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The Publishers Association releases report detailing the potential effect of making journals free after a six month embargo

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Press Release London

Report suggests that libraries would cancel 65% of AHSS[1] and 44% of STM[2] journal subscriptions.  

Libraries and Publishers need to work towards a mutually attractive publishing model.

The Publishers Association argues for ‘Gold’ Model of Open Access.

London, 1 June 2012 – The potential effect of making journals free after a six month embargo[3]’, a report commissioned by The Publishers Association and the Association of Learned, Professional and Society Publishers [ALPSP], found that an across-the-board mandate 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 STM publishers could expect to retain full subscriptions from 56% of libraries, compared with 35% for AHSS publishers. 

Commenting on the findings of the report, Graham Taylor, Director of Educational, Academic and Professional Publishing at The Publishers Association, said: “We need a sustainable publishing model which is mutually attractive for both publishers and libraries. The findings of the report are testament to the fact that a six month embargo period is too short for the ‘green’ model of open access. The Publishers Association is in full support of a funded version of open access as we hope will be recommended by the report of the Finch Committee, which is expected to be published shortly”.

Audrey McCulloch, Chief Executive of The Association of Learned, Professional and Society Publishers, said: “ALPSP is very concerned about the effect this may have on non-profit publishers, many of whom may not survive. The responses in the report show that the ‘green’ model of open access will reduce the number of journals and thus choice available to academics. Learned societies rely on income from their publishing activities - how will this affect them and the services they provide?  ALPSP will only support appropriately funded publishing models, such as the current subscription model or the ‘gold’ open access model”.

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).

Notes to Editors

The Publishers Association

The Publishers Association is the leading trade organisation serving book, journal, audio and electronic publishers in the UK. Membership is comprised of 117 companies from
across the trade, academic and education sectors.  Its core service is representation and lobbying, around copyright, rights and other matters relevant to members, who represent roughly 80% of the industry by turnover. www.publishers.org.uk 


The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP)

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) is the international organization for non-profit publishers. It has a broad and diverse membership of over 300 organizations in 37 countries who collectively publish over half of the world’s total active journals as well as books, databases and other products. ALPSP's mission is to connect, train and inform the scholarly and professional publishing community and to play an active part in shaping the future of academic and scholarly communication. www.alpsp.org

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[1] Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

[2] Scientific, Technical and Medical

[3] The report has been prepared by Linda Bennett of Gold Leaf


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