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Necessary efficiencies: the economics of transition to open access

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The collective budgets of the world’s academic libraries are the primary economic support for scholarly journal publishing today, accounting for 80-90% of publisher revenue. This poster argues that shifting this support from subscriptions to open access publishing will be critical to a successful transition to a fully open access scholarly journal publishing system. Drawing on economic analysis conducted as part of my dissertation, this poster also argues that scholarly publishing can be not only fully open access, but also considerably more affordable, with prudent attention to necessary efficiencies in the transition process. The range of possibilities for a fully open access publishing system include options that could cost less – possibly considerably less - than half of current spend. A key metric to assessing efficiency will be the average cost per article; when this amount is multiplied by the over one million scholarly articles produced around the world on an annual basis, it is easy to see what a difference it makes whether the average is the PLoS ONE article processing fee of id="mce_marker",350 US, the average cost per article of scholar-led publishers as found by Edgar & Willinsky of id="mce_marker"88, PeerJ’s lifetime publishing starting at $99 – or the $3,000 to $5,000 per article charged by a few publishers today. It is argued that efficiencies are necessary as libraries need to re-fund social sciences and humanities and scholarly monograph publishing and clear funds for new tasks such as institutional repositories, collecting and curating local research works, increasingly including research data.
Powerpoint presentation, electronic poster.
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