Pay to Cite?

From: Markus Schneider <>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 18:43:17 +0000

    [ Prior Thread: "Re: Author Publication Charge Debate" ]

Stevan Harnad wrote:

>It is not clear what is being proposed here. Citations are already
>tracked, by both TA journals and OA journals. That's partly how
>libraries decide which TA journals to subscribe to and which to cancel.
>And that's partly how authors decide which TA or OA journals to publish in.
>So what is being proposed?

A high profile, non-commercial Journal C with a track record of citations
agrees to implement a business model which is based on (a) either solely
citation charges Cc or (b) on a combination of fixed/author charges
Ca and usage/citation Cc charges.

An author A citing a paper published by C would need to pay Cc (say 50)
per citation to journal C in any case irrespective of which journal he
submits the pre-print. Whether he needs to pay Ca depends on the journal he is
submitting to: In a traditional journal, Ca would be zero; in a new OA
journal, Ca costs are perhaps 1500 in addition to Cc, submitting to C would
cost only if the journal utilizes a fixed-usage charge structure (e.g. 200
for peer reviewing paid by the author plus 50 per citation paid by the user).
The most expensive paper would be the one that uses many citations of C
and is submitted to an OA journal which relies only on author charges and
which does not have enough confidence in the quality of their published

Importantly, Cc only needs to be paid if the paper gets a DOI (and is being
published). Before, citing publications of journal C in pre-prints can be
done freely.

What are the advantages over the author-pays model?

Distribution of costs

The costs for peer reviewing are distributed over a number of people
(quoters) as opposed to only one author (who has already invested in
the creation). The lower costs for a single institution make the costs
easier to bear for them.

Smooth transition

>From a practical perspective, transition could be smooth; such a scheme
could perhaps be implemented with the next edition. Publisher would not
be harmed economically - due to the yearly subscriptions - if they make
one whole edition of their journal freely available and add a note to
the paper like 93citing this paper is permitted. If the citing paper is
accepted for publication, the sponsoring institution agrees to pays X
euros to journal C 94. Institutions with a subscription to C would not
need to pay for citations. Today, technology makes the tracking which
publication cites much more efficient and reliable.

Publisher Competition for pre-prints

Pre-prints which are cited very soon after their making public on
pre-print servers could be peer-reviewed for free with a view of making a
profit. In a good world, publishers would get an alert on their desktops
about a pre-print that is being cited a few times soon after it has been
made available on the pre-print server. In a perfect world, two or more
of those publishers would ask the sponsoring institution for permission
to publish the paper where pricing (of the citation) is not at the sole
discretion of the publisher - since he is the one asking for permission
to publish.

Economic value is linked to the research value

The economic value and reward for investment is linked to the
research value of the paper - unlike the 1500 which is linked
to the brand name and not the actual quality/research impact
of the paper. If one looks at the tables presented by bergstrom
( Today, the only
link between economic and research value is within the type of publisher,
but not within the overall market.

Just remuneration scheme

It is reasonable and just to let the user - as opposed to the author who
has already invested in the creation - pay for using the intellectual work
of someone else.

Switching tool

Non-commercial publishers have a high market share in the academic
market for disseminating knowledge measured in numbers of citations. In
economics, Bergstrom mentions 62% percent and cites 50% in chemistry.
( If non-commercial
publishers would get an economic incentive to make the switch (which amounts
only to a fraction of the total costs), the OAI network would be able to
offer access to 62% of the relevant research in economics. Paying
non-commercial publishers 10% more (in exchange for making the switch)
accounts to an increase in total spending of 1% (10% of the 11644; see
bergstrom 2001 at 185-186) . In absolute numbers, those additional costs
would easily be offset by the savings due to the increase of the OAI network
in terms of quality. It is difficult to see how sciencedirect can maintain
their double digit annual price increases if 60 percent of the relevant
research is freely available on the competing OAI network. Citation based
remuneration would be a tool to offer journals - which produce high quality
work and charge little for that - some economic incentive to make the OA
switch and would exhibit tremendous pricing pressure on the sciencedirects.
history shows that non-commercial publishers - especially in the light of
their quality - charge reasonably for access. Why should the price tag for a
citation be unreasonably? Even if they make more in absolute numbers now,
society would get a big part of the research freely available and the
additional costs for making non-commercial publishers switch would by far be
offset by the competitive pressure the OAI network exhibits once it offers
access to much of the relevant research and the likely price reductions
which are caused by this competitive pressure.
Received on Thu Jan 22 2004 - 18:43:17 GMT

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