Facts About Open Access (2005)

A study of the financial and non-financial effects of alternative business models for scholarly journals.

Discussion of Open Access tends to be strong on rhetoric but short on facts. The objective of this independent study was to determine the impact of open access on scholarly journals' financial and non-financial factors and to establish a substantial body of data about different forms of Open Access publishing, and a baseline of comparison with traditional subscription publishing.

Researchers: Kaufman-Wills Group, LLC

Sponsored by: ALPSP, Highwire Press and AAAS with additional data from The Association of American Medical Colleges

The full report is available for download (PDF) free of charge here:

Complete report - including post-publication addendum on peer-review
Overview from report - including post-publication addendum on peer-review
Post-publication addendum - including additional, corrected data and analysis on peer-review
ALPSP Press Release - issued 11th October 2005


ISBN: 0-907341-30-6 / 978-0-907341-30-7
128 pages, paperback, 297 x 145mm
Publication: 1 October 2005
Non Members - print copy £95.00
Members - print copy £55.00
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1 Overview

2 Study design and response

3 Detailed findings

4 Case studies and verbatim comments

5 Sponsors

6 Glossary

7 Survey instrument

In the first phase of the study, the researchers surveyed 495 journals from four groups: ALPSP member journals (128), AAMC member journals (34), a subset of journals hosted by HW (85) and 248 journals from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

The survey consisted of 33 closed-ended and 5 open-ended questions and addressed the following major categories:

  • Demographic: Including type of publisher, location of publishing offices, subject area, type of content published
  • Financial: Including revenue models, sources of financial support, percentage of total each revenue type represents, revenue trends and expectations, current surplus or deficit
  • Non-financial: Including print format, copyediting policy, number of internal/external peer reviews, services offered to Authors, copyright and permissions policies, pre/post-publishing rights of authors

The open-ended questions asked for the respondent's thoughts on the challenges and opportunities presented by open access, as well as the movement's impact on their own journal or journals and all of scholarly publishing.

In the second phase of the study in-depth interviews were conducted with 22 scholarly journal publishers of all types and sizes, representing more than 4,000 journals.

The survey covers the full spectrum of business models being used in scholarly publishing - from traditional access provided primarily via subscriptions (Subscription Access) through Delayed Open Access to Optional (author-side payment) and Full Open Access. The sponsors hope that this research will contribute to further informed discussion of alternative publishing models toward the goal of providing wide and speedy access to research findings in the public interest.

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