Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More on the hybrid journal double-charge

Daniel Cressey, Open access: are publishers ‘double dipping’?, The Great Beyond, October 20, 2009

... “We would like to see a commitment from publishers to show the uptake of their open access option and to adjust their subscription rates to reflect increases in income from open access fees,” says Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust. ...

So how big a problem is this ‘double dipping’? Is it even a problem?

No one actually knows. Robert Kiley, head of digital services at the Wellcome, says there is hardly any information in the public domain and it is hard to even work out how many paper are being published under an ‘author pays’ route. There is no evidence at the moment publishers are dual charging, he says, but there is a perception in the academic community that it may be happening. ...

David Hoole, Head of Content Licensing and Brand Marketing at Nature Publishing Group, says the Wellcome press release is timely.

“I don’t think any publishers are deliberately charging twice, but we have certainly reached a point where subscribers are expecting to see reductions in some prices,” he says. “In fact, most publishers are seeing hybrid uptakes of less than 10%, and it is hard to be confident of the trends. We are seeing some journals publish less open access content this year than last. Another complication is that the APC (article processing charge) may not be set at a high enough rate to cover costs.”

He adds, “The important thing will be to show significant price cuts when subscription content is falling, and to embrace a 100% OA model if and when that is what authors choose.”