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Scholarly Communication in High Energy Physics (HEP): SCOAP3 Model

SCOAP3 Model

  • A sustainable alternative to the subscription model
  • Link price and quality
  • Eliminate author-pays fees, in competition with research funds which appear as a barrier for Open Access in HEP
  • Experiment for journal-administered peer-review services against a unique background of complete self-archiving of research articles


SCOAP3 will be hard to replicate for disciplines outside of Physics and Astronomy/Astrophysics.

Particle physics is already a paragon of openness and widespread collaboration, with most papers posted on the preprint server arXiv. It has unique advantages in that most high-energy-physics papers are published in just a few journals, and that the field can mostly be driven and coordinated by one central organization, CERN. (Nature 2012)

Attempting to implement a similar model in a discipline with vastly different culture of scholarly communication would result in little, or more likely, no success. However, SCOAP3 provides an excellent model for closely related disciplines such as Astronomy and Astrophysics, which share similar cultures of collaboration as a result of large datasets and expensive equiptment, and may aid in guiding these particulr disciplines towards a new model of Open Access.

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SCOAP3 is an observatory, a Grand Pilot, and a test of various things — to what extent it can be a model for other disciplines is one of those aspects to be tested. 

SCOAP3 also has huge positive factors in its favor:  the bias of the HEP community and its long activism towards widest possible access; the commitment of a great international organization and its leaders (CERN); immense talent within the lead organization; and a willingness and capacity for trying new things. (SCOAP3 Lifts Off: An Interview with Ann Okerson)


SCOAP3 is funded through a “fair-share” model based on the fraction of HEP articles per country: the more a country uses the system the larger its share. 

A 10% allowance is made for countries without a scientific or library infrastructure who at the beginning might not contribute to the scheme.

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