What is SCOAP3?
SCOAP3, the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics, has developed an innovative model to achieve open access to peer-reviewed journals in high-energy physics (HEP). The idea of SCOAP3 is to convert high energy physics articles in the leading journals to “gold” open access. In the SCOAP3 model, the services of the publishers of these articles and journals are fully acknowledged – quality assurance in the publication process (peer review and editorial services) and the provision of the final published versions. The objective is to convert content in these journals from their current subscription-based model to open access, while preserving all the values provided by quality publishers and publications.

The SCOAP3 model is the product of extensive coalition building with stakeholders in the community of scholarly communication across the world — authors, funding agencies, libraries and publishers. Out of this community, SCOAP3 has created an international consortium of libraries and funding agencies that will centrally contract with HEP journal publishers for the services of administering peer-review, editing, and Open-Access article dissemination. CERN, as the center of the high-energy physics community in Geneva, has led the SCOAP3 efforts to this current point and will administer this centralized contract going forward, leveraging its experience managing international collaborations in science.

Articles funded by SCOAP3 will be available via open access in perpetuity, under a Creative Commons CC-BY license, which means that users will be able to copy, distribute, transmit, and adapt the works as needed, with proper attribution. (For exact definitions, see:http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

What is the SCOAP3 business model?

The business model is based on a redirection of current library subscription expenditures to SCOAP3 for the centralized payment of open access and other publishing services. It ensures open access and contains costs. SCOAP3 also provides a mechanism for free-market competition through an open tender or “bidding” process. This replaces the current conventional process, in which libraries negotiate the cost of access separately through individually negotiated subscriptions.

How did the SCOAP3 tendering process work?

The tendering process was developed by an international team of experts representing a cross-section of libraries and funding agencies supporting SCOAP3, with input from the publishing industry and the support of CERN legal and purchasing services. A set of concrete specifications and a clear agreement framework describing the SCOAP3 open access model was made publicly available in June, 2012. This specification is freely available atfiles/Technical_Specification.pdf

Acting for the benefit of SCOAP3, CERN conducted the tendering process by inviting publishers of HEP journals, not-for-profit and commercial alike, to compete to provide SCOAP3 services with a “best value for money” approach, using these specifications.

CERN reviewed the bids to identify the publishing partners and selected Journals for which a contract for peer review, open access and other publishing services could be awarded. This open and competitive procedure took into account the quality of the journals (as measured by Impact Factor), the quality of the services provided (as measured by re-use licenses and delivery formats), and the publisher’s unit price for each article.

Which publishers and journals will participate?
[Updated 21 June 2013]

On the basis of bids returned by publishers, and taking into account the projected SCOAP3 budget envelope there are now 10 journals to which a contract for peer review, open access and related publishing services may be awarded, including in alphabetical order:

These account for the majority of the high-quality peer-reviewed literature in the field of High Energy Physics.

In addition, CERN and SCOAP3 will collaborate with leading publishers to foster open access to additional selected articles of relevance for HEP.

When will SCOAP3 OA services begin?

During the end of 2012 and into 2013, work will be undertaken among SCOAP3partners to sign agreements, establish national contact entities where not already in place, and calculate redirections of existing subscription funds in order to redirect these to SCOAP3. Additionally, CERN will establish the SCOAP3article repository, create attendant services, and negotiate final contracts with participating publishers. All arrangements should be in place to “go-live” on January 1, 2014.

The effective award of contracts will cover all new HEP articles published in participating journals in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016.

How much will I pay?
SCOAP3 has established a projected budget envelope to be shared across countries according to their overall share of authorship in HEP publications.

Distribution of HEP articles by country, average 2005-2006

Within each country SCOAP3 partners have pledged this financial support either individually or through central contact points. Each partner will now engage, with the support of SCOAP3 and in cooperation with publishers, in calculations to evaluate the reductions in current subscription costs for journals covered by SCOAP3. These reductions will be used for the country payment for SCOAP3. It is expected that libraries and other subscribing institutions will pay no more than they currently pay for subscriptions to the included journals.

What are the implications of reductions for my licensing agreements?

Publishers participating in SCOAP3 have agreed to reduce the prices of individual subscriptions, subscription packages, and other subscriber licenses (e.g. “big deals”) in order to facilitate the redirection of funds from subscriptions to SCOAP3. If you are a SCOAP3 partner, you will get reductions for each journal covered by SCOAP3 to which you subscribe, as part of your participation in SCOAP3.

How will reductions be determined?
A key criterion for publishers’ participation in SCOAP3 is to reduce the price of individual subscriptions, small or large subscription packages, and other “big deals”, to facilitate the redirection by SCOAP3 partners of funds from subscriptions to SCOAP3. A series of scenarios for cost reductions has been developed and is available in Annex 1 of the Tender Technical Specification.

For each region across the world, contact individuals for SCOAP3 will be identified to help you determine your reduction amount based on your existing licensing agreements, as part of your membership in SCOAP3.

Once I know which cost reduction scenario my subscriptions fall under, what do I do next?
Each SCOAP3 partner will work through a designated contact point to access a “reconciliation facility” and upload this information, and/or review the information entered by the publishers, aiming to agree on a specific reduction amount. Cost reductions proposed by both the partner and the publisher will be reviewed as part of a reconciliation process to determine the final cost reduction for each existing agreement.

The SCOAP3 office at CERN, in liaison with the national or consortial contact points, will monitor this process and organize negotiations as needed as part of this reconciliation.

Who will be in charge?
CERN, for the benefit of SCOAP3, will contract with the publishers for the SCOAP3 services and will facilitate the operation of SCOAP3. CERN is hiring a manager to formally establish the SCOAP3 consortium and lead its operations.

Each country/region will also have one or more contact points who might sign official MOUs on behalf of all SCOAP3 partners in their region.

SCOAP3 partners will designate the official country/regional contacts who will manage or coordinate SCOAP3 activities, such as calculating reductions, signing SCOAP3 agreements, and invoicing for SCOAP3 contributions

Once these arrangements are put into place, ongoing operation of the consortium will be overseen by a governance organization comprising representatives of the SCOAP3 partners in the respective countries.

Who should I contact for next steps?
Details on country contacts are currently being finalized. Checkhttp://scoap3.org to find out which organization(s) in your region are involved. SCOAP3 partners will be contacted when official contacts for your region are finalized.

What are benefits of being a SCOAP3 partner?
Open access thrives through participation. SCOAP3 is a new organization and is evolving in real-time. It is envisioned as a collaborative and open project of the global community it serves.

Contributing partners will

  • have reductions in subscription costs to journals participating in SCOAP3
  • have a voice in the governance of SCOAP3
  • have the option to automatically populate their institution’s digital repository with the SCOAP3 peer-reviewed articles
  • be part of an open access community that is effecting positive change in scholarly publishing
I’m not currently a SCOAP3 partner. How do I get involved?
SCOAP3 succeeds when everyone is involved! Your partnership is welcome. Please contact info@scoap3.org to learn how to become a SCOAP3 partner.

How can I stay informed about SCOAP3?
Sign up for the SCOAP3 listserv at http://scoap3.org/contact.html or visit http://scoap3.org for the latest news.

An older set of FAQ from April 2009 is archived here