Saturday, September 06, 2008

Society for Reproduction and Fertility Self-archiving and Free Access Option: A Good Model

The Self-archiving and free access option of the Society for Reproduction and Fertility is a good model, for traditional publishers transitioning to open access. Authors are allowed to self-archived a copy of their own final manuscript with no charge after a 6-month embargo, or, they can pay a Free Access fee for immediate free access, which includes re-use rights.

Excerpt from The Society for Reproduction and Fertility's Terms and conditions for the re-use of Open Access articles:

The Society for Reproduction and Fertility makes some articles published in its journal freely available immediately upon publication, as a result of author-side financial support, usually funded by research funding bodies. These articles (hereafter referred to as ‘documents’) are also posted on PubMed Central (PMC) and PMC mirror sites. They are freely accessible and re-useable for non-commercial purposes, subject to the terms and conditions set out below.

The fee of $2,192 US is lower than what some other publishers are charging (which is good)!

What is missing? There is no indication that the Free Access Fee will take into account other sources of revenue (e.g. lower fees if the author is a member of a subscribing library).

One element of the Society's policy that is not a good model (for publishers), in my opinion, is the disclaimer authors must post on free self-archived versions. Asking authors to link to the journal home page, even stating that the article is the author's manuscript, is fine. Pointing out that the article has not gone through copyediting, formatting, and proofreading might concern the reader so that they go to the final published version, and might convince the author to take up the Free Access option. However, there is also a risk of eliciting a "who cares?" reaction from the reader, and a desire to investigate other publishing venues on the part of the author.

This post is part of the Transitioning to Open Access and Resources and Tips for Publishers.