Memorandum from SPARC Europe
SPARC Europe is an alliance of European research
libraries, library organisations, and research institutions. We
advocate change in the scholarly communications market, support
competition, and encourage new publishing models (in particular,
Open Access models) that better serve the international researcher
community. We have over 70 members in 14 European Countries, including
22 leading universities in the UK. We are also supported by several
national organizations within Europe, including the Joint Information
Systems Committee (JISC) in the UK and the Society of College,
National and University Libraries (SCONUL) of the UK and Ireland.
(See http://www.sparceurope.org/members/index.html for details
SPARC Europe collaborates with the international
SPARC organization based in Washington, DC (http://www.arl.org/sparc).
Developed by the Association of Research Libraries, SPARC boasts
over 200 members, mainly in North America.
1. The current system of scholarly communicationwhere
access to the research literature is through paid subscriptionsis
failing. Libraries can no longer keep up with the increasing costs
of scholarly resources. Papers describing research funded by UK
tax-payers can only be accessed by those lucky enough to work
at an institution that can afford subscriptions to the relevant
journals. Too large a proportion of the research literature is
inaccessible to researchers in the UK. In addition, authors of
research papers want the widest possible dissemination of their
work to their peers world-wide and to all interested readers.
The current system needlessly limits dissemination, so lessening
the impact of research.
2. The introduction of the internet and
digital publishing technologies allows us to conceive of a future
where access to all of the research literature produced in the
UK (and beyond) is only a mouse-click away. Unfortunately, many
publishers have constructed elaborate electronic access barriers
between the literature and interested readers. The strain on library
budgets has increased further as many commercial publishers charge
extra for online access to the literature and bundle electronic
journals together in all-or-nothing "big deals" that
remove collection development flexibility from the librarian and
reduce competition by squeezing out small (often learned society,
3. A new model of "Open Access"
has been developed that makes better use of the internet and new
publishing technologies to free up the literature to the benefit
of authors, readers, students, libraries, funding bodies, and
society as a whole. Open Access consists of two complementary
strands. The first strand allows authors to "self-archive"
versions of their peer-reviewed research papers in fully searchable,
public electronic archives ("repositories") accessible
via the internet. The second strand calls for journals to remove
the access barriers between the literature and the readers and
to look for sources of revenue other than subscriptions to cover
the costs of publication.
4. Concrete steps have already been taken
to realise this vision of Open Access. A growing number of universities
have constructed repositories to archive the work of their researchers
and we are seeing increasing numbers of new, high quality Open
Access journals together with traditional, subscription-based
journals moving to the Open Access model.
5. To ensure that all UK researchers, and
the public in general, gain the maximum benefit from the possibilities
offered by the new Open Access models we would suggest that the
Science and Technology Committee recommend that all UK funding
(a) Make it a condition of grant that authors
retain copyright in their papers. Authors should have the freedom
to publish in whichever journal they consider appropriate, but
they should not transfer copyright to the publisher. (Paragraphs
38 and 39.)
(b) Should require that authors deposit a
copy of their final, peer-reviewed paper in a suitable, fully-searchable,
freely accessible internet repository or archive. (Paragraph 40.)
Should provide as part of research grants monies
to allow payment of charges for publication in Open Access journals.
6. Currently, most researchers gain access
to the scientific literature through subscriptions paid for by
their institution. The vast majority of the literature is now
online and institutions purchase annual "site-licences"
which gives all researchers at the institution online access.
Many publishers take a narrow definition of a "site"
and so, for example, a teaching hospital associated with a university
would not be included. Additional payment would be required to
give doctors and researchers at the teaching hospital access.
7. The cost of scholarly journals has risen
over the last 40 years significantly faster than the increase
in either library budgets or inflation. Figures compiled by Loughborough
University show that between 1991 and 2003 the price of journals
in the UK increased by 163%, compared to an increase in the retail
price index of 43% over the same period. 
UK libraries have responded by doubling their spending on journals,
but even this significant increase in spending has failed to match
the increase in prices.
8. This is a world-wide problem and figures
complied in the US by the Association of Research Libraries show
that the average cost of scientific, medical, and technical (STM)
journals increased by 227% between 1986 and 2002, compared with
an increase in the US consumer price index of 64%.
