About the author

Economic impacts of open access in Europe and the United States

John Houghton


John Houghton

John is currently Professorial Fellow at Victoria University's Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES) and Director of the Centre's Information Technologies and the Information Economy Program. He has had a number of years experience in information technology policy, more general industry policy and related economic research. He has published and spoken widely on information technology, industry, and science and technology policy issues. In 1998, John was awarded a National Australia Day Council, Australia Day Medal for his contribution to industry policy development.

John is well known internationally for his research on Information Economy issues for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), government and professional agencies in Australia and around the world. He has co-authored several chapters in the annual OECD publications Information Technology Outlook and Communications Outlook and has prepared numerous special reports for the OECD over the last 10 years (including the 2005 OECD report Digital Delivery of Content: Scientific Publishing).

John’s research is at the interface of theory and practice with a strong focus on the policy application of economic and social theory. Consequently, his contribution tends to be in bringing knowledge and research methods to bear on policy issues in an effort to raise the level of policy debate and improve policy outcomes.

A major focus of John’s work in recent years has been a series of studies exploring the economic implications of more open access to research findings and public sector information. A major study for the UK Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) on the Economic implications of alternative scholarly publishing models generated considerable interest, and there have been a number of follow-on studies. These have included national studies in The Netherlands and Denmark, and a three-country comparison that explored the impacts of alternative scholarly publishing models for one of the larger (United Kingdom), a mid-sized (Netherlands) and one of the smaller European countries (Denmark). During the first half of 2010, there have two further projects, which are still underway. The first focuses on Germany, and brings the German National Licensing Program (NLP) into the mix of alternative scholarly communication models. The second significantly extends one aspect of the underlying method used in the original study to explore the possible return on investment implications of the proposed Federal Public Research Access Act (FRPAA) in the United States.


Previous positions:

  • Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for International Research on Communication and Information Technologies (CIRCIT);
  • Principal Economist at the Australian Bureau of Industry Economics (BIE);
  • Adviser, Information Industries Policy at the Australian Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science and Tourism (DIST); and
  • Principal Adviser, State Development Policy with the Victorian Department of State Development.

See http://www.cfses.com/staff/jhoughton.htm