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RE: Monopolies in publishing

It is not true that refereeing is cost-free, even though referees are not

In some literature research that I did last year for JISC, I found several
papers that estimated the cost of refereeing - which lies in the
*administration* of a refereeing system, which cannot be undertaken
voluntarily for anything beyond a very small journal.  The papers reviewed
were by authoritative authors such as Tenopir and King, Bernard Donovan
and Aldyth Holmes. The consensus of these papers was that it costs about
US$20 per printed page to referee an article, say $200 per article if an
average one is 20 printed pages.  But these costs apply to rejected as
well as accepted papers.  So if the rejection rate is 50%, the refereeing
cost per published paper is $400.  For a journal publishing hundreds of
papers per annum this is a non- trivial cost.

Fytton Rowland (usually at Loughborough University, UK, but currently at
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)


Quoting Mark Funk <mefunk@mail.med.cornell.edu>:

> David Ball suggests that commercial publishers have a near-monopoly on
> validation, through the editorial process, and that this process is what
> we pay for. Open access does not necessarily mean "no refereeing." It 
> can mean that, but most of the open access models we are discussing
> (BioMed Central, PLoS, etc.) have in place the exact same validation 
> process that traditional journals use: articles are submitted to 
> editors, who assign referees to evaluate and make suggestions for 
> improvement. After revisions are made and approved, the article is 
> accepted and published. There is no monopoly on the validation process.
> Also, I would disagree with the statment that we are paying for this
> process, and that dissemination is secondary. Except for stipends, or
> perhaps a small salary paid to the journal editor (who is usually an
> academician), referees are not paid for their services. This is the
> most important part of peer review, and the publisher pays nothing for 
> this invaluable donation of time and expertise. For commercial publishers
> to claim they have high costs for the editorial review process is a 
> gross exaggeration at best.
> Mark Funk
> Head, Collection Development
> Weill Cornell Medical Library
> mefunk@mail.med.cornell.edu