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RE: PNAS Introduces Open Access Publishing Option


based on your reply, I am not overstating the case. Actually doing the
arithmetic, I was understating it.

First we can save 5 to 10 percent at the library end and 5 to 10 percent
at the publisher end, You accepted both figures.

The average current cost of producing articles roughly seems to be
$1500-$4000 for nonprofit publishers and $3000-$8000 for commercial (based
on their own estimates in the UK hearings--I am deliberately using very
wide ranges to accomodate all opinions).
You accepted that costs similar to the APS were possible in an optimized
system. If all publishers produced journals at the APS figure of $1500
(without even allowing for the additional improvements you realistically
expect), then the average cost for a 50:50 mix of commercial and
noncommercial, using the average self-estimated costs for each, would go
from $4125 to $1500 (the extremes are $6000 to $1500 using the highest
cost estimates, and $2250 to $1500 using the lowest). That's an average
savings of 55 percent, with the extremes being 33 percent and 75 percent

The average overall cost saving would therefore be on average 70 percent,
with the extremes being 43 percent and 95 percent.

The APS price decreases prove their figure to be real. The only way the
reasoning could be wrong, is if other publishers could not produce
journals as efficiently as the APS. But even if cost per article went from
$4125 to just $3000, the savings would still be at least 37 percent!

Since with OA journals the papers will go to those with the most
competitive price, a publisher that truly finds it cannot meet the market
price will soon not be in business, The industry as a whole need not
worry--libraries will do everything possible to use the entire cost saving
to buy additional publications. Until I encountered this situation, I did
not realize that the capitalist free market could produce such benefits to
every party.

And until I did the arithmetic, I did not realize we could save so much.

Dr. David Goodman

If anyone would like to provide different figures, and send them to me as
their estimates, I will be glad to consider them--confidentially if you
like. My range is very wide and I would appreciate knowledgable help in
getting a better estimate. Do remember, though, that these savings only
apply to a 100 percent OA Journal system.

-----Original Message-----
From:	owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu on behalf of Sally Morris (ALPSP)
Sent:	Sun 6/27/2004 9:33 PM
Subject:	Re: PNAS Introduces Open Access Publishing Option

See comments interspersed below

Sally Morris, Chief Executive
Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
E-mail:  chief-exec@alpsp.org

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Goodman" <David.Goodman@liu.edu>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Saturday, June 05, 2004 6:05 AM
Subject: RE: PNAS Introduces Open Access Publishing Option

> Sally,
> 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%.

I quite agree;  very few writers talk about library costs and savings.  An
estimate of the potential savings to libraries of a move to electronic-only
on its own (without open access) would be interesting.

> 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
> knowledgeable.

Agreed.  The Wellcome report makes allowance for this (modest) saving though
it does not make entirely clear how much

> 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?

Yes, these process savings are becoming possible (and, again, have nothing
to do with OA).   So maybe we are agreed that when you said we can 'reduce
the costs significantly' you were overstating the case?

> Dr. David Goodman
> dgoodman@liu.edu

> -----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