Re: Should Publishers Offer Free-Access Services?

From: Thomas J. Walker <tjw_at_GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 1998 10:45:02 -0400

In the article that is the origin of this forum, I proposed that electronic
reprints should be a way to put traditional journals on the Web and
toll-free, while they are still being printed in issues and bought and
archived by libraries.

An infinite, permanent supply of electronic reprints, you may recall, could
be sold to authors for the price of 100 traditional paper reprints [or
less]. Because furnishing authors toll-free Web posting of the PDF files of
their articles costs so little (less than $3 per page) and supplying 100
paper reprints costs so much (>$10 per page), publishers could increase
their reprint profits at the same time they supplied authors what they want:
immediate toll-free Web access to their refereed, publisher-formatted,
paper-archived articles.

As explained and illustrated in my article, e-reprints are not as likely to
lead to loss of library subscriptions as one might think. So long as issues
are mailed, most libraries will want to supply them to their clients and
many will want to archive them as well. In any event, loss of library
subscriptions could always be countered by charging more for e-reprints.

Thus far, I believe, "electronic reprints" has not appeared in the forum's
discussions, so let's start a new thread.

Taking off from previous postings--

Mark Doyle ( Do authors in APS journals buy paper reprints?
Would they buy e-reprints at the same price (or lower)? Would electronic
reprints be a welcomed new service to APS members?

L. W. Hurtado ( Do scholars in the humanities buy
reprints of their articles? Would many pay as much for infinite e-reprints
as for 100 paper reprints? Could societies in the humanities use extra
profits from e-reprint sales to publish larger paper issues and hence reduce
publishing queues?

Arthur Smith ( Might e-reprints be a way to evolve into
free access in an all-electronic future? Authors (or their institutions or
grants) would get used to paying for immediate toll-free access. (They
should get delayed toll-free access without charge.)

Tom W.
Thomas J. Walker
Department of Entomology & Nematology
University of Florida, PO Box 110620, Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
E-mail: FAX: (352)392-0190
Received on Tue Aug 25 1998 - 19:17:43 BST

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