Avoiding hyperinflation in Gold OA

From: C.J.Smith <C.J.Smith_at_OPEN.AC.UK>
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 2009 10:23:33 +0100

Having just read Richard Poynder's excellent article on the Compact
for Open-Access Publishing Equity, and putting aside the discussion
of Green first Gold second, Gold first Green second, Gold and Green
together etc. etc., I am interested in exploring why Gold OA funding
initiatives tend to focus on the reimbursing of cost. Mention is made
of capping the amount of money an individual can receive from a Gold
OA fund, in order that that individual becomes aware of what he or
she is paying for publication, thus helping to avoid the
disconnect/moral hazard scenario currently imposed by the
subscription-based system.


It strikes me that a better approach would be for the researcher to
think about his or her research output at a much earlier stage, at
the beginning of the research project. I may be being naļve about the
research process, but I imagine most researchers must have a fair
idea of the amount of papers he or she expects to publish during and
at the end of a piece of research. Would it not be better, therefore,
for the researcher to factor in OA publication costs into the
research grant application, thereby creating a heightened awareness
of the economics (not only for the researcher, but for the funding
body as well) even earlier in the research process? Given that
funding bodies are one of the main sets of stakeholders interested in
achieving OA, surely they (perhaps over and above universities) need
to be more willing to put up the cash?


Under this approach, perhaps the function of a university-based Gold
OA fund would be to allow its researchers to apply to top up the sum
they receive from the funding body (if the amount applied for from
the funding body is not met), and to cover the OA publication costs
of unfunded research. To me this seems like a much fairer way to
spread the cost of OA publishing among the various stakeholders
wishing it to succeed, while simultaneously keeping the economics of
the model at the forefront of the minds of all those involved, thus
avoiding a repeat moral hazard.


As I say, however, I may be being naļve about/oversimplifying the
research process, having never been a researcher myself!


Colin Smith
Research Repository Manager
Open Research Online (ORO)
Open University Library
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

Tel: +44(0)1908 332971

Email: c.j.smith_at_open.ac.uk
Web: http://oro.open.ac.uk
Blog: http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/ORO
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/smithcolin



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Received on Tue Sep 29 2009 - 15:39:32 BST

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