The Hybrid Model for Open Access Publication of Scholarly Articles – a Failed Experiment?

Bo‐Christer Björk

Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Arkadiankatu 22, PO Box 479, 00101 Helsinki, Finland Tel (358) 9431331


Mainstream scholarly publishers have since 2004 started to offer authors in subscription journals the possibility to free their individual articles from access barriers against a payment (hybrid OA). This has been marketed as a possible gradual transition path between subscription and open access to the scholarly journal literature, and the publishers have pledged to decrease their subscription prices in proportion to the uptake of the hybrid option. The number of hybrid journals has doubled in the past couple of years and is now over 4,300, and the number of such articles was around 12,000 in 2011. On average only 1-2 % of eligible authors utilize the OA option, due mainly to the generally high price level of typically 3,000 USD. There are, however, a few publishers and individual journals with a much higher uptake. This article takes a closer look at the development of hybrid OA and discusses, from an author-centric viewpoint, the possible reasons for the lack of success of this business model.

Accepted VersionThis is the manuscript as accepted for publication by the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology after the review and revision process but prior to final layout and copyediting.

(Note:This is a preprint of an article published in Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology copyright © 2012 (American Society for Information Science and Technology) For those fortunate enough to have access to the article via their library