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Re: Decision making by Libraries on serials and monographs and useage (re puzzled by self-archiving thread)

Of course mingt are inexpensive, and the benefits from them are 
very large.  Analyses limited to one's one nation may be useful 
in domestic politics, but science anywhere depends upon the work 
from everywhere.  If Australia publishes more research than it 
publishes in its own journals, you are expecting other nations to 
subsidize your publication.

For the world in general one has to add in all the current costs 
of running the journals. To decrease costs, with universal 
adoption of the IR model, there must obviously be less spent for 
journals. If journals continue at their present price strategy, 
the only way this will be accomplished is by decreasing their 
number.  And it will, because the journal prices will increase 
faster than the library budgets. Even if institutions decide to 
maintain the duplicative subscription model, the obvious source 
for funds from the IR is to cut a few more journals. For 
argument's sake, let's pretend that universities did continue 
such subscriptions at the current level of funding.

The cost for OA would include an associated apparatus for 
automatically finding OA versions when users click on a link to a 
non-subscribed title-- are cheap enough, and they could be, the 
system can easily afford the discontinuation of the lowest 20 or 
30% of the titles. The publishers might not agree, but any 
publisher has a reliable preventative: to hold costs steady by 
decreasing either costs or profits.

The quality of the system depends on whether it is certain that 
all articles will be available in good archives, and whether it 
will be possible to always link to an OA version from a reference 
in a non-subscribed title, (which for non-university uses means 
all titles), just as is now the practice for subscribed journals. 
Should publishers not permit this, a university could implement 
such a system without publisher consent by intercepting all codes 
for requests not yielding a document ansd sendiung the request to 
the OA system. Even a broswser could do so, thus serving the 
non-affiliated users.

I imagine that non-coperative publishers could evade this by 
various technical measures. Even I can think of a few. The likely 
result of this would be for everyone to use the system for 
providing access to OA versions as the first choice since it 
would always provide a copy without having to try twice. It would 
probably decrease faculty pressure to maintain journal 
subscriptions, and we all know what would happen then.

David Goodman, Ph.D., M.L.S.

----- Original Message -----
From: John Houghton <John.Houghton@vu.edu.au>
Date: Monday, January 8, 2007 7:39 pm
Subject: Re: Decision making by Libraries on serials and monographs and useage (re puzzled by self-archiving
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu

Sally, The access and download costs are pretty cheap, but to 
maximise economic and social welfare we need the most cost 
effective system, not (necessarily) the cheapest. So the issue is 
whether there are access options that are more cost effective.

Our recent research suggests that OA would probably be more cost 
effective because of its potentially substantial impacts/benefits 
(e.g. increased accessibility leading to higher returns to 
investment in research).

Whether or not it would be cheaper depends on a full 
understanding of what costs to include... To date, we have only 
compared the additional costs of a parallel system of 
institutional repositories with the potential additional benefits 
from enhanced access and efficiency, everything else remaining 
the same (i.e. the green road).

In that limited context and under a number of plausible 
assumptions (including that the OA items are discoverable), for 
higher education research in Australia we estimated that the 
benefits of OA could amount to around 30 times the cost of a 
system of higher education institutional repositories, over 20 
years (ceteris paribus).

There are, of course, many other possible costs and benefits to 
consider in any full account of system-wide costs and benefits, 
and there is also the issue of where the costs fall and benefits 
accrue. To date, we're just scratching the surface... OA may cost 
more, but if the benefit/cost ratio is higher it would enhance 
net welfare.

Regards, John Houghton
Centre  for Strategic Economic Studies
Victoria University,
E-mail: <john.houghton@vu.edu.au">

Sally Morris wrote:

This looks to me like fantastically good value.