Conclusions and Further Research

Faculty of Law, Ruhr University of Bochum, Bochum, Germany


In conclusion, there are several arguments to believe that the future of academic publishing should be open access. While Shavell (2010) finds that OA may strictly increase researcher’s incentives due to higher readership, our analysis also points to some countervailing effects of OA, especially when reconsidering Shavell’s assumption that most universities will cover the publication costs under an “author pays” model. We show that primarily due to rent seeking motives in the publishing game the incentives to exceed higher efforts may decrease. Nevertheless, we have stressed that this may just correct another distortion that the “publish or perish” environment in academia has enforced: namely the fact that “too many” papers are produced that are hardly ever read. Meho (2007) finds evidence for the fact that 90 % of all published papers are never cited and as many as 50 % of all papers are never read by anybody but the reviewer and the authors themselves. Moreover, we have pointed to the possible benefits but also the costs of OA publishing at the international level, especially when considering the position of developing countries.

The problem that the academic publishing market (but also other copyright industries) is facing is somewhat twofold: While digitalization has provided the means for a maximal access to information goods, it also offers with the technological means to maximize control over its content (Peukert 2013b, p. 15). In our historical reflection on the development of copyright we have seen that most recent reforms were primarily directed at serving the latter aspect. Accordingly, the introduction of so-called DRM technologies may have unilaterally improved the position of publishing houses (Hilty 2007). Nevertheless, we find many arguments why an abolishment of copyright—which lays the basis for an exclusive right on information goods—for academic works (Shavell 2010) is neither a feasible nor a reasonable solution. In this regard, we want to stress seven recommendations and provide an agenda for the steps ahead in shaping the future of academic publishing:


OA Mandate by Funding Agencies and Universities. As it is not only the government but also nonprofit funding agencies who largely fund scientific research, a contractual commitment of authors to provide OA to their publicly funded research results (OA mandate) seems to offer a reasonable starting point.1 We have seen several different forms of OA mandates. Obviously, to require authors of publicly funded research to submit to OA journals only (gold mandate) seems neither fair nor reasonable. In fact, the still low impact and hence reputation of OA journals as well as legal concerns originating in the “freedom to publish” principle of scientific research offer comprehensible arguments against such a gold mandate. Nevertheless, the “green road” of OA provides a feasible and reasonable alternative. Accordingly, funding agencies but also universities should condition their funding or employment contracts on the deposit of a copy of the final version2 of the publicly funded work in an online repository after an embargo period of 6–12 months after first publication.3 To ensure that all publicly funded research results are accessible in an online repository after the embargo period, only a rights-retention mandate—i.e. a mandate that allows to retain the nonexclusive right to authorize OA throughout online repositories (Suber 2012, p. 80)—seems appropriate.



Monitoring of OA Mandates. Extending on the first recommendation, only a monitoring of OA mandates will assure that authors actually self-archive their works. In this context, Stodden (2009) proposes the “Reproducible Research Standard” (RSS) as a possible solution. Similarly, other approaches revert to the option to require a deposit of an electronic version of each publicly funded paper at the national library. However, already Friedrich August von Hayek pointed to the several problems associated with the centralisation of knowledge.4 Accordingly, a decentralized solution seems more appropriate for monitoring OA mandates. Especially universities and research institutions constitute entities that do not only have the information needed but also the organizational means to monitor that their employees provide OA to their publicly funded research results as soon as possible and in an adequate format (post-print version). One could even argue that it should be the task of the faculties to monitor. A possible means to ease the monitoring process would be the implementation of an institutional repository for each university. Affiliated authors should then be required to deposit a copy of their final paper version on the university platform.5



Inalienable Right of Secondary Publication. The introduction of an “inalienable right of secondary publication” as a general limitation of copyright constitutes a reasonable means to complement the functioning of OA mandates. In particular, such an “inalienable right of secondary publication” would give the author more bargaining weight in her contractual relationships with publishers and constitutes a sufficient means for a retention of the non-exclusive right by the author (rights retention mandate). Of course, the majority of publishers has already realized the “spirit of the information age” and allow for some form of self-archiving.6 Nevertheless, it is left to the publisher whether an author may or may not self-archive a pre- and/or post-print version of her published paper. An “inalienable right of secondary publication” would ensure a more balanced relationship between publishers and authors. However, only in combination with an OA mandate such a policy would ensure the ability to achieve the actual goal of OA—immediate and unrestricted access to scientific knowledge.



