What also came up was a discussion about the nature of open access funding. Why is it that there is an expectation on research institutions to have enough money to pay for their work to be published. Ernesto spoke about that he thought might be the reason.
Open Access for some big business publishers is simply an inversion of their funding model, rather than a revolution. Instead of deconstructing the model, the costs are swung round to the producers. Also open access started mainly in the sciences. Many large scale science projects will be funded by military and government agencies. In these examples, a research unit will have large funding reserves and can use open access to promote the impact of the work. Publishers have a history of dealing with well funded science research when it comes to open access. This is however not the case for any researchers, such as humanities and social sciences, who often will not have the same limitless reserves.
Perhaps if we want a different funding solution we need to take ownership of it (as library professionals). In class I raised the issue of a new OA funding model/idea that my friend mentioned to me: platinum open access.
I found Martin Eve's book very useful on understanding different definitions of open access models: Open Access and the Humanities. As I understand it, platinum OA is open access publishing similar to gold OA however authors do not pay for their content to be published. Instead other means are used, such as charitable funds, voluntary work or other funding grants.
I also found an editorial piece advocating for platinum over gold (OA) from a open access journal Feminist@Law. It points out that gold has become the norm for OA publishing especially by large publishing books such as BioMedCentral and PLoS many of whom use hybrid OA in which an journal publishes a mixture of OA and subscription content. Other routes are not always explored and gold OA has its downsides. Feminist@Law outlines a number of limitations to gold:
- too much of a focus "on access for consumers but not for authors"
- "it does not address the severe disadvantage overseas authors, particularly those from the global south, are likely to experience faced with the demand to pay UK-level APCs"
- " researchers with no institutional affiliation" will be excluded (due to low funding streams for OA publishing)
- " More generally, less well-endowed universities are likely to be able to offer less to their staff in terms of support for APCs, thus inhibiting their ability to publish."
- lack of competitive pricing of APCs from rival publishers - trend seems to be high throughout sector
- some traditional subscription models actually plow money from subscriptions back to the learned societies, but gold can disrupt this
" Under this model, journals (such as this one) are online, open access, using open source software, hosted by universities, and run by volunteer academic labour, with reviewing and editing tasks being institutionally acknowledged and rewarded in other ways. They offer true open access, i.e. are free for consumers to read (globally) and for authors to enter (globally). The relatively low cost of server space is borne by the host institution at considerably less cost than either journal subscriptions or APCs."