Heading for the open road: costs and benefits of transitions in scholarly communications

Added by Catherine Gray on 07 April 2011

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This new report investigates the drivers, costs and benefits of potential ways to increase access to scholarly journals. It identifies five different routes for achieving that end over the next five years, and compares and evaluates the benefits as well as the costs and risks for the UK.

The report suggests that policymakers who are seeking to promote increases in access should encourage the use of existing subject and institutional repositories, but avoid pushing for reductions in embargo periods, which might put at risk the sustainability of the underlying scholarly publishing system. They should also promote and facilitate a transition to open access publishing (Gold open access) while seeking to ensure that the average level of charges for publication does not exceed c.£2000; that the rate in the UK of open access publication is broadly in step with the rate in the rest of the world; and that total payments to journal publishers from UK universities and their funders do not rise as a consequence.

At a time of financial stringency for universities, research funders and publishers, it is important that all the stakeholders in the scholarly communications system work together to find the most cost-effective ways of fulfilling their joint goal of increasing access to the outputs of research. This report provides the first detailed and authoritative analysis of how this might be achieved over the next five years. We hope that it will stimulate new dialogue and new approaches to policy and practice across all stakeholders.

This work was jointly commissioned by the RIN, Research Libraries UK, the Wellcome Trust, the Publishing Research Consortium and the Joint Information Systems Committee. It is part of our Transitions in scholarly communications portfolio of projects.

The report annexes and an executive summary are available to download below. You can request hard copies via contact@rin.ac.uk

Please note: there was a small error of a mislabelled graph in an earlier version of the below report, which has now been replaced.

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