International Copyright Law and the Reconceptualization of the Berne Three-Step Test. For achieving collective action in the legislative action of different national states and to avoid possible distortions between authors of different origin, a reform in the context of international law seems inevitable. We have seen that the rigidity of the current international copyright framework would necessarily impede the options for limiting the scope of copyright (e.g. by introducing an inalienable right of secondary publication)7 at the international level. In this regard, both a recodification of the international three-step test (in accordance to the US fair-use principle) in combination with a reform process that incorporates the needs of developing countries (by incorporating users’ rights provisions at the international level) is decisive for adjusting the international copyright framework to accommodate the needs of science.



Transnational Funding Agency. Our research has also pointed to possible distortions when shifting towards an OA regime. In particular, we have seen that researchers from developing countries may be restricted in their ability to bear the publication costs in an OA world.8 Many OA publishers have realized the dilemma of authors from developing countries and offer discounts or waivers to authors suffering from financial hardship. In the evolutionary process towards an OA regime as the future of academic publishing these basic insights should be taken into account. The implementation of a transnational funding agency as an entity for the coordination and redistribution of funds is an unavoidable consequence in this process. However, we do not see any argument for the funding of hybrid OA publications which do not follow the actual intention of OA but rather provide with an additional means for price discrimination. As a consequence, receipt of funding should be restricted to pure or true OA publications.



Reconsidering the Reward Structure in Science. We have also pointed to the prevailing “OA dilemma” in a world of two co-existing regimes (CA versus OA), where especially young researchers may be locked-in to the CA model due to the reputation advantage of established CA publishers. As a matter of fact, the dilemma that OA journals may be restricted in their ability to accumulate a sufficient level of reputation (chicken-egg problem) originates in the prevailing reward structure of science, i.e. the ways scholars receive credit for their performance. That is, the problem may somewhat be self-made. As a result, it should be in the interest of every scholar to induce a debate on a possible reconceptualization of the reward system, also to countervail against the negative effects that the “publish or perish” environment has caused. In particular, the debate should find ways to remunerate OA publications for the career concerns of researchers.



Create Awareness. Obviously, awareness about the general principles of OA will be needed to foster its evolution. Eger et al. (2013) show that the awareness about OA publishing differs considerably between disciplines and has explanatory power to explain its acceptance in particular fields. Consequently, more initiatives—like the OA weeks9—will be necessary to not only create awareness about OA but also to overcome prevalent prejudices against OA publishing.


Obviously, the transition towards a greater role of OA in the future of academic publishing will need time and thorough investigations of the various (unresolved) problems ahead. We have pointed to several open questions not only in the “copyright versus open access” debate, but especially in the international context and related topics involving aspects such as OA to data and digital libraries (e.g. Google Books).10 All of this leaves us with a promising road for further research and intriguing questions on our very own future.


Abadie, A., Diamond, A., & Hainmueller, J. (2010). Synthetic control methods for comparative case studies: Estimating the effect of California’s tobacco control program. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 105(490), 493–505.

Acs, Z. J., Audretsch, D. B., & Feldman, M. P. (1994). R&d spillovers and recipient firm size. Review of Economics and Statistics, 76(2), 336–340.

Ahmed, A. (2007). Open access towards bridging the digital divide – Policies and strategies for developing countries. Information Technology for Development, 13(4), 337–361.

Akerlof, G. A. (1970). The market for ‘lemons’: Quality uncertainty and the market mechanism. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 84(3), 488–500.

