Re: Some initial thoughts on the Brussels Declaration on STM publishing

From: Peter Banks <pbanks_at_BANKSPUB.COM>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 08:19:02 -0500

Thomas and Fytton are making rather different points.

Thomas seems to assume that subscriptions and access are going away soon.
Most likely, they are not. "Gold OA" is so far not proven as a business
model, and most journals will be dependent on subscription sales for some
time, necessitating the need for global marketing efforts and the
development of platforms to manage access. (Even some Gold OA journals have
substantial marketing costs--look at PLoS's IRS form 990, for example). I
personally know of no major nonprofit or for-profit publisher who has any
plans to convert to a Gold OA model, other than offering an "open choice"

Fytton points to supposed "diseconomies of scale"--but the basis for
claiming this diseconomy is unclear. If it is journal cost, then I think
there may be some confusion. Small publishers typically produce a few
relatively high-circulation titles, which are inherently more cost effective
to produce than small circulation niche titles. Large publishers often
produce a high number of very low circulation, cost-inefficient titles.

Moreover, many of the smaller publishers are non-profit. Rather than a duty
of maximize shareholder return, they have duty to fulfill the society's or
association's mission, which usually translates into much lower prices.

Thus, it isn't "central management costs" that make some titles of the large
publisher more costly; it is rather the status (for profit or nonprofit) of
the publisher and nature of the titles themselves.

On 2/21/07 5:55 AM, "J.F.B.Rowland" <J.F.Rowland_at_LBORO.AC.UK> wrote:

> Indeed; I have often thought that the scholarly journals industry is an
> examople of the diseconomies of scale. The best value is obtained from
> small organisations that do not have to carry the central management
> overhead costs of large ones.
> Fytton Rowland, Loughborough University, UK.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Thomas Krichel" <krichel_at_OPENLIB.ORG>
> Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 5:56 PM
> Subject: Re: Some initial thoughts on the Brussels Declaration on STM
> publishing
>> Peter Banks writes
>>> What they might find a bit harder, say, is managing a portfolio of 1000+
>>> journals. (The combined Blackwell-Wiley will have about 1250 journals).
>> Why is there a need to managae journals by bundle if you are not
>> selling access to them?
>> Cheers,
>> Thomas Krichel
>> RePEc:per:1965-06-05:thomas_krichel
>> skype id: thomaskrichel

Peter Banks
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Received on Wed Feb 21 2007 - 13:34:12 GMT

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