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- To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: RE: PLoS
- From: "David Prosser" <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2004 22:26:51 EST
- Reply-to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sender: email@example.com
Naturally, there are going to be problems with any change in business model. There are risks associated with the transition from subscription-based access to open access. My hope is that the transition model minimises the risks and makes it more attractive to publishers to make the change. We are already seeing this with, for example, the Company of Biologists, the American Physiological Society, and Oxford University Press, who are all experimenting with variations of the model. Publishers are going to be able to make educated estimates on the proportion of authors taking up the open access option and use these estimates to decide on subscription prices. The odd pricing cycle for journals means that they have to make estimates of subscribers and costs well in advance, this will be one more variable to factor in. My advice (for what it is worth) is for the publishers to be conservative with their estimates of author-uptake. Regarding realistic costs, BioMedCentral and PLoS would argue that they have set their prices at sustainable levels - time will tell. For the transition publishers, the Company of Biologists have a charge which looks to me as if it could be sustainable. As an aside, there is an interesting gap in this discussion. Those society publishers who have publicly expressed doubts about the open access model appear to have no doubts about the current system. The risks of a move to open access are compared to the stability of subscription-based access. But surely the current system is not risk free. We have not (as far as I am aware) seen any publishers give us their vision of the future based on subscription access - is it really business as usual? When major customers (such as UC) describe the current model as 'unsustainable' don't the society publisher get concerned? Perhaps Mr Watkinson could give us his prediction of what the environment for society publishers will be like in five or ten years time as the amount of material to be published continues to increase, library budgets continue to be squeezed, and ever increasing proportions of those budgets go to a small number of big deals. David C Prosser PhD Director SPARC Europe E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0) 1865 284 451 Mobile: +44 (0) 7974 673 888 http://www.sparceurope.org -----Original Message----- From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Anthony Watkinson Sent: 26 February 2004 23:01 Subject: Re: PLoS I wonder how many of the readers of this list have actually read David Prosser's transition proposal. It is available at http://www.arl.org/sparc/core/index.asp?page=g29#4. He sets out the disadvantages of the gradual method very cogently and it is these disadvantages of the transition which, it is my impression, weigh heavily on learned society publishers who cannot afford to take the leap of faith. It is possible to extend his analysis of the problems. He proposes that, for example, success in attracting author payment in 2004 should enable a concomitant reduction of the subscription rate in 2005 but subscription rates are not set at the end of the year. They should be set before the end of July as libraries and their intermediaries know very well. Mr. Prosser also advocates an author charge which reflects true costs. I am not aware of any publisher that currently proposes a sustainable charge based on such costs. Anthony Watkinson.