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RE: Paying for open access

Putting the models side-by-side, I would come to the reverse of Anthony's
views. Open access is likely to be better, but perhaps not as cheap as
some would like or expect.

The fact is that currently, Academia pays - on the whole - more than $3000
per published article, sometimes a lot more. Even non-profit publishers
like OUP have recently made public (Martin Richardson on another list)
that their *income per article published* is GBP 2000 (i.e. well over
$3000). The 'system' pays this. Surely, if for that amount of money the
old system pays for itself and makes a profit (or surplus), open access
would easily be possible. Would there be any reason at all for OUP to
stick to the subscription model with all its restrictions if they could
make a turnover of $3000 per article? Anthony's idea that "If there were
more journals there could surely be funding problems" is rather curious in
the light of the amounts currently being paid per article.

Open access does 'bar' authors who cannot somehow secure the funds
necessary for being published. The whole scientific world 'bars'
researchers who cannot somehow secure funding for their research.
Publishing really should be part of the research effort and consequently
funds for publishing really should be part of the research funding (a very
small part, usually), as Rebecca Kennison set out so clearly on this list
yesterday. Let's not forget that the traditional subscription-oriented
publishing model literally bars thousands and thousands of researchers and
students from access to the literature they need, even those at the
wealthiest institutes, because no institute can afford all the journals
they would like to have access to.

So even if the costs to Academia were exactly the same, open access is
clearly better.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Anthony Watkinson [mailto:anthony.watkinson@btopenworld.com]
> Sent: 08 July 2003 22:37
> To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
> Subject: Re: Paying for open access
> Open access may be a better model than subscription based
> publishing. I would regard the case as "non proven" . It seems to me 
> that if you put two models side by side the open access model is likely 
> to be cheaper but is it "better".
> What I cannot accept is the weasel words of BMC. There is restricted
> access - for authors.  Under Open Access authors pay. Wealthy
> institutions may pay for them. BMC may waive charges. But in the end the 
> author is faced with the problem - can I afford to publish in that
> journal?  We are talking about restricted access to publishing for the
> academic community.
> The fact that there are so few serious open access journals at the 
> moment disguises the problem. The bigger libraries can pay for their
> faculty as can organisations like JISC in the UK for the whole academic
> community. If there were more journals there could surely be funding 
> problems.
> I have already seen PLOS Biology attacked as charging too much because
> they are trying to achieve a sustainable model which includes the sort 
> of refereeing and copyediting that authors get from traditional
> journals. All learned society publishers I have spoken too (without the
> funding support that PLOS has) suggest that $1,500 per accepted paper is 
> too low. Open Access is not going to come cheap. Traditional publishing
> bars no author from submitting and charges nothing for the process which 
> leads to acceptance-