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SV: Future of the "subscription model?"

Books is a difficult question, and I don't think we've seen where
they are heading. The scientific monograph has had problems for
decades; with readers getting used to e-books the time may be
ripe for an increase in OA monograph publishing. In Norway, most
monographs already come with some kind of APC; there isn't a
viable market so the author has to find funding for parts of the
costs. This means that in the humanities and social sciences the
monographs are better mentally prepared for an open access author
pay model, than are journals. That doesn't mean this has to
happen, but I am optimistic - though not for some years - 3-5?

If megajournals catch on, and the oa market share consequently
sees a sharp rise, this means that institutions just have to find
some mechanism for funding APCs. This, in turn, will reinforce
the transition to oa, and will create funding possibilities for
journals also outside the STM market.

We already recognize that our publication fund probably has to be
strengthened in order to meet increased demand from authors in
coming years, much due to PLoS ONE and its clones.

There definitely are some ifs in this ...

Jan Erik

-----Opprinnelig melding-----
From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
From:  Armbruster, Chris Date: 3. november 2011 02:52
Subject: 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