Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Open business practices

 iCommons has launched its Open Business Guide.  Excerpt:

Giving away things for free seems an unlikely business strategy. But the fastest growing business of the last decades offers its primary services for free. Google was created without a revenue model in mind, and when it started had no way of making money.

Web 2.0, peer to peer, social networking, crowd sourcing, open innovation, peer production, non-monetary incentives, free culture, Creative Commons, Free and Open Source Software are all terms which have gained prominence in the debate surrounding the present and future of culture, film, radio, tv, education, many other fields and last but not least 'business' in general.

Against this background, an international project with partners in Brazil, South Africa and the UK, supported by the Open Society Institute, International Development Research Centre, Ford Foundation and Arts Council England, has collected examples of new business models and processes that focus on:

  • lowering the costs of market entry for individuals by providing tools or services, that ‘open’ up traditional business boundaries using the Internet
  • sharing information for free using alternative ‘open copyright models’ while exploring new revenue models
  • giving substantial parts of content away for free while creating derivative revenue streams
  • operate organizationally like Open Source software production, but translate the model to services (finance, or film or music production) ...

One of the guide’s examples is an OA publisher:

HSRC Press primarily publishes the output of [South Africa’s] Human Sciences Research Council. It has adopted an open access publishing model. HSRC adopted the model because the primary goal in publishing the research materials as opposed to seeking financial reward through the turnover from book sales.

Instead, the goal of HSRC to attract further research funding and contracts, and crucial avenues of dissemination, which can increase the overall size and influence of the HSRC organisation.

Printed books are offered via the website, and can be read on-screen, downloaded for printing or ordered on the website as a POD publication through an e-commerce engine (and supplied on a cost-recovery basis). Having adopted this model revenue has increased by 300%! …