9. With the move to online publishing, libraries
have taken advantage of consortia and bundle deals (so called
"Big Deals") to access more material than they could
subscribe to in print. In online publishing, there are few additional
costs in allowing extra libraries to subscribe to online journals
(once the initial costs of publishing online have been covered).
Therefore, a library can be offered online access to all of a
publisher's titles, rather than print access to a proportion of
the titles. Alternatively, libraries can come together in consortia
to negotiate deals whereby all members of the consortia gain access
to all journals in the publisher's portfolio. Invariably, these
deals are priced by the publisher at a rate above what the library
(or consortia) currently spends with that publisher. This has
placed additional strains on library budgets.
10. Big Deals are initially attractive to
libraries as they allow the library to extend the range of material
that they can offer to their researchers. However, it is becoming
increasingly clear to librarians that Big Deals cannot provide
a long term solution to the information crisis. Firstly, to find
the extra money for the bundles the library often has to cut back
in other areassuch as the monograph acquisitions programme
or cancelling journals that are not part of large bundles (for
example, high quality journals from learned society publishers).
Secondly, the annual rate of increase in price for the bundles
is often greatly in excess of any increase in library budget.
Thirdly, some publishers who offer Big Deals are attempting to
use the fact that the bundles contain a number of "must have"
journal titles to increase significantly the price of access during
renegotiation of the Deals. Fourthly, by bundling all journals
together in "take it or leave it" packages librarians
have lost the freedom to cancel under-used journals that are part
of the bundle.
11. The problems of "bundling",
of increasing market consolidation, and constant above inflation
prices rises led the Office of Fair Trading to conclude in 2002
that "there is evidence to suggest that the market for STM
journals may not be working" and "there are a number
of features of the market that might be expected to prevent competition
from working effectively".
12. The information gap described above
has resulted in widespread dissatisfaction with the current scholarly
communication model at a number of levels. Authors want to put
their work before their peers and before society as a whole, and
they do this without any expectation of direct financial reward,
eg from royalties. In fact, they often have to make a financial
contribution to the costs of publication in the form of page charges,
figure reproduction charges, reprint costs, etc., as well as giving
away the copyright in their text, so limiting their further use
of their own work. In return for donating their papers (together
with a financial contribution and surrender of copyright), the
current system places barriers between authors' work and their
potential readers, so resulting in reduced dissemination and impact.
13. Readers are dissatisfied as they cannot
get access to all the research that they need. The research literature
is the most potent research tool availableit educates,
provokes, and inspires researchers. The current system denies
access to the complete body of the literature, so making the tool
much less powerful and reducing the effectiveness of researchers.
Librarians are dissatisfied as they are not able to meet the research
needs of their users (both researchers and students). Even the
wealthiest institutions cannot purchase access to all the information
that their researchers require to be effective. A recent Report
of the Research Support Libraries Group accepted that "...providing
all of the information required by UK researchers is beyond the
capability of any single library; and indeed that the aggregated
efforts of all UK research libraries are failing to secure a national
collection in keeping with the researchers' current and emerging
needs and demands".
14. Finally, Society as a whole loses if
we continue with sub-optimal communications channels that restrict
the free-flow of information between the world's scholars and
between scholars and the public. The recent Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development's "Declaration on Access to
Research Data from Public Funding" noted that ". . .
an optimum international exchange of data, information and knowledge
contributes decisively to the advancement of scientific research
and innovation" and that ". . . open access will maximise
the value derived from public investment in data collection efforts."
While the focus of the Declaration, signed by the UK and 33 other
countries, is on research data, the language and logic are equally
applicable to the analysis of those dataie, research papers.
15. In December 2001 a meeting was convened
in Budapest to address these issues, to scrutinise potential new
models, and to investigate the best ways in which the new technology
could be used to promote scholarly communication. As a result
of this meeting the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) was
published in February 2002. 
The BOAI identified two parallel and complementary Open Access
strategies that could be used to move towards a fairer, more equitable,
and more efficient communications system. These were self-archiving
and Open Access journals:
Self-Archiving refers to the right of scholars to
deposit their refereed journal articles in searchable and free
electronic archives ("institutional repositories").
Open Access Journals do not charge for access to
the papers, but make the papers available to all electronically
and look to other financial models to cover the costs of peer-review
and publishing. They do not invoke copyright or exclusive licenses
to restrict access to the papers published within them; rather
they encourage the dissemination of research limited only by the
reach and extent of the internet.
