Journals too expensive, go open access: Harvard decree 2012-05-01


“The world’s richest university and second richest not-for-profit organisation in the world after the Catholic Church has told staff it can no longer afford to pay for journal subscriptions and they should publish in open access alternatives. In a note to staff posted on the Harvard website earlier this week, the faculty advisory council said the annual cost of journals was now US$3.75 million ($3.6m). ‘Some journals cost as much as $40,000 a year,’ the memo said. It pointed to academic publishers, such as Elsevier, bundling high-use journals with more obscure ones and also had a stab at the publishing company’s huge profit margins of 37 per cent. Subscription prices from two publishers had increased by 145 per cent in just six years, with journals representing 10 per cent of all library acquisition costs in 2010, the memo said. The council advised staff to ‘make sure all your own papers are accessible … in accordance with the faculty-initiated open access policies [and] consider submitting articles to open-access journals or to ones that have a reasonable, sustainable subscription costs; move prestige to open access’. Colin Steel, a former librarian at Australian National University and advocate for open access said: ‘When American research libraries sneeze, the multinational publishers may well catch a fiscal cold, although Australian universities, cushioned by the high dollar in relation to journal prices, have unfortunately lost their attention span.’ Mr Steel said recent comments by Australian Research Council CEO, Margaret Sheil this week that confirmed she did not consider open access appropriate at this time revealed ‘a lack of understanding of core issues’. ‘It may well lead to an ARC ‘winter of discontent’ as her comments continue to ripple round the world gaining significant criticism.’ Professor Shiel wrote in The Conversation this week that open access mandates that researchers publish in open access journals. She also said open access interfered with commercialisation activities. Both points have been disputed. Mr Steel pointed to a comment posted online, Peter Suber, director of the Harvard open access project, wrote: ‘Did the ARC ever deliberate about an OA policy, and if so, what counted as deliberation?’ ‘The ARC’S real public engagement in discussions on the OA topic are almost non existent. If alleged complexities exist for the apparently ‘naïve’ open access advocates, what is the ARC actually doing to determine what these complexities are?’ The National Health and Medical Research Council has said it will move to promote open access publication of all publically funded research. In the meantime, three of the world’s most important and influential research institutes – the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust – are to launch their own open access journal, eLife by the end of the year. ‘We aim to make eLife the leading choice for all researchers, in particular for early-career researchers. It’s important that early experiences of publishing are constructive and fair,’ it says.”



08/16/2012, 06:08

From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.business_models oa.publishers oa.policies oa.comment oa.universities oa.elsevier oa.libraries oa.australia oa.prestige oa.librarians oa.prices oa.funders oa.wellcome oa.harvard.u oa.budgets oa.elife oa.colleges oa.dash oa.nhmrc oa.hoap oa.arc oa.repositories oa.hei oa.journals



Date tagged:

05/01/2012, 22:54

Date published:

04/26/2012, 16:16