Subscribe to Open
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Subscribe to Open?
- General Questions
- What is Subscribe to Open?
- Why is MSP adopting Subscribe to Open?
- How will MSP’s Subscribe to Open program work in 2023?
- Why those five journals? What about MSP’s other journals?
- Is Subscribe to Open supposed to be cheaper than a regular subscription?
- How can I help ensure the Subscribe to Open model is a success?
- S2O for Libraries
- My library currently subscribes to one or more of the journals in MSP’s new Subscribe to Open program. What does the program mean for us?
- How can my library support your Subscribe to Open program?
- Why should my library subscribe to a journal in MSP’s Subscribe to Open program?
- What happens if I don’t commit to renew my library’s subscription to a Subscribe to Open journal?
- My library currently subscribes to a journal NOT currently listed in MSP’s Subscribe to Open program. What does this program mean for us?
- S2O for Authors
- How does Subscribe to Open benefit authors?
- What can authors do to support the Subscribe to Open model?
- Do you charge authors to publish in Subscribe to Open journals?
- With S2O, we don’t know very far in advance whether content will be open-access or not. Doesn’t this create uncertainty for authors?
Description of the Subscribe to Open model
Q: What is Subscribe to Open?
Subscribe to Open is a pragmatic and equitable access model which aims to convert subscription journals to open access, one year at a time, with the broad support of the scientific community. It allows each individual institution to invest in long-term open-access publishing, using a model that makes sense for mathematics. It is considered a transformative agreement, satisfies most funders’ open-access requirements, and has been endorsed by a number of open-access organizations, including cOAlition S.
Each year, if enough subscribers continue to support the journal, that year’s articles will be published open access — free to read by everyone and with no author charges. S2O is a subscription model, not a voluntary donation: it funds a public good (open access to articles) by using each institution’s pursuit of its own interests.
For an overview of the Subscribe to Open model, please read our explanation here. Or, you can visit this page for more information, including a list of other journals and publishers who are adopting S2O.
Q: Why is MSP adopting Subscribe to Open?
We think this is the best way to make, and keep, our journals open access.
MSP has been paying close attention to the development of various open-access models. We think that the Subscribe to Open model offers considerable benefits to publisher, subscriber, and author:
- it is relatively straightforward to implement, even for a small, independent publisher of limited means;
- it still funds the high-quality typesetting and copyediting for which we’re known and appreciated, and that our authors’ research deserves;
- it makes use of established library renewal systems, rather than requiring additional negotiation and new processes;
- it’s a model that makes sense for mathematics; and
- it avoids creating barriers to authorship for researchers of lesser financial means.
Additionally, as it spreads the financial burden across many institutions rather than charge only the producers of research, it is likely to offer better long-term stability and can aim for lower prices for all participants. As long as the scientific community is willing to continue purchasing guaranteed access and to provide support — the very same support, in fact, that libraries have provided to closed-access scientific publications up to now — Subscribe to Open offers a path towards sustainable OA for many years to come.
You can read more about MSP’s thoughts about Subscribe to Open here, and more about MSP’s position on open access in general here.
Q: How will MSP’s Subscribe to Open program work in 2023?
In 2023, MSP’s Subscribe to Open program will include 5 journals:
- Geometry & Topology,
- Algebraic & Geometric Topology,
- Algebra & Number Theory,
- Analysis & PDE, and
- Pacific Journal of Mathematics.
If any one of these journals receives enough commitments to subscribe before 15 February 2023, all 2023 content published in that journal will be published open access. (A subscription to any package that contains these journals also counts towards the participation targets.)
If an S2O journal does not receive enough commitments to subscribe before 15 February, then the 2023 content for that journal will remain behind its traditional subscription paywall. Additionally, to encourage as much early participation as possible, if the year remains locked, then a higher price will be charged to institutions that had not committed before the deadline.
Regardless of whether the participation threshold is met or not, all paying subscribers will receive all the usual benefits of a traditional subscription: online access to both new content and the full back catalog (the backlist) of the subscribed journal during the 2023 calendar year, as well as perpetual access to the 2023 content of the subscribed journal, and usage reports.
The best way to not only ensure that a journal’s content is opened, but also guarantee the lower subscription price for your institution, is to confirm to MSP early on that your institution intends to subscribe.
Q: Why those five journals? What about MSP’s other journals?
Since it relies on subscription commitments for support, we think Subscribe to Open works best with a stable subscriber base. The five journals we’ve selected for our initial Subscribe to Open program are well-established and fully developed, both in terms of size and content and in terms of subscription support; therefore, they’re the most likely to successfully convert to open access under the S2O model, and to be able to sustain themselves once converted. To put it another way, we think starting with these journals is the best way to set our open-access program up for long-term success.
If MSP’s Subscribe to Open program for these journals proves successful and stable, then in time we will likely expand it to more of our journals.
Q: Is Subscribe to Open supposed to be cheaper than a regular subscription?
