Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Self-archiving in economics

Ted Bergstrom and Rosemarie Lavaty, How often do economists self-archive?  A preprint, self-archived February 8, 2007. 

Abstract:   To answer the question of the paper's title, we looked at the tables of contents from two recent issues of 33 economics journals and attempted to find a freely available online version of each article. We found that about 90 percent of articles in the most-cited economics journals and about 50 percent of articles in less-cited journals are available. We conduct a similar exercise for political science and find that only about 30 percent of the articles are freely available. The paper reports a regression analysis of the effects of author and article characteristics on likelihood of posing and it discusses the implications of self-archiving for the pricing of subscription-based academic journals.

From the body of the paper:

Some economists and librarians have noted with alarm that commercial publishers have taken advantage of librariesí relatively inelastic demand for academic journals and the difficult coordination of new entrants, by setting prices that are much higher than average cost. As more content becomes available in open access archives, publishers are faced with greater availability of close substitutes for their products and library demand for journals is likely to become more price-elastic. The increased price-responsiveness means that profit-maximizing prices will fall. As a result, it can be hoped that commercial publishers will no longer be able to charge subscription prices greatly in excess of average cost. Thus the benefits of self-archiving to the academic community are twofold. There is the direct effect of making a greater portion of the body of research available to scholars everywhere and the secondary effect of reducing the prices charged by publishers who exploit their monopoly power.