New OECD Report on Scientific Publishing

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The OECD will soon release an interesting study on digital content in scientific publishing, which analyzes scientific publishing’s new business models, including open access publishing, open access archives and repositories, and subscription bundling and site-licensing, their impacts on science and diffusion of knowledge; and the role of governments in enhancing access to publicly funded research.

Among the main findings are:

  • Scientific publishers have invested heavily in online publishing and in 2003 75% of scholarly journals were available online.
  • Overall, the balance is shifting towards direct access to primary data sources, which is having major impacts on publishers.
  • Three major business models depending on digital delivery are emerging: The so-called “big deal”, open access publishing, and open access archives and repositories.
  • Change is driven by mounting user needs to access increasing volumes of research data and information, new ICT applications and development of digital content and digital access technologies, and greater cost transparency and competition in publishing and distribution of information.

The OECD study also contains policy recommendations. Among them are:

  • Enabling maximum access to findings from publicly funded research in order to maximize social returns on public investments.
  • Coordinated efforts at national and international levels are needed to broaden access to data from publicly funded research.

As with the other reports published as part of the OECD Digital Broadband Content Project, the OECD secretariat has done a terrific job– both in terms of stocktaking and looking forward.

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