Inter-Research > For Authors > Transformative Journals  
Transformative Journals – Plan S

Inter-Research has long recognised the high value of open research to furthering the aims of science. The process of converting all 8 Inter-Research journals to fully Open Access (OA) publication began in 2013. By the end of 2020, 4 titles had already “flipped” to fully OA.

From January 1, 2021 until December 31, 2023 the 4 journals published by Inter-Research that still have a subscription component:

are designated as Transformative Journals. From January 1, 2024 it is likely that only DAO will remain on the Transformative Journal Register (see Progress Report below). Inter-Research welcomes the opportunity provided by cOAlition S and other funders to continue the fully OA conversion process. All the journals will be OA flipped when funder support becomes economically viable.

What are the advantages of publishing Open Access?

OA articles attract far more attention than non-OA articles, in some cases more than 10-fold. OA articles are immediately available to a much broader audience, including the general public. This potentially results in a wider and greater impact and faster citation growth. Our OA articles are published under the Creative Commons by Attribution v.4.0 License (CC-BY). The original copyright holders (usually the authors) retain the copyright. The article can be freely reproduced provided the original authors, published source, and CC-BY License are acknowledged.

What is a Transformative Journal?

A Transformative Journal is a hybrid or subscription journal that is committed to transitioning into a fully Open Access journal, by increasing its OA content year-on-year, flipping to fully OA publication when the OA content reaches 75%.

Are the Transformative Journals Plan S compliant?

The 4 IR hybrid journals (MEPS, AME, DAO CR) are presently (2023) registered with cOAlition S as Transformative Journals and are thus Plan S compliant. To maintain cOAlition S registration, the journals must:

Demonstrate an annual increase in the proportion of Open Access research content of at least 5% in absolute terms and at least 15% in relative terms, year-on-year, and publish these on its website;

Implement transparent pricing for the OA APC and offset subscription income from APC payments;

Provide data on the usage, citations and online attention of the published articles;

Provide an annual public report to cOAlition S, to be also made accessible on the journals’ public website.

Plan S Transformative Journals 2021 progress report and 2022 targets

Open Access penetration targets

The Open Access 2022 penetration targets (see Table below) were achieved by only 1 of the 4 Transformative Journals. Of the 3 journals that failed, 1 dropped below its 2021 penetration rate, 1 remained stagnant at its 2021 penetration rate, and 1 increased over its 2021 penetration rate, but not enough to meet the 2022 target.

Plan S has announced that the journals not meeting their 2022 penetration targets will be removed from the Transformative Journals register in January 2024.

Climate Research originally failed to achieve its 2021 penetration target but it was granted an exception by Plan S to retain its Transformative Journal status for 2022 because the final issue (Vol. 86) scheduled for publication in December 2021 was unavoidably delayed until January 2022. As the whole issue was published Open Access, Climate Research would have met its target in 2021 had it been published on schedule. Therefore, that issue is treated as part of 2021 and its articles are omitted from the 2022 calculations below.

Only studies reporting original research are valid under Plan S. This includes the Inter-Research categories ‘Research Article’ and ‘Note’ (both categories are peer-reviewed) and excludes ‘Review Article’, ‘Opinion Piece’, ‘Comment’ and ‘Reply Comment’, and editorial content such as ‘Introduction’, ‘Editorial’, and ‘Obituary’. Thus, the data reported in the table does not represent the full number of articles published in a year.

Journal Total Research Articles published in 2022 Total Research Articles published OA in 2022 Percentage OA published in 2022 OA percentage target for 2022 2022 TJ target met (Yes / No) OA percentage target for 2023*
Aquatic Microbial Ecology15320%43%NoN/A
Climate Research26415%26%NoN/A
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms742635%25%Yes40%
Marine Ecology Progress Series2909733%37%NoN/A

* Based on the same total number of Research Articles published in 2022. The target will likely change as its value is based on the actual number of articles published.
N/A: Not applicable since the 2022 target was not met.

Transformative Journal performance metrics

Real-time data from CrossRef on article citations can be obtained by clicking on the “Cited by” button at the bottom of the web abstract page for each article. Work on providing access to usage and online attention data at the individual article level is in progress.

Here we provide average usage metrics (downloads and citations as at mid-May 2023) per Research Article published in 2022 for each journal (see table below). Across all 4 journals, for Open Access content vs. Subscriber content, average metrics are: Downloads: 540.2 vs. 52.7 (mid-May 2022 for 2021: 549.2 vs. 32.4); Citations: 0.75 vs. 0.75 (4.7 vs. 3.1). The comparative data for both publication years clearly demonstrate that OA content gets more attention than subscriber content soon after publication.

Journal Subscription Content Open Access Content
  Average no. of citations for Research Articles published in 2022 Average no. of downloads for Research Articles published in 2022 Average no. of citations for Research Articles published in 2022 Average no. of downloads for Research Articles published in 2022
Aquatic Microbial Ecology0.855.20.0456.3
Climate Research0.827.80.6433.5
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms0.622.60.9515.6
Marine Ecology Progress Series0.8105.21.5755.2

Pricing transparency

Inter-Research decided not to contribute to the Plan S journal pricing comparison tool due to the cost and effort to check the legality and compliance of the heavy-handed Plan S contract under German Law. Information on the proportion of the Article Processing Charge (APC) that contributes to the various stages of the publication process on the Inter-Research website is planned for later in 2023.

In setting prices for the 2023 subscription content in the hybrid journals, as a very small publisher, Inter-Research had to balance on the one hand high inflation, the threat of economic recession, and shrinking markets (resulting together from the serials crisis, the pandemic, the Ukraine War, and the energy crisis) forcing price increases, and on the other hand increased Open Access content paid via APCs forcing subscription content price decreases (to avoid so-called ‘double-dipping’). Given those conflicting forces, the only sustainable way forward was to keep subscription prices for 2023 stable at the 2022 levels.