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SAGE Open Access statement on "double dipping"

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SAGE Publications and Jisc Collections have been working together to ensure a fair and sustainable model for hybrid Open Access (OA) publication under the current NESLi2 agreement. Both Jisc Collections and SAGE feel that this policy should be highlighted to senior library partners to inform and reassure colleagues that the issue of so-called "double dipping" is being addressed by SAGE at both a local and global level.

The current level of hybrid OA articles within SAGE journals is very low, but SAGE recognises the UK HE sector’s unique position in supporting Gold OA as a route to publish. SAGE also shares the concerns of customers about paying twice for OA content via article charges and subscription costs.

While SAGE is in a transition period, it will continue to address "double dipping" through local offsetting. NESLi2, SHEDL and WHEEL subscribers to the SAGE Premier collection will therefore continue to receive a significant discount on Gold OA fees in hybrid titles. The discounted article processing charge is currently reduced to £200.

SAGE's intention is to offset the subscription prices of its journals as OA paid content becomes a stable and significant proportion of the business. Therefore, from 2015, SAGE will globally discount the subscription rate of journals where more than 5% of articles are published as Gold OA.

The amount by which the subscription rate will be globally offset will be based on the OA content published as a proportion of the total content, and the OA article revenue as a percentage of the subscription revenue.

For 2015 the calculations will use 2013 data. In future years, as more data becomes available, SAGE will move to a 3-year rolling average to smooth out annual variations while in transition.

Journals for which Gold OA revenue totals less than 0.5% of subscription revenue, where total subscription revenue is less than £5k or where the journal publishes 10 or fewer articles per year, will be assessed on a case by case basis. SAGE will address "double dipping" on these titles through continued local offsetting until other options become practical.

In 2015, approximately 10 journals will benefit from global offsetting and details will be made available once 2015 prices have been finalised over the summer. It should be noted that SAGE will apply this methodology to all SAGE-owned journals. SAGE will also encourage all society partners, on whose behalf it publishes journals, to adopt this methodology.

Initially UK institutions will benefit from local offsetting together with global offsetting on an estimated 10 titles. In the future, it is likely that as the percentage of OA content by article count rises, SAGE will lower the amount of local offsetting available to UK institutions. By the time OA content forms a significant proportion of the journal’s content, the total APC revenue will therefore be self-supporting and sustainable.

Further information

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We hope this clarifies SAGE's current approach to avoid "double dipping" and reassures you that SAGE is acting in a fair and responsible partnership with its library, society and academic colleagues. The implementation of Gold Open Access on a national scale is still at a very really stage, and SAGE will work to continually review and refine its policies to ensure compliance with best industry practices.