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Re: Taking Our Academic Medicine

I realise that discussion of the Bergstrom/McAfee letter has moved on to
matters of anti-trust etc, and apologise for taking us back to the
original topic of the letter.

B and McA are telling us nothing new. We already knew from various
studies (including Bergstrom & Bergstrom) that, on average, the 50% or so
of journals which are published by or on behalf of not-for-profit
organisations are less expensive (per page, per article, or per citation)
than others. However, I don't think this should be allowed to lead to
discrimination 'on principle' between the white hats - nonprofits - and
the black hats - commercial publishers; it just isn't like that! Publishers price according to the needs and expectations of their
organisations - many not-for-profit organisations do not expect their
journal publishing to maximise their profits, and indeed some expect no
more than break-even, and others (more or less) willingly subsidise
losses, which commercial organisations cannot do. But we would not expect
either authors or subscribers to make their journal choices based purely
on price - the even more important criterion must surely be quality (and
the two in combination, i.e. value for money).

The suggestion that universities should charge for editors' office costs
is nothing new, either. I published some 50 medical journals in the 80s
and early 90s, and this was absolutely standard practice.

Sally Morris, Chief Executive
Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
Email: sally.morris@alpsp.org