Description

One of the common pathways proposed to achieving a global open access scholarly publishing model is the “flipped” approach. In this scenario, journal publishers “flip” their pricing model from subscription to gold open access (gold OA) and library budgets are redirected from supporting subscriptions to Article Publishing Costs (APCs) associated with gold OA. Initiatives such as OA2020, and more recently Plan S, have to varying degrees advocated for this approach.

Underlying the flipped model is the assumption there is enough money in the global academic library subscription system to cover the costs of a scholarly publishing model based on APCs. A number of studies have tested this assumption including the Mellon Foundation Pay It Forward report which focused on large, research intensive universities in North America and the Max Planck Digital Library Open Access Policy white paper which used global market reports and publishing figures to derive their calculations. However, is this assumption valid for other sized universities or using different analytical approaches?

In 2018, the Matariki Network of Universities (an international collaborative venture of seven medium sized universities) used its unique partnership to test this assumption for medium-sized universities using shared subscription and publishing data. The project had two specific objectives. Firstly, to determine if the amount of money paid by Matariki institutions for journal subscriptions both individually and collectively is enough to cover APC costs of a flipped model. Secondly, to determine what the average APC cost would need to be if each Matariki institution only had their subscription budget to cover gold OA publishing.

This paper describes the approach taken in the study and outlines the findings in comparison to other studies. It will also discuss the implications of the results in the context of current initiatives supporting a flipped model.

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ADDING UP THE FLIPPED SUBSCRIPTION MODEL

One of the common pathways proposed to achieving a global open access scholarly publishing model is the “flipped” approach. In this scenario, journal publishers “flip” their pricing model from subscription to gold open access (gold OA) and library budgets are redirected from supporting subscriptions to Article Publishing Costs (APCs) associated with gold OA. Initiatives such as OA2020, and more recently Plan S, have to varying degrees advocated for this approach.

Underlying the flipped model is the assumption there is enough money in the global academic library subscription system to cover the costs of a scholarly publishing model based on APCs. A number of studies have tested this assumption including the Mellon Foundation Pay It Forward report which focused on large, research intensive universities in North America and the Max Planck Digital Library Open Access Policy white paper which used global market reports and publishing figures to derive their calculations. However, is this assumption valid for other sized universities or using different analytical approaches?

In 2018, the Matariki Network of Universities (an international collaborative venture of seven medium sized universities) used its unique partnership to test this assumption for medium-sized universities using shared subscription and publishing data. The project had two specific objectives. Firstly, to determine if the amount of money paid by Matariki institutions for journal subscriptions both individually and collectively is enough to cover APC costs of a flipped model. Secondly, to determine what the average APC cost would need to be if each Matariki institution only had their subscription budget to cover gold OA publishing.

This paper describes the approach taken in the study and outlines the findings in comparison to other studies. It will also discuss the implications of the results in the context of current initiatives supporting a flipped model.