[LINK] Rather Fascinating study on Open Access

Tom Koltai tomk at unwired.com.au
Thu Jul 9 20:26:17 AEST 2009

In June 2009 a study was completed that had been commissioned by
Knowledge Exchange and written by Professor John Houghton, Victoria
University, Australia. This report on the study was titled: "Open Access
- What are the economic benefits?

A comparison of the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Denmark." This
report was based on the findings of studies in which John Houghton had
modelled the costs and benefits of Open Access in three countries. These
studies had been undertaken in the UK by JISC, in the Netherlands by
SURF and in Denmark by DEFF.

In the three national studies the costs and benefits of scholarly
communication were compared based on three different publication models.
The modelling revealed that the greatest advantage would be offered by
the Open Access model, which means that the research institution or the
party financing the research pays for publication and the article is
then freely accessible.

Adopting this model could lead to annual savings of around EUR 70
million in Denmark,

EUR 133 million in The Netherlands and EUR 480 in the UK. The report
concludes that the advantages would not just be in the long term; in the
transitional phase too, more open access to research results would have
positive effects. In this case the benefits would also outweigh the

The work is an expansion ion Houghtons earlier report. (details in

This would imply a saving in Australia of around 160 million dollars
were a similar system implemented here.

Open Access - What are the economic benefits?
A comparison of the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Denmark
Prepared and co-ordinated by John Houghton Centre for Strategic Economic
Studies Victoria University, Melbourne

Main Points
Building on previous work, this summary looks at the costs and potential
benefits of alternative
open access models for scholarly publishing in the UK, Netherlands and
Denmark - giving a
sense of the implications for one of the larger, a mid-sized and a
smaller European country.
Analysis focuses on comparing three alternative models for scholarly
publishing, namely:
subscription publishing, open access publishing and self-archiving. To
ensure that meaningful
comparisons could be made, the self-archiving models explored include
the peer review,
certification and quality control functions necessary for formal
scholarly publishing.
We estimate that in an open access world:
. Open access or 'author-pays' publishing for journal articles (i.e.
'Gold OA') might
bring net system savings of around EUR 70 million per annum nationally
in Denmark,
EUR 133 million in the Netherlands and EUR 480 million in the UK (at
2007 prices
and levels of publishing activity);
. Open access self-archiving without subscription cancellations (i.e.
'Green OA') might
save around EUR 30 million per annum nationally for Denmark in a
worldwide 'Green
OA' system, EUR 50 million in the Netherlands and EUR 125 million in the
UK; and
. The open access self-archiving with overlay services model explored is
more speculative, but a repositories and overlay services model may well
similar cost savings to open access publishing.
The cost-benefits of the open access or 'author-pays' publishing model
are very similar across
the three countries. In terms of estimated cost-benefits over a
transitional period of 20 years,
open access publishing all articles produced in universities in 2007
would have produced
benefits of around 2 to 3 times the costs in all cases, but showed
benefits of 5 to 6 times costs in
the simulated alternative 'steady state' model for unilateral national
open access, and benefits of
around 7 times the costs in an open access world.
The most obvious difference between the national results relates to the
self-archiving and
repositories models, which while promising substantial net benefits in
all countries do not look
quite as good in the Netherlands as they do in the UK, and nothing like
as good as they do in
Denmark. This is due to the implied number of repositories, each with
operational overheads.
Notwithstanding this difference, the modelling suggests that more open
access alternatives are
likely to be more cost-effective mechanisms for scholarly publishing in
a wide range of
countries (large and small), with 'Gold OA' open access or author-pays
publishing, the
deconstructed or overlay journals model of self-archiving with overlay
production and review
services, and 'Green OA' self-archiving in parallel with subscription
publishing progressively
more cost-effective.

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