This short update was written by Kamran Naim, Strategic Development Manager here at Annual Reviews and on the study project team with President and Editor-In-Chief, Richard Gallagher.
Funded by the MacArthur Foundation, this 2-year study seeks to examine alternatives to the predominant Article Processing Charge (APC) model in Open Access, which although proven to be effective in the sciences – particularly the biomedical sciences – is not workable for all disciplines, nor for monographs or secondary research publications such as ours.
The study aims to examine and explore viable financial models for transitioning from subscription to open access models for these literature types. Although many research libraries are as willing to support open access as they are to pay for subscriptions, the best transition path between the two models is in need of further testing and analysis. Global subscription revenues in excess of ten billion dollars annually worldwide suggest that there is more than enough money being spent on scholarly publishing to fund universal Open Access.
Examples are emerging within the research library community that are leveraging a spirit of cooperation towards advancing Open Access. An example includes Knowledge Unlatched, where a few hundred research libraries have banded together to underwrite the cost of open access monographs from major scholarly publishers, again without charge to authors or readers. Other organizations doing interesting work in this regard include Open Library of Humanities and OAPEN. It’s great that a number of leaders of these organizations are also participating in the OA Cooperative study with Annual Reviews.
This growing sense of cooperation signals that the time is right for systematic data-gathering, analysis, and trials of a cooperative publishing model. Accordingly, the research question of the OA Cooperative study considers whether cooperatives can offer economically responsible and sustainable open access to rigorously reviewed and professionally published research? Working in partnership with the project team, Annual Reviews is providing data to support the project in assessing the feasibility, as well as the structure, organization, and governance of such co-ops.
Watch this space for further updates on the Study.