Re: Online Self-Archiving: Distinguishing the Optimal from the Optional

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PHOENIX.PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2002 22:44:30 -0500

The problem for the future is that the cost increases from year to year
in what libraries are being asked to pay is greater than their budget.
The proposed solution is that the gap be filled by revenue from the
developing world. Those who think it likely can continue their
optimism. The rest of us should have alternative plans.

In fact the present isn't quite that good, either, because a great many
researchers are deprived of access to a great many journals, and
publishers in general are unwilling to extend this access without
additional money--which is not available.
Certainly the publishers could make them available, but they don't. Those
who think that they will can continue their complacency. The rest of us
should have alternative plans.

In my personal opinion, the APS has the best reputation for availability
of all the leading publishers. Does everyone in this country
and the rest of the world currently have access to them? If not,
I challenge Arthur to make them universally available right now
without additional cost.

> I
assume you don't think journals, right now, as a whole, are unprofitable.
> So costs are definitely being covered right now. Libraries may be having
> difficulty paying for what they want, but they are at least paying for what
> they're currently paying for, right now. Extending access for any one
> journal electronically from those who currently pay to those who don't,
> for free or a very nominal fee (as is being done with many consortium
> agreements) makes access "affordable for all would-be user/researchers
> and their institutions" with essentially no change in payments at all -
> no need for tolls to "shrink to just cost" or worse "shrink to peer-review
> service provision" if current subscribers keep paying the same amount.
> So it could be done right now - and in fact it is already happening,
> through differential pricing and these consortium agreements: publishers
> for the most part do see the benefits to everybody from expanding access
> and have been very openly pursuing these options.
> What I just said applies to "right now" but the bigger worry has been about
> the future. Assuming, however, that my earlier statement was accurate, that
> the primary recent problem has been from new countries entering research
> activity with initially large activity/publication expense ratios, it seems
> like the future looks very promising too, and we need only wait for
> publication spending in these countries to catch up, as it appears to
> be starting to.
> The long term promise of electronic delivery is this ability for expanded
> access where communication costs grow only linearly with worldwide
> research output, not quadratically. We're making that transition now,
> and access to published materials (still subject to access tolls) is
> now expanding, reversing the shrinkage of the last 4 decades. The
> time when self-archiving could make a real difference has come, and gone,
> already.
> Arthur

Dr. David Goodman
Princeton University Library
Received on Tue Dec 10 2002 - 03:44:30 GMT

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