Several European funders announced planS, which suggests that several European nations will ban grantees form publishing in paywalled journals (including hybrid journals that allow one to make an article open access for a fee), and that includes many society journals that are owned by societies but published by large subscription-based publishers. This is to begin in 2020.
Many open access journals charge an APC or article processing charge. Then, open access increases dissemination and readership but can shut out poor authors. This issue is one reason I favor the overlay journal model (here is an example), which can operate at very low cost. For overlay journals, the manuscript uploading and hosting issues are off-loaded to servers such as PsyArxiv. Management of the peer review flow can be handled for free by university-hosted OJS software (I think; I’m not aware of an overlay journal being managed by OJS – anyone know of any?), or with an external professional service such as Scholastica, which charges $10/article (here is Scholastica’s entry in our guide to low-cost publishers). At a low cost like that, sufficient funds should be available from various sources, such that poor authors don’t have to pay anything.
Unfortunately, many societies have become dependent on money that comes from restricting dissemination of its members’ research. One can anticipate a lot of resistance from these societies to open access for that reason. AAAS, which publishes Science, has already resisted. For societies that are less conservative (such as the Association for Psychological Science, which I am an associate editor for), how should they be lobbied? What realistic goal should we be pushing for? I’m still thinking through the path(s) that should be taken.
PlanS has yet to be fully spelled out. It is possible (and hoped by many) that researchers will be able to satisfy the mandate via green OA (uploading their manuscript to a server such as PsyArxiv, or their institutional repository) rather than prohibition on publishing in a certain type of journal. The money that was previously going to fat subscription publishers, sometimes in the form of APCs, would still be cut off, and the alternate publishing infrastructure associated with green OA would be boosted. This would hasten a transition away from dependence on journals for dissemination, and thereby lower the cost that journals can charge, as a subscription or as an APC. We can anticipate that peer review facilities, both pre- and post-publication, will become more and more available for “preprint” servers, unleashing lower costs as well as new innovation in what a journal is.
FYI, PsyOA.org is a resource (together with LingOA and MathOA) that we created to help journals flip to open access. And Publishing Reform is an open discussion forum for discussion of this and many other issues.