From: Richard Poynder <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 18:49:08 +0000
For the past several decades the research community has been
bedevilled with the so-called serials crisis, the phenomenon by which
the cost of scholarly journals continues to rise at an unsustainable
One of the most significant responses to this affordability problem
was the open access (OA) movement, which in 2002 coalesced around the
Budapest Open Access Initiative. Open access publishing, OA advocates
have always argued, will be cheaper, and therefore sustainable.
In 2004, confronted by the growing demands of the OA movement, and
faced with competition from open access publishers like BioMed Central
and PLOS, traditional subscription publishers responded with hybrid
OA, which allows authors to continue publishing in subscription
journals but, if they wish, to choose to make a particular paper open
access by paying an article-processing charge (APC). The first such
initiative was Springer’s Open Choice, which at the time the company’s
CEO Derk Haank characterised as a challenge to OA advocates to “put
their money where their mouth is”.
Since hybrid OA APCs are more expensive than those of pure open access
journals (i.e. generally around $3,000 a paper), take up remained low
until research funders like the Wellcome Trust and Research Councils
UK agreed to start paying APCs for their funded authors.
It was quickly apparent however that, as things stood, hybrid OA could
only worsen the affordability problem, since hybrid OA journals now
have not one, but two income streams for the same article — one from
the article-processing charge, another from the journal subscription,
a phenomenon that OA advocates refer to as “double dipping”.
With the government pushing hard for all the research it funds to be
made open access, the issue of double dipping is particularly acute
for UK HEIs, and Jisc, the organisation that negotiates licensing
agreements with publishers on their behalf, has this year been busy
negotiating offsetting agreements with publishers intended to mitigate
or extinguish double dipping.
An interview with Jisc’s Licensing Manager Richard Savory can be read here: