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Re: Revision to Physical Review B data

Hi David,

Thanks for the clarifications. I would like to point out two items which I
think need further clarification though:

1) Of the 19 papers for Yale in PRB in 2004, only 6 were authors solely by
Yale researchers. Using a rule of 1/5 if only one author of 5 was from
Yale, I find that only 11.2 authors would have had to pay from Yale. This
is almost a factor of 2 difference.

2) My number was $2000 per article. Your article in Info Today stated the
fee for the $850/author per paper. I am confused by your calculation below
in which you seem to have resorted to $850/article.  Which is correct?

So I think you still aren't representing the true numbers. It should be
noted that our analysis shows that some (might be most!) large US research
institutions (what APS would call Tier 4 now) actually paid APS less money
(in _unadjusted_ dollars_ even!) for their 2004 subscriptions than their
1998 subscriptions despite the fact that we now include PROLA, provide
full electronic journals and linking, and publish almost 25% more pages.
This is primarily due to cancellation of multiple paper subscriptions that
most large institutions had. So while a changed model might mean large
research institutions pay more than they are currently paying, it may not
mean paying more than what they historically paid. One might question
whether this "stealth" transfer of support for journal publishing away
from large research institutions over the last decade was actually fair.
It would be useful if Yale went back and did a retrospective study of what
savings they have because of this kind of consolidation.

The other point worth making is that while the APS journals make a good
benchmark because we budget fairly close to breakeven for our journal
operations, they are not the best example for figuring actual saving in a
global OA model. The OA model only will work when it is applied to your
most expensive (per article) journals, not your cheapest (assuming you use
something like the APS benchmark to limit how much you are willing to pay
in author fees - one would like to believe that commercial publishers
strive for the same level of efficiency and cost-effectiveness that we
have achieved at the APS). The fact that the OA model only works well if
it is applied globally and with payments really set close to actual costs
(and not to cover current publisher revenue/margins [and appropriately
adjusted to handle non-payment by some authors]) is what makes any
transition to an OA model such a difficult one.

Best regards,

Mark Doyle
Assistant Director,  Journal Information Systems
The American Physical Society

On Apr 16, 2005, at 12:35 PM, David Stern wrote:

In response to the email of Mark Doyle on Tue, 5 Apr 2005

Mark is correct, the numbers in my Online article for Physical Review B
were actually for another title. The correct numbers for PRB are below. The significant point remains the same, perhaps even more strikingly
demonstrated by this larger publication:

Direct author charges will be enormous and untenable for authors and
their high-publication institutions if total support migrates to
institutional fees. Sharing costs equally among research libraries, or
using differential pricing across the largest group of libraries
(including corporate libraries), is still the most efficient way to
spread the real costs of the expensive peer review process.

Maintaining an adequate short-term revenue stream through some sort of
temporary consortial payment plan may provide us with the time we need
to move toward a reasonable direct payment model, removing the redundant
and inefficient method of funneling funds indirectly through
universities and corporations and then to publishers.

Of course we should also seek to reduce the peer review publication
costs in every possible way ... see my radical "post-publication peer
review model" for one example of reducing costs by reducing the number
of expensive rejections. This model still allows for complete searching
and archiving of submitted material that has not been nominated for the
more expensive peer review process. If this distribution and peer
review process were managed by non-profit editorial boards with society
imprimatur, we could reduce the endless proliferation and
commercialization of the publish-or-perish cycle.

The numbers below show two sets of costs, one for the most efficient and
documented pubilication fee announced by a library-based ejournal ($850)
and the other for the PRB estimate of costs as described by Mark Doyle

Physical Review B: 5109 articles in 2004

cost of publication = 5109 x $850/article = $4,342,650
5109 x $2000/article = $10,218,000

The current Yale expenditure is $8,740.
Yale author charges for 2004 = 19 articles @ $850 = $16,150
@ $2000 = $38,000

Shared (equal) fees among multiple libraries
at $850 per article

* if 20 libraries subscribe, annual cost for each is $217,133 per year
* if 60 libraries subscribe, annual cost for each is $72,378 per year
* if 120 libraries subscribe, annual cost for each is $36,189 per year
* if 200 libraries subscribe, annual cost for each is $21,713 per year

at $2000 per article
* if 20 libraries subscribe, annual cost for each is $510,900 per year
* if 60 libraries subscribe, annual cost for each is $170,300 per year
* if 120 libraries subscribe, annual cost for each is $85,150 per year
* if 200 libraries subscribe, annual cost for each is $51,090 per year

Differential pricing model:

if 200 libraries share 3/4 of cost and 200 libraries cover 1/4 cost

Higher cost Lower cost

at $850/article $32,570 $10,856
at $2000/article $38,318 $12,773

The OA author charge numbers are frightening high for large producers,
and are not predictable from year to year, as they are based upon
unknown author output. The shared costs are very high, due to the
smaller number of remaining subscriptions, but at least they can be
budgeted. Neither seems to be a better short-term solution for any but
the smallest (and corporate) libraries as we search for a more stable
and less commercial model for distribution of not-for-profit scholarly

David Stern
Director of Science Libraries and Information Services
New Haven, CT 06520-8111