Under ‘gold’ standard open access publishing authors of academic articles (or their institutions) are required to ay a fee to the publisher in order for them to make their work available openly.
A recent article by the Australian Open Access Support Group found that, although data about the total amount of money spent on open access is not collected, with some extrapolation from publicly available figures it is possible to show that Australian researchers or their institutions potentially spent over US$9 million during 2013 on publication with the two main open access publishers.
These kinds of figures have implications funders of research who may well end up bearing the brunt of the costs, albeit indirectly. For instance:
While bearing in mind that their policy states funded published work must be made available open access, and they provide funds for article processing charges, the Wellcome Trust’s expenditure in 2012/13 indicates the numbers are substantial. That year they spent over US$6.5million on OA publication fees. This paid for 2,127 articles, with an average cost of US$3,055 per article.
Central to the issue here is ‘double-dipping': publishers continuing to charge subscribers for content while at the same time charging authors fees for publication – the article notes that subscriptions have remained constant while author fees have risen.