SURF foundation study shows the major economic benefits that would follow a move to open access
This study examines the costs and potential benefits of alternative models for scientific and scholarly publishing in the Netherlands. It is a follow-up of the Australian study ‘Research Communication Costs, Emerging Opportunities and Benefits’ (Houghton et al. 2006) and the UK/JISC study ‘Economic Implications of Alternative Scholarly Publishing Models’. The Dutch study was commissioned by SURFfoundation and led by Professor John Houghton from the Centre of Strategic Economic Studies at Melbourne’s Victoria University and Jos de Jonge and Marcia van Oploo of EIM Business & Policy Research in the Netherlands.
At the moment, research universities and “universities of applied sciences” [hogescholen] pay millions of euros every year for access to scientific and scholarly publications. Businesses, smaller hogescholen, and other organisations often cannot afford the expensive licences needed for access. If the “Open Access” model were to be applied globally, there would be increased access to research results for both researchers and the public at large.
The study Costs and Benefits of Research Communication: The Dutch Situation compares three publication models. The greatest advantage is offered by the Open Access model, which means that the research institution or the party financing the research pays for publication and the article is then freely accessible. Adopting this model could lead to an annual saving of EUR 133 million. Even if the Netherlands were the only country to adopt this publication model and continued to pay for licences to access periodicals, there would still be a saving of EUR 37 million.
The report concludes that the advantages would not just be in the long term; in the transitional phase too, more open access to research results would have positive effects. Both the full report and a summary are available.