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Open access to research findings will deliver huge benefits but will not be cost free, report says

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 19 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e4248
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Moving to an open access model for publishing research findings is likely to cost the United Kingdom £50m (€62m; $78m) to £60m a year in the transition period, a working group commissioned by the government has found.1

Although ultimately open access should be cost neutral, with payments made by authors to have their research published making up for a reduction in subscriptions paid to publishers, that will not be true in the short term, the group chaired by Janet Finch, professor of sociology at Manchester University, concludes.

That is because UK research is a small proportion of the world total (6%), and during the transition there will be a period of “double running” in which author payments and subscriptions for international journals are levied at the same time. “The danger is that we could make our own publications free but still pay subscriptions for others,” …

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