Re: For Whom the Gate Tolls?

From: Jonathan Baron <baron_at_CATTELL.PSYCH.UPENN.EDU> <harnad_at_COGSCI.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 1998 17:55:57 -0400

Another possible source of funding for on-line journals is the
dues paid to scholarly societies. I belong to AAAS, APS, JDM
(Judement and decision making), and MDM (Medical decision
making). The dues for JDM are $25 and the rest are about $100
more. JDM has no journal, and the others have journals as part
of their membership. It seems to cost MDM something on the order
of $50,000 to EDIT its journal, so, estimating a membership of
about 500, it would seem that almost all the extra money goes
into editing. Libraries and individuals who want only the
journal pay about $100, but perhaps enough libraries subscribe to
cover the entire cost of printing and mailing. Authors pay too.

My hunch is that members of scholarly societies would be willing
to pay more than $25 to support an on-line journal. This would
be especially true if the members had earlier access to the
on-line papers. Other members would still want paper, as might
some libraries.

I am not happy with author charges. They discriminate against
those who don't have grants or those in poor countries.

It is also possible that the cost of editing a journal will
decrease dramatically as more of the review process is done
electronically. A large chunk of the current cost of editing
goes for telephone, fax, and regular mail. Even "editors'
assistants" seem to spend much of their time playing telephone
tag, getting fax numbers, etc., things that could be done in far
less time by email; hence some of the salary could be reduced as
well. So electronic reviewing may be seen as part of the

It is interesting that reviewers do not now get paid, for any
journals I know. They are the crucial part of the editing
process. It seems that there is some reserve of public
spiritedness to be tapped. If the typical scholarly society
charged $50, with $25 going to the editing of the on-line journal
(and another $75 for those who want the paper version), perhaps
no additional incentive is required. Perhaps people would be
just as happy to join such a society as to join one with a $25
membership fee and no journal.

Jonathan Baron, Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
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Received on Tue Aug 25 1998 - 19:17:43 BST

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