16. Institutional repositories are digital
collections capturing and preserving the intellectual output of
a single or multi-university community. 
They may contain a wide range of materials that reflect the intellectual
wealth of an institution, but, in particular, they could be used
to store versions of authors' final peer-reviewed papers. The
repositories would be cumulative and perpetual, ensuring ongoing
access to material within them. By building the archives to common
international technical standardsspecifically, to the Open
Archives Initiative standardsthe
material deposited within them will be fully searchable and retrievable,
with search engines treating the separate archives as one. Readers
will not need to know which archives exist or where they are located
in order to find and make use of their contents. To maximise the
use and impact of the repositories the material within them should
be available freely over the internet.
17. Depositing research papers in institutional
repositories provide a number of benefits at a number of levels:
For the individual they provide a central archive
of the researcher's work and, as the repositories are free and
fully-searchable, they increase the dissemination and impact of
the individual's research.
They increase the institution's visibility and prestige
by bringing together the full range and extent of that institution's
research interests. They act as an advertisement for the institution
to attract new funding sources, potential researchers and students,
For society they provide access to the world's research
and ensure long-term preservation of institutions' academic output.
They can accommodate increased volume of research
output (no page limits, can accept large data-sets, "null-results",
18. Over 200 institutions worldwide have
taken advantage of free, open source software packages to implement
institutional repositories. 
In addition, a number of national initiatives have been set up
to provide infrastructure support for repositoriesthese
include SHERPA in the UK, DARE in The Netherlands, and the recent
announcement of Australian $12 million to promote institutional
repositories in Australia. 
As the amount of content in the growing number of repositories
continues to increase, new services are being developed to make
use of this content. To date, the most active area of service
provider development has been the construction of search engines
that can search over a number of repositories simultaneously,
so ensuring that the reader can find material irrespective of
where it has been deposited. Using one of these search engines,
OAIster, a reader can search over 3,000,000 electronic items in
almost 270 repositories. 
19. The one function of the traditional
journal that self archiving in institutional repositories does
not fulfil is quality certification through peer-review. Each
institution will be able to make its own policies on how material
is to be deposited in their repository, and some may insist that
papers receive at least an initial review before being made widely
available. However, this will not be a substitute for independent,
international peer review. Peer review serves the reader as a
mark of quality (helping them to decide which papers they wish
to read), while it is used by authors to validate their research
(which is particularly important for their next grant proposal
or attempt at promotion).
20. Peer review journals could sit comfortably
with the network of institutional repositories. Authors who wanted
their work to be peer-reviewed could, after they had deposited
an initial, "pre-print" version in their local repository,
send it to their journal of choice. At this stage the work would
be evaluated as in the current system and, if considered by the
editor of the journal to be acceptable, the paper would be published
in the journal and so receive the journal's quality stamp. The
authors could then place a peer-reviewed "post-print"
onto their local institutional repository ensuring that both versions
21. Obviously, with all the relevant material
available for free in a network of institutional repositories
it becomes impractical for a journal to charge a subscriber to
access a paper in the journal. The peer review journals, therefore,
would need to have no access restrictions on themthat is,
they would be Open Access.
22. Open Access would give free and unrestricted
access through the internet to all primary literature published
within the journals. This literature is given to the world by
scholars without expectation of payment and in the hope that it
is distributed and read as widely as possible. Making it freely
available over the internet immediately distributes it to the
650 million people worldwide who have internet access. Giving
all interested readers access will accelerate research, enrich
education, share learning among rich and poor nations, and, ultimately,
enhance return on investment in research (much of which comes
from the taxpayer). From being in a position where institutions
cannot supply all the information needs of researchers, researchers
will be able to access all of the relevant information they need
to be effective.
23. Open Access also provides major benefits
for authors. Rather than their papers being seen by readers at
the few hundred institutions lucky enough to have a subscription
to the relevant journals, the papers can now be seen by all interested
readers. This increases the profile of the authors, their institutions,
and the countries that funded the research.
24. The number of open access journals publishing
high quality, peer reviewed research is growing. Lund University
in Sweden has compiled the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
listing fully peer-reviewed journals that place no financial barriers
between the papers published online and readers. 
The DOAJ was launched in May 2003 with 375 titles, a figure that
now stands at over 730. One feature of the DOAJ is that records
for each journal listed can be easily downloaded by librarians
and entered into their catalogues, thereby allowing readers to
learn about these journals and to easily find the papers published
25. As well as seeing the launch of new
Open Access journals, efforts are being made to transform current
subscription-based journals into Open Access. A model has been
developed that allows for a controlled, reduced-risk transfer
to Open Access. 
