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147 1 3 Business models for Open Access publishing and their effect on the digital library David C. Prosser The Internet has radically changed the way in which researchers and students gain access to scholarly research articles. The vast majority of core research journals are available online (over 90% in science, technical, and medical subjects) and readers have become used to 24/7 desk-top access to articles of interest. While access has changed beyond recognition, other aspects of the scholarly communication process have been less impacted on. For example, with the exception of a few experiments, peer review has remained fundamentally unchanged for over 50 years. Between these two extremes lie business models for electronic publishing – a transition is currently taking place, but we are in the middle of that transition. However, even in the midst of the change it is clear that there will be significant implications for libraries as a result of the new models. Open access Over the past decade open access (OA) has become an increasingly important part of the scholarly communications landscape. In February 2002 the Budapest Open Access Initiative defined open access as the: “…free availability [of research articles] on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.” Further, two types of OA were described: 1.  Self-archiving (often referred to as ‘Green’ OA) whereby authors (or their proxies) deposit copies of their articles in open, interoperable electronic archives. These copies may be the exact versions published (including the formatting of the publisher), the authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts, or even pre-refereed pre-prints. 2.  Open access journals (often referred to as ‘Gold’ OA) where journals place no financial barriers (such as subscriptions) between research and readers but look to other revenue sources to meet electronic publication costs. Since 2002, OA has assumed increasing importance in the provision of scholarly information. By any metric – number and size of repositories, number and impact of BPDG_opmaak_12072010.indd 147 13/07/10 11:51 David C. Prosser 148 journals, number and impact of funder and institutional OA mandates – we see significant year-on-year improvements. However, while the library community has been intimately involved in developing the OA infrastructure, the effects to date on the digital library have been less clear. What is clear is that OA – through both repositories and journals – signals a long-term shift, not just in the delivery mechanism for scholarly materials, but also in the business models which underlie that provision. Moreover, the successful business models will almost certainly be different for green and gold OA. In the traditional, paper-based library a significant proportion of the budget was dedicated to purchasing materials, cataloguing them, and ensuring that the material was available for physical inspection by readers. In the move over the last 15 years to increasing online provision there has been a shift to licensing access to material, rather than purchasing it, with the material hosted by the publisher rather than the library. This shift started in journals, but has increasingly become apparent in monographs and textbooks. Today, the physical holdings of many research libraries are significantly smaller than the ‘e-holdings’ (or, at least, the e-access). Despite this shift it is still true that a large, and increasing, proportion of the library budget is dedicated to providing access to information. But in an OA environment access is free. There are no financial barriers placed between the research and reader and so no need for acquisition budgets, for purchasing decisions, or for systems to track holdings. What then is the role of the digital library in this open access world? To begin to answer this question we need to look at the two types of OA separately. The economics of Green OA Green OA is solely concerned with access. Articles deposited in repositories have been peer-reviewed by journals (either OA or subscription-based), and so none of the economics of peer-review apply to green OA. The main economic issue revolves around the provision of the archives into which articles are deposited. Within the OA community there is an ongoing debate as to the ideal type and location of OA repository: should repositories be centralised (for example nationally...


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