According to a report of Knowledge Exchange publishers can benefit from a model in which an author pays a fee when submitting an article.
It reads: “Overall there seems to be an interest in the model but the risks, particularly those involved in any transition, are seen by the publishers to outweigh the perceived benefits. There is also a problem in that the advantages offered by submission fees are often general benefits that might improve the system but do not provide publishers and authors with direct incentives to change to open access. To support transition funders, institutions and publication funds could make it clear that submission fees would be an allowable cost. At present this is often unclear in their policies.”
The website of Knowledge Exchange continues explaining that “one model in particular is regarded as the most suitable way to meet the current requirements (i.e. to strengthen open access to research publications). In this model authors pay a submission fee plus an Article Processing Fee and the article is subsequently made available in open access. Both fees are set at levels that balance acceptability with the author community with securing a meaningful mix of revenues for the Publisher.”
Mark Ware Consulting (MWC) was commissioned to undertake the study into the feasibility of submission fees in open access journals. To this end he performed a literature survey and held several interviews primarily with journal editors and publishers. In total some 40 interviews were conducted.
Download the report ‘Submission Fees – a tool in the transition to open access?’
About Knowledge Exchange
KE is a very interesting initiative even though it is only a temporary effort (started in 2008, ending in 2011). Based upon a partnership of four important national institutes, it aims to improve the digital infrastructure for information and communication technology as it relates to the research and university library sectors. The partners are:
- Denmark’s Electronic Research Library (DEFF) in Denmark
- German Research Foundation (DFG) in Germany
- Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the United Kingdom
- SURFfoundation in the Netherlands
Basically the partners want to have a layer of scholarly and scientific content openly available in the internet. To this end it is investigating different routes. One of these involves exploring new developments in the future of publishing, such as alternative business models which could contribute to the transition to open access.
I am not sure what to make from the conclusions. As the report also says, author acceptance of submission fees is critical to its success. I personally can’t escape from the feeling that it is quite odd to ask an author for a fee… how in heaven’s name can you explain that one has to pay to make his/her findings publicly available?? Any views on this?