Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, September 28, 2007

More on no-fee OA journals

Tom Wilson, Open access again, Information Research Weblog, September 28, 2007.  Excerpt:

...Repositories and the 'author pays' models seems to be the only models discussed [at the Berlin 5 meeting] and mention of the collaborative, no-money-changes-hands model of Information Research (and of other journals covered in our Case Studies series) is non-existent.

Fred Friend of UCL and JISC tells the audience that JISC (the UK's Joint Information Systems Committee of the Higher Education Funding Councils) "is now working with other organizations on models which fund gold OA publication charges as part of the research process and budget" having experimented with spending £384,000 to persuade publishers to adopt author-charges and finding that it 'did not scale' - i.e., it would cost to much to continue.

I wonder if JISC has any idea of how many OA journals, operating on a subsidy and collaboration basis, that amount of money could have funded? With a £10,000 start-up subsidy, JISC could have got 38 OA journals under way - or 15 journals could have been given a £5,000 a year for five years with the same amount of money (or, rather, a little less). That could have made a very significant impact on the development of open access in the UK and could have persuaded a number of small-circulation, scholarly journals to have converted to the OA route. As it is, £384,000 has gone into the pockets of shareholders. Great thinking, JISC!

Update. I just received a response from Fred Friend and post it with his permission:

The JISC issued an open invitation to tender for bids from journals in support of gold OA author charges, so any or all of the small circulation journals to which Tom Wilson refers could have applied for funding. The bids received were largely from small or medium-sized society or university publishers. The money was used to fund publication charges for OA authors and very little if any would have made its way into the pockets of shareholders. An independent evaluation report rated the funding a success in raising the profile of open access publication.