Re: Distinguishing the Essentials from the Optional Add-Ons

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2001 16:32:54 -0400

To expand a little of Stevan's point:

Stevan Harnad wrote:
As a growing portion of the
> annual 2M+ refereed articles in the world's 20K+ refereed journals
> becomes available online free for all, a more likely outcome than a
> sudden catastrophic drop would be that
> (1) demand for the publisher's for-fee version (on-paper and/or
> on-line) diminishes gradually, allowing publishers time to downsize
> to providing only the essentials (peer review) and allowing
> research institutions the time to redirect their windfall library
> serials savings toward covering the essential peer-review costs for
> their own outgoing research instead of everyone's incoming
> research.
> It is even possible that
> (2) demand for the publisher's for-fee version (on-paper and/or
> on-line) will continue unabated or not significantly decreased for
> many years (perhaps forever) after the self-archived version is
> accessible for free. In that case, nothing changes and there is no
> need to make any transition plans. The only thing that will have
> changed is that those researchers who had not been able to access
> all or part of the annual 2M+ before will now be able to do so.

I suggest that is most likely that there will be a mixed situation:
for some journals, demand for the publishers' versions will continue.
These will likely be the leading journal or two in each field, major
review journals, and journals of general interest.
For these titles, nothing changes ....

for most journals, the second rate ones in each field and the like,
demand for the publiushers version diminishes, I think very quickly. The
publishers of those journals can continue providing copy editing and
peer review at the true low cost.

How many journals will continue is a matter for speculation. My own
guess is from 5 to 20%, which is not very exact. Libraries will not have
quite as large a savings as if all journals had stopped, but it
certainly will be large enough to:
a/ pay for editing and peer review costs
b/ subscribe to the full range of titles that are still conventionally
c/ convert earlier material, and
d/ provide staff to help researchers navigate the mixed and initially
confusing system during the transition.
Dr. David Goodman
Biology Librarian
and Digital Resources Researcher
Princeton University Library
Princeton, NJ 08544-0001
phone: 609-258-3235
fax: 609-258-2627
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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