03 December 2007

Slaying the Author-Side Fees Dragon

There is some long-living FUD abroad in the open access world: that the only way OA journals work is by charging authors - the "author-side fees" model. It exists, to be sure, but is far less widespread than many believe. And the reason for the longevity of that FUD is not hard to find: it serves the purposes of the traditional science publishers well, by frightening people with the prospect of paying to publish, rather than paying to read.

But the time has come to slay this particular dragon:

Now, can we please put to rest the myth/FUD/whatever that there is only one OA model, the author-side fees/PLoS model? While we're at it, let's have a few more closely related ideas go the way of the dodo: that OA journals discriminate against indigent authors (because they charge publication fees -- except that most of them don't); that OA journals will compromise on quality (in order to collect payment for manuscripts -- except that most of them don't); that if most journals went OA, universities would have to pay more in author-side fees (which, remember, most OA journals don't, but most non-OA journals do, charge) than they do now in subscription fees.

See also Peter Suber's earlier commentary on the same issue.

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