24 March 2009

Alternative research publishing models

The UK Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) recently published a report examining the "institutional, budgetary and wider economic implications of three of the major emerging models for scholarly publishing (i.e. subscription publishing, open access publishing and self-archiving)."

It provides fascinating insights into the total costs of scholarly publishing along the whole process - something like £5.4 billion in the UK during 2007. The authors also give us much food for thought on the implications of their research for different stakeholders in the process - researchers, funders, libraries, publishers, etc.

The overall conclusion: "Preliminary analysis of the potential benefits of more open access to research findings suggests that returns to research can also be substantial, and that different scholarly publishing models can make a material difference to the returns realised, as well as the costs faced."

What do they recommend?

"There is evidence to support a move towards more open access to research findings,..."

Barriers to "transitioning to more cost-effective scholarly publishing models" need to be reduced, by, for instance:
  • finding ways to reward scholarly communication innovation rather than more traditional publishing forms;
  • ensuring that funds are available to support publisher fees;
  • encouraging self-archiving;
  • supporting advocacy on alternative publishing models.
The authors suggest that "open access self-archiving, either in parallel with subscription publishing or with overlay services, may be more cost-effective, although more information is required on repository costs and the potential benefits of greater integration of publications with other forms of research output, their integration into learning materials, and the curation and sharing of research data. Hence, there is scope to focus greater attention on the development of repositories."
The report ends arguing that "international developments are of great importance in realising the benefits of more open access and much can be achieved by international efforts towards sharing the gains." An important extra justification for CIARD!

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