B – Equity for Open-Access Journal Publishing

Shieber SM. Equity for Open-Access Journal Publishing. PLoS Biol 2009;7(8):e1000165. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000165

Neither readers nor authors would in principle disagree with the open-access approach, i.e. articles freely available online without any access fee. But who should pay for the process? Of course commercial publishers, that have to sustain costs of editing, peer-reviewing, staffing, and marketing, could be sceptic to convert their journals to an open-access model, and could turn to “author-pays” approach. To improve efficiency and sustainability of open-access process, Shieber suggests a “compact model” strategy, in which universities and institutions provide unfungible funds to pay open-access processing fees for articles based on grand-funded research. The aim of the proposal is to stimulate open access, improving equity, and making the process more competitive with subscription-fee journals. Will institutions and grating bodies be happy to pay?