[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

RE: Monopolies in publishing

Dean Anderson's view that consolidiation represents a decline is
fortunately not necessarily the case. To a considerable extent, as
jmcdonald@library.caltech.edu wrote:

> The cessation of low quality journals produced by commercial publishers is
> a good thing.  Authors still publishing in those journals were poorly
> served by the publishers in the first place and will seek other avenues
> where they can publish their research.

it represents the solution. These journals cannot be making significant
positive contributions to the cash flow of their publishers, as is obvious
to anyone who will take a realistic guess of their true subscription
figures. When there was no practical alternative, it was perhaps
justifiable for them to be subsidized by the other titles, and by the few
hundred research libraries then able to obtain a complete collection.

Now publishers can return to their proper function. That function is not
to disseminate all academically-produced material regardless of low demand
or high cost, but to publish the material which is worth publishing. This
can be roughly defined as the material that people wish to read enough to
pay for. Those publishers who have such goals will do very well.

(Let me parenthetically add that anyone who is convinced that all
published material is worth publishing should find some expensive but low
ranking journals in a subject they understand, and look at the articles
themselves, and add some objective analysis by counting the citations to
those articles.)

However, Dean's approach to maintaining the journals that are worth
maintaining is surely the right approach, in my opinion:

> ... They know that price increases fuel further drops in
> subscriptions and that unless this cycle is stopped, they'll be out of
> business.... Publishers with a long-term view therefore have a strong 
> incentive to keep subscription prices stable. On the other hand, 
> publishers with a shorter term view may choose to simply milk the market 
> for all they can get before the market runs dry.

> Dean H. Anderson
> COR Health
> http://www.corhealth.com