Going for gold

April 30, 2015

From reading the article “Gold papers: publishers share £10m in APC payments” (News, 16 April), readers might conclude that some journal publishers do not publish many open access articles. However, for the Royal Society of Chemistry, this does not show the full picture.

The chart accompanying the article portrays the amount of money that UK research institutes spent on open access publication charges with various publishers. However, a useful complementary graphic could show how this relates to the total number of open access publications across publishers.

This would reflect the efforts, during the transition between traditional subscription publishing and open access, of many publishers to implement schemes to ease the financial burdens on authors and research institutes.

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Gold for Gold initiative rewards all institutes that subscribe to the RSC Gold journal package with a number of voucher codes to make their papers available via open access free of charge. The scheme has now been rolled out globally after a successful pilot with UK research institutes. In 2014, 48 countries used Gold for Gold vouchers.

During the review period of Research Councils UK’s policy on open access, 633 articles from UK institutes were published through gold open access in our journals. Of these 633 open access articles, 178 were published with payment of an article processing charge, while 455 were made open access with Gold for Gold vouchers – representing a £728,000 donation to the UK research community to support their open access publications. This demonstrates the value of alternative funding schemes such as Gold for Gold in enabling authors to publish their articles by the gold open access route while providing savings for the research institutes.

Emma Wilson
Director of Publishing – Journals and Databases
Royal Society of Chemistry

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