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Re: APS pricing explained for 2003

Important message follows, from Martin Blue, Editor-in-Chief of the 
American Physical Society, in response to Don Waters' posting of 8/3.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Dear Ann:  My attention was called to Don Waters' email on our pricing
scheme in the libLicense-l list. His remarks were somewhat off the mark,
and this was well pointed out by several subsequent comments. Similar
questions were raised two years ago by a member of the American Physical
Society in a letter to APS News and in my reply I addressed these same
points. (The exchange is available on line at:

The principal points made were, first, that the growth in submissions (and
in papers published) has, since 1983, come overwhelmingly from papers
originating outside the US. The reputation of our journals has been quite
high, and it has become both possible (with the fall of the iron curtain)  
and desirable for physicists abroad to send their best work to us, because
of the prestige associated with our imprimateur. It has also, with the
advent of electronic submissions, become easier and cheaper to submit to
us from any part of the world. We have maintained our standards, and the
acceptance rate for articles has dropped as the submissions have risen.  
(Both this point and the increasing submission rate by region of the world
are shown in figures in the exchange of letters.) We have not put a limit
on the number of pages published, nor have we mandated a limit on the
number of articles accepted. It is difficult enough to judge quality
without forcing editors to make an arbitrary judgment of which accepted
papers to reject because of those limits. It is also more expensive to
reject a paper than to accept it. "Hell hath no fury like an author

Further, almost all papers get published somewhere. One of our editors did
a quick study a few years ago of the papers published in a rival Letters
journal and found that in the first six months of that publication more
than a third of the articles in it had been rejected by Physical Review
Letters! And that journal cost nearly ten times as much per page as PRL.
So if we arbitrarily rejected more they would simply have been available
to libraries at a higher price, and our peer reviewing costs would have
been higher still.

Thanks and best wishes,
Marty Blume <blume@aps.org>