The high price of research open access

As the OA push picks up pace research data analytics provider Clarivate warns there’s no such thing as a free article

Plan S is picking up pace, with the University of California joining European university systems in requiring journal publishers to make research articles free to read.  But Plan S involves researchers, or their institutions, paying journals an article publishing charge – and this will be a problem. According to Clarivate’s Nandita Quaderi, James Hardcastle, Christos Petrou and Martin Szomszor, 120 000 articles from Plan S institutions appeared on the Web of Science in 2017. The cost of paying to publish them, based on existing publishing charges, would be €150m.

“Meeting these costs will fall on research funders. It is not evident whether marginal resources are available to support all affected authors,” the Clarivate team warns.

Unless of course, CMM suggests, negotiations with the big for-profit publishers lead to lower article charges and subscriptions or lower cost competitors build share.


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