spobooks5621225.0001.001 in

    9.6 Free-access model

    We also ran simulations to determine the level of author fees that would be required to fund the free-access model. We present the results in Table 9.2. The fee varies depending on the overhead and profit margin. These fees were submission fees, i.e. they are based on the assumption that all authors whose papers are refereed contribute to costs. It has been argued that all authors should contribute to journal costs as some costs are related to administration and refereeing of papers regardless of whether they are accepted. It may be unrealistic, however to expect UK authors whose papers are rejected to contribute. Some journals in the USA charge submission fees which are not returnable but UK authors are less willing to pay fees for submission or publication (L. Halliday, unpublished data, 2001).

    Table 9.2: Harnad electronic journal model simulations to determine author submission fee if overhead rate, and journal rejection rate are varied.
    Overhead rate 30% 60% 120%
    Rejection rate 10% 90% 10% 90% 10% 90%
    Submission fee ($) 816 58 1005 112 1383 154
    Per Page ($) 81 6 101 11 138 15

    Harnad suggested that fees of tens of dollars a page rather than hundreds of dollars a page would be acceptable and estimated that it would cost approximately $400 to produce a 20-page article. This gives a page charge of $20 which is insufficient to support our model. That is not surprising considering that ours is a model involving the employment of paid professionals to produce a journal with what we consider to include core functionality. Harnad suggested that professional publishing staff are unnecessary. His model and relied largely on unpaid contributions. Nevertheless, the fees generated by our model fall within a range that some authors consider acceptable. Acceptance of the free-access model requires authors to take a system-wide view of the costs and benefits of scholarly publishing as it affects the whole organisation including the library (see Tenopir and King 2000). The main barrier to implementation of this model is cultural: that is, getting authors to accept the principle of page charges. Few journals have tested this model. One example is the New Journal of Physics published by the Institute of Physics Publishing . Authors pay $500 per accepted paper. Submissions to this journal have been slow, but this is the case for any new journal. Authors' reluctance to publish in NJP may be related to concerns about digital publication per se rather than to the pricing model.