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

Research that I conducted during my recent visit to New Zealand, in which
I interviewed the Editors of most New Zealand-based scholarly journals,
suggests that the concerns raised by Amy Schuler are felt among small
learned societies New Zealand.  This is an issue which enthusiasts for
Open Access (of whom I am one) need to address promptly and seriously.

Fytton Rowland, Loughborough University, UK.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sally Morris" <sec-gen@alpsp.org>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2004 5:37 AM
Subject: 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