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Institutional Open Access Funds: Now Is the Time

PLoS Biology
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000375
  • Perspective
  • Science Policy


pbio.1000375 1..3 Perspective Institutional Open Access Funds: Now Is the Time Charles D. Eckman, Beth T. Weil* Library, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States of America The Great Recession is making the hard writing on the wall for research libraries easy to read. In the United States, drastic decreases in endowment income at private universities have been well-publicized. Most public universities and research institutions that rely upon public funding are now experiencing reductions of a similar scale [1]. As university income has declined, reductions have been as- signed to library collections funds [2]. This has a downstream effect on the scholarly society and commercial publishers who rely upon institutional subscriptions and licenses for revenue. Statements have been issued by library coalitions pleading for journal publishers to respond by issuing price reductions [3,4]. Some publishers have responded by keeping journal prices flat. However, the signs are clear: more and more publishers are likely to find themselves challenged to survive through maintaining the still dominant funding model. That model is characterized by institutional subscriptions to a set of articles tied to a single journal’s brand or an entire publisher’s brand (in the case of the so-called ‘‘big deal’’) providing the institution’s researchers with entre´e to the content behind walls. As many, if not all, academic libraries closely evaluate journal- and publisher- based subscription content, broad research access to journal literature will fall as libraries cancel those subscriptions and licenses. As a result, researchers will increasingly find themselves reliant upon informal exchange networks (for closed- access content) and open-access (OA) repositories (for open-access content) for obtaining access to research findings [5]. Researchers choosing a publication venue based on assumptions about a

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