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Author Charges are not the only model for funding open access

There has been much discussion of late regarding the author charge system
for funding open access.

While this model is definitely showing significant indications of likely
success in some areas, particularly in sciences and medicine, it is
important to remember that there are other potential ways to fund openly
accessible publications.  It is likely that different disciplines, types
of groups, etc., will find different means to achieve the same end.

One other approach to open access is for organizations to publish the work
of their own employees, members, etc.

A university could publish the work of its own faculty, staff, and
students.  A government department could publish the work of its own
employees or consultants.  A society or association could publish the work
of its own members.  Many organizations are already doing this, for some
if not yet all of their information.

The organization I work for basically operates on an open access basis,
with virtually all of our documents posted on our public web site.  In my
opinion, it is much more cost-effective to operate in this manner than it
is to run a more closed communications system.  For example, our quarterly
newsletter is published as a pdf file on our web site, as many
organizations do nowadays.  Adding an authentication system, maintaining a
subscriber list, and/or printing and distributing the newsletter would add
a very great deal to the work of producing the newsletter, and hence its

This is not to say that author charges or organizational publishing are
the only methods of funding open access; there are other possibilities
too.  Let's just keep in mind that whether author charges are the best
economic model in a particular circumstance and whether open access is
economically feasible are two separate issues.

a personal view by,

Heather G. Morrison
Project Coordinator
BC Electronic Library Network
Phone: 604-268-7001
Email:  hmorrison@ola.bc.ca
Web: http://www.eln.bc.ca