Re: Mandating OA around the corner?

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 05:32:00 +0100

The UK Committee did not recommend mandating central (PubMedCentral-style)
self-archiving. It recommended mandating distributed institutional

Quoting from Peter Suber's summary:

       1. The government should provide funds for all UK universities
       to launch open-access institutional repositories.

       2. Authors of articles based on government-funded research should
       deposit copies in their institutional repositories.

Institutional self-archiving is cheaper than central self-archiving,
because it distributes the load. It also has the virtue of generalizing
the practise of self-archiving across all of a university's disciplines
(whereas a central discipline-based OA archive does not).

It is also to miss the point of self-archiving to recommend factoring
in publishers' costs into the costs of self-archiving! Self-archiving
is a supplement to -- not a substitute for -- journal publishing.

Stevan Harnad

On Thu, 22 Jul 2004, Martin Frank wrote:

> Mark brings up a good point, especially in light of David Lipmann's claim that it would only cost about $700,000 based on the hosting of 50,000 manuscripts annually. While this might be the number which PubMed Central conveys to the public, without a true cost accounting I am unconvinced that this is a real number. I suspect that the $700,000 does not take into account the general overhead (rent, heat, electricity, janatorial) that most publishers have to include in their cost analyses. I believe that Martin Blume alluded to that in his response to David. I also question David's analysis because of his claim that PubMed Central has an annual budget of approximately $2.5 million. While this is not a lot of money as compared to the total NIH budget, it is in my view $2.5 million more than needs to be spent and could instead be used to support approximately 6 research grants designed to find cures for cancer, etc.
> If the PubMedCentral budget is indeed $2.5 million as claimed by David Lipmann, one could use that number as the basis for establishing what an expanded PubMedCentral might cost if it started receiving articles from 50,000 authors per year from 4000 or more journals. At least when PMC gets their downloads from journals now, they come in bunches using the appropriate DTD, etc. Dealing with 50,000 submissions would probably be much less efficient than PMC's current efforts with its existing journal customers.
> As I indicated, David claims that his budget for PMC is $2.5 million. PMC currently hosts about 150 journals. That translates into $16,666 per journal. Assuming that PMC is likely to receive submissions from the equivalent of 3000 journals, that translates into a cost of approximately $50,000,000.
> I don't claim to know the right answer for the future cost of PMC, but extrapolating from their own numbers, it is a lot of money and a lot of lost research opportunities.
> martin frank
> >>> doyle_at_APS.ORG 07/21/04 02:00PM >>>
> Greetings,
> On Jul 18, 2004, at 1:08 PM, Martin Frank wrote:
> > However, based on knowledge of the costs associated with the hosting
> > of journals at HighWire Press, it is estimated that a full fledged
> > archive of NIH funded manuscripts at NIH would cost in the
> > neighborhood of $75-100 million.
> Wild (uncalled for!) speculation in my opinion (additonal FUD removed).
> According to David Lipman, this is off by at least an order of
> magnitude. They
> expect about 50-60,000 NIH funded manuscripts per year. Even a generous
> $100
> per hosted manuscript* gives only $5-6 million. Lipman also pointed out
> that one would not expect to have to immediately deal with this number
> of
> articles. Considering that NLM can leverage off of the existing PubMed
> infrastructure,
> I think they are in quite good shape (even creating by hand good XML
> metadata
> with tagged references can be done for about $5/article). It should be
> noted that
> if this is really author-deposit of manuscripts (again, Lipman's
> impression of the
> intent of the legislative language), than this might even be doable on
> the same
> cost scale of ($1 - $10 per article). I suspect the real cost
> will be
> somewhere in the middle.
> Regards,
> Mark
> Mark Doyle
> Assistant Director, Journal Information Systems
> The American Physical Society
> * My understanding is that hosting an article on Highwire is about $100
> per article.
> Martin Frank, Ph.D.
> Executive Director
> American Physiological Society
> 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814-3991
> Tel: 301-634-7118 Fax: 301-634-7242
> Email:
> APS Home Page:
> "...integrating the life sciences from molecule
> to organism"
Received on Fri Jul 23 2004 - 05:32:00 BST

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