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Re: Invitiation to Tender for ALPSP Open Access journals data analysis project

Perhaps I oversimplified.  The view of our Association is that, while OA
would undoubtedly achieve societies' mission of maximising dissemination
of their subject, it is crucial that we understand the real financial (and
other) implications to enable people to make informed and rational
decisions on whether or not it makes sense to change their model.  That's
exactly why we want to carry out this study - to get some facts on the
subject, of which there seems, so far, to be a great shortage

It's clear that, for societies, reducing their income from publications
would have knock-on effects on their other activities (in fact, I'm
wondering whether societies would be willing to share information about
the percentage of their publishing surplus which goes on each of these -
what do list members think?  Is this too sensitive to divulge?)

Sally Morris, Chief Executive
E-mail:  chief-exec@alpsp.org
ALPSP Website  http://www.alpsp.org

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Amy Schuler" <schulera@ecostudies.org>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2004 6:18 AM
Subject: RE: Invitiation to Tender for ALPSP Open Access journals data
analysis project

> I'd like to comment on the opening line of this invitation letter by Sally
> Morris.  "Open Access...is a very appealing journals model, particularly
> for society publishers" seems overly broad (and/or too assuming).  The
> fact is that some small professional society publishers are worried about
> the Open Access model and what it could mean for them in terms of revenue.
> For instance, the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) - one
> of the most highly respected scientific societies in biology and the life
> sciences - recently ran an editorial written by its executive director,
> which lays out the concerns of non-medical scientific society publishers.
> Special attention is paid to the fact that agencies that fund non-medical
> scientific research (such as the NSF, USDA, and EPA) "typically include
> very little, if any, money for publication costs, and certainly not enough
> to support the author-pay system described above."  The writer also
> asserts that "Libraries and those who oversee their funding need to
> realize that, as they agitate for author-pay open access, their current
> budgetary and subscription decisions may well threaten the ability of many
> nonprofit scientific societies to continue producing high-quality,
> low-price journals and to reconfigure those journals for the online
> publication that libraries want."  The entire editorial may be viewed at
> http://www.aibs.org/bioscience-editorials/editorial_2003_11.html.
> I would suggest that before we can assume (or claim) that society
> publishers will find OA an attractive model, we need to look at all sides
> of the issue - the unique challenges faced by society publishers (by
> field), the response by funding agencies, and more.  Many scientists feel
> loyal to the small scientific societies that they belong to, and are
> worried about the effect that OA will have on them.  Will OA drive all but
> the largest, most expensive commercial scientific publishers (like
> Elsevier!) out of business?  These issues might be worth considering in
> the study that Sally Morris suggests.
> Similarly, I have also heard from an ecologist I know that the American
> Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) is also concerned about the
> OA model and its possible (detrimental or otherwise) effect(s) on society
> publishers.  But I do not have enough information on ASLO's stance to do
> more than suggest that they are concerned.
> Amy Schuler
> Manager of Information Services
> Institute of Ecosystem Studies
> Millbrook, NY 12545
> (845) 677 7600 x164