Open Access Embargoes — How Long Is Long Enough?

20/09/2012 – 11:58 am
Tony McCall

Many subscription-based science publishers offer some form of free access to journal articles, usually after an embargo period that can range between two months and 36 months after publication.

These embargo dates were set more than a decade ago in most cases, with little supporting data and with little fear that giving away free content would put their business models at risk.

In a widely influential piece published over 10 years ago in Nature Web Debates, Martin Richardson, then Journals Publishing Director for Oxford University Press, released one of the first usage studies for electronic journals, plotting how the vast majority of article readership for the The EMBO Journal takes place within the first three months of publication. This piece of information shouldn’t have come as a surprise to science publishers, most of whom observe the same pattern in their own journals. However, what Richardson wrote next now seems, in hindsight, to be a controversial finding:

The initial results of the Highwire free access experiment indicate that there is no detectable increase in usage once free access is given.

More at:-

author: Phil Davis
source: The Scholarly Kitchen (18/9/12)

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  1. One Response to “Open Access Embargoes — How Long Is Long Enough?”


    To maximize research productivity and progress or to guarantee publishers’ current revenue streams?

    By Stevan Harnad on Sep 21, 2012

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