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Re: ALPSP statement on e-publishing.
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: Re: ALPSP statement on e-publishing.
- From: David Goodman <email@example.com>
- Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2002 21:09:07 EDT
- Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sender: email@example.com
Chuck's comments are even more applicable when one realizes the decreasing cost of computers and their accessories. This is of course just Moore's law, and it applies to all computer hardware, though storage is the most dramatic example. This naturally is most dramatically shown in the decreasing cost of storage. The one thing about cost that any publisher can predict, is that the cost for storage of the material, and the computers that host them, will decrease in the future. This is probably not true for any other element of cost in their business. Therefore, to the extent that electronic publication replaces print, it will decrease publishers costs. To the extent it supplements print, the extra expense will continually decrease And it should be remembered that about 80 to 90% of the cost of a journal occurs independently of the printing or distributions since the conversion into reproducible format is now generally done in common for both means of distribution. This is the cost of reviewing, editing, and conversion into reproducible format, all important and necessary functions. It also covers the costs of sales, advertising, promotion, executive and support salaries, and so forth, which are of a somewhat lesser degree of importance. Therefore, electronic publication does not affect at least 80% of the cost, and decreases the other 20%. What is expensive is the reliance upon outside consultants and vendors of computer services; this becomes particularly expensive when the provider fails to supply adequate service and must be replaced. This is an indication that the publisher has not made competent plans; that it has invested in obsolete rather the current equipment, and trained staff knowledgeable in obsolete rather than current techniques. (I would say the same of any library that outsourced basic computer functions.) It is therefore particularly disappointing to read the arguments that Chuck mentioned, which have been proven false quite a few years ago. There are real problems in the publication industry. There are many areas where libraries and publishers need to understand each other better. There is potential for cooperation, and most of us are eager to do so. But when I read a statement like this, I wonder whether it really is possible. If this is representative, either the publishers have not yet learned enough to understand, or they take us to be fools. David Goodman Princeton University >Chuck Hamaker wrote: > > I read with interest the executive summary of the new ALPSP report on > authors and electronic publishers. > > I have a question about an assertion in the article "Electronic Publishing > and Learned Societies" - http://www.alpsp.org/epub_learnsoc.pdf an ALPSP > paper for the Research Support Libraries Group ..a [PDF]pdf file on the > ALPSP site > > Here's the statement I'm interested in: > > "However, electronic publishing has been found to bring substantial (and > continuing) new costs; the creation and maintenance of an appropriate > system to hold and provide access to content is an expensive business. We > know, too, that the costs of long-term preservation will be substantial > and are likely to impact everyone in the information chain. For most > learned journals, with circulations of under 1000, the savings on > manufacturing, materials and distribution costs form a negligible > percentage of total costs. Additional costs are incurred for as long as > customers require both print and electronic versions; we are lobbying to > remove the VAT problem which contributes to libraries' reluctance to > abandon print, but insecurity about long-term access and preservation, and > users' own preferences, are also factors." > > Does ALPSP have documentation for the "substantial(and continuing) new > costs"statement? > > PC's and servers, it seems to me are a part of the normal cost of doing > business for many businesses in the current era. Has someone teased out > the costs for new initiatives in electronic publishing as opposed to the > ongoing investment for new technology that would be normal? And has that > new investment that is distinct from the ongoing costs of doing > business,-the statement seems to suggest- resulted in substantial cost > that indeed is on top of the ongoing costs of the "old" system? What does > substantial mean? Most western businesses and institutions have made the > leap from typewritters to pcs on staff desks, and though they cost more, > and have to be upgraded regularly, they are a cost of doing business, not > a "new cost" for new product, except it's easier to create "new products" > than it had been with typewriters. So, how has ALPSP or its members > accounted for these costs. Are we talking about investments that had to be > made even to maintain the "old" way of doing business? What can actually > be imputed to the "new" products. Publishers are famous for assinging > costs of various things to their titles, so I wonder if there is real > evidence that these expenses have to do with new products, as opposed to > what had to be done to keep the paper flowing. > > I suspect the situation is a bit murkier than the sentence suggests,does > ALPSP have hard data on this assertion, and has it been shared, published, > etc.? > > I'm just not sure that the new processess didn't have to be gone into just > to survive, even if there were no electronic product in the end. > > thank you, Chuck Hamaker