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Re: Berkeley faculty statement on scholarly publishing

Anthony, it's completely understandable that you publisher types are very
worried about recent developments, but let's not forget:  the Cornell
study assumes a per-article cost that is higher than what actual OA
publishers are charging (Cornell assumes $2,500 as the low end, as
compared to PLoS $1,500, BMC at a little over $600).  These are STM
journal prices, not taking into account that many journals in the
humanities and social sciences have likely always been more efficient,
simply due to having a lower revenue stream.

As Phil Davis has always pointed out, the conclusions on this open-data
study can change depending on the variables.  The vast majority of
research libraries would see cost savings if they paid all author charges
at rates of $1,000 average or less; considering what BMC and PLoS actually
charge, and factoring in somewhat lower costs for social sciences and
humanities, this is another reasonable conclusion from the Cornell study.  
In other words, based on the data provided by Cornell, one could also
conclude that open access would be less costly, even for research
intensive institutions and assuming an author payment model.  Considering
that some of the funding is likely to come from funding agencies and
departments rather than libraries, the savings are likely to be

The key to achieve the most cost savings will be to ensure that libraries
(or institutions) do not pay exorbitant amounts.  This is easier to do
with author payments than subscription payments.  If your faculty members
need to publish, subsidize the author payment to the extent your budget
can permit.  It is much easier to compare publishing services on a
per-article basis than it is to compare value on a subscription basis.  
If PLoS is providing top quality at $1,500 per article, and another
publisher wants twice as much to publish the same article - why would an
institution or library agree to pay more?

I sure hope that OA publishers like PLoS and BMC will be able to keep up
with what I see as increasing demands, partially for this reason and
partially due to the impact advantage they (and their authors) will enjoy,
as compared to publishers that are implementing 12 month embargoes in
reaction to the NIH policy.  Good thing there are open source and low-cost
alternatives around, such as the Public Knowledge Project's Open Journal
Systems.  They will be needed!

Speaking of open source publishing - does anyone know if Cornell's d-pubs
is released yet?

a personal view by,

Heather Morrison

On Thu,  5 May 2005 20:25:23 EDT liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu wrote:

> I am also puzzled by the statement by Professor Agogino about lower costs
> to the university. Has Berkeley done a study that has come to a different
> result from the Cornell and other studies (showing higher costs to the
> university under an OA regime) or has Professor Agogino been badly
> "educated" by her library?
> Anthony Watkinson