Re: The Cost per Article Reading of Open Access Articles

From: Jonas Holmström <>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 11:14:27 +0200

On 20-01-2004 06.37, "Stevan Harnad" <> wrote:

> On Mon, 19 Jan 2004, Jonas Holmstrom wrote:
>> I would like to say that you are talking about "author-CPR" and I'm talking
>> about "reader-CPR".
> It is not the author who R's, it's the reader who R's. The author W's (writes)
> and...

I'm not sure what you mean by this comment. But I assume that you think that
the author-cost-per-reading is a paradox because it seems to relate a reader
measure to the author.

So let me clarify what the author-CPR is (to me). In the slide mentioned in
my article BMC uses the author-CPR (actually they use "use") as follows:

>€ BioMed Central: ~2000 downloads per year ( time of a paper); $500
>processing charge per published paper
>€ BioMed Central: cost per article use = $0.25, maximum

Here BMC has calculated CPR (or rather cost-per-use) for the author by
relating the fee paid by the author to the number of readings by readers.

>> Downloads matter for both author-CPR and reader-CPR.
> But they are just as irrelevant to cost as the downloads of advertisements
> from a vendor's site.

It is true that downloads are irrelevant to cost, but not to the CPR
measure, which is a measure of cost-effectiveness.

> Downloads are measured (by both OA-publishers and OAI archive-services),
> not to track costs (which are irrelevant) but to measure research impact:

Which is a good think. My idea was to provide an additional measure
cost-effectiveness (!) which would be comparable to the CPR-measure used by
toll-access publishers.

> Download cost is irrelevant in OA; neither the downloader nor his
> institution pays.

I'll not respond to all of your comments because it seems that you are
thinking that I tried to measure "true costs".

I did state in my article that: "The CPR measure relates the cost of
resources to the amount of use and is therefore a measure of
cost-effectiveness." and yet again "It might be worth restating that the CPR
measure is a measure of cost-effectiveness and not a pay-per-view fee."

> So the CPR is
> merely a notional cost, like calculating the cost of a TV ad per eyeball:
> A good way to show the value of ads, but no relation to who's buying,
> selling, or paying.

This is what I meant! Now one can argue about the usefulness of such a


Jonas Holmström
Research assistant
Department of Management and Organisation
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration
PB 479, FIN 00101 Helsinki, Finland

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Received on Tue Jan 20 2004 - 09:14:27 GMT

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