Re: The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review)

From: Steve Hitchcock <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 16:05:55 +0100

I'm not sure what 'fair' means, but David seems to be somewhat defeatist
here. There has been a switch in thinking away from the role of the serials
crisis in motivating open access and instead focussing on author-centric
motivations like impact and assessment. But for those who are concerned
about the serials crisis an interesting study would be a McCabe-like
analysis of the following:

IF the entire peer reviewed literature was openly accessible from
institutional archives, what would be the effect on journal prices and
(arguable) publisher monopolies?

It would not be the same answer as McCabe gives now. Nor would it be the
same if 'open access journals' were to be substituted for 'institutional
archives' in the scenario, for although the journal prices would reduce to
zero, fears have begun to surface elsewhere about new publisher monopolies
that would result.

I don't want to speculate on journal prices, but my guess is that some of
the market drivers that McCabe reveals would be affected and price pressure
could be reversed, most obviously by increased competition.

The result might have an interesting effect on decision-makers in
institutions, if not on authors.

Steve Hitchcock
IAM Group, Department of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 3256 Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 2865

At 16:42 28/07/03 -0400, David Goodman wrote:
>Several years of discussion on this list and elsewhere have convinced me
>that there is no fair pricing scheme for an expensive
>database or group of journals. I admire the
>ingenuity of all those who have tried, but, as Fred says, efforts at
>increasing the perceived fairness tend to get complicated.
>And I think we all agree that the transition to a free access system
>will have complications, and will not be instantaneous.
>On Sun, 27 Jul 2003, Fred Spilhaus wrote:
> > That is one way but it requires a completely different economic
> > model. It is not clear to me how to get from here to there in
> > one swoop even if one wanted to. The complexities of serving
> > authors in many different circumstances and under a variety of
> > different national and institututional constraints is daunting.
> > While minimizing cost to the reader may increase use, which is in
> > the authors interest and the best interests of science it has to
> > be done with all of the other constraints in mind such as having
> > somewhere of quality to publish in future.
> >
> > I expect you will see some hybids that free the material that is
> > fully paid up front. But in our case that could further
> > complicate what may be the most complex pricing scheme that is
> > openly available so that you know what you are paying and can
> > decide if you are being treated fairly in pricing. Its a trde
> > off: skip the price negotiation and go staight to the license or
> > spend your timne hassling over price so the license seems small.
> > On the one side you pay marketing people and on the other
> > lawyers. I would like to minimize both. FRED
>Dr. David Goodman
>Princeton University
>Palmer School of Library and Information Science, LIU
Received on Wed Jul 30 2003 - 16:05:55 BST

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