There is much debate these days around open access publication. We are living in
an exciting time of transformation in how professionals document their work and share it
to others. Perhaps 50 years from now it will be clear which new business models provide
platforms for sustainable academic publishing ( we forget that current academic publishing
is a recent invention; in the 19th century academic publishing was the sole domain of scholarly
societies; commercial research publishers only emerged in the 1950s)
A number of funding agencies now require funded authors to publish in open
access publications ( where often a page charge is collected). As a result Leonardo
is now making available an option where authors whose funding agencies require
open access publishing may do so with a page charge.
Recently my UT Dallas colleague blogger David Parry has insisted
that open access is an ethical issue and that it is immoral for academics to publish in
subscription or fee based publications, Do you agree ? We look forward to a vigorous debate
Here is a podcast of David Parry’ opinions in the Chronicle of Higher Education :
I need to declare a conflict of interest on this discussion as I am Executive Editor of the Leonardo Publications
at MIT Press.
Our business model is:
a) Leonardo is published through a contract between two US non profit corporations:
MIT Press and Leonardo/ISAST.
b) Income is generated from book sales, subscription sales and individual article
downloads. Access systems include deep dyve where articles are downloaded at 40/$ a month for
40 article downloads per month or $1 per article, print subscriptions as detailed below, article downloads
are available through a number of systems such as JSTOR, project MUSE and other aggregation systems free to
academics whose libraries subscribe.
Our subscription rates are:
|Individual (Print + Electronic: includes print subscription to Leonardo and electronic access to Leonardo and LMJ) : $87.00|
|Individual (Electronic Only: includes electronic subscription to Leonardo, and electronic access to LMJ) : $78.00|
|Student/Retired (Print + Electronic: includes print subscription to Leonardo, and electronic access to Leonardo and LMJ) : $56.00|
|Student/Retired (Electronic Only: includes electronic subscription to Leonardo, and electronic access to LMJ) : $49.00|
|Institutional (Print + Electronic: for libraries, includes print subscription to Leonardo and electronic access to Leonardo and LMJ) : $698.00|
|Institutional (Electronic Only: for libraries, includes electronic access to Leonardo, and electronic access to LMJ) : $607.00|
|JSTOR Access (For an additional annual fee, individual subscribers can access Leonardo back Vols. 1-40) : $25.00|
c) Income from sales ; provides a small subsidy that has sustained the Leonardo/ISAST non profit which allows a
number of other activities to be carried out to provide services to the community of practice served by
Leonardo/ISAST, however over 45 years the non profit has functioned at a significant loss :
d) Leonardo has never operated at an overall profit in 45 years . Operations have been subsidized since 1966 by
government and foundation grants, individual donations and loans. I n addition authors, peer
reviewers, editors, members of editorial boards and committees serve without salary or financial compensation.
Through its volunteer labour the community of practice served by Leonardo sustains the overall activities.
e) Leonardo is seeing as with many publications an evolution in its earned income. Print subscriptions are
steadily dropping ( if you project the trend we will be publishing 100 print copies in 10 years) and income from
on line access is rising. It is not clear yet whether in ten years the publication will still be financially viable.
Here are references on the new US policy on open access
This semester my graduate seminar at UT Dallas is on Experimental Publishing and Knowledge Curation
where we are vigorously debating the issues. The students in the seminar are publishing a weekly pop
I look forward to your comments on this debate.