STM Publishers Embrace E-media’s Phase II
The most important of these models and strategies, according to Haank, concern payment for content (should the user or the author/institution pay?) and whether to adopt a business model based on subscription to individual journals or database pricing.
When it comes to new business models, perhaps no STM publisher has gone farther than Hindawi Publishing Corp., a New York- and Cairo-based publisher of more than 80 journals in fields including engineering, life sciences and mathematics. As of last February, Hindawi has adopted a full “open access” business model—that is, free and unrestricted online access to all materials—based on author-side publication charges.
“Since authors have a strong incentive to have their work read––and hopefully cited––by other researchers, open access publishers can cover their costs with publication charges rather than subscription fees,” notes Paul Peters, head of business development for Hindawi.
“While the ability of authors to pay publication charges varies a fair bit based on location and research area, there are a substantial number of authors who are able and willing to pay the publication costs of their work,” he adds.
Peters cites as a measure of success the number of submitted manuscripts received by the company each month, which jumped from 272 submissions in January to 540 submissions in August. He calls this growth of nearly 100 percent “the clearest sign of the success we have had after converting to open access.”
Print subscriptions dropped for most of Hindawi’s journals after the conversion to open access, according to Peters, who says the decrease was expected.
“Our business model does not depend on selling print subscriptions, so this is not something we are particularly concerned about.”
While not switching entirely to the open access format, other STM publishers have proven ready to integrate the model into their operations.
“We no longer experiment with open access; we provide it,” Haank says. “Since 2004, our Open Choice option allows authors to choose to publish using the open access model.”