Gold Open Access Mandates May Be Associated with Publisher Revenue Losses and Library Cost Increases | Open Research Community

A recent analysis outlining alternative scenarios for the publishing market development in the United Kingdom (UK) suggests a strong likelihood of lose-lose outcomes for publishers and universities for mandate-driven transitions to Open Access.

Economic assessment of the impact of the new Open Access policy developed by UK Research and Innovation

“2. Key findings

2.1 The UK’s academic publishing sector is world-leading and generates nearly 60% more value for the UK economy than it earns in profits. The UKRI Policy will affect the ability of all types of academic publishers – commercial organisations, learned societies and university presses alike – to contribute to the UK’s research ecosystem.

2.2 If the proposed UKRI Policy is pursued, the estimated loss to UK-based journals would be in the order of GBP 292 million per year or approximately GBP 2.0 billion in the period from 2022 to 2027. For some, monograph publishing will become unsustainable. This would prevent publishers from making the necessary investment to maintain the quality and impact of UK research, and perhaps even lead to some smaller publishers going out of business. The associated loss of economic output would be in the order of GBP 3.2 billion.

2.3 A significant proportion of the loss to UK-based journals would represent the loss of export revenue, with foreign entities standing to gain the most financially from the UK transition. Indeed, there would be a substantial ‘first-mover’ disadvantage for the UK, as a research-intensive nation, to transition at a faster rate than the rest of the world.

2.4 The UKRI Policy could also mean an increase in expenditure for research intensive universities in the UK in the order of GBP 130-140 million per annum, if a significant number of journals were to transition to ‘Fully OA’ in response to the UKRI Policy. In this scenario, the ‘Top 20’ most research-intensive universities in the UK would need to cover approximately half of the anticipated increase in publication costs.

2.5 Moreover, UK libraries would still need to subscribe to content that is not currently available on an OA-basis. The cost saving associated with certain journals or monographs transitioning to ‘Fully OA’ would be modest, in the order of a few million pounds per year.

2.6 Importantly, the UKRI Policy would inhibit scholars’ ability to conduct research in their respective disciplines in an effective and accurate way, with an associated cost to research productivity. Indeed, the Policy could dilute the benefits that could be expected from OA to the published outputs of academic research. Ultimately, UK research would risk becoming less impactful and less wellregarded, with a knock-on effect on the UK’s standing as a global research hub….”

Open Response to “Economic impact of UKRI open access policy” report – The Official PLOS Blog

“While we are not setting out to provide an extensive review and analysis of this report, we do want to generally refute the assertion that OA via the UKRI policy is economically damaging, and we’ll provide some references that support this position….

PLOS believes that publishers globally should be leading the efforts to devise and develop the next generation of business models that are able to support their operations in an Open Access context. This will, of course, require deep, and sometimes difficult, work by transitioning publishers. But we strongly believe this work is not outside the acceptable effort level of conscientious members of the scholarly publishing industry that have been aware of Open Access, and its benefits, for at least the last 20 years….

to successfully set up the most efficient,  frictionless Open Access ecosystem, we should leverage the existing budgets and infrastructures of scholarly publishing but with OA as the outcome. This way, Open Access is not viewed as a destructive force, or something external and different that traditional publishers are not part of, but simply as the new way to publish and communicate research that all publishers can facilitate..”

Economic Impact Assessment – Publishers Association

“The economic impact of a new Open Access (OA) policy from UK Research and Innovation Report (UKRI) is assessed in this report, produced by FTI Consulting.

The main focus of this exercise was to:

assess the impact of specific policy conditions that have been proposed for journal articles and long-form research publications (monographs), using the existing policy framework as a benchmark; 
consider the impact of the UKRI policy on different groups of stakeholders within the scholarly communications ecosystem;
understand the immediate economic impact of the proposed policy and how this might change in the future in light of industry trends; and
compare the impact of the policy proposals against UKRI’s stated policy objectives….”

Open Letter to the Publishers Association

“During the first lockdown, many publishers were quick to react to the seriousness of the situation and to offer extended online access to their resources, so mitigating against some of the immediate problems caused by restrictions on libraries. SCONUL and RLUK were amongst a group of UK bodies that welcomed these moves by publishers….

