Re: How many journals sell authors Open Access by the article?

From: David Goodman <David.Goodman_at_LIU.EDU>
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 17:22:23 -0400

Springer's plan is rather complex, and in some respects novel. When I first examined it, I relied on the press accounts, and misunderstood it's unique feature completely--as apparently did Stevan, Les, and Steve. Eventually I located clear statements in their web pages, several of which explained the different aspects:

There are two parts. One is that all authors can post their author's version of the accepted article, as with Elsevier. See http://www.,10735,1-40359-12-115392-0,00.html
(which is the page called "Open Choice for Authors")
It's a good progressive step which needs to be further liberalized, but not an innovation

The other aspect is explained at http://www.,10735,1-40359-12-115391-0,00.html
(which is the page called "Open Choice for Libraries")
In this, authors have the option of paying a publication fee of $3000, in which case their particular article will be open access to all from he publisher's site. Again, a good step, although limited, and although the fee seems rather high, considering it applies both to the former high-priced Springer journals and the former moderately-priced Kluwer titles.

But, in their words, when "...the prices for the next year's subscriptions are calculated. At that time, Springer will calculate the number of articles published under the traditional model in the previous 12 months. If that number is less than the twelve month period before that, then subscription prices will
decrease accordingly." This apparently means that if half their authors pay the author/sponsor fee, the subscription price of the journal next year will be half. (There are many further complexities, which can be found on their pages.)
In other words, as their authors/sponsors switch to a "gold" model, so will the journal.

I believe this to be a novel approach to the problem that "Becoming gold entails some risk" as Stevan says. The explicit link of the subscription prices as well as the access, to the fees, is a model I have not seen before and never considered. It does offer an interesting approach to the problem of transferring funds within the university. Indeed, funding authorities might be more likely to commit the money for author/sponsor fees, as some direct monetary benefit to the institution would result. I
It has all the potential confusion of any mixed model--for any particular article the reader does not know what access will be obtained.
Unfortunately, until a journal is 100% gold, this complexity will be present under any model. Even if only some journals are 100% gold, much complexity will still be present. Some of the benefits of Open Access will not be attained until we reach 100% OA.

On balance, if I were publishing in a good Springer journal I would try to find money to pay the fee, knowing that not only would I receive the benefit of being more widely read, and my readers receive the benefit of having easier access to my article, but the library subscription costs of all universities subscribing to that journal would decrease. If I could not find the money. the reasonably good option of posting the author's version would still be there.

Obviously. all of these changes and complexities would be immensely simplified if all authors provided OA by the fastest available model--posting some version of their article. Then better but slower models can be explored, developed and deployed. .
Dr. David Goodman
Associate Professor
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
Long Island University

(and, formerly: Princeton University Library)

-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum on behalf of Stevan Harnad
Sent: Wed 7/7/2004 1:48 PM
Subject: Re: How many journals sell authors Open Access by the article?


    Reed/Elsevier, like Springer/Kluwer, has already become a "green"
    publisher in response to pressure for OA from the world research
    community. Open Access means that all would-be users of a journal
    article should be able to access an online version of it for free
    webwide. The reason researchers want Open Access to their findings
    is research impact: They no longer want any researcher to be unable
    to use and build upon their work because their institution does not
    happen to be able to afford the access-tolls for the journal in which
    it is published. OA maximises research progress and productivity,
    and both Springer/Kluwer and Reed/Elsevier have recognised this by
    giving their authors the "green light" to self-archive their articles,
    free for all, on their institution's website.

    There is something more that both publishers could have done for the
    sake of OA, but it must be stated that this further step is not
    a necessary one, in order for research to enjoy 100% OA and its
    benefits immediately. Becoming green is as much as a publisher need
    do to confirm its support for OA and to maximise the research impact of
    its articles; but the publisher could also become "gold": it could
    convert to OA publishing, in which it is not the user-institution
    that pays the publication costs per journal subscribed to but the
    author-institution that pays, per article published.

    Out of the 24,000 journals published today, about 5% are gold,
    80% are green, and 15% are "gray" (i.e., they have not yet
    given their green light to author self-archiving).

    Becoming gold entails some risk: because it is new, because it is
    not yet tested whether the cost-recovery model will work in the
    long-term, and because institutional funds are still 95% tied up
    in the subscription costs for the green and gray journals. There
    may eventually be a transition to gold; Springer/Kluwer's "open
    choice" policy is intended to offer authors and their institutions the
    choice now: Authors can either pay the publisher $3000 to make their
    articles OA for them, or they can make their articles OA themselves,
    by self-archiving them. (Gold journals charge the author-institution
    between $500 and $1500 per article.)

    So the only difference is that Springer/Kluwer offers authors
    the choice of paying for OA and Reed/Elsevier does not. Reed may
    eventually offer this choice too (not because of pressure, but to
    provide more options); there is, however, certainly no need for
    authors who desire the benefits of OA right now to wait until they
    can pay their publishers to provide it for them. They can already
    do it themselves, with a few keystrokes, for free, today.

Stevan Harnad
Les Carr
Steve Hitchcock
Received on Wed Jul 07 2004 - 22:22:23 BST

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