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On Green OA's "Shaky Economic Ground": The Houghton Report

On Thursday, August 04, 2011, Joseph Esposito wrote:

> 3.Green OA, on the other hand, stands on shaky economic ground.

Harnad, S. (2010) The Immediate Practical Implication of the 
Houghton Report: Provide Green Open Access Now. Prometheus, 28 
(1). pp. 55-59.

ABSTRACT: Among the many important implications of Houghton et 
al's (2009) timely and illuminating JISC analysis of the costs 
and benefits of providing free online access ("Open Access," OA) 
to peer-reviewed scholarly and scientific journal articles one 
stands out as particularly compelling: It would yield a 
forty-fold benefit/cost ratio if the world's peer-reviewed 
research were all self-archived by its authors so as to make it 
OA. There are many assumptions and estimates underlying Houghton 
et al's modelling and analyses, but they are for the most part 
very reasonable and even conservative. This makes their strongest 
practical implication particularly striking: The 40-fold 
benefit/cost ratio of providing Green OA is an order of magnitude 
greater than all the other potential combinations of alternatives 
to the status quo analyzed and compared by Houghton et al. This 
outcome is all the more significant in light of the fact that 
self-archiving already rests entirely in the hands of the 
research community (researchers, their institutions and their 
funders), whereas OA publishing depends on the publishing 
community. Perhaps most remarkable is the fact that this outcome 
emerged from studies that approached the problem primarily from 
the standpoint of the economics of publication rather than the 
economics of research.

Houghton, J.W., Rasmussen, B., Sheehan, P.J., Oppenheim, C., 
Morris, A., Creaser, C., Greenwood, H., Summers, M. and Gourlay, 
A. (2009). Economic Implications of Alternative Scholarly 
Publishing Models: Exploring the Costs and Benefits, London and 
Bristol: The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).