Re: Failing business models

From: Jan Velterop <openaccess_at_BTINTERNET.COM>
Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2007 10:26:00 +0000


Assumptions are being made on all sides of the argument and I'm the
last to say that I don't sometimes make them, but the examples you
mention are more to do with definitions than assumptions. Let me
respond to the monopoly issue.

You fear that 'gold' would be just a continuation of the cost spiral,
and as a reason for that you use the argument that "journals act as
monopolies, and so would gold journals." Now here's an unwarranted
assumption. Subscription journals are monopoloid *because of* the
subscription model. The subscriptions are non-rivalrous, meaning that
if you need Nature, you also need Science (and this principle works
all the way down the pyramid). And you need to pay for both. But in
'gold' this doesn't apply. If you publish in Nature, and pay for it
(should they offer that option), you don't pay Science. In 'gold',
these journals -- any journals -- are rivalrous.

In the subscription world, librarians are the 'captive market'. In
'gold', you call authors "still a captive market", but they are
neither a captive market nor is that "still" the case, because they
never were. That doesn't mean to say that the best journals aren't
desirable for authors to publish in. So they may be captivated by the
journal's allure, but that's not the same as a captive market. If
they are captured at all, it's by the impact factor madness, and
publishers are not the ones who can change that culture. It all comes
down to choice. In the subscription system there is hardly any; in
'gold', however high the fees may be of some journals, there *is* a
choice, there *are* viable substitute services, unless publishers
should start forming cartels, which is illegal. If the authors are
not aware of fees for 'gold', that doesn't mean they don't have the
choice, it only means that they don't exercise that choice, and in
any case the funders or the institutions can influence their choice.
Institutes and funders can raise the authors' awareness. Having a
viable choice makes any monopoly impossible (see definition: http:// with the caveat that I'm indeed making
an assumption here, namely that the Wikipedia definition is correct).

Jan Velterop

On 23 Feb 2007, at 12:07, Steve Hitchcock wrote:

> Jan, Perhaps support for your transition to, effectively, gold OA
> publishing is slow because you make some big assumptions that need
> to be
> examined before considering the detail of any transition, and the
> analysis
> omits the effect of green OA....
Received on Sat Feb 24 2007 - 11:47:09 GMT

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