From offsetting to a publication based business model: The (potential) comeback of selection, individual prices and competition


  • Kai Geschuhn Max Planck Digital Library
  • Dirk Pieper Bielefeld University Library



Watch the VIDEO of the presentation.

In March 2016, the ESAC initiative brought together offsetting users from all over Europe to discuss principles and mechanisms of a new business model, currently referred to as offsetting ( Participants agreed upon a “Joint Understanding of Offsetting”. The document most importantly includes the claim for agreements to lead to a “pay as you publish” model, meaning that institutions should be billed only for those articles published by their authors rather than making prepayments or pay lump sums, which still include reading or access fees.

Subsequently, offsetting users like the Max Planck Digital Library, JISC, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) or the Netherlands started using the Open APC Initiative to aggregate data from offsetting big deals ( The collection already provides insights on the allocation of offsetting publications over a publisher's journal portfolio, which allows predictions not only on the popularity of journals among researchers in terms of preferred places for publications, but also for a “pay-as-you-publish-model”. Currently the publication data from the Springer offsetting pilot participants (“Springer Compact”) show a distribution of publications over not even the half of Springer’s journal fleet.

The conference contribution analyses the data together with bibliometric information and subscription based usage statistics in order to draw conclusions for a truly publication based open access business model in terms of re-implementing individual choices made by authors, price sensitivity, price setting, and market competition. It will be discussed, how offsetting contributes to the desired large-scale open access transformation, as outlined by the Open Access 2020 initiative (


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Author Biographies

Kai Geschuhn, Max Planck Digital Library

Kai holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science. At Max Planck Digital Library she works at the interface between license management and open access. She is part of the negotiating teams for Max Planck’s offsetting agreements and she promotes the OA2020, the INTACT project and the ESAC initiative aiming at the transition of the current subscription system to open access business models. Kai is coauthor of the MPDL whitepaper “Disrupting the subscription journals’ business model for the necessary large-scale transformation to open access” published in 2014. 

Dirk Pieper, Bielefeld University Library

Dirk Pieper is the Deputy Director at Bielefeld University Library and responsible for projects and innovation. Before that, he was for more than 10 years the Head of Media Department at Bielefeld UL. He holds a degree in political science and economics and is involved in several Open Access projects, like BASE, funding Open Access publications at Bielefeld University or INTACT.  He is also a member of several national and international boards and initiatives like "Efficiency and Standards for Article Charges" (ESAC) or the "EBSCO European Academic Advisory Board".




How to Cite

Geschuhn, K., & Pieper, D. (2016). From offsetting to a publication based business model: The (potential) comeback of selection, individual prices and competition. Septentrio Conference Series, (1).