Open access again, or 'be careful what you wish for'

Sandrine Berges (12 December 2012)

I recently received a link to this article in a philosophy email list.

Basically, it seems that as part of their open access policy, the UK government is now proposing that all publicly funded research should meet their criteria for open access. But open access journals are increasingly asking for Article Processing Charges, which vary depending on how wide an access you want (so 'gold access' is more expensive). One consequence of this, seems to be that institutions will have to pay for researchers' publications, which, inevitably will mean that some researchers will have to pay for themselves. And the more you can pay, the more you will be read.

Does anyone have any insight on how this is likely to affect UK reseachers?



Blanka Sengerová
Well, as far as I understand, the cost of publishing is simply factored into the research grant as one of the items to be budgeted for (similarly to reagents, postdoc salaries, bench fees to the department/university, etc.). That's at least how it works in the sciences, I am not so sure about the arts and the humanities.

James Lush
Hi Sandrine. In a nutshell, the long-term idea is that institutional money for APCs will come from decreased library budgets, as they will be paying fewer journal subscription fees. This will take a while to even out, so the UK government has set aside money for a transitional period in which business models are expected to shift.

OA journals have always charged APCs as they do not raise money through subscription fees (with a couple of variations in how this is charged). The setting of APCs for Gold OA is up to individual publishers - the highest impact journals will set these higher as people will still submit here, and they need to cover the costs of a high rejection rate. They aren't more 'accessible', just more 'prestigious'.

Blanka Sengerová
This might be of interest, Sandrine, I have just received it via a University mailing list. It is a link about Open Access at Oxford.