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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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Springer-Nature has a new report out on tracking APCs.

Research Fortnight asked me to comment but didn’t use the full quote, so here are my thoughts on it:

I think that the term ‘in the wild’ is slightly misleading/pointed for meaning that publishers were less easily able to track such payments. This category covers some extremely common routes to paying for OA: Research grant funds used for APCs, funds from co-authors, and other institutional budgets, all lumped together in one group alongside authors’ personal funds. The assessment that this is ‘wild’ and something that should be tamed is probably most of use to publishers who want to enter negotiations with librarians with as much data on the institution’s expenditure as possible. What they don’t want is the ‘gotcha’ moment when the library reveals that they have actually spent much more than was previously thought. They’ve also realised that APCs and the micro-transaction approach is much less appealing – and much more onerous to administer – than blanket single-payment deals (and libraries generally agree, even while expressing wariness re. being locked into big deals again). It could be that these deals accelerate the spread of OA and therefore striking them would be beneficial to the general speed of adoption, but I have some wariness about who benefits most from being able easily to track the payment sources mentioned in this report.