What is SCOAP3 and what does it have to do with me? SCOAP3 is the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (see [this] for more info). It is a mechanism for a field of science (in this case Particle Physics) to pay for its own publishing costs, rather than make the readers of its journals pay via subscriptions. In the SCOAP3 model, everyone involved in producing the literature of particle physics (universities, labs, and funding agencies) pays into a consortium (SCOAP3) which then pays publishers so that all articles in the field are Open Access. No particle physics journal will have a subscription cost, and everyone can read any article published. You can redirect the money that you save on subscriptions to SCOAP3 to pay for Open Access for the entire literature of Particle Physics. As a physics/science library you will be realizing the savings from the lack of subscription costs for the Particle Physics journals, so it is only natural that you would be a contributor to SCOAP3. Clearly the cost of Open Access will be similar to the cost of subscriptions, because there won’t be any new money in the system. Without your redirected money, it won’t work….
PMR:This is a great model and should work well for any large, coherent, well-managed and funded community. In reality there are probably only a few fields where it works – they need to be collaborative, global and probably specialist.
“Clearly the cost of Open Access will be similar to the cost of subscriptions, because there won’t be any new money in the system. Without your redirected money, it won’t work….”
PMR: I don’t agree. We don’t know what the cost of publishing actually is, but it’s clear that it varies widely and there is much misinformation. The fact that many Open Access society journals are author-doesn’t-pay shows that in certain cases the costs can be accommodated in “marginal costs” or other subsidies. It can be argued that commercial publishers are more cost-efficient than non-profits because they are commercial. But they have many other costs – copyright police, marketing, and perhaps production to layout standards which the community does not require. And there is the shareholder profit.
A major part of the current pricing problem is that price and cost are not seen to be related.
So would the following be a more accurate statement?
“In the case of SCOAP the cost of Open Access is not zero, but we shall be open about the expenditure. We expect to avoid some of the costs and profits of commercial and society publishers and would hope to be able to lower costs. Since price (of author submission) is now directly related to costs we must recover them from the funders because there won’t be any new money in the system. Without your redirected money, it won’t work….”