An Open Question
The sheer scope and volume of content presents opportunities for publishers who understand that new tools and services will be needed to help make sense of everything, she says.
"We get that change is hard," Joseph says. "And the publishing industry is in the cross-hairs of being the one that has to change the most. But it's a tremendous opportunity for [publishers] to be even more essential by helping make sense of the deluge of articles that open access allows researchers access to."
If open access is going to mature as a publishing model, Roy S. Kaufman believes the industry is going to have to continue experimenting with just about every facet of the business. That means more pricing variation and rights variation, he says. Kaufman, the Copyright Clearance Center's managing director of new ventures, previously served as lead counsel for the Scientific, Technical, Medical and Scholarly publishing business of Wiley. He expects the industry will see increased variation in business rules and pricing over the next few years.
"There are a lot of publishers that think they need to do one specific thing and aren't looking as granularly at what open access means for each journal and each funding agency," he says. "Publishers really need to think about the entire P&L, the entire business of each journal. What kind of open access rules are good for the authors, funding agencies and the long-term health of the journal? It might vary on a journal-to-journal level."
According to Kaufman, a push toward greater open access is also coming from funding agencies.
"What they want and what motivates them generally is they feel that if the research they fund results in the publication of a peer reviewed article, they want that article to be out there and available on the Web—not behind a pay wall," he says. "Separately, there is this notion driving open access that people want everything to be free on the Internet. For many types of publishers and media today, getting people to pay for content is a challenge. On the other hand, the open access push, especially from funding agencies, validates the original endeavor of peer-reviewed publishing. The push is to require open access to materials that have passed independent peer review, as opposed to raw data and non-peer reviewed materials. There is so much information on the Web that has not been independently vetted, so the value of the validation is even higher."