Excellent article in the THES on the topic. Here are some choice paragraphs:
“The argument is that better value can be driven into that system,” says Alma Swan, a former publishing industry employee who now runs Key Perspectives, a pro-open-access consultancy. “Libraries are very angry about the profits made by Elsevier, for example. If Tesco is content with 5 per cent profit, you know you are being ripped off when you’re paying a publisher that is making a profit of some 30 per cent (in its journals division).”
There is also debate about the claim that the gold route is cheaper, recently played out in the JISC-funded report released in January, Economic Implications of Alternative Scholarly Publishing Models: Exploring the Costs and Benefits. The study, led by John Houghton, professorial fellow at Victoria University in Australia, argues that the sector could make substantial savings if it moved away from a subscription-based model, which it estimates costs British libraries £205 million a year. It puts the cost of the “author-pays” model at £150 million a year, and says a sector-wide network of university repositories could be maintained for £20 million.
Hat Tip: Bookforum.