Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, November 09, 2009

Do OA publisher memberships save universities money?

Philip Davis, Open Access Memberships: Are Libraries Paying Too Much?, The Scholarly Kitchen, November 9, 2009.

Do open access (OA) membership fees save institutions money? In the case of Columbia University, the answer is clearly, “No.”

A talk titled, “Cost/Benefit Analysis of BioMed Central Membership at a Large Medical Institution,” was presented last Friday afternoon at the 2009 Charleston Conference [Charleston, S.C., November 4-7, 2009] by Susan Klimley, the Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian in the Health Sciences Library at Columbia University.

What motivated Klimley to undertake such a study was seeing her BMC membership fees rise each year by 8%, and then by 10% in 2009. Klimley’s materials budget has been flat for the last five consecutive years, and in January she was told that she needed to trim an additional 10%.

This is a familiar story for many research libraries in the United States.

Until this year, her library was paying BMC almost $10,000 as a supporter member, which entitled Columbia authors to receive a 15% discount on author processing charges (APC). ...

Klimley worked under three possible cost/benefit models where payment was attributed to the first author, last author, and corresponding author. In each of these calculations she discovered that Columbia was paying more money to BMC under their membership model than if their authors had paid full price. ...