Open access briefing paper: Considering the implications of the Finch Report | Jisc scholarly communications
peter.suber's bookmarks 2018-10-22
"It is now six years since the publication of the Report of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings (Finch Group), “Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications” .
The Finch settlement noted that a transition to open access may not be quick and as such it called for increased funding for APCs during the transition period which has been provided through the RCUK Block Grant  and to a less extent institutional funds. The Finch Report was based on the assumption that the example set by the UK, coupled with increased funding and international leadership would stimulate a set of behaviours internationally leading to a swift transition.
Over six years on and in light of the 2017 monitoring report from the Universities UK Open Access Coordination Group  this discussion paper examines the impact and consequences of the UK approach, before suggesting possible interventions that might be considered further to evaluate their contribution to enhancing the transition to open access in the UK for all stakeholders.
Based on the available evidence the following observations on the ‘state’ of open access in the UK can be made:...
- Payment for Gold OA via APCs has been the primary model for driving the growth of OA 
- Hybrid Gold OA is the most popular with UK researchers, though Pure Gold OA is increasingly popular, the proportions stood at 70:30 in 2016  ...
- The average APC increased in cost by 16% between 2013 and 2016 
- The average cost of an APC is over 25% higher in hybrid OA journals than Pure Gold OA journals 
- The gap between the cost of hybrid APCs and Pure Gold APCs is shrinking as Pure Gold APCs are increasing in price at a faster rate 
- Expenditure on APCs has at least quadrupled between 2013 and 2016 
- At the same time expenditure on subscriptions has continued to grow, though at a much slower pace  ...
- Other countries were adopting the UK approach of making additional funds available to cover the cost of APCs
- Other countries are seeking to transition existing subscription agreements to OA agreements
- The number of subscription articles published globally was falling and being replaced by OA articles....
- [The UK approach] has entrenched reputation and prestige of journals as a primary signifier of the quality of articles 
- It incentivises publication as the primary model of assessment and the article as the primary unit of assessment
- It has entrenched the existing market power and financial returns to legacy publishers 
- It has entrenched the subscription model since the main mechanism for constraining costs has been via subscription agreements including APCs 
- It has perpetuated the opacity of the costs of the subscription model
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