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Re: Post Brussels : Elsevier and Australian STM debate 'sprouts'

I agree with Karl. There are circumstances where publishers let editors who are retired become virtually full-time editors. This is usually (I would suggest) a mistake in that such people quite rapidly get out of touch because they stop attending conferences and mingly with the upcoming authors and referees. However for some of these people their editorial honorarium is very important to their life style. What a pity issues of confidentiality prevent any of us from giving case studies.

----- Original Message -----

From: "Karl Bridges" <Karl.Bridges@uvm.edu>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>; "Anthony Watkinson"
Sent: Thursday, March 08, 2007 2:34 AM
Subject: Re: Post Brussels : Elsevier and Australian STM debate 'sprouts'

I would suspect that most editors of scholarly journals do this as a part time situation in conjunction with their primary work as professors in their various fields. The numbers of academic journal editors, outside of corporations and professional publishing, who edit journal(s) as their full time employment is probably very small. Thus, I would argue, information about what they are paid being available probably wouldn't have much effect on anything.

For example, Professor X of Big Name University works as a law professor and gets $10,000 a year for editing the Journal of Silly Legal Cases on the side. Assume he's probably making $150,000 a year -- the extra $10000 is just not enough, in my view, to either sway him not to be an editor or to demand more money. His fee covers his time and trouble for the hassle of being an editor, but he doesn't depend on it in any real economic sense that matters e.g. he needs the money to buy food or pay his rent. Professor X has no real economic incentive to demand $20,000 a year because the publisher will simply get a new editor -- making Professor X's cost for his demand $10,000. If you assume individuals act in their own economic self interest Professor X will go for the situation that pays him $160,000 yearly as opposed to any situation that results in less than that. (And, actually, if you look into it, I would suspect that many people who have marketable skills (law, medicine, engineering) don't serve as editors simply because they can make more money on the side working in their field of expertise e.g. being a consultant, being a doctor, whatever)

Karl Bridges
Bailey Howe Library
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT 05405

Quoting Anthony Watkinson <anthony.watkinson@btopenworld.com>:

Actually Joe I think that publishers do not post on such matters is
because they know other publishers are lurking there and do not want to
expose their policies to their rivals. I suspect very few editors read
this list.

As I am posting from my home office and work part-time and not in a
senior position for a publisher I feel able to say more than I would if
I was CEO of Elsevier.

I notice that Sally Morris gives more detail about policies that sound
very similar to those I am used to, though, since her time as a
publisher, heavy technology items like manuscript submission systems
have added to the editorial costs never mind reluctance of universities
to continue funding.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Joseph Esposito" <espositoj@gmail.com>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2007 2:22 AM
Subject: Re: Post Brussels : Elsevier and Australian STM debate 'sprouts'

So here we have in Colin Steele's post a perfect illustration of why the theory of "non-rival goods," beloved by economists, does not apply to information. Steele tells the world that publishers pay authors and reviewers nothing or almost nothing, and publishers say barely a word in their defense. Why? Because to acknowledge (the truth) that many editors receive small sums and a lucky few princely payments would encourage more editors to demand more, and the more they get, to the extent that this fact is publicized, the more they will demand. Thus publishers conceal the information because it is better to be misunderstood than to be poor.

The value of the information as to what is actually going on disappears when the information is widely available. Sometimes information gains in value when it is widely shared (e.g., advertising), sometimes the value is in withholding it from others. Think about buying or selling a stock: Should you share what you know? Open Access advocates may like to add this item to their simulations.

Anthony Watkinson is of course correct on the point about editorial remuneration, though why he should become a turncoat to the brotherhood of self-interested publishers, I cannot imagine. You shall not dine on the flesh of authors this season, Anthony!

Joe Esposito