Information for Publishers
Publishers play an important role in the certification (via peer-review) and dissemination of research.
Typically, when an article is published, the author assigns copyright, or gives a copyright license to the publisher. Depending on the particular agreement that is signed, the author retains more or less rights to use the article. Some agreements forbid the author from photocopying the article, using it in teaching, or mounting it on-line. Other agreements are more liberal and allow the author to retain rights to use the article as they wish. Although the majority of publishers and journals allow authors to archive their work under certain conditions, other publishers are more restrictive.
Central to the recommendations of the recent European Commission's Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe is the development of a European policy mandating open access to EC-funded research.
Many funding agencies already have rules in place which make deposit in an open access repository a requirement of any research grant. Other funders make a strong recommendation for deposit, or may make additional funds available for publication in an open access journal.
Publishers policies in relation to Open Access are typically assigned a colour to denote what versions of articles can be made OA. The colours used are: Gold, green, blue, yellow, and white. A description of what each colour means is available from the SHERPA/RoMEO website.
An increasing number of publishers are now adopting open access business models to sustain their future development. A number of studies in this area have shown that such open access business models, where payment is taken for publication, rather than post-publication through subscriptions, scalable and viable. Alternatively, traditional subscription publishers are introducing open access options, whereby the author pays an additional charge to make their papers openly accessible from the point publication. Funding agencies, such as the Wellcome Trust, are currently happy to fund such additional open access charges as part of support Fred transition period while publishers establish their own truly open access publication models. it is not intended that such additional charges become part of the normal publishing economic model, but have been made available on the understanding that publishers explore their transition to open access publication.
Open access is just one thread in a changing environment of business and investment practices, public and academic expectations, and the requirements from other technical and social developments in scholarly communication.
The growth of open access is taking place against the background of a changing economic environment for many different businesses and for society in general. There is an increasing public desire to see value for the money that they pay in taxes and an increasing transparency in information that lets individuals, groups and political parties track expenditure and value. The current public finances situation across Europe is likely to cause a reassessment of much public expenditure and it may not be too much to expect a systemic and wide-reaching revision of many current practices.
In terms of numbers, some truly significant numbers are those from the Houghton Report, originally carried out for UK economy, but since replicated for other European countries. This academically based study shows a financial benefit to the UK overall of an additional £172 million per year, simply from greater accessibility to research in the government-funded sector. For higher education institutions, a shift from subscription to open access publishing has been identified as giving a potential of £80 million of savings. This report was produced in January 2009 and with an openness to match its subject, the model itself made available for use by anybody who wanted to use different financial assumptions. To date, there has still not been a serious challenge to these original estimates.
Given public expectations of information being made freely available wherever possible, the business models available that allow profitable businesses to be run within open access and the overall systemic saving by a shift to open access to research, the question now seems to be when this will happen and not if this will happen. The future of research communications is likely to consist of a mixed economy of a number of traditional subscription journals, with the majority of journals run on an open access basis. Repositories may well underpin new and novel forms of research communication, as well as holding duplicate material from journal publication. In dealing with this larger change, there are business models available to help deal with that part of developments which is open access.
As in any period of rapid evolution, some smaller, fragile publishers may disappear, often because it is in the nature of small fragile businesses to be unstable. The current funding of open access charges on top of subscription charges by many research funders should allow a cushion for publishers to examine their response and align themselves to the developing environment. After this income stream is removed then the expense of transition will have to be borne by the publishers themselves. Some more major publishers will survive because their sheer size means that they can take an inefficiency hit during transition, while others will diminish because their size has bought inertia. But whatever the size - businesses will have to respond.
The SHERPA/RoMEO listing, details the rights given to authors by the major publishers of academic journals. Search for publishers to find what permissions are normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement.
The SHERPA/JULIET list summarises the Open Access policies of research funders and provides links to each. Please contact JULIET to add your Open Access policy to the database.
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists the growing number of open access journals.
OpenDOAR is an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories worldwide.
Last updated: 05-Feb-2010