Nature Article on the Cost of Publishing Research

| April 3, 2013

Lea and Anne have been keeping us up-to-date on the Open Access movement, so thought I’d share this article from Nature, which gives some perspective on open access and commercial publishers in the scientific research community, and discusses both the cost of publishing research (with visualizations) and who collects on it.

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The author comes up against some argument on his analysis in the comments. There is a lively debate on the true profit margins of publishers and how they calculate those margins. Some commenters also point out the risks in OA. One complains that a lack of peer review, possibly not provided in some open access content, in scientific research can lead to sloppy conclusions that will be believed simply because they are published. Another cautions that just because something is freely available does not mean it will be easily found, which in the case of some lesser known open access publications might be true, but I would not imagine the same would be true for something like the publicly-funded articles that are freely available from the National Institute of Health through PubMed Central. (As a side note, that free is access could be threatened by H.R. 3699.) I think the risks of publishing open access and the bumps in the road in trying to figure out a new business model in uncertain times for public benefit are worth it, but I am speaking as a librarian and not as a publisher or a researcher.

Any thoughts on the true cost of publishing research?

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