Will Read and Publish Models Provide a Sustainable Future for Open Access and Content Acquisitions?

The Uncertain Future of Research Funding and Library Budgets

By IGI Global on May 15, 2020

Editor Note: Understanding the importance of this timely topic and to ensure that research is made available to the wider academic community, view the end of this article to access freely open access research.


The higher education sector is not only being radically transformed by “stay-at-home orders” and online-only environments due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, but the future of university and college funding, library budgets, and academic research is being compromised by the inevitable reality of budget cuts.

With tuition and fees, governmental funding, and endowments/gifts being the main source of income for schools around the United States, many are predicting massive cuts in educational funding as the governmental support is now in jeopardy. Additionally, many institutions are facing less international enrollment, an increase in the need for student financial aid, a lack of donors, as well as the uncertainty on the timeline in which they can reopen. The United States is not the only country that is facing these threats, as many institutions around the world are facing a lack of funding and educational resources. According to a recent Scholarly Kitchen article, this overall lack of funding will undoubtedly affect library budgets and the future of research funding with estimates of cuts up to 10-20% in library funding, which will be followed by additional hiring freezes and furloughs/layoffs.

Additionally, according to a recent Nature article, the question of research funding and open access funding is coming into question. Although many governments are subsidizing biomedical research and research groups, some medical funders alone are experiencing up to a 20% loss in funding and less donations/corporate sponsorships. With the current state of the economy, governmental funding, and higher education, many are predicting higher cuts to funding of other research areas, including open access, will occur. This brings into question: how sustainable is research funding and open access (OA)?

The Transformative Solution for Libraries, Researchers, and Publishers

Luckily, for at least the last decade, the academic community has been working on creating transformative open access models to provide a sustainable approach to open access, including read and publish and publish and read models. These models provide both subscription/access to content and funding for OA under the same agreement.

The read portion enables institutions to gain access to research content from publishers and the publish portion enables institution’s faculty OA article processing charges (APCs) to be waived or discounted based on the agreement pricing from the publisher. The key different in these models is that in the read and publish model, the institution will negotiate with the publisher on the cost of the resources and then, have their OA APCs discounted or waived, and the publish and read model puts more of an emphasis on the costs associated with OA publishing.

With the current funding cuts looming, many are speculating that these models may pave the way for the future of research funding, enable libraries to maximize their budgets on content, and provide a bridge between these funding bodies and dwindling allocations.

Additionally, through these models, specifically the read and publish model (which puts emphasis on paying for access to content and subsidizing the OA article processing charges, APCs), it can enable various research areas to be subsidized and provide access to the latest, emerging content across multiple research areas, which are all being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic has highlighted the need not only for medical research, but affected areas, including education and online learning, emergency management, business and human resources, economics, information science and technology, environment and agriculture, cyber security, international relations and government, media and fake news, sociology and psychology, etc.


An example of a successful model is IGI Global’s Open Access Fee Waiver Initiative, which is closely aligned with the read and publish OA model. Under this initiative, libraries will invest in electronic resources through IGI Global’s InfoSci®-Databases, and the publisher will match their investment with a fund to go towards waiving the OA APCs for the faculty, students, and staff of their institution once their work is submitted and accepted (following peer review) into an IGI Global journal.

With many institutions and consortia taking advantage of this model, including Drexel University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Central Florida, the University of Toronto, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Deakin University, Carolina Consortium, Taiwan Academic E-Book & Database Consortium (TAEBDC), and more, it provides a collaboration between the publisher, institution, and researchers to enable the continuation of access to references, additional research funding, and a quality, sustainable publishing model.