Akerlof, G. A., Hahn, R., Litan, R. E., Arrow, K. J., Bresnahan, T. F., Buchanan, J. M., Coase, R. H., Cohen, L. R., Friedman, M., Green, J. R., Hazlett, T. W., Hemphill, C. S., Noll, R. G., Schmalensee, R., Shavell, S., Varian, H. R., & Zeckhauser, R. J. (2002). The copyright term extension act of 1998: An economic analysis. AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies, Brief 02-1. http://​www.​aei-brookings.​org/​admin/​authorpdfs/​page.​php?​id=​16.

Allison, P. D., & Stewart, J. A. (1974). Productivity differences among scientists: Evidence for accumulative advantage. American Sociological Review, 39(4), 596–606.

Andreff, W., & Szymanski, S. (Eds.) (2006). Handbook of the economics of sport. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Andreoli-Versbach, P., & Mueller-Langer, F. (2013). Open access to data: An ideal professed but not practiced. RatSWD Working Paper Series No. 215. http://​papers.​ssrn.​com/​sol3/​papers.​cfm?​abstract_​id=​2224146.

Annan, K. (2004). Science for all nations. Science, 303, 925.

Armstrong, C., DeBeer, J., Kawooya, D., Prabhala, A., & Schonwetter, T. (Eds.) (2010). Access to knowledge in Africa: The role of copyright. Claremont: UCT Press.

Arrow, K. (1962). Economic welfare and the allocation of resources for invention. In R. Nelson (Ed.), The rate and direction of inventive activity (pp. 609–624). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

ARWU (2012). Academic ranking of world universities-2012. http://​www.​shanghairanking.​com/​ARWU2012.​html.

Audretsch, D. B., & Feldman, M. P. (1996). R&d spillovers and the geography of innovation and production. American Economic Review, 86(3), 630–640.

Bakos, Y., & Brynjofsson, E. (1999). Bundling information goods: Pricing, profits and efficiency. Management Science, 45(12), 1613–1630.

Bakos, Y., & Brynjofsson, E. (2000). Bundling and competition on the internet. Marketing Science, 19(1), 63–82.

Bargheer, M. (2006). Open access und universitätsverlage: Auswege aus der publication crisis. In Internetökonomie der Medienbranche. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Göttingen.

Benkler, Y. (2002). Coase’s penguin, or, linux and the “nature of the firm”. The Yale Law Journal, 112(3), 369–446.

Bently, L. (2010). Introduction to part i: The history of copyright. In L. Bently, U. Suthersanen, & P. Torremans (Eds.), Global copyright. Three hundred years since the statute of anne, from 1709 to cyberspace. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Bently, L., & Kretschmer, M. (2013). Primary sources on copyright (1450–1900). www.​copyrighthistory​.​org.

Berger, K. P. (1996). Lex mercatoria doctrine and the unidroit principles of international commercial contracts. Law and Policy in International Business, 28, 943–990.

Bergstrom, T. C. (2001). Free labor for costly journals. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 15(3), 183–198.

Bergstrom, T. C., Courant, P., & McAffee, R. P. (2013). Big deal contract project. http://​www.​econ.​ucsb.​edu/​~tedb/​Journals/​BundleContracts.​html.

Bergstrom, T. C., & McAffee, R. P. (2013). Summary statistics. http://​www.​hss.​caltech.​edu/​~mcafee/​Journal/​.

Bernius, S. (2010). The impact of open access on the management of scientific knowledge. Online Information Review, 34(4), 583–603.

Bernius, S., & Hanauske, M. (2009). Open access to scientific literature-increasing citations as an incentive for authors to make their publications freely available. In Hawaii International Conference on System Science (HICSS-42).

Bernius, S., Hanauske, M., Koenig, W., & Dugall, B. (2009). Open access models and their implications for the players on the scientific publishing market. Economic Analysis and Policy, 39(1), 103–115.

Besen, S. M. (1986). Private copying, reproduction costs, and the supply of intellectual property. Information Economics and Policy, 2(1), 5–22.

Besen, S. M., & Raskind, L. J. (1989). New technologies and intellectual property: Collectives that collect. Technical report, Rand Corporation, RAND Report No. R-3751-MF.

