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reader driven business models

Our discussion of who-pays seems to me not well focused on the needs of
the people who read the literature. Perhaps this is because there aren't
enough of them; the pursuit of knowledge would be greatly enhanced if the
time spent producing literature was decimated and the time spent reading
papers was increased 10-fold.

The reader of the literature wants 2 things, mostly

1. instant, ubiquitous access to everything,
2. much, much, less of it

The current library-pays model is flawed because it rewards the production
of marginally useful literature. While it has many advantages, the
author-pays model (which is entering its 9th year at
http://nsr.mij.mrs.org/) is difficult because it encourages cut-rate

The model that would really change things would be a fixed-fee
reader-driven business model. This is a bit of a fantasy, but not that
far-fetched (and I think Ted Nelson thought of it first).

Imagine that a really big University system decided that it had to change
the way it paid for its scholarly information. It looked at its budget and
said, ok we now spend $100,000,000 per year on journals. That's a good
number. We can measure usage down to the minute, and we don't see that
we're getting our moneys worth. We get a lot of stuff no one uses and
we're missing a lot of stuff that people are asking for. Let's make a deal
with the publishers of the world. Give our campuses instant ubiquitous
access to as much content as you can, and at the end of the year, we'll
divvy up the $100,000,000 among the publisher-participants in proportion
to the number of your articles that our faculty and students actually use. Otherwise you get nothing.

How many publishers would turn that down?


Eric Hellman, President Openly Informatics, Inc.
eric@openly.com 2 Broad St., 2nd Floor
tel 1-973-509-7800 fax 1-734-468-6216 Bloomfield, NJ 07003
http://www.openly.com/1cate/ 1 Click Access To Everything