Business Models and Funding
There are a range of business models available to support Open Access and in turn institutional repositories and journals. The key economic issue for Open Access and in turn institutions, funders and researchers is the challenge of matching funding models to sustain (and accelerate) Open Access and ensure that research is available and free at the point of use.
Open Access business models – Gold and Green
There are two routes to open access, commonly referred by the OA community as “Gold” and “Green”.
• The “Gold” route is focussed on open access journal publishing, where access to the published paper is available immediately and free at the point of use. In some cases this is funded by an article processing charge (APC) and is often referred to as the “Author pays” model.
• The “Green” route is focussed on deposit of papers into an institutional or subject based repository.
These papers, commonly “postprints” and may be subject to embargo depending on the policy of the publisher. These routes can and should be pursued alongside one another, institutions should support the ongoing development of their Open Access institutional repositories while engaging with new publishing models.
Open Access Publishing: The Gold Road
The German openaccess-net  website identifies four main variations of business models for Gold Open Access publishing. These are:
• Article Processing Charges (APCs) – this is commonly referred to as the “author pays” model, although in many cases individual authors pay these charges personally and the costs are covered by the other models.
• Research funder subsidies – funding to pay for these charges can be charged to the funder, in the UK the Wellcome Trust is a pioneer and leader in this field.
• Institutional membership – funding for publication in Open Access journals is covered by institutional subscriptions to publishers such as Biomed Central
• Institutional support funds – funding is made available to Researchers by the institution to support publication. In the UK the University of Nottingham has provided clear leadership in this approach with the creation of a central fund.
“Gold” Recommendations for Stakeholders
The 2009 Research Information Network and Universities UK provided a briefing paper on “Paying for Open Access Charges” which provided clear direction for each of the stakeholders involved in publishing research, including the publishers. It noted that “ways of paying for open access publications have grown up haphazardly” and while the situation has improved somewhat its recommendations remain very relevant.
In order to ensure that researchers are able to comply with their funders open access policies, the RIN guide makes a number of recommendations, summarised here:
Institutions should ensure a member of the senior university management champions and co-ordinates these activities. They should also provide funds to support Open Access publishing with clear criteria and guidance;
Funders should clarify how they will provide financial support, for instance via a dedicated fund or by enabling authors to include such charges in their grant;
Publishers should ensure that authors can pay any publication fees for Open Access, provide authors with details of any fees, conditions or waivers and provide transparency on their business model;
Authors should explore their open access options, familiarise themselves with their funder’s policies and ensure they have funding in place for publication fees.
The management and administration of funds to pay Open Access charges varies from institution, a 2009 study showed that less than 15% of institutions had set-up a central fund to manage Open Access charges.
Institutional Repositories: The Green Road
Institutional repositories provide an opportunity for institutions to provide leadership in Open Access and align its “public good” with stewardship of its research outputs and publications. An institutional repository can act as a locus for increasing the visibility of an institutions research, providing increased impact and delivering new opportunities for management information.
In many institutions the repository has evolved to become a key component of the institution’s enterprise systems and has become embedded in its processes and workflows, for example, in preparation for the Research Excellence Framework.
The business case for the repository, and the support for Green Open Access should focus on these key elements rather than a simple financial return. Alma Swan’s book chapter “The business of digital repositories”  provides a comprehensive overview of the key issues in making the business case for the repository, its set-up, management and sustainability.
1 Business models, German openaccess-net
2 Swan, A. (2008) The business of digital repositories. In: A DRIVER’s Guide to European Repositories (Amsterdam, 2007), Amsterdam University Press.