Subscribe to Open

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Subscribe to Open?  

Description of the Subscribe to Open model  

General Questions

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:

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 con­tact@msp.org.

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.

Description of the Subscribe to Open model  
MSP and Open Access