Re: Draft Policy for Self-Archiving University Research Output

From: Mark Doyle <doyle_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 15:53:52 -0500


On Friday, January 10, 2003, at 07:26 PM, Stevan Harnad wrote:

> Replies to Jan Velterop, Sol Picciotto, and Mark Doyle

> Agreed. But be prepared to split the peer-review function from the
> archiving function. Co-bundling is no longer necessary online, and the
> economics may be quite different once the two are disentangled.

Eventually these will probably split. But there is a real interest of a
scholarly society to ensure the long-term availability of the work
we peer-review and also to be able to certify that the object in
question is what we peer-reviewed. However, at the moment there
are no up and running, long-term alternatives for archiving, so we
still have to carry out current "best practice" archiving and we still
have to pay for it.

> There is no question that some cost per paper will be involved for
> institutional archiving too. I think we're talking about $500 per paper
> for peer review and about $10 per paper for archiving. How much do you
> think markup will add to that

Right now it is close to another $500 per article for us. But we do
a considerable amount of markup and much of the cost has to do
with marking up the complex math that is in our journals.
We are pushing our vendors to reform their production methods. One
has already done so and we have seen about a 15% savings. We expect
to improve upon this as well. But for now, the cost is not negligible.

> -- and don't you think it will be
> off-loadable onto the author, the way document-preparation
> (word-processing) has been?

Yes, but this keeps seeming to be 5 years away.... Maybe the new version
of Microsoft Office (with XDocs) will be a break through...

> For the time being, all those costs (and more) are paid by the
> access-tolls. If and when institutions get back the sums they spend
> annually on toll-access -- about $2000 per incoming article, paid
> collectively by those institutions that can afford toll access to that
> particular journal -- each will have more than enough savings out of
> which to pay the ~$510 dollars per outgoing article for peer review and
> archiving, don't you think?

Yes, provided they are willing to change the model. So far there has
been resistance to actually getting this done. And this presumes leaving
the "best practice" archiving out of the equation, something we are
reluctant to do.

> The transitional problem is not merely one of collective action: the
> transition is between an incoming toll-access model for buying in a
> product (other institutions' research output) and an outgoing service
> model (peer-review for their own research output): not the same product
> or consumer at both ends. This transition cannot be managed on either
> a university-consortium, nor a single-publisher basis.

You may be right. Nonetheless, it is incumbent on us to try (if only
to set an example and to make it clear that the scenario you outline
is the only way forward).

> My own guess is that it can only be forced into existence by
> author/institution self-archiving, generating the sequence: (1) open
> access, (2) shrinking demand for and revenue from the toll-access
> version, (3) growing institutional windfall toll-savings, (4) publisher
> cost-cutting and downsizing to the essentials (this is where we'll find
> out what things really cost), and then (5) a transition once the
> windfall
> institutional savings are in place to pay for it the new way.

Possibly, but I think this is going to take quite a while to come about.
Also the transition can proceed differently in various geographic
For instance, we have several country wide site licenses for accessing
APS journals. If a site license matches the amount that would be
for the submission side charges from that region, than the transition
been effectively accomplished. But right now the site licenses don't
quite balance. In the U.S. it would be much harder to take a
approach for the entire country, so we have to try and work with a
of universities.


Mark Doyle
Manager, Product Development
The American Physical Society
Received on Mon Jan 13 2003 - 20:53:52 GMT

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