Open access is seen by many as the publishing model that is most in keeping with the egalitarian ethos of academia. But a paper by two economists suggests that 'gold' open access, under which the author pays for publication and the article is made freely available, could be costly for research-intensive institutions, while benefiting those that do little research, writes Andy Wright for Times Higher Education.
Richard Watt, associate professor of economics at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and Frank Muller-Langer, senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law in Germany, claim in their paper "Copyright and Open Access for Academic Works" that under the current system, many institutions pay for access to a similar set of journals, and so have similar costs. If this was replaced with a gold open-access model, the costs incurred would be in proportion to the number of papers published, so the most research-active institutions would pay a lot, while the less productive would pay little. Despite this disparity, all would have equal, free access to the papers.
Full report on the Times Higher Education site
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