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Re: Misperceptions clarified

At some future point I will report back to this list about what that "bare minimum" of the cost for supporting open source journal software really is, when we at Penn State have put into more active use the DPubs software that we have been co-developing with Cornell under a Mellon grant. From what I already know now, I suspect "bare minimum" gives a false impression of what the costs really are likely to be. As often with projects housed in universities, there is a tendency to bury, and not strictly account for, many costs that would in a commercial setting be more strictly tracked and explicitly recognized as real costs.

Sandy Thatcher
Penn State Press

The lack of familiarity that many academics have with open source journal publishing software is unfortunate, as it now often exceeds the capabilities of commercial offerings - and at a unbeatable price. It does, like any software, require some support. Even those costs can be kept to a bare minimum.

Anthony Watkinson raised the question in a response to Heather Morrison about whether Scholarly Exchange supported large journals. Many of our journals are recently started but rapidly becoming both active and recognized. The software on which they run, the Public Knowledge Project's Open Journal Systems, has received a sufficient workout, with by PKP's estimate over 800 journals using it, and is capable of handling the editorial loads that journals of all but the top few percent have to manage.

Our efforts, directed (but not exclusively) to smaller journals and smaller societies, with their limited resources, have focused on assistance with startup (a free year's hosting and management), guidance in the startup process, and development of resources to continue publishing thereafter (at minimal cost). Beyond that, we vigorously encourage our journals to arrange long-term archiving arrangements with university or governmental bodies, a task made easier by the OAI-compliant and LOCKSS-compliant nature of OJS.

It is no longer an embarrassment to work with systems that cost a hundredth of what older systems cost. Many consider it a definite advantage, especially if free and open access is the goal.

Julian H. Fisher, MD

Managing Director
Scholarly Exchange, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 public charity