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Re: Open Access and "Membership Costs"
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- Subject: Re: Open Access and "Membership Costs"
- From: Phil Davis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2003 18:23:28 EDT
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- Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org
I think that J.F. Rowland is missing my point. Whether we are dealing
with a reader's market (subscription model), or an author's model
(membership model) was not my argument. I was attempting to illustrate
that that shifting from a market model that involves *individual costs*,
to one that involves *institutional costs* is problematic. Most
publishers use a price-discriminatory model whereby institutional
subscription prices eclipse individual subscription prices by many times. We also know that an individual subscription model is price elastic
(individuals are not tolerant of large price increases), while an
institutional subscription model is price inelastic (libraries
unfortunately are very tolerant of price increases). Libraries have been
tolerant of paying exorbitant journal prices because we act as purchasing
agents for our consumers, and consumers in this model are unaware and
uninterested in containing costs -- this is well-documented in both the
economics and library literature. So whether we are discussing a reader's
market, or an author's market is beside the point. A move to an
institutional membership fee can be economically disadvantageous,
especially if this model is controlled by a price-maximizing entity, of
which BioMed Central is one.
Philip Davis, Life Sciences Bibliographer
Mann Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-7192 ; (607) 255-0318 fax
At 05:27 PM 7/8/2003 -0400, J.F.Rowland@lboro.ac.uk wrote:
Phil really is wrong about this. Anyone can access Biomed Central journals for nothing. The payment is for authors in an institution to publish in Biomed Central journals. The institution may (either by deliberate decision, or by a misunderstanding) make this payment from library funds. But it isn't the same thing as a journal subscription. As to whether the price will go up over time, only time will tell. I have no connection with Biomed Central, and I am not a fan of commercial publishers in scholarly publishing. I would certainly be most unhappy if Biomed Central were taken over by one of the big boys. Like Phil, I favour learned society publishing, having worked in it for half of my career. I do think, though, that the Biomed Central model is one that offers real hope for a better-value and more sustainable scholarly publishing system. It would be unfortunate if librarians perpetuate misunderstandings about this model, and condemn it when it has hardly started. They should be explaining the difference between this model and the conventional one carefully to the academics in their institutions, instead. Fytton Rowland, Department of Information Science, Loughborough University, UK.