Part III: Open Access Funding Models, Golden Road, Developements Elsewhere

This is part III of my OAI8 summary.

Questions of funding Open Access surfaced during different sessions. I attended in particular a breakout-group on Thursday afternoon on the Gold OA Infrastructure. Also interesting in this respect were the plenary-session on Friday morning on OA in the Humanities, and the panel session on Gold Infrastructure.

It is a known fact that researchers in the Humanities are less OA-friendly than elsewhere. In particular, they voice (in GB very recently and publicly) (unfunded) worries about plagiarism.

An important developement in recent times is the provision of public funds for the Author-Processing-Charges (APC) for gold OA-publishing (Reminder: gold OA means that the primary publication is OA for instance in an OA-journal, green OA means that something similar to the original article is at some point in time published OA, most of the time on a personal website, in an insitutional repository, such as RERO-Doc, or in a thematic repository, such as phil-papers.)

The British policy makers are steering towards this APC model. This model leaves the old infrastructure with the traditional publishers in place and lets them collect often very high fees for publishing articles online. The German Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft DFG provides the Universities with funds for financing authors to publish OA. These funds from the DFG are meant to be transitional. At some point the Universities themselves will have to finance APM’s.

According to Johannes Fournier from DFG, one of DFG’s important new programs is the financing by the DFG of the transition of Journals from a traditional model to OA. In my opinion this is the much more intelligent way to go than APC, as the traditional publishers apply more or less the same overpricing they used to apply to subsciption now to author’s costs. Small OA-publishers, they together hold a market-share of about 15%, have shown that they can publish at much lower costs (and remember that this has nothing to do with the peer-review system, as peers are not paid by the publishers).

In France, public funds are also used in the developement of an infrastructure for gold open access journals, called revues.org (the name will be changed to something in English very soon). The open access journals publishing there can generate some revenue by use of the FREEMIUM-model. This is the model used by skype: basic service is free, premium service can be bought for a supplementary price. In practice this means that some of the journals on revues.org provide the articles for free only in html, but libraries can pay a subscription to revues.org in order to have access to the pdf’s, epubs, etc. without DRM’s. The idea is that libraries can reoriente gradually their subscription fees to such service providers and their journals, while these give freely (html) to the users.

There are also interesting developements in the monograph publishing business. At OAI8 there seemed to be a consensus that the traditional publishing model of monographs in the Humanities has breaken down. A few hundred copies, at best, of a research monograph are sold at very high prices to libraries. This means that the monographs are no longer really distributed. A few small OA-publishers that offer a print on demand service are now taking some share of the market. Interestingly, there are also initiatives at the level of the EU, but also at particular Universities and University-Libraries to found OA publishing programs for monographs. Thus, University College London and it’s library have started UCL-Press. There is also a planned EU-project for monographs called “Going for Gold”.

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About Gian-Andri

Subject librarian for philosophy at the University of Fribourg. PhD philosophy, Fribourg 2007; CAS scientific librarianship, University of Zurich 2013.
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