Libraries funding more open access fees, says survey

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Academic libraries are getting more involved in the cataloguing and funding of gold open access (OA) publications, according to a survey by the US industry consultancy, Publishers Communication Group (PCG). 

Gold open access, though generally understood as the freely-accessible 'author pays' model, may actually be covered by sources such as grant funders, employer subsidies or institutional library budgets, the study confirmed.
Seeking to bridge the perspectives of PCG’s publisher and library customers, the survey of 150 librarians from 30 different countries found that at present, the responsibility for funding article processing charges (APCs) is still more likely to fall on the author (47 per cent) or granting organisation (38 per cent) than the institution (24 per cent) or library.  

However, nearly a quarter of respondents stated that the library does provide funding for APCs, which often comes from existing library materials budget.  It was estimated that this cost equates to less than one per cent of the budget for traditional subscriptions, with 19 per cent of institutions establishing a ceiling for APCs, typically ranging from two to three thousand US dollars.
Some 72 per cent of libraries also reported cataloging OA resources, though many estimated these to represent just one to five per cent of total catalogue listings. Librarians determine which OA titles to catalog from a variety of factors, notably the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and Beall’s List of Predatory Open Access Publishers, in addition to relevancy and faculty recommendations.
Kate Lara, head of market research at PCG, commented: 'Because PCG stands at the crossroads of librarians, researchers and publishers, we field questions from all sides regarding open access publishing and its future impact on these stakeholders.  

'The results of our study largely confirmed our suspicion that OA is presently a small but growing issue for librarians and institutions, while revealing that there are multiple and varied views into how the librarian can play a role in it.  While there may not yet be a definitive path forward, there are many opportunities for innovation on the part of both librarians and publishers.'