The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) provided support for a feasibility study, to outline one possible approach to measuring the impacts of the proposed US Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) on returns to public investment in R&D. The aim is to define and scope the data collection requirements and further model developments necessary for a more robust estimate of the likely impacts of the proposed FRPAA open archiving mandate.
Preliminary modeling suggests that over a transitional period of 30 years from implementation, the potential incremental benefits of the proposed FRPAA archiving mandate might be worth between 4 and 24 times the costs. Perhaps two-thirds of these benefits would accrue within the US, with the remainder spilling over to other countries. Hence, the US national benefits arising from the proposed FRPAA archiving mandate might be of the order of 16 times the costs.
Exploring sensitivities in the model we find that the benefits exceed the costs over a wide range of values. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine any plausible values for the input data and model parameters that would lead to a fundamentally different answer.
These preliminary estimates are based on the information available to us at the time of writing. They are released in conjunction with an online model, which enables others to explore their own preferred values for the various parameters.