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Re: Looking an open access gift horse...
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- Subject: Re: Looking an open access gift horse...
- From: Ann Okerson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 15:53:06 -0500 (EST)
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With permission, I've digested below comments from a couple of university administrative folks who have seen the discussion about the potential effects of Open Access on library/university budgets, but aren't mmembers of this list. The perspectives are instructive, reminding us that in a complex system it is not possible to change only one ingredient; inevitably there are expected and unexpected consequences. That's not to say that publishing systems should be optimized, of course! Related factors: 1. If funding agencies will increase direct grants to pay publication costs as part of this movement, it's surely reasonable to expect them to come back to the universities to negotiate reduced indirect cost rates -- for example, that's where NSF *thinks* it's now paying for the costs of STM publication, whether libraries actually see any of those ICR dollars passed through to them. Library budgets might be relieved of subscription costs, but if the ICRs go down (for this reason) librarians (and faculty) can surely expect to hear from university budgeteers about absorbing that cut. It is not clear that OA will leave university libraries with more spare cash to buy other (than STM journal) materials or invest in other services. 2. Overall levels of federal funding for science look to flatten in the next years. We've come up sharply in recent years and now the ballooning deficits will stifle growth in many areas of federal spending. So it's unlikely our institutions will "come out ahead." 3. There's a question of chicken/egg. If I want to switch to Open Access (author-pays) from the current model (reader-pays), may I expect costs for current subscriptions to go down as fast as or faster than the costs for Open Access go up? If not, where will I find the delta? If I build a bridge strategy to cover a period of double-cost, how confident can I be that I'll get back to where I am now? 4. Startup packages for new researchers: A few thousand dollars are a few thousand dollars, but more to the point, the new-star-researcher startup package is one-time $$, but we assume the scientist will publish every year. To take a few dollars out of resources the scientist really wants to cover publication for a year or two doesn't solve the larger problem. ***
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