Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


APPENDIX 136

Supplementary evidence from Oxford University Press

1.   How would OUP's relationship to Oxford University be affected if OUP adopted an author-pays publishing model? For example, would you expect to publish more papers from the University than from other sources?

  Publication in our journals of papers from researchers based at Oxford University represent only about 2.5 per cent of our output. Since the scope and acceptance criteria of each journal, together with decisions about whether to publish each paper, are taken by independent academic editors from around the world, based on advice from editorial boards and from expert referees who are consulted as part of the peer-review process, there is in theory little reason to expect this percentage to change substantially under an open access model. However, if an author-funded open access publication model is only mandated by selected Governments or Research funding agencies then the percentage of papers submitted to Open Access journals from any individual University or country might vary substantially from the current levels. The degree to which the existing research funding agencies are prepared to support any OA mandate with appropriate allocation of funds will also have an effect without some method for reallocating resources from institutional user funding to institutional author funding; some researchers might find it too expensive to publish their work in the top rank journals, because these journals are likely to be the most expensive in view of their high rejection rates. Under a subscription model, there are no financial barriers to the publication of high-quality research in the best journals.

2.   What is the annual contribution of OUP to Oxford University funds? How would this be altered under the author-pays model?

  As a department of the University, OUP has an obligation beyond its scholarly and educational mission to provide the rest of the University with a financial return. The Press transfers 30% of its annual post-tax surplus to the rest of the University, with a commitment to a minimum transfer of £12 million per annum.

  Journal publishing represents only about 10% of the total income of OUP, so any change in business models would have little effect on our financial contribution to the University. We do not consider that an author-pays model is likely to be an appropriate one for the majority of our journals, because they are mostly in subject areas where research is conducted largely without the support of research grants. In the biomedical area we are experimenting with a range of possible models to fund open access publishing costs, including author-payment, as described in further detail in our written submission.

May 2004



 
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