Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The business model of WIT Press

Richard Poynder interviews Carlos Brebbia, director of WIT Press.  Excerpt:

Scholarly publishing finds itself at a difficult transitional stage today. In response, some publishers have decided to behave badly — as evidenced by the actions of publisher lobbying organisations like PRISM.

But as Alma Swan recently pointed out to me, most of this bad behaviour emanates from a small group of four or five large publishers, "not the hundreds and hundreds of publishers out there, most of whom are starting to understand that Open Access is the way of the future."

The problem for these other publishers, however, is that the behaviour of PRISM — along with the questionable activities of organisations like the Association of American Publishers (AAP), and the apparent greed of not-for-profit organisations like the American Chemical Society (ACS) — is tarring all publishers with the same brush, and making researchers understandably suspicious of anyone calling themselves a publisher.

This was demonstrated for me recently when I was passed an e-mail sent to a researcher by Carlos Brebbia, the director of a small academic publishing company called WIT Press, which produces two journals.  In line with WIT's new Open Access policy, the e-mail asked the researcher to pay a €50 per-page publication fee. Brebbia added, "I have checked our records and your institution has not yet subscribed. Will it be possible to request them to do so? It is cheaper to pay the subscription of €450/$550 rather than the €50 per page."

The e-mail was passed to me as evidence that WIT Press was behaving badly and, in the process, giving Open Access a bad name. So I contacted Brebbia and asked him about his journal publishing activities, and how he is adapting to a world in which, as he himself puts it, "Open Access is a reality." ...

I leave readers to reach their own conclusions....