JHEP will convert from toll-free-access to toll-based access

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_cogprints.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 12:52:33 +0000

On November 12 2001, IOPP and SISSA announced that the Journal of
High Energy Physics (JHEP), the most important and successful new
toll-free-access (i.e., online-only, free full-text access) journal
to date, will convert to subscription-based access at the end
of 2002: http://www.iop.org/Physics/News/0346j

I think it might have been preferable for JHEP to try to hang in there
for a few more years, as a toll-free-access journal, subsidized by
SISSA and INFN, as it had been. This would give self-archiving more
time to prepare the journal publication system as a whole for the
transition to toll-free-access, by freeing access to more and more of
the refereed literature in all disciplines (20,000+ journals), and
allowing subscription cancellation pressure to grow. The growing annual
windfall savings from the institutional cancellations would then become
available to cover the essential costs up-front, per outgoing research
paper, with access free, rather than per incoming journal, with access
toll-based, as it is now.


This preparatory process of distributed institutional and discplinary
self-archiving, besides providing immediate toll-free-access, also puts
graduated pressure on journals to downsize to the essentials
(mainly peer review), for right now the access-tolls force-wrap into a
subscription many "value-added" enhancements that users may not
want or need (publisher's PDF, links, search, archiving). The
competing availability of the no-frills self-archived version of the
peer-reviewed papers from the author/institutions for free will
make it clear whether there is still any market for these add-ons. And,
obviously, any inessential features and services that can be dropped
mean lower costs to cover after the transition.

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing free
access to the refereed journal literature online is available at the
American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01):


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Received on Fri Jan 25 2002 - 12:53:02 GMT

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