000 over three years – but this is clearly a scoping exercise, and the intent is more interesting than the amount . Dr Alexandra Freeman , whose notion this is , won a Royal Society Pitch award and her presentation  ( gives interesting evidence of her thinking , where platforms are language agnostic ( simultaneous translation ), post -publication peer reviewed , and where reviews themselves are treated as ancillary publications . But the really interesting part of the proposal is the break-up of the article itself . Dr Freeman sees it as dividing into eight different segments , each of them appearing on the platform as soon as they are ready , and thus each element being susceptible to review at that point . Her eight sections are :  Problem ; Hypothesis; Methodology/Protocol ; Data/Results ;Analysis; Interpretation : Real-world Implications ; Peer Review. It will be seen that the thinking leans towards the Open Science insistence in separating the publication of the first three elements in time prior to results being available . It also encompasses another strand of funder thinking – all the work that has been accepted and funded , through increasingly expensive selection processes , should subsequently appear on a platform and be peer-reviewed. The process of publisher/editor selection may not now be wanted on board . 

And there will be other casualties if the Open Platform replaces the current OA models . Plenty of talk of scoring and altmetrics – no mention of journal impact factors . Open Platforms will use ORCHID identifiers . They will emphasise speed of communication , simplicity of use ( Vitek Tracz may be pleased that he accidentally failed to sell the support software Sciwheel when he sold F1000 – workflow tools for Open Platforms may be the most valuable part ). It was interesting to see that amongst the prominent supporters of the award to Dr Freeman was the UK Reproducibility Network ( . The fact that there is such a network of UK universities and researchers and that it has pronounced and interesting views on how things should be published is a clear sign of a change of mood . When the history is written , the shift from subscription publishing to Open Access will be seen as the small conditioning change that paved the way to a complete revolution in the way in which science is communicated . 


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