[Coral-List] More on open access
RichardPDunne at aol.com
Sat Apr 12 11:47:17 EDT 2008
Further to the overall debate on Open Access and journal fees, it is
noteworthy that the journal PLos Biology (mentioned in the previous
post) charges authors US dollars 2,750 for publishing an article in this
Open Access publication. It also admits that this is not the full cost
of publication which has to be supplemented from philanthropic support.
Herewith some informative passages from the PLos website:
Why should I have to pay to publish my paper?
It costs money to produce a peer-reviewed, edited, and formatted article
that is ready for online publication, and to host it on a server that is
accessible around the clock. Prior to that, a public or private funding
agency has already paid a great deal more money for the research to be
undertaken in the interest of the public. This real cost of "producing"
a paper can be calculated by dividing your laboratory's annual budget by
the number of papers published. We ask that—as a small part of the cost
of doing the research—the author, institution, or funding agency pays a
fee, to help cover the actual cost of the essential final step, the
publication. (As it stands, authors now often pay for publication in the
form of page or color charges.) Many funding agencies now support this view.
More than US$2000 is a lot to pay to publish an article, isn't it?
Not when you consider the cost of the research that led to the article.
Publication fees of $2000 or $2500 are a small fraction of the costs of
doing research, and it makes sense for funding agencies to include these
fees in research grants. Many funding agencies now support this view.
They recognize that publishing is an integral part of the research
process - and if the work is published OA it will deliver the maximum
possible impact, which in turn maximizes the outcome of the funder's
investment in research.
Ultimately, the fees that PLoS charge reflect the costs associated with
publishing. We are not in this to make a profit - our bottom line is to
make the literature a public resource. The administration of peer
review, copy editing, production of high-quality tagged electronic
files, web hosting, and so on are expensive processes. They are many of
the same processes that are used in traditional subscription journals.
If the money that currently supports subscription journals can be
re-routed to cover publication fees then we will be able to support open
access publishing in a fully sustainable way.
I recommend reading the full page at:
It seems that the cost differences between commercial publishers and the
new Open Access publishers are not so very different. Compare the US
dollars 3,000 for Open Choice in a Springer journal to the PLos Biology
US dollars 2,750. Also PLos Biology does not produce a printed copy. As
the article in the previous post points out, there are different
interpretations of what constitutes "Open Access"; but as far as I can
see the essential element of free access to read and download the
article is common throughout, and this must surely be the most important
aspect as far as an author and funding agency would wish.
Finally it is worth remembering that many of the commercial journals
currently allow authors to publish entirely free of charge. Their papers
will still be read by very many in the research community, even without
the payment of an Open Access fee. This is not an option with journals
that carry page charges or a have a mandatory Open Access policy. True,
in the case of PLos Biology they say "We offer a complete or partial fee
waiver for authors who do not have funds to cover publication fees." but
it is unclear who or what constitutes an author who does not have funds.
Presumably one cannot simply claim poverty because you chose to spend
all your research funding before you made publication.
Clearly we still have a long way to go, but perhaps in the meantime we
are simply experiencing the classical (and healthy) freedom of choice
which exists in any market based structured economy. Ultimately market
forces determine who will be the winners and the losers.
Richard P Dunne
West Briscoe, Baldersdale, Barnard Castle, Co Durham, DL12 9UP. UK
Tel +44 1833 650059
François Michonneau wrote:
> If you are interested to learn what "open access" really means and how
> some publishers use this term inappropriately, I suggest you read the
> following article:
> When Is Open Access Not Open Access?
> MacCallum CJ
> PLoS Biology Vol. 5, No. 10, e285 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050285
> François Michonneau, Ph.D. Student
> FLMNH (Division of Malacology) & Department of Zoology
> University of Florida -- Gainesville, FL 32611-7800
> fmichon at flmnh.ufl.edu - (352).273.1823
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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