Besen, S. M., & Raskind, L. J. (1991). An introduction to the law and economics of intellectual property. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5(1), 3–27.

Bitton, M. (2012). Implementing the public sector information directive. European Intellectual Property Review, 34(2), 75–86.

Bjoerk, B.-C. (2004). Open access to scientific publications. An analysis of the barriers to change. Information Research, 9(2), 1–17.

Bjoerk, B.-C. (2012). The hybrid model for open access publication of scholarly articles: A failed experiment? Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 63(8), 1496–1504.

BOAI (2002). Budapest open access initiative. http://​www.​soros.​org/​openaccess/​read.​shtml.

Boldrine, M., & Levine, D. K. (2002). The case against intellectual property. American Economic Review, 92(2), 209–212.

Boldrine, M., & Levine, D. K. (2005). Intellectual property and the efficient allocation of social surplus from creation. Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2(1), 45–67.

Boldrine, M., & Levine, D. K. (2008). Against intellectual property (1st ed.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Börsenverein. (2011). Börsenverein des deutschen buchhandels. stellungnahme zum gesamtkonzept für die informationsinfrastruktur in deutschland (kii-papier), frankfurt.

Bosch, X. (2009). A reflection on open-access, citation counts, and the future of scientific publishing. Archivum Immunologiae et Therapiae Experimentalis, 57(2), 91–93.

Breyer, S. (1970). The uneasy case for copyright: A study of copyright in books, photocopies and computer programs. Harvard Law Review, 84, 281–351.

Brody, T., Harnad, S., & Les, C. (2006). Earlier web usage statistics as predictors of later citation impact. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 57(8), 1060–1072.

Bundesratsbeschluss. (2013). Mehr open access in der wissenschaft.

Calabresi, G., & Melamed, D. A. (1972). Property rules, liability rules, and inalienability: One view of the cathedral. Harvard Law Review, 85(6), 1089–1128.

Callon, M. (1994). Is science a public good? Fifth Mullins lecture. Science, Technology, and Human Values, 19(4), 395–424.

Campanario, J. M. (1996). Using citation classics to study the incidence of serendipity in scientific discovery. Scientometrics, 20, 4–21.

Campbell. (1994). Campbell, aka skywalker, et al. v. acuff-rose music, inc. (92-1292), 510 U.S. 569. http://​www.​law.​cornell.​edu/​supct/​html/​92-1292.​ZS.​html.

Card, D., & Krueger, A. B. (1994). Minimum wages and employment: A case study of the fast-food industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. American Economic Review, 84(4), 772–793.

Castells, M. (2000). The information age: The rise of the network society. Oxford: Blackwell.

Cavaleri, P., Keren, M., Ramello, G. B., & Valli, V. (2009). Publishing an e-journal on a shoe string: Is it a sustainable project? Economic Analysis and Policy, 39(1), 89–101.

Cetto, M. A. (2001). The contribution of electronic communication to science – Has it lived up to its promise? In Proceedings to the 2nd ICSU-UNESCO International Conference on Electronic Publishing in Science, 20–23 February, UNESCO House, Paris.

Chang, C. C. (2003). Business models for open access journals publishing. Online Information Review, 30(6), 699–713.

Choi, J. P. (2012). Bundling information goods. In M. Peitz & J. Waldfogel (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of the digital economy (pp. 273–305). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Christian, G. E. (2008). Open access initiative and the developing world. African Journal of Library Archives and Information Science, 18(2).

Coase, R. (1960). The problem of social cost. Journal of Law and Economics, 3(1), 1–44.

Coccia, M. (2006). Economic and social studies of scientific research: Nature and origins. Working Paper CERIS-CNR, 8(7).

Cofer, C. N., & Apply, M. H. (1967). Motivation: Theory and research. New York: Wiley.

Cohen, W. M., & Levinthal, D. A. (1989). Innovation and learning: The two faces of r&d. Economic Journal, 99(397), 569–596.

Congleton, R. D., Hillman, A. L., & Konrad, K. (2008). 40 years of research on rent seeking 1. New York: Springer.

