Maximum access at minimum cost

At the EC meeting on scientific publishing in Brussels last week, Nick
Fowler, Elsevier’s Director of Strategy, noted that the cost per article
download from
Science Direct had fallen, and the UK academic community now paid
only £2 in subscription revenue per Elsevier article downloaded.
This caught my attention, and prompted me to
do a quick check on the cost per article download, under BioMed Central’s open
access publishing model. 
Looking at 2006, BioMed Central delivered 18.5 million fulltext open
access article downloads. If we conservatively use the full article processing
charge, before waivers and discounts, as the basis for the calculation, we find
that BioMed Central offers an effective
 cost per download of just £0.25. Even this underestimates the benefits of open access, as it  takes into account only accesses on BioMed
Central’s own website, but since BioMed Central’s fulltext content is mirrored in PubMed Central and
several other open access archives, the true figure is even lower, and continues to fall as BioMed Central publishes more research.
A recent Australian report examined the cost
per download issue, and found that the the effective cost per download being paid by
a consortium of Australian research institutions under the traditional subscription system varied by from $Au1.24 – $Aus10.11 depending on the publisher, with a
weighted average of $Aus3.60 (£1.45).
it comes to distributing articles to as many readers as possible at minimum cost,
the economics of open access are hard to beat.

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cecilio e gracias

Yet, for the benefit of your US readers, could you include the dollar conversion for your POUND sterling?
You already provide the Australian currency conversion, anyhow…


[Trackback] ====== Màj (16 mai 07): ======

> Les actes de la conférence sont disponibles ici.

Scientific Publishing in the European Research Area: Access, Dissemination and Preservation in the Digital Age (15-16 février 2007)

> Les présentat…