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[BOAI] Media research analyst at Exane BNP Paribas Sami Kassab on the state of Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done?

From: "Richard Poynder" <ricky AT>
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2013 07:27:07 +0100

A new Q&A in a series exploring the current state of Open Access has been
published. This one is with Sami Kassab, an Executive Director at the
investment company Exane BNP Paribas. 


Kassab runs the Media Research team covering professional publishing.
Amongst the companies he monitors are Reed Elsevier, Thomson Reuters,
Informa, John Wiley, Wolters Kluwer, and Pearson. 


Currently, Kassab is positive about the sector, arguing that scientific
publishing offers "best in class defensive growth in a very resilient
industry".  Kassab believes that Open Access is still a marginal activity
and in any case poses neither a short-term nor a long-term threat to large
scholarly publishers. In fact, he says, it will enable them to monetise more
articles than they have been able to monetise historically.


*Some excerpts:*


"For the big four STM publishers - Elsevier, Wiley, Springer and Informa's
Taylor & Francis - we estimate that OA revenues account for 1% to 10% of 
journal revenues with an average of around 3%."




"Through our contact with leading OA publishers, we estimate that the pot 
money available for funding Gold OA APC is currently growing at 20% p.a. Our
tracking of the growth in the number of OA mandates (institutional and
funders) registered on ROARMAP shows a similar growth rate (30% in H1 2013
after c.20% in 2012).  Consequently, we believe that both Green OA and Gold
OA are likely to continue to grow in the foreseeable future."




"Victor Hugo argued that nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time
has come. And yet, OA has been around for more than a decade and still lacks
any meaningful critical mass. Researchers are reluctant to do the few extra
keystrokes that are required for Green OA. High compliance ratio to green OA
mandates are not universal. Perhaps, authors are unconvinced by the
fundamental merit of the OA model.


"The same goes for institutions. Elsevier has over 4,000 institutional
clients around the globe. Less than 300 institutions have signed OA mandates
worldwide. In contrast, MOOCs have taken the higher education world by storm
with hundreds of institutions experimenting with MOOCs within a few 




"At the risk of playing the devil's advocate, one could say that the image
of publishers, especially the largest ones, has actually improved. This view
would be consistent with the fact that journal price inflation has come
down, that large publishers have invested in new products and technological
features (search, visualisation tools, mash-ups, database linking, apps,
etc.) and have improved their customer relationship management."




"[A] as the whole industry switches to Gold OA, we believe that large
publishers' rejection rates are likely to come down. In other words, for
large publishers such as Elsevier and Springer, we expect an increase in
published output to compensate for lower price points. Overall, as things
stand, we do not agree that OA poses a significant threat to publishers, in
particular not to their share price developments."


The Q&A can be read here:


Richard Poynder


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