Tag Archives: access

The Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Open Access Transitions on Library Budgets in Britain and Germany

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-12-08
URL: http://openscience.com/the-short-term-and-long-term-effects-of-transitions-to-open-access-on-library-budgets-a-comparison-of-germany-and-britain/

As recent media reports indicate, a significant impact of Open Access transitions on university and library costs related to scientific journal subscriptions can primarily be expected in the long term, if no concerted measures by academic institutions are undertaken. By contrast, short-term subscription cost reductions are likely to demand contract renegotiations. In both cases, Open Access is an integral part of changing the model based on which the journal publishing market operates.


In a news brief from December 5, 2017, The Times Higher Education has recently recapitulated the key findings of a recent report on the transition to Open Access in the United Kingdom (UK) appearing on December 5, 2017. Based on spending data from a sample of 10 UK universities for the period between 2013 and 2016, this report indicates that journal subscription costs of these institutions have increased by 20% in this time span. In other words, this publication argues that in this period transitioning to Open Access not only has not lead to a significant reduction in university library subscription budgets, but was also accompanied by growing expenditures for both subscriptions that have reached 16.7 million GBP and article processing charges (APCs) which have amounted to 3.4 million GBP in 2016.

Yet, while report authors, such as Michael Jubb, express their concern about the rise in overall journal access- and publication-related costs, disentangling the short- and long-term perspectives on these data could be instructive. More specifically, it is difficult to expect Open Access have a significant effect on journal subscription costs in the studied period, since large publishers, such as Elsevier, have continued to be successful in renewing their journal access contracts with British universities, the growing popularity of Open Access notwithstanding. All things being equal, in the short-term without systemic changes the adoption of Open Access is likely to add to university costs, such as through APCs, especially if these academic institutions do not renegotiate their extant subscription agreements.

By Pablo Markin

The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Amid Knowledge Access Concerns, the Switch of German Universities and Institutes to Open Access Can Bring Visibility

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-09-20
URL: http://openscience.com/amid-knowledge-access-concerns-the-switch-of-german-universities-and-institutes-to-open-access-can-bring-visibility/

Though concerted university-level transitions to Open Access can raise competitiveness concerns, such as in Germany, ranking systems and downloading statistics indicate that Open Access can raise the international visibility of academic institutions.


While the negotiations between German universities and Elsevier, as one of the largest publishers, over journal subscription charges appear to be stalled, according to David Matthews’ communication with Dr. Martin Köhler, a lawyer involved in these negotiations, for the Times Higher Education, interlibrary article loans, rather than illegal downloading, e.g., from Sci-Hub, can represent a viable alternative to prolongating the existing contracts between this publisher and German academic institutions. […]

Though severing subscription contracts with large journal publishers may raise concerns about the long-term competitiveness of German universities and institutes, as Elsevier has done, recent research results, as the 2017 presentation of Mikael Laakso from the University of Jyväskylä shows, on the impact of Open Access on academic organizations suggest that Open Access can significantly boost research discoverability. Furthermore, in 2016 Teplitskiy, Lu and Duede have found Open Access articles to be 47% more likely to be cited in Wikipedia than their subscription-protected counterparts. Consequently, German universities switching to Open Access can be expected to both remove barriers to the discoverability of their latest findings and increase their international visibility, especially since research reputation and citations can make up to 48% of university ranking scores, such as by the Times Higher Education. Furthermore, recent data suggest that Harvard University’s Open Access repository has been experiencing constantly growing yearly content downloading rates that have already reached more than 3,558,150 in 2017 alone.

By Pablo Markin

The full-length original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Subscription-Based Journals May Be Facing the Music Industry Predicament due to File-Sharing Platforms

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-18
URL: http://openscience.com/subscription-based-journals-may-be-facing-the-music-industry-predicament-due-to-file-sharing-platforms/

As large publishers fight via legal means illegal scientific article downloading, such as via Sci-Hub, empirical findings show that over 85% of paywall-protected article catalogues are accessible through no-fee, controversial repositories.


While legislative initiatives seek to strike a balance between the interests of academic journal publishing industry and those of scientific communities, such as by setting quotas for Open Access to publicly supported research publications, as has recently been proposed in Germany, they can be perceived as falling short of researcher needs that continue to be largely covered by scholarly journal subscriptions that university libraries and research institutions acquire on a regular basis. At the same time, digitization may be poised to unleash in the scientific journal publishing industry changes similar to those that illegal music download platforms have instigated in the music industry. […]

Likewise, journal publishing may be in the throes of a similar transformation, as digitization-related factors make pirated scholarly papers accessible for illegal downloading, such as through Sci-Hub, at no cost. Reachable through a series of websites providing access to direct, albeit illegal, downloading of academic papers from several repositories, Sci-Hub has been founded by Alexandra Elbakyan, Kazakhstan national who could not afford article access fees that large publishers charge, in 2011. In 2015, Elsevier, one of major international scientific journal publishers, has filed a copyright infringement complaint against Sci-Hub and other article downloading platforms, such as Library Genesis, in New York, while demanding 15 million USD in damages. Though a New York court has decided this legal case in favor of Elsevier in June 2017, this publisher has been increasing its Open Access portfolio holdings in recent years, which can indicate a change in its business model.

By Pablo Markin

The full-length original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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