Activities, costs and funding flows in the scholarly communications system

Added by Sarah on 19 May 2008

This report provides an analysis of all the costs involved in the process of publishing, distributing and accessing journal articles, both globally and in the UK.

The global cost each year of publishing, distributing and accessing journal articles is estimated at 25bn. This considerable sum constitutes some 14% of the overall costs of undertaking, communicating and reading the results of the research reported in journal articles. Within these figures, 1.9bn is accounted for by the unpaid non-cash cost of peer review, some 2.1bn in access provision at libraries and 16.4 billion in user time in searching and accessing. The estimated global incurred cash cost for publishing and distribution is 4.5 billion of this total.

The report also shows the sources, nature and scale of the funding and other resources made available to meet these costs and models the impact of possible changes. It aims to provide an evidence-base to underpin the development of policy for research funders and publishers alike. We have made a version of the economic model used in this report available so you can make you own adjustments.

The report was commissioned with the support of the Publishing Research Consortium (PRC), the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) and Research Libraries UK (RLUK formerly CURL). The findings are part of a detailed economic analysis produced by Cambridge Economic Policy Associates (CEPA).

Follow-up activities

We held an event in December 2008 to outline the reports’ main findings, discuss the economic model used, and to present and develop additional/alternative publishing models. The economic model is available to use to examine the economic impact of these alternatives - email contact@rin.ac.uk if you would like to use it.

A short podcast is also available, featuring the RIN’s Branwen Hide talking about the main findings and implications of the report.


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