Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, March 19, 2007

Summary version of November 2006 report on self-archiving and journal cancellations

The Publishing Research Consortium has released a condensed version of its November 2006 study, Self-Archiving and Journal Subscriptions: Co-existence or Competition?  From today's announcement:

This paper...looks at librarian purchasing preferences, and concludes that mandating self-archiving within six months or less of publication will undermine the subscription-based peer review journal. 

Comment.  Here's what I said about the full-length study last November:

This is a study of librarians' hypothetical preferences, not actual cancellation decisions or even librarian preferences as modulated by consultation with faculty.  In short, it's not hard evidence that [high-volume OA archiving] will increase cancellations.  Less hypothetical studies, like Mark Ware's March 2006 study for ALPSP, show that high journal prices far surpass OA archiving as a cause of journal cancellations, and hence that publishers have to get their own house in order before they object to actions by researchers, libraries, and funding agencies to solve the problem that publishers are aggravating.  (My usual disclaimer applies:  high-volume OA archiving might really increase cancellations, but there's no hard evidence yet that it will, and abundant evidence to the contrary in physics; and even if OA archiving does increase cancellations, it is still justified.) 

For a large number of comments on the study's methodological flaws, with replies by the authors (Chris Beckett and Simon Inger), see Steve Hitchcock's compendium from December 2006.