No. Professional scientific publishing cannot be done without funding. Publishers must pay for typesetting and copyediting, for online hosting and other digital services, for long-term preservation, etc. They must offer peer-review support and foster a vibrant community around each journal. These costs do not decrease simply because the access model has changed.
MSP is singular among publishers of mathematics journals for the care we give to the typesetting and copyediting of articles we publish. Our authors appreciate it, as the quotes on this page show.
MSP’s core mission has always been to make high-quality research available at the lowest reasonable price, and with this initiative we are furthering this mission. We believe that the S2O model strikes the right balance between access for all, funding the high-quality typesetting and copyediting that our authors’ research deserves, and open sustainability without inequitable barriers. But, to succeed, it requires the broad support of the scientific community.
Q: How can I help ensure the Subscribe to Open model is a success?
The best way to support our Subscribe to Open initiative is to subscribe! Every subscription to an S2O journal is a vote in support of the model, a step towards opening the content to all, and each purchase will make a difference.
S2O for Libraries
Q: My library currently subscribes to one or more of the journals in MSP’s new Subscribe to Open program. What does the program mean for us?
Not much will change for you! You (or your agent) will still receive the usual renewal invoice. The main difference is that, if you renew your subscription before 15 February, not only will you guarantee your library’s uninterrupted access and the lower S2O-supporter price, but your subscription payment will also represent an investment in open access. If you can’t actually pay your invoice before 15 February, don’t worry — you can contact us and let us know you plan to renew, and you’ll still get all the same benefits, including permanent access and usage reports.
On the other hand, if you don’t commit to renew until after the deadline, your subscription will not count towards S2O participation and your subscription rate will be higher than it would have been with an early commitment. Plus, your users may experience a break in online access. The best way to support Subscribe to Open, guarantee the lower price, and ensure uninterrupted access to online content is to contact MSP early and let us know you intend to renew.
Q: How can my library support your Subscribe to Open program?
The best way to support a Subscribe to Open journal is to commit to a subscription before the deadline. Note that we do not require payment before the deadline — only a confirmed intent to subscribe. To make sure your institution’s subscription has been confirmed, you can email email@example.com.
Q: Why should my library subscribe to a journal in MSP’s Subscribe to Open program?
When your library commits to subscribe to an S2O journal before the deadline, you
- guarantee your library’s uninterrupted access (including perpetual access to that year’s content);
- guarantee a lower price for your subscription; and
- concretely invest in the success of a new open-access initiative.
It is only with the participation of institutions like yours that our initiative will be successful. With your help, we can ensure the long-term sustainability of open-access content, using a model that makes sense for mathematics.
Q: What happens if I don’t commit to renew my library’s subscription to a Subscribe to Open journal?
If you are a current subscriber and do not commit to renew before the deadline, then the Subscribe to Open target will most likely not be met, and this year’s articles will remain behind a paywall. If you then decide your institution still needs access to this journal, you will be charged a higher price.
Our target for the S2O journals is renewal from almost all current subscribers, so your lack of participation would make it very likely that the target will not be met.
Q: My library currently subscribes to a journal NOT currently listed in MSP’s Subscribe to Open program. What does this program mean for us?
Nothing will change for MSP’s other journals, or for institutions that subscribe to them and not the S2O journals. You will still receive all the same invoices and online access as before. If any of MSP’s other journals will change their access models in future years, we will be sure to let you know.
S2O for Authors
Q: How does Subscribe to Open benefit authors?
Subscribe to Open avoids placing the financial burden for publishing costs on the shoulders of authors, while satisfying most funder mandates for open-access publishing. Subscribe to Open provides a stable pathway towards freely available scientific research — which means better and more affordable circulation of ideas.
We’re excited to have found an open-access model that makes sense for mathematics. It’s equitable and forward-thinking, while still funding the high-quality typesetting and copyediting for which we’re known and appreciated, and that our authors’ research deserves. For us, this is an opportunity to work with the academic community towards a more open and sustainable future.
Q: What can authors do to support the Subscribe to Open model?
The most helpful thing to do is to ask your librarian to subscribe to our journals. Each subscription to an S2O journal represents a step towards sustainability for the publication, and a vote of confidence in the model.
Q: Do you charge authors to publish in Subscribe to Open journals?
No. MSP does not charge any fees to publish in any of our journals, regardless of the access model. We believe that author fees present an unacceptable and inequitable barrier, as we argued here.
Q: With S2O, we don’t know very far in advance whether content will be open-access or not. Doesn’t this create uncertainty for authors?
MSP’s policies have long been as relaxed and open-friendly as possible. Even if the S2O target is not met and your article cannot be published open access, our policies will still allow you to satisfy most open-access mandates through the alternative, Green OA route. MSP authors are welcomed to retain copyright, to deposit their work in open-access repositories, etc. For more about our policies for authors, please visit this page.