Investment comparison
- public investment compared to publishers’ investment/service
money - £ thousands
time - months
Blue box - Public investment
Red box - Publisher’s investment
e.g. 2 year project, £300,000
e.g. charge of £1,800
£300,000 over 24 months project
£1,800 over about 3 months production
(and investment recouped through advance
payment of subscriptions)
£300,000 public investment and yet public access to the research may be
blocked by publishers claiming copyright on the results
This is an indicative comparison, using a 2 year £300,000 project as an STM
project vs c. $3000 expense of publishing. Although there has been a general
move towards seeing $3,000 as the price for a hybrid article, this may still be
more of a "price point" than a true cost. Of course, the cost of the research
project could be far higher without a corresponding increase on $3000 for the
Another interesting point is that for subscription journals or OA journals, it
could be said that the publishers "investment" is not quite like other
investments where a company's money is put into something in the hope of
future returns. Publishers sell their subscriptions in advance so that,
theoretically, they already have the money, from subscriptions, to carry out the
service. That is not quite the way Tesco works - taking a year's grocery bill
from me and then buying their stock from my stack of money.
Compare this to the actual public investment, where funders speculate on the
value of research. That level of risk is worth something as well, and so further
tilts the balance towards the public investment.