A possible publishing model profitable for authors
Abstract: Here is proposed a publishing model in which the authors of scientific publications are paid from the subscription income of the journal in which their articles are published. In respect to the each article, the journal need to calculate all expenses related to the work of editors, reviewers, staff for technical preparation and all other related costs including profit of the publishing company; in open access model such lump sum is known as the Article Processing Charge – APC, where within the proposed model, two options are possible: 1) if the authors of the certain article cover the APC, all future income provided through the subscription or directly by the readers’ payments for each download (royalty), should be transferred to the authors, 2) if the APC is not covered by the authors, after the certain period (if ever), the journal will cover the APC through the subscription or through the payments per download, after which the authors will start to collect profit in the same way as already explained. Using the proposed model, the authors will have possibility to reinvest in their own future research based on the quality of their personal previous publishing output. In that way, good authors would have additional income, and they would have more freedom to decide in which direction their research would go.
Keywords: New or alternative forms of academic publication; Hybrid publishing; Academic digital publishing; Authors’ revenue based publishing model; Authors’-based profit model
The common current publishing models are mostly oriented toward publishers in which the main part of the profit goes to the commercial companies who owns journals with almost non-existing reinvestment in future researches (Jacob and Lefgren 2011, Payne and Siow 2003). Readers pay the fixed annual subscription to read scientific papers in 1) subscription based model or they pay per each individual access in 2) pay per download model, while the authors cover all expenses related to turning a manuscript into a finished article in 3) open access model. The subscription model and the read per download model are more suitable for the authors, while the open access model for the readers (Björk and Solomon 2012, Butler 2010, Van Noorden 2012).
In case of researches financed through the public funds (Payne and Siow 2003), in all three models, without any reinvestment in future researches, tax payers pay twice: A) for the certain research, and B) to pay to read about results of such already financed researches. Part B) of the composed cost A)+B) needs to be paid through the subscription or per each download in the traditional publishing model, or by paying the Article Processing Charge - APC (Van Noorden 2013, Morrison 2015) to make the articles available to everyone in the open access model. In the current publishing models, the amount B) is practically irreversible. The hybrid model is even worst because the readers practically pay subscription even for the articles which are already freely accessible for everyone because the authors already paid the APC (Van Noorden 2013, Morrison 2015).
In the open access model, the amount requested to be paid for the APC by the rule does not depend on the real processing costs associated with the preparation of the manuscript to be published in its final form as a scientific article, but on the fact if the certain journal is indexed in particular prestige citation database such as Web of Science (Björk and Solomon 2012, Solomon 2013, Larsen and Von Ins 2010). Within the same publishing house, the work to prepare the manuscript to be published and to keep the article online is basically the same for the indexed journals as for the new journals that are not indexed, but the amount required to be paid to cover the APC is substantially different.
In the past the most respected scientific journals were published by the recognized leading non-profit scientific societies (Steinberg 2015), while today the role of the publishers in behalf of them has been taken by the highly profitable companies. In such situation, the current publishing models (Björk and Solomon 2012, Björk 2012, Lawson 2015, Butler 2013, Xia 2013, Frank 2013) which are almost never oriented toward authors; should be changed as non-sustainable. In this short note, an authors’ oriented model is proposed, in which the authors will be rewarded for their work collecting some kind of deserved revenue. In the proposed model, reviewers should be also paid (Spearpoint 2017).
THE PROPOSED PUBLISHING MODEL
The proposed model is based on subscription or on pay per download, but with the strong feedback that provides reinvestment in research.
The possible illustrative symbol (icons) which can be visually associated with the proposed methods is shown in Figure 1.
In the proposed publishing model, after the certain number of downloads, this can happen after few days or even after few decades (if ever), the publisher will cover its in advance calculated costs for preparation of the certain article, for organizing the peer-review process, for the costs for keeping the article online, all including the profit of the publishing company, etc. (Pinfield et al. 2016), after which the whole future revenue need to be redirected to the authors of the observed paper. In the widely known open access models (Solomon 2013), costs and profit in total associated with the certain article should be equal to the Article Processing Charge – APC. The here proposed model can be time delayed when the authors need to wait to gain the profit until its article reach the number of downloads which will cover the APC (Figure 1a), or if the authors directly cover the one-off APC, all income from the subscription or from the pay per download will be transferred to the authors (Figure 1b). In this model, amount provided for subscription for the entire journal need to be normalized to the certain article based on the number of downloads, as explained through the examples bellow. Also, after the APC is covered, the publisher needs to assign a lump sum to pay reviewers’ (Spearpoint 2017) before it proceeds to pay the authors.
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Figure 1. Subscription model based on subscription or on pay per download with feedback that allows reinvestment in future research; (a) with no initial costs for the authors, and (b) in which authors cover the Article Processing Charge – APC
In the proposed model, the authors with the papers of high quality would have more resources for new researches (in that way burden for tax payers in the case of publically funded researches would be lower). Also, aside of number of citation, h-factor (Bar-Ilan 2008), etc., additional measure of excellence can be established because the publishers will have the list of the authors which are paid during the previous year together with the exact amount that are paid where the such list can be available from the website of the journal (better papers will gain higher income directly based on their quality). For the proposed model, the copyrights should stay with the authors or should be transferred to the publisher provided the contractual agreement in which all the details need to be settled between the publisher and the authors (Bachrach et al. 1998). In such contractual agreement also all the details about the payments should be precisely set. System for payment in the proposed model can be using e.g. the BlockChain Technology (Spearpoint 2017), crypto-currencies or similar. In similar way the reviewers should be paid, but with the difference that the payment toward the reviewers would be one-off, while toward the authors would be periodical (or when the collected amount reaches the certain level).
In the proposed model, the author should not acknowledge the role of funders directly in the article, but through the external service such as ORCID (Haak et al. 2012), and in that way the publishing house will not be involved in possible disputes between the authors and the funders (including the institutions in which the authors are hired).
Examples: For example if the APC for one article is 1000$, and if the price for one download is 25$, then after 40 downloads the APC will be covered and all income from future downloads should go to the authors. In the subscription model, the whole sum paid for annual subscription should be normalized in respect to the certain article based on the number of its downloads; if the whole amount for the subscription received from all subscribers during one year is e.g. 95.000$, and if the journal receive in total 5200 downloads per year, after 55 downloads the authors should starts to earn from revenue. Also, there will be a one-off gap in payment in which lump sum from the revenue will be assigned to reviewers.
The possible proposed publishing model allows the authors to reinvest part of income earned from the previously published scientific results. The proposed model is based on subscription or on pay per download, so it strongly discourage sharing of papers using unofficial channels (directly asking the authors to share their papers through personal email communication or similar), but also sharing in the form of Green open access model, in form of preprints or postprints, etc. (Laakso 2014). In all other aspects the proposed model seems to be possible sustainable providing additional income for the authors’ of highly read papers which are published in highly profitable scientific journals. The model can give a new wind in the sails for the traditional subscription based models in scientific publishing, which is jeopardized by many new forms of the open access models under which only rich and thoroughly funded research groups can disseminate results of their researches (Lawson 2015, Xia 2013, Frank 2013).
This work was partially supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia through the project iii44006.
- Quote paper
- Dejan Brkić (Author), 2019, A possible publishing model profitable for authors, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/463420