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Re: Revision to Physical Review B data

On Apr 19, 2005, at 9:12 PM, Heather Morrison wrote:

BioMedCentral charges just over $500, last I heard, and Optics Express
under $500 (for short articles).  These are both real publishers in the
relatively expensive-to-produce STM arena; I'm not sure what the costs
per article are in other areas such as humanities, but I'm sure there
are very efficient operations due to the fact they simply have to make
do with less revenue.
My understanding is that they make do with a loss (not just less revenue).
BMC has other journals that are more expensive (as noted by Diane Carroll)
and last I heard, $500 was mostly a theoretical target price that would be
achievable only in the long run. Optics Express is subsidized by OSA out
of its other revenues as far as I know (same for IOP's New Journal of
Physics). Not good examples. Even PLoS Biology doesn't make ends meet
solely based on the author charges they collect - they use other outside
funding (e.g., the Moore Foundation) to fill the gap.

PRB is a high-end, highly prolific STM journal.  David is right in
pointing out that there are publishers with much greater profit margins;
PRB does not represent the worst-case scenario.

However, PRB does not represent the best-case scenario, either.  As
noted in an earlier posting, assuming David's numbers in Online on the
Journal of Insect Science are correct, then a group of 500 libraries
could support this journal as open access for $84 annually each; far
less than making even one author payment, no matter how reasonable, and
far less than one average subscription for a biology title.
Does the avg. biology journal only publish 50 articles per year? It really
doesn't make sense to me to read too much into a journal that only
publishes 50 papers per year (a journal that is largely subsidized by
being embedded in the wider university setting). We publish PRST-AB, make
it available for free (with a fully functional interface including
reference linking) because it is sponsored by 10 accelerator labs
(http://prst-ab.aps.org/help/sponsors.html). But even so, it gets a great
deal of subsidy just by being embedded in the larger APS journal


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