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RE: The silver lining

Yes, Mary, but there is only a handful of presses that have this capacity now, perhaps a half-dozen, including Chicago of course, and I doubt that they could ramp up their carrying capacity to the extent necessary to make the transition smooth. I'm talking about thousands of journals, not a few hundred! Also, university presses simply don't have easy access to capital resources. We can't sell stock, few of us have any capital reserves to speak of, we don't deal with investment bankers, and our parent universities aren't anxious to have us take out large bank loans. So, where do the funds come from to increase our journal carrying capacity a hundred fold?

--Sandy Thatcher
Penn State Press

Fortunately some of the university presses have organizations and systems (Web-based peer review and online hosting platforms that are equal to those used by major commercial publishers) that give them the capacity to take on publication of more journals. In fact, we are eager to do so in the years ahead.

Mary Summerfield
Director, Business Development and Planning
University of Chicago Press
Chicago, IL 60637

-----Original Message-----
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Heather Morrison
Sent: Tuesday, December 19, 2006 10:01 AM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: The silver lining

Sandy Thatcher expressed very well the fear that self-archiving
could lead to a "tipping point" which could cause massive
disruption to the scholarly publishing system. Sandy suggests
that, even without cancellations, it is possible that highly
profitable publishers could still decide to leave the business.
If even a few of the large players were to leave the system,
Sandy argues, journals would have no where to go, as university
presses such as Penn State do not have the resources to pick up
all these journals.

The silver lining in this scenario: if even a few of the large,
highly profitable publishers were to suddenly decide to go into
another business - then libraries and universities would have
plenty of cash left over from subscription budgets they could no
longer spend , and this cash would then be available to help
scholars transition their journals, some through newly resourced
university presses.

It is always possible, of course, that the few very highly
profitable publishers, continuing to enjoy high profits, would
not exodus the scholarly publishing system en masse after all.

For more detail, please see my blogpost, Transitioning to Open
Access: Beyond Fear of Change, at: http://tinyurl.com/ygyspt

Sandy Thatcher's original post to Liblicense:

Sanford G. Thatcher, Director
Penn State University Press
University Park, PA 16802-1003
e-mail: sgt3@psu.edu