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RE: Conflating Price Containment with Publishing Mode (Re: EMBO posting)

I would agree with Jan Velterop that open access gives us more hope of
containing price increases than with subscriptions.  By removing
monopolies and introducing a true market there is more chance that the
prices will reflect the amount of value that the publisher adds.

However, even if open access does not restrain price increases more
efficiently than subscriptions there are still major advantages associated
with open access in terms of the dissemination and impact of research.  
Imaging if every journal was owned by a society publisher or university
press.  Prices would certainly be lower than they are at the moment, but
even if they were half the current prices would every research library in
the world suddenly be able to afford to purchase subscriptions to all the
journals that all of their researchers needed? Probably not!

The barriers placed between research and readers by cheaper subscriptions
(from society publishers) may (in general) be lower than those constructed
by commercial publishers, but they are still barriers. They limit readers'
ability to access information and they limit the dissemination and impact
of authors' work.

Doubling the price of The EMBO Journal will probably limit the reach and
impact of papers published in the journal.  Moving to open access would
increase the reach and impact, even beyond what the journal had before the
price rise.

So while we do not want to conflate access issues and price containment we
at SPARC Europe believe that open access provides significant improvements
in both!

(For anybody who is following this between sessions at the ALA meeting I
will be at the SPARC stand in the exhibition over the next couple of days
if you want to continue the debate!)

Best wishes


David C Prosser PhD
Director SPARC Europe
E-mail:	david.prosser@bodley.ox.ac.uk

-----Original Message-----
> From: Phil Davis [mailto:pmd8@cornell.edu]
> Sent: 09 January 2004 07:06
> To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
> Subject: Conflating Price Containment with Publishing Mode (Re: EMBO
> posting)
> In reaction to SPARC Europe's Position on EMBO Journal/Reports Pricing:
> The position of SPARC Europe regarding EMBO Journal/Reports conflates the
> argument of price containment with the argument for Open Access.  The
> basis of the argument stems from a large price increase in this product
> and a bundling of the Journal and Reports into a single package,
> especially at a time when European and North American libraries are
> suffering from budget problems.  This increase in price, Bas Savenije
> argues, shifts the balance from wide access to profit maximization.  The
> second part of the email focuses on examples of publishers working toward
> Open Access journals.  While not explicitly stated, the email reads as if
> Open Access is SPARC Europe's solution to price containment.  
> These two issues need to be separate and not conflated.


> What does not necessarily follow is Open Access as the solution to price
> containment.  In essence, *it conflates the publishing mission with the
> publishing mode*.  The mission of non-profit society and learned
> association publishing is to disseminate information as broadly as
> possible while containing prices and supporting the goals of the
> organization.  This is not congruent of the mission of publicly-held
> commercial publishers.  The mode of publishing here is inconsequential.  
> Open Access as a mode has no intrinsic qualities that would enable it to
> contain prices if held in the hands of a for-profit publisher.  To date,
> the largest player in the Open Access journal market is a for-profit
> publisher.


> Respectfully submitted,
> Philip Davis, Life Sciences Bibliographer
> Mann Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
> (607) 255-7192 ;  (607) 255-0318 fax
> pmd8@cornell.edu
> http://people.cornell.edu/pages/pmd8/