Re: Institution supported publishing (was: Re: PubMedCentral)

From: Eric Hellman <eric_at_HELLMAN.NET>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 17:42:19 +0100

At 2:02 PM +0100 9/24/99, Fytton Rowland wrote:

> I basically agree with Stevan Harnad, but I am beginning to have some
> concern that the "residual" cost that has to be borne by the author's
> institution is not so very negligible. Paul Gherman on this list
> recently suggested $1000 per article. The Institute of Physics' (IoP)
> New Journal of Physics charges $500. Halliday & Oppenheim in my
> department recently separately arrived at a figure quite close to
> Gherman's, and suggested that the IoP's figure was therefore too low
> for financial viability. This is a far cry from the (genuinely
> negligible) amount suggested by the Florida Society for Entomology.
> These high figures, if correct, do call into question the viability of
> the new Harnadian system.

It is often a Straw Man to first decide on a level of service, and then
compute what that level of service costs. Which electronic communications,
you can take the other approach, of deciding how much the market will bear,
then designing a product that can be produced for that cost (plus tolerated
loss or minus desired profit).

It is very possible to design "e-journals" with production costs from
$5/article to $5K/article. There aren't a lot of commodities where the
costs can vary so widely. (Wine might be a good example. The cost/benefit
curve is similar.)

Anti-Harnadian business models have little incentive to reduce costs,
therefore they come in on the high end. Harnadian business models have
strong incentives to reduce costs, therefore they come in on the low end.

The other thing to remember is that the long-term outlook for per article
costs is good. My guess is that these will decline by 20% per year over the
next 5 years

Eric Hellman
Openly Informatics, Inc. Tools for 21st Century Scholarly Publishing
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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