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RE: Future of the "subscription model?"

Yes, you are right about counting articles instead of journal 
titles. An interesting further question is how to factor in the 
book 'volume' of publishing?

>From the same large commercial publisher that has invested in 
>open access I have heard the expectation that OA journal 
>publishing will - within the decade -

a) amount to no more than 10% of the volume (i.e. remain a niche 
product for research funders willing to pony up the money) and/or

b) that it will become a major business model with about 30% of 
market share in journal publishing. Certainly, the launch of 
'megajournals' signals that most publishers do not want to miss 
out if b) happens.

Only, even if b) happens, then more than half the journal market 
would still based on subscriptions, plus all the books....

Best, Chris

From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
[owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of
jan.e.frantsvag@uit.no [jan.e.frantsvag@uit.no]
Sent: 02 November 2011 02:29
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Re: Future of the "subscription model?"


I do believe that the future holds all of your alternatives but 
a), I cannot imagine that subscription will survive as the major 
business model.

I does, of course, depend on how you count. You yourself suggest 
setting a threshold of 25 % of journals as an indicator of 
whether oa publishing has become a large-scale business model. 
But is the number of journals or publishers the interesting 
number? In my opinion, no. The interesting number is the number 
of articles, which has a rather skewed distribution between 
journals. And the largest journal in terms of articles, is oa - 
PLoS ONE. With the number of prospective mega-journals that 
recently have launched you'd need less than 1 % of journals to 
contain more than 25 % of all articles - if they all succeed and 
grow to the same size as PLoS ONE.

Your alternative d) seems very interesting, with mega-journals 
the journal isn't a navigational aid anymore. (Actually, it isn't 
a journal anymore, either - it is a database or repository of 
articles.) If all oa content is published with a CC BY license, 
third parties - including present publishers - can establish 
navigational and quality indicating services on top of the 

The only sure answer is that a lot will happen in the coming 
three to five years - probably.  :-)


Jan Erik Frantsvag
Open Access adviser
The University Library of Tromso
e-mail jan.e.frantsvag@uit.no


-----Opprinnelig melding----- From:
owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu via Armbruster, Chris
Date: 1. november 2011 01:18
Subject: RE: Future of the "subscription model?"

To date, the subscription model seems alive and well and still in
the best interest of many publishers, societies and libraries. We
are still waiting for evidence that libraries (and their
institutions) are willing to substantially reduce and/or forego
the subscription-based model. On the part of the libraries, one
would like to hear more about how they envision their (future)
role if they cancel subscriptions and move money to open access
publishing. Most large publishers have set up open access
publishing operations, and although some of them and many
societies they are publishing for, might hope that open access
publishing remains limited, it would seem up to the buyers
(libraries/institutions) to prove that open access publishing is
not just an additional revenue stream (provided by funders on
behalf of authors), but the new/desired standard. What evidence
do we have? How much APCs are 'new' money and how much are
'converted' library funds?

Even if open access publishing would become a large-scale
business model (a threshold could be set, e.g. 25% of journals
with JIF or in Ulrich's), and particularly if it was based on
models such as PLoS One, PMC or SSRN, then there would be some
scope for new subscription-based models to help readers navigate.
Content curation at SSRN, as subscription-based service, has
already been mentioned. More will follow.

The interesting question would seem to be how the
subscription-based model will evolve...

a)as main business model, that as growth slows (or even shrinks
somewhat?) is supplemented by article-processing charges as new
stream of income?

b)as business model for premium content (high rejection rate,
large editorial contribution, mag features etc.) while the bulk
of the scientific record is published in open access (at
USD/EUR/GBP 1000-2000)?

c)as bifurcated model, with big deals for institutions, and new
models (flatrate, 99c PPV) that reach more and new readers
(hospitals, industry) through the syndication of content and its

d)as new business model for sorting through the large mass of
open access content and delivering to users what they are looking

Chris Armbruster