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Re: Growth for STM publishers in 2008

Sandy et al. Two points worth noting:

1.There is public funding of research because of the universally 
recognised market failure due to the public good nature of 
knowledge leading to private under-investment as investors in R&D 
cannot prevent spillovers. The purpose of taxpayer funded 
investment in R&D is to fill the gap and realise economic and 
social returns. The fact that research findings are picked up and 
used is the point, not a problem. The purpose of OA, or any other 
form of scholarly and scientific communication, is to make 
research findings readily accessible and usable for researchers 
and research users in all sectors. The best publishing business 
model is the one that best achieves this outcome.

2,On balance, the evidence does not suggest that the university 
community would pay more in an OA environment when system-wide 
costs are taken into account. In some research intensive 
universities, author-pays fees might conceivably be more than 
their library subscription expenditure, but when one also takes 
into account research and library negotiation, purchasing, 
handling, processing and user support cost savings (not to 
mention individual and departmental subscriptions), which would 
of course be greatest in research intensive universities, the 
university community is likely to pay less for OA, and it is 
difficult to imagine the circumstances that would see any 
individual university (community) having to pay more.

John Houghton
Victoria University

Sandy Thatcher wrote:

> ... which raises the interesting question whether it should be a
> primary purpose of OA to save money for private industry, which
> would otherwise need to pay for access as a cost of doing
> business.  Is the university community willing to pay more--by
> way of supporting OA journals and paying faculty fees for
> publishing in Gold OA journals--for the sake of subsidizing the
> research needs of private industry? And recall that the court
> that decided the Texaco case did not feel it was "fair" for
> Texaco to be making photocopies of journal articles for its
> researchers because its ultimate purpose was "commercial."
> Sandy Thatcher
> Penn State University Press
>>      * The stm Report states: "... speculative, resting on
>>        flawed and untested assumptions about the levels of
>>        current access...". The levels of access are discussed
>>        at length in the JISC report, as is the basis for the
>>        parameters used in estimating the potential impacts on
>>        returns to R&D spending. Data sources and references are
>>        given. Moreover, its difficult to see how the potential
>>        5% increase in accessibility modelled in the JISC study
>>        could realistically be described as "underestimated...
>>        the levels of access enjoyed by UK researchers" in the
>>        light of the evidence. Just to take one example, a
>>        recent survey of UK small firm (SME) access to journal
>>        articles by Mark Ware Consulting
>>        (http://www.publishingresearch.net/SMEaccess.htm) found
>>        that 73% of UK-based SMEs report difficulties accessing
>>        the journal articles they need, and that just 2% of SME,
>>        7% of large firm and 17% of higher education-based
>>        researchers reported having access to all the articles
>>        they need for their work (page 13, table 2). The same
>>        report notes that there are 4.7 million businesses in
>>        the UK of which 99.3% have fewer than 50 employees, and
>>        it would appear from reported sample sizes that 2% of
>>        SMEs equates to just 4 firms. On page 22 the report
>>        notes that 71% of SMEs reported using open access
>>        journals and 42% reported using institutional
>>        repositories. On page 30 the report also notes "Several
>>        firms were enjoying access via the libraries of the
>>        universities where they had previously worked. It was
>>        not entirely clear whether this use would have been
>>        legitimate under the terms of the libraries' licences."
>>        Only Mark knows whether there was any overlap between
>>        the 4 SMEs and the "several firms...", or between the 4
>>        SMEs that reported having access to all the articles
>>        they needed and the 132 small firms that reported using
>>        OA journals.
>> Regards,
>> John Houghton
>> Victoria University