Publishing success stories from the digital age are few and far between. In scholarly publishing, so-called hybrid Open Access is one such rare bird – indeed, hybrid OA is now the fastest-growing and most popular journal publishing model in the world. That success, though, may prove its undoing.
In a recent guest post for The Scholarly Kitchen, a blog from the Society for Scholarly Publishing that covers “What’s hot and cooking in Scholarly Publishing,” Rob Johnson contemplated the dilemma at the heart of hybrid Open Access business models: Conceived as a short-term way station for “closed” subscription journals as they move to “transition” to Open Access, the hybrid model has instead established itself firmly in the scholarly publishing environment and is now thriving.
According to Johnson, founder and director of UK-based Research Consulting, “the hybrid model is much easier and much less risky (for publishers). You retain your existing subscription models and you just allow people to pay article by article where they want to make it Open Access.
“The contentious part of this is that institutions, funders, and authors are paying additional amounts to make articles Open Access over and above the subscriptions,” Johnson says. “I think that’s where this has become a contentious business model.”