Re: The Logic of Page Charges to Free the Journal Literature

From: Peter B. Boyce <pboyce_at_BLACKHOLE.AAS.ORG>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 18:10:11 +0100

Why is Paul Gherman complicating a simple issue? The dissemination of
research results is part of the research process. If an institution is
successful, then part of its responsibility should be to make the results
known. Surely, the cost of disseminating the research of its faculty and
staff (yes, and even its students) can be viewed as advertising its
prominence and its success.

Simple page charges are a clean way to handle such transactions. (Although
equivalent measures of quantity and processing difficulty will eventually
emerge in the electronic world)
Negotiating in advance how many pages will be published in a given year in
each journal will prove to be impossible. It would be like asking libraries
to negotiate in advance how many items will be used next year.

The cleverer we try to be with solutions, the more I find myself seeing
suggestions which are tailored to the author's individual sector of the
information delivery system. We should be trying to optimize the whole
system, including taking into account the scholarly community's reluctance
to change paradigms rapidly, not just solving our individual problems.

I know that astronomy is relatively well funded, and that roughly 80% of
our page charges are paid from research grants. But this is also hard won
money, and we have had no trouble maintaining the payment of page charges
-- at a level which covers 2/3 of the production cost. It might be nice to
go to full support by page charges, but our researchers are not willing to
take over the whole burden from the libraries.

We will maintain the use of page charges to help subsidize the publication
costs. We encourage other disciplines to join us in this approach. But,
let's not dream up unworkable systems.

Peter Boyce

Peter B. Boyce - Senior Consultant for Electronic Publishing, AAS
Summer address: (until 10/25/99)
33 York St., Nantucket, MA 02554 Phone: 508-228-9062
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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