covering the fields of surgery and engineering, and The Surgery Journal
(Thieme Publishers), an open access
journal for surgeons and trainee surgeons of all disciplines, have started to
delegate pricing power to their contributing authors.
Although neoclassical economic
theory predicts that buyers (that is, authors in OA publishing) pay nothing if
THE OPEN ACCESS publishing movement has received strong support from scien- tists, lawmakers, and fund- ing institutions. Many publishers are reacting to this demand by
offering open access journals.
7 However, there is an ongoing debate on how
open access publishing models should
2, 4 Most open access journals that rely on the so-called “gold
open access model”
the research output immediately available from the publisher—let authors of
accepted papers pay article processing
charges (APCs) of several hundred to
several thousand U.S. dollars.
1 However, APCs are often criticized for potentially excluding researchers with limited funds.
As one potential solution to this
problem and also to gain a better un-
derstanding of the role of APCs in the
scientific community, some publishers
are starting to use Pay What You Want
(PWYW) as a pricing model for gold
open access publishing. PWYW is a
pricing model where sellers delegate
the full pricing power to buyers. So far,
PWYW has mainly been applied in ser-
vice industries (for example, restau-
rants, theaters), but also for the sale of
digital products like software (such as
http://humblebundle.com). More re-
cently, several publishers of open ac-
cess journals like Cogent OA (belong-
ing to the Taylor & Francis Group), edp
Sciences, and Thieme Publishers have
started to experiment with the PWYW
model for APCs of open access jour-
nals. More specifically, Cogent OA em-
powers authors to decide how much
they want to pay for their open access
publication in 15 broad journals cover-
ing different domains of academic re-
search. Likewise, SICOT-J (edp scienc-
es), a multidisciplinary journal
Pay What You Want as
a Pricing Model for
Open Access Publishing?
Analyzing the “Pay What You Want” business model for open access publishing.