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RE: PNAS Introduces Open Access Publishing Option


Another certain cost savings is the savings to both libraries and
publishers of the need to maintain access control system, subscription
departments, and so on.

For a library, the savings will be small when it applies to only a few
journals; it would be much larger if it were universal. The number of
staff in a typical large library handling electronic access and journal
subscriptions may be in the range 5 to 10; some would still be needed for
non-electronic material.  A typical agent's fee for scientific periodicals
has been in the range of 3 to 6 percent. I thus estimate the library-side
savings at 5%.

For a publisher, it would be very small unless all its publications were
OA. Publishers have often added a 10% or 15% "platform fee" for electronic
access, and paper distribution is usually figured to be between 2 and 3
times as expensive as electronic. (See Fred Friend's posting of this
date). I have been estimating a total of 10% savings on the publisher
side, but would be glad of a more exact estimate from those more

There is also the possible savings if competition for authors brings all
publishers to the efficiency of the American Physical Society, at about
$1500 an article. I don't attempt now to estimate this, because it's much
more speculative.  Yes, these are not very large savings. Very large
savings are not to be looked for from OA journals. Other forms of OA may
have significantly lower cost. The argument for OA journals is not cost
alone, but the superior and more equitable access, combined with modest
cost savings.  I think, Sally, that you agree with that conclusion?

Dr. David Goodman

-----Original Message-----
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Sally Morris
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2004 12:21 AM
Subject: Re: PNAS Introduces Open Access Publishing Option

David, where is your evidence that we can 'reduce the costs
significantly'? Electronic-only makes a saving; efficiencies (as with the
APS) can make some further savings.  But other than that?

Sally Morris, Chief Executive