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Re: Open Access and "Membership Costs"

Is Biomed Central "a for-profit publisher"?

Julie Kwan
UCLA Biomedical Library

On Mon,  7 Jul 2003 19:34:43 EDT Phil Davis <pmd8@cornell.edu> wrote:

> Ann Okerson hit the nail squarely on the head about who will be paying for
> open access -- libraries will.  Despite the name "institutional
> membership", these are in essence library subscription fees designed to
> extract rents from the institution.  Because authors are adverse to paying
> to publish, an institutional membership model is in the author's and
> publisher's best interest.  But it is in the best interest of the
> institution?
> Institutions will pay more money in this model than the sum of all author
> payments in the initial model.  Because we are dealing with a for-profit
> publisher (i.e. BioMedCentral), it is completely rational that
> institutions will see their membership fees rise precipitously if this
> product and its journals become prestigious.  We have seen this for all
> other commercial publisher products, and shouldn't believe otherwise.  
> Individual authors will push for the library to continue its subscription
> despite a clear price discrimination model being in effect.  In effect, we
> find ourselves in the same inelastic price model we currently have in the
> traditional model.  The additional problem with the membership fee is that
> it "bundles"  all open-access journals together from a publisher.
> The only economic model where institutional-membership fees might work is
> if the publisher is a non-profit society or association, whereby the
> prices charged to the institution will reflect the actual cost of
> publishing and not the price the market will bear.
> Respectfully submitted,
> Phil Davis, Cornell University