Re: Publishers Profits

From: Colin Steele <>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2002 13:05:11 +0100

I think there are separate process going on. The open access initiative
is a separate force as we have agreed before. Nonetheless the continuing
profits of multinational publishers are having a continued impact on
the ability of Libraries to provide access to information.

What is particularly galling is the fact that anecdotal and publisher
evidence [suggests] that refereeing standards are declining (see the JAMA
Conference proceedings) and that intellectual usage in contrast to hits
has not been proven to have risen greatly per scientific article. In
Australia the need for quantitative returns in the Higher Education
Research Data Collection means that the publish or perish is getting
worse and firms like Taylor and Francis are benefiting from this in the
print environment.

The whole issue is about affecting the branding and accreditation factors
in the scholarly communication sense. Open archive initatives can make
significant inroads in the "secondary literature" as we have found here,
but the major task is to impact upon the personal and institutional
structure of scholarly publishing. I think this is where the next SPARC
initiative will come from?

Certainly our Academics from certain budget discussions here and I know in
several others are pretty cheesed off with the big publishers - largely
because of the cancellation factor I admit. The ALPSP study revealed the
startling difference as Academic as author and as reader. The crucial
issue here is the process of advocacy and the power or otherwise of
Librarians to be able to influence Academics-the mice aspiring to be
rats syndrome! In fact in some ways the emergence of the institutional
E-press through the E-prints repositories may prove a more effective
political weapon with University Administrators who are looking at it
from the institutional branding and marketing prospect. Hopefully we
will get there in the end!

Colin Steele
Director Scholarly Information Strategies
Division of Information
W.K. Hancock Building (043)
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200
Received on Fri Jun 28 2002 - 13:05:11 BST

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