Conney-McQuat, S., Busch, S., & Kahn, D. (2010). Open access publishing: A viable solution for society publishers. Learned Publishing, 23(2), 101–105.

Coolidge, H. J., & Lord, R. H. (1932). Archibald cary coolidge: Life and letters. New York: Boston

Cornish, W. (2010). The statute of anne 1709-10: Its historical setting. In L. Bently, U. Suthersanen, & P. Torremans (Eds.), Global copyright. Three hundred years since the statute of anne, from 1709 to cyberspace. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Corrigan, R., & Rogers, M. (2005). The economics of copyright. World Economics, 6(3), 153–174.

Craig, I., Plume, A. M., McVeigh, M. E., Pringle, J., & Amin, M. (2007). Do open access articles have greater citation impact? A critical review of the literature. Publishing research consortium. Journal of Informetrics, 1(3), 239–248.

Crane, D. (1965). Scientists at major and minor universities: A study of productivity and recognition. American Sociological Review, 30(5), 699–714.

Csikszentmihalyi, H. (1974). Beyond boredom and anxiety: The experience of play in work and games. San Francisco: Jossey Bass Inc.

Dahlberg, B. (2011). Orphan works problem: Preserving access to the cultural history of disadvantaged groups. Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice 20, 275.

Dalrymple, D. (2003). Scientific knowledge as a global public good: Contributions to innovation and the economy. In J. M. Esanu, & P. F. Uhlir (Eds.), The Role of Scientific and Technical Data and Information in the Public Domain: Proceedings of a Symposium (pp. 35–49). Washington: National Academic Press.

Dasgupta, P., & David, P. A. (1987). Information disclosure and the economics of science and technology. In G. R. Feiwel (Ed.), Arrow and the ascent of modern economic theory. New York: Macmillan Press.

Dasgupta, P., & David, P. A. (1994). Towards a new economics of science. Research Policy, 23(4), 487–521.

David, P. A. (1993). Intellectual property institutions and the panda’s thumb: Patents, copyrights and trade secrets in economic theory and history. In NRC (pp. 19–61).

Davis, P. M. (2009). Author-choice open access publishing in the biological and medical literature. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(1), 3–8.

Davis, P. M. (2011). Open access, readership, citations: A randomized controlled trial of scientific journal publishing. The FASEB Journal, 25, 1–6.

Davis, P., Lewenstein, B., Simon, D., Booth, J., & Connolly, M. (2008). Open access publishing, article downloads and citations. British Medical Journal, 337, a568.

Davis, P. M., Lewenstein, B. V., Simon, D. H., Booth, J. G., Connolly, M. J. L. (2008). Open access publishing, article downloads, and citations: Randomized control trial. British Medical Journal, 337, a568. http://​www.​bmj.​com/​cgi/​content/​full/​337/​jul31_​1/​a568.

Deci, E. L., Koester, R., & Ryan, R. M. (1999). A meta-analytic review of experiments examining the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 125(6), 627–668.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum Press.

Deene, J. (2010). The influence of the statute of anne on Belgian copyright law. In L. Bently, U. Suthersanen, & Torremans, P. (Eds.), Global copyright. Three hundred years since the statute of anne, from 1709 to cyberspace. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Demsetz, H. (1970). The private production of public goods. Journal of Law and Economics, 13, 293–306.

Demsetz, H. (2009). Creativity and the economics of the copyright controversy. Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 6(2), 5–12.

Dewatripont, M., Ginsburgh, V., Legros, P., Walckiers, A., Devroey, J. P., Dujardin, M., et al. (2006). Study on the economic and technical evolution of the scientific publication markets in Europe. Brussels: European Commission.

Diamond, A. M. (1986). The life-cycle research productivity of mathematicians and scientists. Journal of Gerontology, 41(4), 520–525.

Diamond, A. M. (2000). The complementarity of scientometrics and economics. In B. Cronin & H. B. Adkins (Eds.), The web of knowledge: A festschrift in honor of eugene garfield (pp. 321–336). New Jersey: Information Today.