This model has proved to be attractive to a number of publishers,
especially smaller and society publishers who believe in the moral
case for Open Access but who did not see a way of converting their
journals. Oxford University Press, the Company of Biologists,
and the American Physiological Society are all experimenting with
variations of this model. 
26. As Open Access is a relatively new concept,
it is difficult to compare directly Open Access publication (either
through self-archiving or in peer-reviewed journals) with closed,
subscription-based access. However, initial evidence is accumulating
that supports the intuitively obvious assertion that Open Access
will give greater dissemination and impact.
27. Recent figures from the Astrophysical
Journal show that for 72% of papers published in the journal,
free versions of the papers are available (mainly through the
physics repository, www.arXiv.org). These 72% of papers are, on
average, cited twice as often as the remaining 28% (for which
no free versions are available). 
At this stage it is difficult to show clear cause and effect,
but it is an intriguing indication of the increase in impact of
authors' work if they archive copies of their papers in suitable
28. The differences in downloads between
closed, subscription-based journals and Open Access journals are
even more dramatic. The Elsevier 2003 half-year results show that
the average number of downloads for articles in ScienceDirect
(Elsevier's online journal platform) over the past year was 28.
Over the same period the average number of downloads for articles
in BioMedCentral (an Open Access publisher) was 2,500. This would
suggest that publication in an Open Access journal gives, on average,
89 times as much usage as publication in a subscription-based
29. It is possible that this may not be
an entirely accurate comparison, but Elsevier have refused to
give the average downloads for biomedical papers published over
the past year and so a direct comparison cannot be made. But even
if 89 times is an over-estimate, it is clear that the evidence
is beginning to show that Open Access does give greater dissemination,
usage, and impact and as authors become more aware of this they
are increasingly going to want to publish in Open Access journals
and to deposit their papers in their local institutional repositories.
30. Without subscription income publishers
will have to look at new financial models to support their journals.
There are costs associated with the peer review process and with
publication of a paper (even if it is only online), and these
costs must be met. In addition, publishers (be they small, not-for
profit learned societies or large commercial publishers) must
make some surplus to invest in new technology and to fund the
launch of new journals.
31. A number of possible revenue sources
for Open Access journals have been identified, 130 but one of
the most stable for the scientific, technical, and medical fields
may be that where authors pay a publication charge, so ensuring
that the publisher receives sufficient revenue to make the paper
available to all with no access restrictions. Ultimately, it would
be for the author's funding body or institution to cover the publication
charge, but basically, this model looks to a move from paying
for access to material (through subscriptions) to paying for dissemination.
32. Funding at the input (author) side has
a number of benefitsit allows for Open Access for all readers,
it provides a financial model that scales with increases in research
funding (compared to the current system where libraries' budgets
have rarely kept pace with increases in funding), and it provides
a stable business model for publishers (both learned societies
and commercial publishers).
33. The Wellcome Trust has recently calculated
that if all the papers reporting research that the Trust had funded
over the past five years had been published in Open Access journals
the additional cost in publication fees would have been approximately
1.5% of their research spending. This would have been a small
increase to ensure that the Wellcome Trust-funded research was
accessible by all readers. While the figure of 1.5% may vary across
disciplines, for most research in science and medicine the cost
of Open Access will be a small fraction of the cost of the research.
34. As the limitations of the current system
and the possibilities of the new models become increasingly apparent,
there is growing international momentum in favour of institutional
repositories and Open Access journals. Increasing numbers of libraries
are taking on the role of hosts for institutional repositories,
becoming responsible for maintaining the intellectual heritage
of their institutions. The libraries are also increasingly resisting
the old models of subscriptions and big deals. Growing numbers
of Open Access journals are attracting high profile editors and
quality papers from excellent authors. These papers are viewed
by more and more readers, increasing the impact and visibility
of the journals. In addition, the continued success of these Open
Access journals is proving the feasibility of the new business
models. As issues surrounding institutional repositories and Open
Access journals become more widely discussed there is increasing
awareness amongst authors of their need to retain their publishing
rights (eg, does assigning copyright mean that they cannot put
a copy of their own paper on their departmental website?).
