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Re: Decision making by Libraries on serials and monographs and useage (re puzzled by self-archiving thread)

Dear Sally, et al.

1) As outlined in our report (pp42-46) we introduce access and efficiency as negative variables, to reflect the fact that in the real world there is less than 100% access and efficiency. The basic result is that, if accessibility and efficiency are constant over the estimation period but then show a one-off increase (e.g. because of a move to open access) then, to a close approximation, the returns to R&D will increase by the same percentage increase as that in the accessibility and efficiency parameters.

There are two reasons for our using the average rate of return to R&D, rather than the marginal rate (as I think you suggest). First, conceptually, the return relates to the expenditure, and we have not altered the level of expenditure in the model (its a given). So, one could argue that we should use the average rather than marginal rate of return. Second, more practically, no one really knows the marginal rate of return to R&D.

You assume that most potential users already have access. I am less confident that they do. For example:

* Some smaller universities in Australia have quite limited access.
If you look at recent CAUL statistics and take Victorian
universities as an example, you can see that Monash (one of our
larger research universities) reports 75,725 current serial titles
in 2004, whereas the University of Ballarat reports 20,762.
Obviously not all serials are journals, and not all the things
needed at a large university will be needed at a smaller one, but
such numbers are indicative of quite different levels of access -
even amongst researchers.

* Having an interest in the issue I often ask people in industry if
and how they access journals and whether they think they would
benefit from more access. It is anecdotal, but most executives of
small firms in electronics, biotechnology, consulting engineering,
management and economic consulting, etc. that I have spoken to say
they have very limited access (mainly to print copies of titles
from the one or two societies they belong to, or through
association with one of the universities), and most say they need
more and easier access.

* Evidence of hits and downloads from institutional repositories and
things like the Medline Index suggests that use is much wider than
the limited audience reached by the subscription literature, both
geographically and sectorally.

* There is evidence that developing world participation in research
is limited by their lack of timely and ready access.
* etc.

Many of these issues are discussed, and references given in our report.

2) Efficiency is being used in two senses... the usefulness/use of the knowledge created by R&D and the efficiency of the conduct of R&D. In the report (pp31-34 and Appendix II) we outline some of the potential impacts of enhanced access, including a range of ways in which the efficiency of research might be increased (e.g. increased speed of discovery, reduction of duplicative research, etc.) and its use might be extended (e.g. enhanced access to industry, government and society, the emergence of new industries such as weather derivatives, etc.). These are discussed in the context of developing an "impacts framework" that focuses on the issues of access, use and efficiency.

Lastly, the 5% figure is in the mid-range of the 1% to 10% variation in the access and efficiency variables that we 'experimented' with in our estimations. It is hypothetical in the sense that there is no metric that led us to 5% directly. However, if one takes citation differences between subscription and OA as a possible metric, it is worth noting reported examples of OA papers getting 2-5 times the citations (e.g. Open Citation Project references). Stevan's OA Advantage work suggests that some of it will be ongoing and some not.... but twice as many citations perhaps suggests something like a 100% increase in access and use, and 5 times as many a 400% increase. So, our hypothetical 5% is probably pretty conservative when set against such metrics. On the other hand, of course, R&D produces knowledge "outputs" other than publications. Tenopir and King suggested that something up to 20% of researchers' time is spent reading and writing, so if everything that researchers do contributes to the R&D "stock of knowledge" then, simplistically, publications account for 20% of the stock of knowledge. On that basis, a 25% increase in access to publications alone would produce a 5% increase in access to the stock of knowledge (other things remaining the same). On that "logic", our 5% is perhaps at the conservative end of the kind of access impact implied by the sustainable and continuing OA Advantage. Remember, our analysis relates to any/all types of R&D outputs, not just publications and not just journal articles.

Again, let me stress that this is preliminary work, the intention of which is to begin to explore possible ways to make ballpark estimates of the potential economic impacts of enhanced access. It is one possible staring point...

DEST report - http://dspace.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/44485
CAUL Statistics - http://www.caul.edu.au/stats/

John Houghton

Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES), Victoria University
21 Munro Street, Curtin, ACT 2605 AUSTRALIA
Ph/Fax: +61 2 6282 1981 Mobile: 0409 239 109
VoIP: (FireFly) 88207699 (Skype) John.Houghton
E-mail: john.houghton@pobox.com
Web: www.pobox.com/~houghton

Sally Morris (Morris Associates) wrote:
I appreciate that your 5% figure for increased 'access and
efficiency' is entirely hypothetical.

However, could you explain to us all:

1)  How you arrive at the assumption that x% more access leads to
x% more benefit (I would have thought it logical to assume that
the benefit tapered off, given that core users will already have
access to the material which is most important to them)?

2)  How you propose to achieve x% increase in efficiency (which I
think means relevance)?


Sally Morris
Consultant, Morris Associates (Publishing Consultancy)
Email:  sally@morris-assocs.demon.co.uk


[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of John Houghton
Sent: 18 January 2007 11:33
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Re: Decision making by Libraries on serials and monographs and
useage (re puzzled by self-archiving thread)

Dear Sally, et al. In our recent report to the Australian Department of
Education, Science and Training we attempted to explore the costs of
scholarly communication in Higher Education in Australia at the system level
(in the manner of the pioneering work of Don King and Carol Tenopir), and
then explore the possible impacts of enhanced access to research findings -
of any sort (e.g. publications, data, etc.) and by any mechanism (e.g. lower
prices, open access, etc.). For the former we developed a cost model from an
extensive review of the literature and some local consultation, and for the
latter we tried to develop the standard neoclassical growth model, by
introducing 'access' and 'efficiency' as negative variables, as a way to
explore the impacts of increasing access and efficiency on returns to
expenditure on R&D. It's preliminary work, but one has to start somewhere.
The assumptions are discussed at length in the report: