Costs and benefits of scholarly publishing models

From: Alma Swan <a.swan_at_TALK21.COM>
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 12:30:32 +0000

Forwarding from the JISC-ANNOUNCE mailing list:

Press Release

January 27th, 2009: Sharing research information via a more open access
publishing model would bring millions of pounds worth of savings to the
higher education sector as well as benefiting UK plc. This is one of the key
findings from a new research project commissioned by JISC.

Professor John Houghton from the Centre of Strategic Economic Studies at
Melbourne¹s Victoria University and Professor Charles Oppenheim at
Loughborough University were asked to lead research that would throw light
on the economic and social implications of new models for scholarly

The research centred on three models which include:

~_at_ Subscription or toll access publishing which involves reader charges
        use restrictions;
~_at_ Open access publishing where access is free and publication is funded
        the authors¹ side; and
~_at_ Open access self-archiving where academic authors post their work in
        online repositories, making it freely available to all Internet

In their report, Houghton et al. looked beyond the actual costs and savings
of different models and examined the additional cost-benefits that might
arise from enhanced access to research findings.

The research and findings reveal that core scholarly publishing system
activities cost the UK higher education sector around £5 billion in 2007.
Using the different models, the report shows, what the estimated cost would
have been:

~_at_ £230 million to publish using the subscription model,
~_at_ £150 million to publish under the open access model and
~_at_ £110 million to publish with the self-archiving with peer review
        plus some £20 million in operating costs if using the different

When considering costs per journal article, Houghton et al. believe that the
UK higher education sector could have saved around £80 million a year by
shifting from toll access to open access publishing. They also claim that
£115 million could be saved by moving from toll access to open access

In addition to that, the financial return to UK plc from greater
accessibility to research might result in an additional £172 million per
annum worth of benefits from government and higher education sector research

JISC¹s Chair Professor Sir Tim O¹Shea said, ³The argument for moving from
more traditional subscription or toll-based publishing to a model that
allows for greater accessibility and makes full use of the advances in
technology cannot be ignored. This report shows there are significant
savings to be made and benefits to be had.

³JISC will work with publishers, authors and the science community to
identify and help to remove the barriers to moving to these more
cost-effective models,² he added.

Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, commended the report and
added that, "as a research funder that provides additional funds to its
grantholders to meet the cost of open access publishing, I am delighted that
this report vindicates this approach and shows that the benefits of enhanced
accessibility outweigh the costs of supplementing research funds with
'author-pays' open access publishing fees".

Professor Ian Diamond, speaking on behalf of Research Councils UK said,"RCUK
welcomes this substantial and interesting report. It will be of great use to
the Research Councils as we develop our future policies in relation to
publishing and in particular open access."

The full report is available online at
Received on Tue Jan 27 2009 - 20:51:44 GMT

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