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Economics of Green Open Access

In response to a message by Professor Harnad:  I believe that 
most librarians are very smart.  Because they are smart, they 
will not purchase things that they can get for free.  Therefore 
so-called Green OA, which depends on publishers to manage 
editorial review and assert brands as indicators of quality, 
undermines the basic economics of one kind of journal publishing. 
You can self-archive all you want until the journals that support 
the publishing process disappear.

Green OA in the short term misleadingly appears to have little 
effect on journal subscriptions (how many journal subscriptions 
have thus far been cancelled because of the availability of OA 
versions of articles?), and that is because the OA version is 
still missing components (e.g., the full run of articles of a 
particular journal) that appear only in the formal published 
version.  But all things being equal, a Green copy would 
substitute for a paid copy. The question is how long before all 
things will be equal.  Publishers have various strategies for 
preventing all things for being equal, as has been noted 
countless times on this list.

Of course, there is an interesting challenge in discussing this, 
in that you cannot have evidence for a future state.

The author-pays method pioneered by BMC and ingeniously modified 
by PLOS among many others solves this problem--though neither is 
a substitute for established publications with traditional 
economic models.

You cannot have OA PLUS peer review PLUS editorial brands PLUS 
subscription-based economics.  You get two out of three, which 
ain't bad.

But let's not lose sight of the context.  It was suggested on 
this list that I was somehow opposed to OA.  I am not.  There are 
many varieties of OA.  I see no reason to insist on one flavor, 

Joe Esposito