Having seen the following announcement by Palgrave Open:
Palgrave Macmillan is pleased to announce the launch of Palgrave Open which offers authors of accepted primary research papers the option to publish their articles with immediate open access upon publication.
With Palgrave Open authors can choose to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) in order for their article to be made available to non-subscribers.
– I thought I would contact them about whether these developments would result in a reduction in their subscription charges. After all, I reckoned, if an author pays an APC for an article to be made available to non-subscribers, should that not mean that the subscription cost for the journal will be reduced? As more and more journal publishers offer OA options (e.g. Wiley Open Access), this is a relevant question.
Here’s the answer I received by Twitter, which explains the situation with respect to Palgrave:
No, volume pagination will be increased so that OA papers in addition to normal pagination, but without reducing acceptance criteria, ie if we publish 20 OA pg we’ll aim to publish an “extra” 20 non-OA pg so subscibers are not paying for the free stuff.
I also asked Wiley, and here is their response:
Subscription rates for all our journals are reviewed annually and the proportion of OnlineOpen content is considered, if applicable.
An important issue for publishers and researchers to address is how to identify OA papers found in indexes and elsewhere in advance of a researcher having to click on the article titles and going to the publishers’ website. It could be very time-consuming and annoying to constantly click through to articles when hoping to land on an OA paper in a subscription journal with an OA option, only to find that that particular paper is not OA and that you, or your institution, did not have a subscription for the journal.
I may be missing something here, but it seems to me that unless a library already subscribes to a journal with OA options, then an OA article in a subscription journal with OA options will not appear in a library’s discovery service (Summon/Primo/etc).
If the publishers don’t address this issue, then there will be few benefits to authors paying Article Processing Charges for papers in subscription journals with OA options rather than either publishing in the journal in the normal way, or in fully OA journals (where it will be more obvious to everyone that all papers are available via OA).
Heather Morrison (The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics) recently wrote about some issues with these ‘hybrid’ journals with OA options in her post Let the competition begin! Dramatic Growth of Open Access June 30, 2011
I invite any publishers with OA options to contact me about the above, and one possible solution to this discoverability issue, at macleod.roddy [at] gmail.com