A new report launched today (25 February 2010) shows how universities can work out how much they could save on their profit and loss accounts as well as increasing their contribution to UK plc when they share their research papers through Open Access.
The ‘modelling scholarly communication options: costs and benefits for universities’ report, written by Alma Swan, is based on different types of university. It shows how universities might reduce costs, and how they can calculate these saving and their greater contribution to society by following an Open Access route.
Neil Jacobs, programme manager at Jisc says, “This is the first time that universities will have a method and practical examples from which to build a business case for Open Access and to calculate the cost to them of the scholarly communications process. For example working out the value of researchers carrying out peer-reviewing duties or the comparative costs of the library handling of journals subscribed to in print, electronically, or in both formats.
“As universities such as Edinburgh, Salford and UCL lead the world to mandate self-archiving and adopt Open Access policies, this report gives evidence to help universities make informed decisions about how their research is disseminated. There are still issues to overcome and the benefits of adopting an Open Access route can be seen through economies of scale, the more researchers disseminate their work through this route the greater the benefits.”
Listen to the podcast with Neil Jacobs and Alma Swan (Duration 12:30)
The key findings from the report show
- The annual savings in research and library costs of a university repository model combined with subscription publishing could range from £100,000 to £1,320,000
- Moving from Open Access journals and subscription-funding to per-article Open Access journal funding has the potential to achieve savings for universities between £620,000 per year and £1,700,000 per year if the article-processing charge is set at £500 or less
- Savings from a change away from subscription-funding to per-article Open Access journal funding were estimated to be between £170,000 and £1,365,000 per year for three out of the four universities studied when the article-processing charge is £1000 per article or less
- For the remaining university in the study a move from subscription-funding to the per-article Open Access journal funding saw the university having to pay £1.86m more in this scenario
“Jisc is working with partners in the sector to overcome the barriers which exist to adopting Open Access.” Jacobs adds: “While some research intensive universities may pay more for the subscription-funding to per-article Open Access journal scenario, it should be noted that many research funders, including the Research Councils and Wellcome Trust, may contribute article-processing charges as a part of normal research grants, so that all universities have a potential source of income to cover the majority of such costs.
“Jisc is working with partners in the sector to overcome the barriers which exist to adopting Open Access.”
The report focussed on three approaches to Open Access
- Open access journals Content freely available online using a business model that does not rely on subscriptions
- Open access repositories The current subscription-based system is supplemented by the provision of Open Access articles in repositories
- Open access repositories with overlay services Content is collected in repositories and service providers carry out the publishing services necessary, for example the peer-review process
Martin Hall, Vice Chancellor at the University of Salford says: “We have recently implemented an Open Access mandate to self-archive. The reason we decided to adopt this approach is that evidence shows that research published online has higher citations and can also be used as a way to promote our competitiveness internationally.”
If you’re looking to implement an Open Access policy, consider four aspects
- Consult across the whole the university on the barriers and benefits of implementing an Open Access policy
- Invest in a university repository; the small investment in setting one up will yield benefits in managing and sharing a university’s research outputs
- Set up financial processes to manage income and expenditure for Open Access publication charges; this will help researchers publish in Open Access journals
- Promote the Open Access policy and procedures to all staff to provide researchers with clear guidance on the opportunities open to them