35. 2003 saw increasing support for Open
Access (in the form of both self-archiving and Open Access journals)
from the funding bodies that pay for research. In April 2003,
a meeting of major medical research funding bodies organised by
the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the US resulted in the
Bethesda Declaration in support of Open Access. 
This was followed in the summer by a statement of strong support
from the Wellcome Trust in the UK. 
In October, all the major German funding bodies signed the Berlin
Declaration adding their support to Open Access. 
The Berlin Declaration has also been adopted by, amongst others,
the CNRS and INSERM in France, by the FWF Der Wissenschaftsfonds
in Austria, and by the Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek
in Flanders. This support from the funding bodies has come
about as they realise that, to quote the Berlin Declaration, "Our
mission of disseminating knowledge is only half complete if the
information is not made widely and readily available to society."
The funding bodies increasingly believe that it is in their interests,
and it is their responsibility, to support the wider dissemination
through Open Access of the research results that they have funded.
36. There are a number of recommendations
that the Science and Technology Committee could make which would
accelerate movement towards Open Access. These recommendations
would be implemented by the UK funding bodies and would require
no new legislation from Government.
37. Specifically, we would suggest that
the Science and Technology Committee recommend that the UK funding
Make it a condition of grant that authors retain
copyright in their papers. Authors should have the freedom to
publish in whichever journal they consider appropriate, but they
should not transfer copyright to the publisher.
Should require that authors deposit a copy of their
final, peer-reviewed paper in a suitable, fully-searchable, freely
accessible internet repository or archive.
Should provide as part of research grants monies
to allow payment of charges for publication in Open Access journals.
38. The transfer of copyright (or granting
of exclusive and limiting licences) in research papers from the
authors to the publishers gives control of access to the papers
to the publishers. The publishers can then place limits and conditions
on access, regulating who can view the papers and how much they
must pay. Transfer of copyright also limits the uses that the
authors and their funders can make of the researchfor example,
the authors may not be allowed to place a copy of their paper
on their own website or on their funding body's website.
39. Requiring that authors retain copyright
will ensure that reuse of the material, within accepted scholarly
and educational practices, will be safeguarded.
40. If all authors were required to deposit
a copy of their final, peer-reviewed paper in a fully searchable
online archive we would see the rapid formation of a UK research
"library" containing the fruits of all publicly funded
research in the UK. This would be freely available to all researchers
and general readers in the UK (and beyond). There are a growing
number of institutional repositories and discipline-based repositories
where authors could deposit their work. A requirement to deposit
would accelerate work already being carried out in the UK to develop
41. Realising that publication is part of
the research process, funding bodies should include as part of
their awards funds for publication. This would give UK authors
the freedom to choose which journal to publish in, whether Open
Access or subscription-based. As authors see the increased usage
and citations that accrue from Open Access they will increasingly
publish in Open Access journals provided they have the funds.
If the funding bodies do not make specific publication funds available
UK authors will suffer as they will find it increasingly difficult
to publish in Open Access journals, while an increasing number
of their international colleagues will have funds for Open Access.
Failure to support UK authors in this way would result in UK research
becoming less visible internationally.
114 Library & Information Statistics Unit (LISU),
Loughborough University. Back
"The Market for Scientific, Technical and Medical Journals-A
Statement by the OFT", September 2002, OFT396. Back
Report of the Research Support Libraries Group, 2003, http://www.rslg.ac.uk/ Back
Crow, R (2002). "The Case for Institutional Repositories:
A SPARC Position Paper." http://www.arl.org/sparc/IR/ir.html
For details of institutional repository technical specifications
see the Open Archives Initiative, http://www.openarchives.org
Details of the various Institutional Repository software can
be found at: GNU Eprints-http://software.eprints.org/, DSpace-http://www.dspace.org/,
Prosser, D C (2003). "From Here to There: A Proposed
Mechanism for Transforming Journals from Closed to Open Access".
Learned Publishing, Vol 16, pp 163-166 (Available at: http://www.sparceurope.org/resources/From_here_to_there.pdf)
Oxford University Press-http://www3.oup.co.uk/nar/special/14/default.html,
Company of Biologists-http://www.biologists.com/openaccess.html,
American Physiological Society-http://www.the-aps.org/publications/pg/interest.htm Back
Crow and Goldstein "Guides to business planning for
open access journals" http://www.soros.org/openaccess/oajguides/index.shtml