Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Earlier this year the OSC released a toolkit for transitioning journals to open access. Today we’re adding a new resource to this page: a guide to hosting a roundtable event for editors and editorial board members.

A journal flipping roundtable discussion can help gauge the level of interest in journal flipping among journal editors on a campus, and can also connect editors curious about transitioning to OA with people and tools to help navigate such a change.

In 2018, the UCSF library held a roundtable with nine editors from UCSF and publishing experts from the library and UC Press. The roundtable guide is based on the experiences of planning and hosting that event. With this new addition, the Transitioning Journals to OA toolkit now includes:

  1. Guide to Transitioning Journals to Open Access Publishing, designed to help journal stakeholders understand basics about journal ownership, operations, and funding models, and to begin gathering important information necessary for OA publishing decision-making.
  2. Checklist for Conversations About Transitioning Journals to OA, for librarians, repository managers, and others supporting OA transitions, in order to facilitate discussions with OA-aspiring journal editors about their journal’s operations, finances, and strategies.
  3. New Guide to Hosting a Journal Flipping Roundtable Event, which includes attachments and supporting materials like a sample agenda, slides, and email invitations.

Anneliese Taylor, Head of Scholarly Communication at the UCSF Library, coordinated UCSF’s roundtable and joins us today to reflect on last year’s roundtable.

KF: Where did the idea for the roundtable come from?

AT: Journal editors started approaching Rich Schneider, a UCSF professor who’s been an OA advocate for many years, asking him what it takes to flip a journal to OA. Since there are so many editors, associate editors, and editorial board members at UCSF (I’d been collecting a list of them for a number of years), Rich and I thought gathering a group of editors to talk about the topic would be a good fit here. A few months before planning began, the UC Libraries released its exploration of OA models and specific strategies, Pathways to Open Access, which highlighted possible next steps for UC libraries to pursue collectively or individually. One of the highlighted “universal strategies” in the report is to “engage with scholarly societies and editorial boards to support a flip to OA,” so there was interest beyond UCSF as well in piloting an event like this.

We were fortunate to have Dan Morgan, then at UC Press, join as a facilitator. Between Dan’s experience in the publishing industry and Rich’s experience championing OA initiatives to faculty and university administration, they complemented each other very well facilitating the two main portions of our roundtable. Both were part of the UC Office of Scholarly Communication’s OA Publishing Workgroup, and Dan had put together the first draft of what later became the Guide to Transitioning Journals to Open Access Publishing. So we had a very useful guide to frame that portion of the discussion and to refer participants to after.

KF: Did anything surprise you about how the event went?

AT: One surprise was how enthusiastic the response was from journal editors who were invited to participate. It was clear that journal editorial staff are aware of open access and recognize its importance in scholarly publishing. There’s a lot going on at the University of California with efforts to shift scholarly publication to OA, so there were several questions during our event about how read & publish agreements work and what the impacts would be on the UCSF community. There was some very poignant discussion about how OA is paid for and the variances in grant funding between disciplines, how to not harm professional societies by transitioning to OA, and why publishers need to also hear from editors and authors about transitioning to OA at the same time that universities are putting pressure on publishers. With regard to editors getting involved in transitioning journals to OA, we just covered the initial steps.

KF: Is there anything you’d do differently if you were planning a similar event again?

AT: From a logistics perspective, I would seek a few RSVPs over my target to provide a bit of a cushion. Since faculty are so incredibly busy, undoubtedly a few will have to back out.

I would also focus the roundtable primarily on aspects of publishing costs and the impacts of OA on journal reputation and viability, since these aspects are of great importance to journal editors. This focus will change in time as OA becomes more the norm. One of our editors suggested that universities could prioritize a scholar-owned publishing solution instead of trying to force change through established publishers who are resistant to upsetting their profitable publishing models. Since academies are investing more in robust infrastructure and publishing platforms, I would feature this approach more prominently.

If you have questions about the roundtable guide, or any of the other resources on the Transitioning Journals to OA page, please contact us at


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