Experimental 'pay what you can' OA model launched

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Cogent OA, an open access publisher backed by the Taylor & Francis Group, has launched Freedom APCs – an experimental new model designed to help match article publishing charges (APCs) to an author’s ability to pay.

Through Cogent OA’s Freedom APC model, authors are requested to explore all avenues for funding the publication of their article, such as their funding agency, institution or company and to select a fee from a range of options based on their circumstances and how much they can afford to pay. The final decision rests with the author.

'We’re introducing Freedom APCs as a mechanism to test to what degree authors can afford to pay article publishing charges,' said Bryan Vickery, director of Cogent OA. 'We’re keen to learn how much cost is a barrier to the uptake of open access.'

Cogent OA will be collecting information on the APC fee level selected by authors and analysing this based on career stage, subject area and location. This information will then be published, with the aim of generating discussion on open access affordability and further inform the development of APC models and fee structures.

'We wanted to go further than an all-or-nothing waiver program,' continued Vickery, 'and really evaluate what authors are able or willing to pay. We appreciate that not all researchers are the same. Some are established in their careers and well-funded, others are just starting out, or working in regions of the world with limited financial resources.'

Daniel Keirs, editorial director of Cogent OA, added: 'Our ambition is to raise authors’ awareness and take-up of the growing levels of financial support that exist for open access publication around the world, as well as their understanding of institutions’ or funders’ policies towards OA. We also hope that by enabling more authors to see the benefits of open access first hand, there will be increased demand for institutions, funders and government to increase support for OA where it is not currently available.'

An initial analysis of the results will be made available in 2016. To register for a copy of this report when it is published, e-mail freedomapc@CogentOA.com