indicate that freely accessible papers are downloaded and cited more often than
papers available only via subscriptions. The study suggests that even a modest
1% increase in the accessibility and efficiency of the papers covered by this
proposed legislation could result in a 20% annual return on the 11 agencies’
investments in research and development.
Houghton’s US study closely examines the model’s sensitivity to critical
assumptions and broadly concludes that the benefits of public access would
exceed the costs over a wide range of scenarios. However, Houghton and his
team recognize that these studies represent a starting point for detailed
economic analysis. Crucially, the study also defines additional data and model
developments that the authors suggest can help to fine-tune future estimates of
the policy’s impact, and they also encourage the use/evolution of the model by
any interested stakeholders. While some publishing trade organizations (most
notably STM, the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical
Publishers) have criticized the report’s findings in a press release,12 no alternative
economic data or models have yet been provided.
Conclusion
Collectively, this series of reports and studies focusing on developing effective
mechanisms to quantify the potential return on investment in scientific research
through providing greater access provides an important new data set to be
considered in policy deliberations. Continuing to refine such models, or creating
additional models, can only serve to enhance our understanding of the potential
impact of opening up access to the results of publicly funded research.
1
Council of the European Union, “Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council,” March
13/14, 2008, rev. May 20, 2008, p. 7,
http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/99410.pdf.
2
Mark Ware, Access by UK Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises to Professional and Academic Information,
([London]: Publishing Research Consortium, August 2009), 13, table 2,
http://www.publishingresearch.net/SMEaccess.htm.
3
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, “Governments Should Improve Access to
Publicly Funded Research, Finds OECD Report,” news release, Sept. 22, 2005,
http://www.oecd.org/document/1/0,2340,en_2649_201185_35397879_1_1_1_1,00.html. See also the
full report: John Houghton and Graham Vickery, Digital Broadband Content: Scientific Publishing ([Paris]:
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2005),
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/42/12/35393145.pdf.
4
“Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council,” p.5.
5
ROARMAP (Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies),
http://www.eprints.org/openaccess/policysignup/.
6
John Houghton et al., Economic Implications of Alternative Scholarly Publishing Models: Exploring the Costs
and Benefits, ([Bristol, England]: JISC, John Houghton et al., January 2009), 167, 224,
RLI 273
32
Public Access to Federally Funded Research
(
C O N T I N U E D
)
DECEMBER 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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