Re: Excerpts from FOS Newsletter

From: Thomas J. Walker <tjwalker_at_MAIL.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 08:00:58 -0400

At 09:40 PM 5/24/2002 +0100, you wrote:
> Excerpts from the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
> May 23, 2002
>More on the big koan: self-archiving
>Following my essay in the last issue on why FOS progress has been slow, our
>discussion forum received many thoughtful postings. Have a look.
>There are two primary paths to FOS: open-access journals and
>self-archiving. Progress along both paths has been slower than our
>opportunities would allow. However, it's easier to explain slow movement
>along the first path [= BOAI Strategy 2] than along the second [= BOAI
>Strategy 1]. All eight of the points in my essay apply to open-access
>journals [S2], but only a few apply to self-archiving [S1] --namely,
>that scholars tend not to understand the problem, that they tend to
>misunderstand the solution, and that slow progress itself has created
>a vicious circle in which relatively few institutions have created
>eprints archives.

There is a third path to FOS. Some may not consider it "primary", but it
alone has the potential of changing toll-access journals to open-access
journals in a fiscally safe manner. This third path could be termed
fee-for-service open access. In this path, authors who wish open access
for their articles are allowed to pay a fair price for it. Entomological
Society of America (ESA) currently sets the fair price as 75% of the price
of 100 paper reprints. In 2001, 51% of ESA authors chose fee-for-service
open access to their articles, and ESA grossed more than $31,000 from those
sales. Authors who don't value open access enough to pay a fair price for
it must wait 2 years before ESA is willing to make their articles freely
accessible. Because this pathway benefits both publishers and authors (and
the authors' sponsors, who usually pay the bills), it seems likely that
publishers will choose it. Because societies are in the final analysis
controlled by their members, I suspect that journal publishing societies
will lead the way. Why should a society refuse to offer a profit-making
service that more than half of their authors want to purchase?

For more on this perspective, see

Tom Walker

Thomas J. Walker
Department of Entomology & Nematology
PO Box 110620 (or Natural Area Drive)
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
E-mail: (or
FAX: (352)392-0190
Received on Mon May 27 2002 - 13:00:58 BST

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