Diamond, A. M. (2004). Zvi grichiles’s contributions to the economics of technology and growth. Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 13(4), 365–397.

Diamond, A. M. (2005). Measurement, incentives and constraints in stigler’s economics of science. The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 12(4), 635–661.

DMCA (1998). The digital millenium copyright act of 1998. U.S. copyright office summary. http://​www.​copyright.​gov/​legislation/​dmca.​pdf.

Donahue, C. (2004). Medieval and early modern lex mercatoria: An attempt at the probatio diabolica. Chicago Journal of International Law 5, 21

ECReport. (2006). Study on the economic and technical evolution of the scientific publication markets in Europe. EC Report. http://​ec.​europa.​eu/​research/​science-society/​pdf/​scientific-publication-study_​en.​pdf.

Edlin, A. S., & Rubinfeld, D. L. (2004). Exclusion or efficient pricing? The “big deal” bundling of academic journals. Antitrust Law Journal, 72, 128–159.

Edlin, A. S., & Rubinfeld, D. L. (2005). Competition policy for journals: The bundling of academic journals. American Economic Review, 95(2), 441–445.

Eger, T. (2013). Einige bemerkungen zur aktuellen diskussion um das urheberrecht aus ökonomischer sicht. In H. Curti & T. Effertz (Eds.), Die ökonmische Analyse. Entwicklung und Perspektive einer interdisziplinären Wissenschaft (pp. 121–140). New York: Peter Land Academic Publishing.

Eger, T., & Scheufen, M. (2012a). Das urheberrecht im zeitenwandel: Von gutenberg zum cyberspace. In C. Müller, F. Trosky, & M. Weber (Eds.), Ökonomik als Allgemeine Theorie Menschlichen Verhaltens: Grundlagen und Anwendungen, Schriften zu Ordnungsfragen der Witzschaft (Vol. 94, pp. 151–180). Stuttgart: Lucius & Lucius.

Eger, T., & Scheufen, M. (2012b). The past and the future of copyright law: Technological change and beyond. In J. De Mot (Ed.), Liber Amicorum Boudewijn Bouckaert, forthcoming (pp. 37–65). Bruges: de Keuren.

Eger, T., Scheufen, M., & Meierrieks, D. (2013). The determinants of open access publishing: Survey evidence from Germany. SSRN Working Paper.

Eger, T., Scheufen, M., & Meierrieks, D. (2014). The determinants of open access publishing: Survey evidence from countries in the Mediterranean open access network (medoanet). SSRN Working Paper.

Ehrenberg, R. G. (1992). The flow of new doctorates’. Journal of Economic Literature, 30(2), 830–875.

Elkin-Koren, N. (2006). Creative commons: A sceptical view of a worthy pursuit. In B. P. Hugenholtz & L. Guibault (Eds.), The future of the public domain (pp. 1–21). Netherlands: Kluwer Law International.

Ethiraj, S. K., & Levinthal, D. A. (2009). Hoping for a to z while rewarding only a: Complex organizations and multiple goals. Organization Science, 20, 4–21.

Evans, J., & Reimer, J. (2009a). Open access and global participation in science. Science, 323, 1025.

Evans, J., & Reimer, J. (2009b). Open access and global participation in science, supporting online material. Science, 323, 72–75.

Eysenbach, G. (2006). Citation advantage of open access articles. PLoS Biology, 4(5), 692–698.

Feather, J. (1980). The book trade in politics: The making of the copyright act of 1710. Publishing History, 8, 19–44.

Feess, E., & Scheufen, M. (2013). Academic copyright in the publishing game: A contest perspective. SSRN Working Paper.

Feess, E., & Scheufen, M. (2014). Copyright versus open access for academic works: A non-strategic model on quality provision. Mimeo.

Finch, J. (2012). Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: How to expand access to research publications. Report of the working group on expanding access to published research findings-the Finch group. http://​www.​researchinfonet.​org/​wp-content/​uploads/​2012/​06/​Finch-Group-report-FINAL-VERSION.​pdf.

Only gold members can continue reading. Log In or Register to continue