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Re: Open Access and For-Pay Access (to the same IR materials)

Brian's model describes a scenario in which Navigational interfaces are
marketed rather than the actual data. Enhanced access is the real value. This seems reasonable, if we want to remove the existing copyright
blockage to non-commercial material. He leaves the identification of funds
to support the data repositories out of his model, and these costs may be
insignificant if inexpensive collaborative archival platforms are
developed. It is important to recognize that even these reduced repository
costs will require new funding paths and models. (Perhaps direct
government funding a la arXiv? But this is for another message.)

Regardless, if I read his proposal correctly, I think there is an
underlying problem with his model:

A primary intention of new scholarly distribution models is to identify
revenue to support the peer review process, the most important part of
scholarly communication.

Under Brian's model, a non-commercial developer might be able to produce a
less expensive version of navigational tools and drive down these costs. This is a good initiative, as a portion of the savings could be
re-directed toward peer review subsidies through some unstated pathway.

However, these navigational tools are often owned by entities unrelated to
the peer review process -- and therefore the majority of the revenue will
not be re-directed toward subsidizing the essential peer review costs. Perhaps we have done exactly the opposite of what we need: we do want to
separate the support of peer review and data delivery -- but this model
will emphasize the use of institutional subsidies for revised delivery and
navigation mechanisms rather than the peer review process.

Perhaps there is another unrelated plan for subsidizing the peer review

It seems that this plan provides a model for organizations to pay for the
navigational tools, but leaves out the related and high priority support
plans for repositories and peer review. These are parts of the existing
subscription model and need to be addressed by any new subscription model.

David Stern Director of Science Libraries and Information Services Kline Science Library 219 Prospect Street P.O. Box 208111 New Haven, CT 06520-8111

At 06:13 PM 4/26/2005, you wrote:
Mr. Esposito,

Thanks for the comments.

Yesterday I added the material - see copied below -- to the webpage
(http://www.lehigh.edu/library/guides/overlayjournals.html) in an effort
to concretize the proposal a bit: "Can you draw a concrete picture of what
this model would look like and how it would get started?" Specifically,
this section refers to the role that university consortia can play.

Relatively recently I also added "What are the copyright and licensing
issues involved with subscription subsidized open access generally and its
application to ejournals specifically?".

The webpage is a work that develops as pet project, as a very busy
librarian's existence permits.

Just for the record, my employer (Lehigh) has not embarked on the
subscription overlay model, though we do we have a journal of student
award submissions under development.

Brian Simboli

New section:

Can you draw a concrete picture of what this model would look like and how
it would get started?

           Here is just one possible scenario.

Heads of libraries, probably large libraries within a large consortium,
decide to pool their resources to create a clearinghouse office that
maintains an "aggregator" portal to a large number of ejournals. Articles
would be maintained at an institutional repository such as arxiv.org, or
at a centralized repository maintained by the consortium. All the articles
would be open access, freely accessible for view by the public at that

That portal web site would provide all sorts of enhanced access to the
journal content. (See the list of such services elsewhere on this
webpage.) That is, the public would pay for the right to use all the
services at the webpage plus pay for access to articles through journal
tables of contents at the website.  However, again, the public need not
buy a subscription to view the content. All content would be freely
accessible, and otherwise accessible on an enhanced basis via the
consortium-maintained website at a subscription cost.

The model would be one like Project Euclid or BioOne or commercial
aggregator sites, which serve as portals that aggregate access to a wide
variety of journals, except that all the journal articles would in this
case be freely accessible to the public

Subscription revenues would be cycled back to the clearinghouse office
operation, which would be operated on a cost-recovery basis. Revenues
would fund: the clearinghouse office operation, plus payment for logistics
of the editing processes incurred by a journal. There are a few ways to
run those editing processes: right out of the clearinghouse office, or by
the journal as it is maintained elsewhere at some specific university or
college. If the latter, the clearinghouse office's portal would hyperlink
to that journal as maintained elsewhere, plus it would funnel monies to
support that independent journal operation.

The participating journals would maintain their traditional model of peer
review, at least at the outset. (See discussion of this elsewhere on this

What if the money generated by subscriptions did not suffice to fund these
operations? In this case, supplementary grant monies would be needed.
These could be nominal author charges (lower than the ones currently
charged by open access author payment journals); funding organizations; or
society funds garnered from membership dues.

The author of this webpage is under no illusion about the practical
difficulties and risks associated with implementing this model. However,
it is hard to envision any other open access business model, other than
the charging of high author charges, that would have a chance of
challenging the hegemony of commercial publishers. The important point is
to explore new business models, and even mix and match various approaches,
to see what works. At the outset,this can be done with a small set of
journals surrounding a specific subject, that can serve as a pilot.