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Open Access and Efficiencies in Publication

When assessing the economic potential for transition to open access, it is essential to factor in the efficiencies made possible through automation and online dissemination through the world wide web.

To illustrate just how possible open access is, using much less than the revenue stream currently going into subscriptions, consider this:

Reed Elsevier's 2005 revenue (about $9.2 billion US) was sufficient to pay for over 6 million BioMedCentral articles.

Just 10% of Elsevier's 2005 revenue would pay for 460,000 articles in Public Library of Science. Divided by 2,000 titles, a very rough approximation of Elsevier's output, the result is a far above average 230 articles per journal (picture a quarterly journal with 58 articles per issue).

For details and calculations of this and other illustrations of just how possible open access is, please see my blogpost, Elsevier Revenue to Open Access, at: http://poeticeconomics.blogspot.com/2007/02/elsevier-revenue-to-open- access.html

Anthony Watkinson was enquiring as to how I know there are over 800 journals using Open Journal Systems.

This is what is reported on the OJS website, along with a partial list of journals which have chosen to be listed, at: http://pkp.sfu.ca/ojs-journals

There are more than 100 listings on the OJS website.

If anyone would like more information, my suggestion is to contact OJS.

From my perspective, it is enough to note that:
1) free, open source publishing software is available, OJS being one example

2) low cost hosting and support services are available, for example the service provided by Scholarly Exchange

3) this software streamlines much of the work of coordinating peer review and editing, creating efficiencies which should lower costs

4) the software has been proven in practice by a significant number of journals

This is evidence to support my claim that tremendous efficiencies are possible today in scholarly publishing. This is important because it illustrates the essential possibility of open access. A fully open access scholarly publishing system, with the same (or better) quality controls than at present, not only is possible, but could quite possibly cost much less than what is being now, for subscriptions.

Any opinion expressed in this message is that of the author alone, and does not reflect the opinion or policy of BC Electronic Library Network or Simon Fraser University Library.

Heather Morrison