Each year, more than a million peer-reviewed articles are published in
some 16,000 scholarly journals managed by over 2,000 scientific,
technical and medical (STM) publishers, both commercial and
In recent years, most scholarly publishers have introduced flexibility
in the options readers have to gain access to content. A wide variety
of new economic models offer customers choices that suit diverse
budgets and needs, and at the same time, ensure that the quality,
integrity, and economic viability of peer-reviewed journals is
Such initiatives include pay-per-view individual article sales; author archiving, which allows authors to archive their final manuscripts to their institution's repository; article sponsorship,
in which authors (or the institutions that funded their research)
choose to pay a fee to sponsor the formal publication of their article
once it has been accepted for publication, whereupon the article is
made openly available to any interested reader. A number of scholarly
publishers are offering this option for some or all of their journals.
Article sponsorship works well for certain journals in certain
disciplines, as long as the income is sufficient to reliably sustain a
professional level of publication.
Government mandates that ignore the need for sufficient and
sustainable financial support for peer-reviewed journals -- whether the
source of support is from users, authors, or sponsors -- risk
undermining the very fabric of the system of independent, formal
peer-reviewed publication, a system that is of crucial importance for
scholarly communication and the preservation of scientific knowledge.