Unfortunately, universities in the UK find themselves in much the same situation as at the start of the pandemic and that first lockdown. With students required to stay away from campus the need for online access is as acute today as it was last March. Our members strive to provide as closely as possible the same experience to students studying remotely as those on campus. Unfortunately, licencing terms and conditions often mean that this parity of experience for students cannot be realised. In our statement last year, we listed ten ways in which publishers could help the HE sector. Not all include making all content universally available, but all would improve learning, teaching, and research in the UK and help to show publishers’ partnership role. We would ask the Publishers Association and the publishers you represent to look again at what you could do to support UK higher education and research as we pass through this difficult period. We would particularly urge publishers to permanently remove additional access barriers and related charges to institutions for registered students studying at a distance and move away from the per-FTE e-textbook pricing models.”

Open Letter to the Publishers Association

“During the first lockdown, many publishers were quick to react to the seriousness of the situation and to offer extended online access to their resources, so mitigating against some of the immediate problems caused by restrictions on libraries. SCONUL and RLUK were amongst a group of UK bodies that welcomed these moves by publishers….

Unfortunately, universities in the UK find themselves in much the same situation as at the start of the pandemic and that first lockdown. With students required to stay away from campus the need for online access is as acute today as it was last March. Our members strive to provide as closely as possible the same experience to students studying remotely as those on campus. Unfortunately, licencing terms and conditions often mean that this parity of experience for students cannot be realised. In our statement last year, we listed ten ways in which publishers could help the HE sector. Not all include making all content universally available, but all would improve learning, teaching, and research in the UK and help to show publishers’ partnership role. We would ask the Publishers Association and the publishers you represent to look again at what you could do to support UK higher education and research as we pass through this difficult period. We would particularly urge publishers to permanently remove additional access barriers and related charges to institutions for registered students studying at a distance and move away from the per-FTE e-textbook pricing models.”

Covid-19 Pulse Check  Survey

“As we all know the global Covid-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented change to businesses around the world at a pace that has been unimaginable.  Businesses have had to adapt quickly to address the immediacy of the challenge and now need to assess longer term impacts and plan for the future.

For the publishing industry, the uncertainty caused by Covid-19 comes in the midst of digital disruption and changing trends in consumerism.

Business is anything but usual.

Maverick Publishing Specialists are conducting research into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the UK publishing industry.  This research will explore impacts on customers, staff, supply chains, operations and product roadmaps and will result in research that will be freely available to members of UK publishing trade associations….”

Covid-19 Pulse Check  Survey

“As we all know the global Covid-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented change to businesses around the world at a pace that has been unimaginable.  Businesses have had to adapt quickly to address the immediacy of the challenge and now need to assess longer term impacts and plan for the future.

For the publishing industry, the uncertainty caused by Covid-19 comes in the midst of digital disruption and changing trends in consumerism.

Business is anything but usual.

Maverick Publishing Specialists are conducting research into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the UK publishing industry.  This research will explore impacts on customers, staff, supply chains, operations and product roadmaps and will result in research that will be freely available to members of UK publishing trade associations….”

PA backs AAP as publishers file lawsuit against Internet Archive | The Bookseller

“The Publishers Association has expressed its support as member companies of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Internet Archive (IA), a self-described American digital library offering “universal access to all knowledge”.

The PA said that, although the Internet Archive purports to be a library, “it is not and behind that guise it is facilitating the distribution of millions of pirated books without paying a penny to the authors and publishers who produce them”.

The lawsuit against Internet Archive, for systematic mass scanning and distribution of literary works, was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Among the plaintiffs are Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons and Penguin Random House. …”

Publishers fully committed to Open Access transition

“Academic publishers want to make the transition to Open Access (OA) a reality as comprehensively and rapidly as possible and see transformative agreements as vital to this process, according to a new independent report published today. 

The report, authored by Dr Michael Jubb, emphasises the integral role agreements between academic publishers and institutions will play and also outlines the key areas where publishers remain concerned about the impact of the transition to OA.

Publishers, librarians and researchers contributed to conversations around three central themes in the report:

Green OA and embargo periods;
Licensing requirements; and
Hybrid journals.

The report, Evidence to inform a response to the UKRI review of Open Access policies, will be submitted to UK Research and Innovation in contribution to its forthcoming consultation on UK OA policy. It also reflects on the Plan S initiative for OA science publishing announced by Science Europe in 2018.

In the report’s conclusions, Dr Michael Jubb writes: 

“There has been a noticeable change in the tone of publishers’ discussions about the future of scholarly publishing. Publishers want to make the transition to OA a reality as comprehensively and rapidly as possible; and they see the transformation of hybrid journals through the kinds of agreements now being put in place as the key viable route to a full transition.

“But they are clear that such a transition cannot be achieved as quickly as Plan S suggest; and that some key aspects of the Plan S requirements, particularly those relating to Green OA with zero embargoes and a CCBY licence, are simply unacceptable.” …”