A new Q&A in a series exploring the current state of Open Access has been published. This one is with Sven Fund, CEO of Berlin-based scholarly publisher De Gruyter. Fund is the first representative of a traditional commercial publisher to take part in this series.


*Some excerpts from Sven Fund’s answers*:


“I think it is obvious that publishers — much like anybody who has to cover costs associated with a certain activity from revenues of that activity and not from general funds — have to focus on Gold OA. In my opinion, there is nothing bad about Green OA in general, it is just not something that we can ‘offer’. If institutions want to go ahead here and fund this activity, it is not up to publishers to complain how others spend their money.


“Regarding public policies, I do not see much of a difference. If policymakers believe they have the right tools to publish, i.e. in Green OA, that’s their right. It is certainly not something that publishers like, but I think that is obvious.”




“I do understand the concern about double-dipping. According to a brief study I did for a German Research Foundation workshop earlier this year among four publishers, the actual occurrence of double-dipping in that sample was negligible. For our own portfolio, it is not an issue at all, even though we have offered Hybrid OA for all of our journals for years. Since we consider ourselves a service institution for both researchers and librarians, I personally would like to see more Hybrid OA.”




“I feel that academic institutions have to decide who will administer their OA funds. Is it the library? Is it an office of communication or another office? Our preference is clear: It should be the library, since it is in many cases the only institution on campus that can shift budgets from subscriptions or purchases to OA funds. More importantly, it is the only one that can do so without disrupting information supply to its research community.”


“Are publishers’ profits excessively high? Well, some are. But as we do not judge any academic by the fraudulent behaviour some show, we should not judge all publishers by the profits a few make. I feel that De Gruyter’s moderate profit secures it sustainability; it is not excessive, and it is information which is completely transparent and available to everyone.”




“I agree that it does not make a lot of sense to duplicate every subscription-based journal with an OA one, and if Joe Esposito has this in mind, I agree. That is the reason I would advocate Hybrid OA, keeping in mind that we need to solve the myth of double-dipping. The math seems easy: accept a low level of double-dipping versus funding parallel systems.”



The full Q&A can be read here: