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RE: Monopolies in publishing

I am commenting on only the following portion of Dean's argument:

> .... Whoever funds publication will necessarily have a considerable degree of 
> power over both authors and the content that gets published. The question then 
> becomes,should that power be diffused over hundreds or thousands 
> of paying subscribers or should funding decisions be concentrated in the 
> hands of academic committees, sponsors, or institutional benefactors? Both
> alternatives have obvious benefits and pitfalls.

For journals not sponsored by societies, the hundred of paying subscribers
for most journals are almost exclusively acaddemic libraries;  for those
published by societies, they include society members.  Libraries have in
the past made decisions based primarily on the explicit recommendations of
the departments they serve; in recent years, they normally supplement or
replace these recommendations by the implicit recommendation shown by use
patterns.  In either case these are exactly the same people who would be
on the academic committees Dean refers to.

Naturally, this applies only to scholarly journals (and,incidentally, to
scholarly books.)  As I pointed out yesterday, any publisher able to
produce a journal that people will choose to pay for --or even to tell
their libraries to pay for-- will still be able to do so.

Dr. David Goodman
Princeton University Library
Palmer School of Library & Information Science, Long Island University