IP Outreach Research > IP Use and Awareness


Title: The Facts About Open Access: A Study of the Financial and Non-financial Effects of Alternative Business Models for Scholarly Journals
Author: [Kaufman-Wills Group]

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Year: 2005


Subject/Type: IP Protection
Focus: Access to Information, Economic / Financial Impact
Country/Territory: International, United Kingdom, United States of America
Objective: To study the financial and non-financial effects of alternative business models on scholarly journals, and to develop profiles for a broad range of scholarly journals.
Sample: 495 scholarly journals (phase 1), 22 scholarly journal publishers representing 4.000+ journals (phase 2)
Methodology: E-mailed print survey (phase 1), in-depth interviews (phase 2)

Main Findings

Compared to their subscription-based counterparts, full open access journals (FOAJ) are relatively young, smaller, and have a limited impact in their fields. They are freely available, but do not always figure in library databases and are thus “invisible” to potential readers.

FOAJ revenues are trending upward, but most are not generating surpluses: they have to rely heavily on grants, author-side fees, and institutional memberships along with personal/departmental funding and volunteer labour. It is therefore too early to tell whether full open access is a viable business model.

Subscription access publishers’ revenues are also trending upward and most are generating surpluses. Some of these publishers question whether FOAJ really cost less to the public than subscription journals.

The study also found that FOAJ tend to do less copy-editing and rely mostly on in-house reviewers (essentially editorial staff) for the peer-reviewing process. Subscription access publishers leave this process largely to external reviewers, which may be one reason for some to equate open access with less rigorous peer reviewing.

[Date Added: Nov 20, 2008 ]