More accurately what is the cost of Open Access to authors. Eli has come across an interesting effort in Particle Physics called SCOAP3,
SCOAP3 is a one-of-its-kind partnership of over three thousand libraries, key funding agencies and research centers in 44 countries and 3 intergovernmental organisations. Working with leading publishers, SCOAP3 has converted key journals in the field of High-Energy Physics to Open Access at no cost for authors. SCOAP3 centrally pays publishers for costs involved in providing Open Access, publishers in turn reduce subscription fees to all their customers, who can re-direct these funds to contribute to SCOAP3. Each country contributes in a way commensurate to its scientific output in the field. In addition, existing Open Access journals are also centrally supported, removing any existing financial barrier for authors.where the average cost per paper is given as 1,100 Euro over 10K papers. The distribution of costs among the participating countries IEHO would be a model for other fields, but, of course, all depends on continued funding. Even just HEP/Particle Physics subvention of open access requires $10M€ per year
arXiv is using a different model which represents the only the costs of operating and maintaining the arXiv,
What are arXiv's operating costs?To and extent SCOAP3 and arXiv overlap because arXiv originated in the HEP/Particle Physics community which is still a heavy user.
arXiv's operating costs for 2013-2017 are projected to average of $826,000 per year, including indirect expenses. The operating budget projections for 2012-2017 include the four key sources of revenues mentioned above: Cornell's annual funding of $75,000 per year, plus indirect expenses,; the $50,000 per year gift from the Simons Foundation; annual fee income from the member institutions; and the $300,000 per year challenge grant from the Simons Foundation, based on the revenues generated through membership payments.
arXiv would potentially be a beneficiary of redirected funding administered by the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP3) consortium. It's not clear, however, when this initiative will meet its annual funding goal of €10,000,000 ($14,120,000). It should also be noted that the SCOAP3 initiative is restricted to HEP and particle physics content only, which represents between 18% and 40% of submissions to arXiv (depending how broadly the subject area is construed). If SCOAP3 is successful it could potentially subvent a similar fraction of arXiv's operating costs. We will continue to monitor the development of SCOAP3 and its impact on our long-term plans.It is well to remember that arXiv almost died in 1999 when the US DOE and LANL lost interest. How long Cornell will remain willing to house the arXiv is a concerning issue.