How many journals sell authors Open Access by the article?

Stevan Harnad harnad at
Wed Jul 14 05:07:32 EST 2004

This letter appeared in today's Independent (UK):

 Open access

Sir: Open Access (OA) is a simple proposition, but it is commonly
misunderstood. Your report (Business, 7 July) suggests that the new
"open choice" policy of journal publisher Springer will increase
pressure on the market leader, Reed Elsevier.

However, Reed Elsevier, like Springer, has already given the green
light to OA in response to pressure from the world research community,
who believe that all would-be users of a journal article should be
able to access it for free on the web. OA maximises research progress,
and both Springer and Reed Elsevier have recognised this by giving
their authors permission to make a copy of their own articles, free
for all, on their own institution's web site.

Publishers could convert their journals to an OA business model, so
that rather than the user-institution paying the publication costs per
journal subscribed to, they are paid by the author-institution, per
article published. However, out of the 24,000 journals published
today, only 5 per cent have so far made the transition to become open
access journals, whereas around 80 per cent allow authors to make OA
copies of their own articles.

The only difference between the publishers therefore is that Springer
offers authors the choice of paying for OA, and Reed Elsevier does
not. But authors who want the benefits of OA now do not have to wait
until they can pay their publishers to provide it for them. They can
already do it themselves with a few keystrokes, for free, today.



School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton

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