Re: 2.0K vs. 0.2K

From: Steve Hitchcock <sh94r_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 16:03:50 +0100

Arthur Smith says that the APS will allow authors to self-publish free
versions of their papers, as well as an APS-created rendition of the same
paper, and is considering a license agreement where the author retains full
copyright. Allowing the free posting of APS pages is an absolute bonus. As
far as I can see, allowing
1 free posting of all **author-created** copy (that includes revisions for
refereed versions)
2 backed by a non-exclusive licence of some form for enhanced publication
is **all** that is needed to begin the beneficial transformation of
scholarly publishing on the Web.

The real question is, does this position enhance APS' competitive position
or detract from it? If it detracts, then this may not remain 'current
official policy' for long (noting also that APS will not now be able to
revert to any previously-held position). If it enhances, presumably other
publishers will move to emulate it.

The rest of the preceding discussion in this thread is surely hypothetical.
For example, there was discussion of 'reader-end thinking' vs 'services to
authors' models, which suggests that journals are either author-centred or
reader-centred and one should accept either one or the other for all
journals. I suggest there are both types, so maybe a mixed model of income
will prevail including S/L/P and page charges (for different sources), but
we can't pre-empt the market because ...

Stevan Harnad:
>As long as one is creating a product
>with more features wrapped into it than necessary, the costs will be
>higher than necessary. Quality control is the only essential service
>that learned journal publishers will perform in the online era.

... The fact is we don't know what features are 'necessary' as we have
always had a wholly aggregated model of the journal. Now that model can be
unbundled, and the boldest will do so to discover what features really are
necessary and build a commercial model accordingly. If it turns out to be
true that quality control is the 'only essential service' - and I'm not
convinced that is the case (e.g. editing may be valued by e-authors; but
surely NOT page-based e-prints/reprints) - then that would have clear
implications for the model (and possibly detrimental implications for
scholarly communication as a whole).

A true market model is one in which the principal beneficiary of a service
pays. This is not the case for all journals today, and may not be wholly
the case in the future, but we can get closer to it. The only
pre-conditions needed to achieve this are those (almost) put in place by
the APS. All we should do is focus on these two conditions, raising
awareness within the academic community and thereby widening acceptance
among publishers. Then see what opportunities this presents for new models.

Steve Hitchcock
Open Journal Project
Multimedia Research Group, Department of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Tel: +44 (01)703 593256 Fax: +44 (01)703 592865
Open Journal Project Web page
"Bringing journals alive on the World Wide Web"
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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