Re: Open Choice is a Trojan Horse for Open Access Mandates

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 22:40:26 +0100

On Tue, 5 Sep 2006, Dana Roth wrote:

> However, some institutions contribute many more articles than others.
> Doesn't this clearly suggest that a complete transition to OA will
> result in a major cost shift to producers? ...

See longstanding AmSci threads on the "net-producer/net-consumer" issue:

    "2.0K vs. 0.2K" (May 1999)

   "The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review)" (Jul 1999)

The issue revolves around the true cost of whatever it is that the research
community will still be willing to pay publishers for if/when all research is OA
and there is no longer any demand for the paper edition. My hunch has always
been that it would just be peer review, and that's about $500 per article.

Since the average revenue per article now is about $1500, that would
mean that there will be a 2/1 buffer for any differences between net
provider and net consumer institutions.

> and also completely fails
> to address the dramatic difference between the OA costs of non-profit
> and commercially published articles.

Yes, the prices now are arbitrary. They will only stop being arbitrary
when they are not just picked out of a hat -- and at a time when all
costs are still being paid by institutional subscriptions. IF demand
for the paper edition and for other publisher add-ons bundled into the
subscription is indeed fated to drop to levels that are unsustainable
under pressure from the author's supplementary self-archived draft,
THEN there will first be cost-cutting and downsizing to the essentials
(whatever they are, and whatever their price is, but it will surely be
less than now).

In other words, these Open Option experiments are welcome (as long as they are
not used as a pretext for lobbying against self-archiving mandates), but probably
premature. If/when they come into their own, necessity will be the mother of

Stevan Harnad

> From: Jan Velterop, Springer UK
> Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 8:24 AM
> > SH:
> > Why should funders pay a penny more now, when all publication costs
> > are still being paid out of institutional subscriptions?
> JV:
> And who funds the institutions to pay for subscriptions? The very same
> funders! They are paying right now. All I'm suggesting is that they use
> their money to support open access publishing directly. More money? The
> same money. No new or extra money.
> > SH:
> > (Jan, your arguments are awfully familiar, and they sound very much
> > like those of the non-OA publisher lobby that has been opposing the OA
> > self-archiving mandates...)
> JV:
> Maybe it's time you read my comments more carefully.
> Jan Velterop
Received on Tue Sep 05 2006 - 22:47:53 BST

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