The potential effect of making journals free after a six month embargo

Higher education Great Britain

This report commissioned by the UK Publishers' Association finds that providing open access to research publications after 6 months rather than 12 might have a material effect on libraries’ subscriptions; and that the impact on publishers’ revenues would be considerable.

Higher Education Institutions’ libraries may be impacted by the collapse or scaling down of academic publishing houses. The world’s most distinguished research institutions would, the report suggests, be impacted the most, since published outputs are essential for the work carried out by their researchers. The reports’ results indicate that  Scientific, Technical and Medical (STM) publishers could expect to retain full subscriptions from 56% of libraries, compared with 35% for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences journals (AHSS) publishers. 

The report documents the results of a survey carried out to obtain a significant body of information on how the acquisitions policies of libraries might be affected by an across-the board mandate to make journals articles free of charge six months after publication. The report analyses the results of responses from 210 libraries across the world who were asked whether they would continue to subscribe to research journals were their content freely available within six months of publication. Libraries were asked to send separate responses for Scientific, Technical and Medical (STM) journals and Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences journals (AHSS).

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