Specifically, when institutions invest in IGI Global’s InfoSci-Knowledge Solutions, subject-specific e-book and e-journal databases in the areas of business and management, computer science, education, and social sciences, it can provide valuable access to multidisciplinary areas of research that are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this model, IGI Global provides flexibility to single institutions and consortia on the terms of how this initiative will be implemented, which includes:

  • Subsidizing Forthcoming Research: The matched OA APC funding can go towards papers that are submitted and accepted into an IGI Global journal upon their publishing date. This method is ideal to make forthcoming research around the different facets of this pandemic widely available to continue the surge of resources available to the wider community to combat future pandemics, adapt once the “stay-at-home” orders have lifted, as well as strengthen the economy and policy responses internationally.

  • Retroactively Subsidizing Research: The matched OA APC funding can go towards papers that have already been accepted into an IGI Global journal outside of the current volume year. This method enables important findings on vaccines, recessions, environmental technologies, online education methods, and more to be widely available to build new structures, technologies, and methods post-COVID-19.

  • Providing Full Journal Issues under Open Access: Additionally, this initiative can provide additional collaboration between the researchers, librarians, and publishers to find a model that fits current needs. One example is the Editors-in-Chief of the International Journal of Translation, Interpretation, and Applied Linguistics (IJTIAL) collaborated with their contributors and institutional librarians to provide this initiative to their institutions, resulting in IGI Global being able to fully subsidize a special issue (Fall 2020), and paving the way for the researchers to receive additional OA funding for their journal to be switched to gold open access for the 2021 volume year.

Although there are various ways for institutions to utilize the “publish” portion of this initiative, it ultimately provides a holistic approach to:

  • Sustaining or increasing research funding, providing a credible publishing outlet, as well as increasing the discoverability of researchers’ published works under open access.

  • Maximizing libraries’ budgets and increasing the availability of peer-reviewed research to institutions worldwide and to underfunded institutions.

  • Sustaining the financial costs associated with publishing peer-reviewed research (i.e. peer review process, staffing, metadata feeds, MARC records, etc.) of academic publishers.

  • Supporting the OA movement through a sustainable model and strengthening the collaboration between publishers, librarians, and researchers.

In this time of need and uncertainty, models similar to this can ensure the continuation of research, provide sustainability to the academic community, and can open the conversation for a deeper collaboration between the publisher, librarians, and researchers, especially in times of uncertainty.

To learn more about IGI Global’s OA Fee Waiver Initiative, click here. Additionally, be sure to request a free trial for IGI Global’s InfoSci-Knowledge Solutions or recommend them to your institution’s library to start the process of taking advantage of this initiative. For more information or pricing, contact IGI Global’s Database Team at eresources@igi-global.com.

Featured Open Access Content Made Available Under This Initiative:

Under IGI Global’s Open Access Fee Waiver Initiative, IGI Global has been able to provide full open access to leading research across their 11 core subject areas, including the following articles. As such, please feel free to integrate these resources into your research and share them across your network.

View All IGI Global Open Access Content

The “View All Open Access Content” navigates to IGI Global’s InfoSci-Demo Account, which provides a sample of the IGI Global content available through IGI Global’s InfoSci-Books (5,900+ e-books) and InfoSci-Journals (185+ e-journals) databases. If interested in having full access to this peer-reviewed research content, recommend these valuable research tools to your library.

For Journalists Interested in Additional Trending Research:

Contact IGI Global’s Marketing Team at marketing@igi-global.com or 717-533-8845 ext. 100 to access additional peer-reviewed resources to integrate into your latest news stories.

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To view all IGI Global titles related to COVID-19, download the comprehensive title list:
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of IGI Global.

About IGI Global: Founded in 1988, IGI Global, an international academic publisher, is committed to producing the highest quality research (as an active full member of the Committee on Publication Ethics “COPE”) and ensuring the timely dissemination of innovative research findings through an expeditious and technologically advanced publishing process. Through their commitment to supporting the research community ahead of profitability, and taking a chance on virtually untapped topic coverage, IGI Global has been able to collaborate with over 100,000+ researchers from some of the most prominent research institutions around the world to publish the most emerging, peer-reviewed research across 350+ topics in 11 subject areas including business, computer science, education, engineering, social sciences, and more. To learn more about IGI Global, click here.

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