Academic journal article Partnership : the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

The Adoption of Open Access Funds among Canadian Academic Research Libraries, 2008-2012

Academic journal article Partnership : the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

The Adoption of Open Access Funds among Canadian Academic Research Libraries, 2008-2012

Article excerpt


Open access (OA) publications are, by definition, free of charge to the user; no subscription fee is paid to make use of open access content. Without the revenue from subscription fees, OA publishers cover their publication costs by one or more other means. Article processing charges (APCs) are one model of funding the publication of OA journals. In this case, ajournai supports its publishing costs by charging APCs to the authors whose articles they publish. APCs may be charged by journals whose entire contents are open access or by journals that publish individual articles as open access content in an otherwise subscription-based publication ("hybrid" journals). Not all open access journals charge such fees; in fact, most do not. As of January 2014, 67% of the open access journals listed by the Directory of Open Access Journals did not charge fees ("Directory").

Open access funds (OA funds), sometimes called "central funds," are defined by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) as "a pool of money set aside by an institution to support publication models that enable free, immediate, online distribution of, and access to, scholarly research" ("Campus-based"). These funds are usually administered through the library but may be managed elsewhere within the institution-in the university's research office, for example. Institutionally sponsored OA funds are not the only, and not the primary, source of funding used by researchers to pay APCs. Though researchers use OA funds as one source of such funding, they more often use research grants, personal funds, and other institutional funding sources (Solomon and Björk 102-105).

OA funds cover OA publishing charges using different models, based on the various payment options offered by publishers. In one model, an "author fund," the institution uses the OA fund in response to individual, on-demand requests from researchers to pay OA publishing fees encountered when publishing their scholarly work in OA outlets, typically journals. Besides author funds, academic institutions may also provide OA publishing support to their researchers through sponsorship with a publisher. In this case, the institution pays a fee to a publisher to cover or subsidize APCs for its researchers who have manuscripts accepted by that publisher, for example BioMed Central ("BioMed Central"). The SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) project is a unique OA model. This project represents a model of OA publishing in which institutions contribute funds to SCOAP3, which pays the publishers of specified journals to become open access with no fee for authors ("SCOAP3").

Academic institutional OA funds began late in the first decade of the present century. Among Canadian academic institutions, OA funds were first adopted at the University of Calgary, starting in fiscal year 2008-2009, the sixth such fund in the world (Waller, "A Very Brief Look," 2). A number of surveys that touch on or particularly study OA funds were done from 2007 to 2012. These surveys provide a means to track the adoption of OA funds among academic institutions during this period, particularly in Canada. However, the studies only provide data on the numbers of adopting institutions over this period. A theoretical model is necessary to interpret what these numbers suggest about whether OA funds are becoming a standard service among academic research institutions.

A number of established theories can be used to study the adoption of new technology and other innovations by individuals or among groups. This paper uses Everett Rogers' Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT), although other theories exist. Venkatesh et al., for example, studied eight theories to develop a unified theory of technology acceptance by individuals: the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT). Several theories focus specifically on the adoption of technology itself, such as technological devices or applications. …

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