Re: The Logic of Page Charges to Free the Journal Literature

From: Robert Terry <>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 21:28:20 +0100

     Prior Subject Threads:

    "Savings from Converting to On-Line-Only: 30%- or 70%+ ?"
     (Started Aug 27 1998)

    "The Logic of Page Charges to Free the Journal Literature"
    (Started April 29 1999)


Wellcome Trust Press release posted by:

Robert Terry
Senior Policy Adviser
The Wellcome Trust
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7611 7303
Mobile: 07710 063205
Fax: +44 (0)20 7611 0740

The Wellcome Trust is a registered charity, no. 210183.

Its sole Trustee is The Wellcome Trust Limited, a company registered
in England, no. 2711000, whose registered office is 183 Euston Road,
London NW1 2BE.


New report reveals open access could reduce cost of scientific
publishing by up to 30%

Thursday April 29th 2004 ~ A report out today shows that making
scientific research available free on the Internet could wipe as much as
30% off publishing costs.

The Wellcome Trust report shows for the first time that the open access
model of scientific publishing ~ where the author of a research paper
pays for peer reviewed research to be made available on the web free to
all who wish to use it ~ is economically viable, guarantees high quality
research and is a sustainable option which could revolutionise the world
of traditional scientific publishing. Currently researchers are obliged
to give the copyright to their research to publishers who then charge
researchers to use that work through subscription fees.

Following its first study published last year, which concluded that the
current system of scientific publishing is failing both the science
community and the public at large, The Wellcome Trust has now assessed
the possible cost implications of adopting the open access model.

The current system gives a small number of publishers almost complete
control over the distribution of the research they publish which, in 90%
of cases, has public funding. Profits of up to 40% are being made
through this system. Open access would give all people unrestricted
access to research findings. The report suggests that a $1900 payment by
the author would allow a workable, high quality and sustainable
publishing model. This compares to an average of $2700 to publish a
paper under the traditional system.

Subscription fees to journals, and their on-line versions, have risen by
200% in the last decade and currently cost UK universities 376 million
[pounds] a year. Based on the report's findings, the Wellcome Trust
calculates that the total cost of access to research for its own funded
scientists under an open access system would add an additional 1% to
the costs of research.

Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust said: "The results of
scientific research must be freely and widely available to help
scientists throughout the world make the discoveries we need to improve
health. That is why we have supported the principle of open access
publishing. However, up to now there have been unanswered questions
about the economic and practical viability of this system. Our report
now shows this is a win-win situation: high quality peer reviewed
research available to everyone free of charge within a sustainable
on-line market - plus savings of as much as 30%."

There are already examples of the success of open access publishing most
notably the results of the Human Genome Project. The data from the
project was made immediately available on the Internet and can be used
by anyone free of charge. Since its publication many thousands of
scientists from around the world have been able to access the
information as many times as they need, without having to pay
subscription fees.

Dr Walport added:

"The evidence presented here appears to contradict a lot of the figures
quotes by commercial publishers and leaves me asking the question - how
much profit should be made in publishing scientific research, which
holds a potential benefit to us all and which was funded by the public

"Now we can get rid of the ludicrous situation where the scientific
community has to pay to look at the results of their own research. The
Internet has revolutionised retailing, travel and the media, now it's
the turn of publishing. It's time for serious discussion, particularly
with the learned societies who, as the report makes clear, should have
nothing to fear from a new publishing model."

The report, produced by SQW, is available online at and will be passed to the inquiry
being conducted into this issue by the Science and Technology Select
Committee in the House of Commons.

Media contacts:
Miriam de Lacy / Mark Anderson
Wellcome Trust Media Office
02076 11 8285 / 8612
07710 063310 / 07718 582561

Notes to editors:

1. First report:
First report press release at:

2. Human Genome Project:

3. The Wellcome Trust is an independent research funding charity
established in 1936 under the will of the tropical medicine pioneer Sir
Henry Wellcome. The Trust's mission is to foster and promote research
with the aim of improving human and animal health and it currently spends
overA3400 million per annum.


    Relevant American-Scientist-Open-Access-Forum Subject Threads:

    "Savings from Converting to On-Line-Only: 30%- or 70%+ ?"
     (Started Aug 27 1998)

    "The Logic of Page Charges to Free the Journal Literature"
    (Started April 29 1999)

    "2.0K vs. 0.2K"
    (Started May 7 1999)

    "Online Self-Archiving: Distinguishing the Optimal from the
    (Started May 11 1999)

    "The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review)"
    (Started July 5 1999)

    "Separating Quality-Control Service-Providing from
    (Started November 30 1999)

    "Distinguishing the Essentials from the Optional Add-Ons"
    (Started July 2001)

    "Author Publication Charge Debate"
    (Started June 28 2001)

    "The True Cost of the Essentials
    (Started April 2 2002)

    "The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review -
    (Started April 1 2002)

    "Journal expenses and publication costs"
    (Started January 10 2003)

    "Scientific publishing is not just about administering
    (Started October 15 2003)
Received on Thu Apr 29 2004 - 21:28:20 BST

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