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Open-access journal revenue to triple by 2017

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A new report report from media and publishing intelligence firm Simba Information indicates that a global campaign to increase open access to scientific research has created a fast-growing revenue stream for scientific, technical and medical journal publishers.

The debate about how free is free (costs) and how open is open (copyrights) are ongoing. However open access is already having a bigger impact in terms of publishing output. By some estimates, it already represents 10 per cent to 20 per cent of all research articles published.

The Simba report, Open Access Journal Publishing 2014-2017, found that the major revenue source for open-access journals are the author-paid, article processing charges publishers collect to cover the costs of peer review, editing, layout and electronic publication. 

Simba estimates the revenue generated by these fees grew 32.8 per cent in 2013. Despite this rapid growth, open-access revenue still only represents 2.3 per cent of global 2013 scientific, technical and medical journal sales, according to the research. While other journal revenue in this area is expected to increase at a compound annual rate of between 1 per cent and 2 per cent between 2011 and 2017, open-access revenue is expected to more than triple in that period.