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Re: Open Choice is a Trojan Horse for Open Access Mandates

The grant money supporting research in science and many fields of 
the social sciences has for many years already produced n many 
campuses exactly this effect Sandy fears--and in many matters in 
addition to library funding.

But in this particular case the newly freed money will come from 
the expensive subscriptions in the science fields, supplemented 
by the publication fees paid by their grants. If a no longer 
needed biochemistry journal cost $20,0000 a year, the biochemists 
will not unnaturally expect some of the money to be spend in 
publishing their articles.

But this shift if properly administered can have great potential 
benefits in the humanities: the publication of humanities 
monographs is already often supported by funding from the 
author's institution or special grants for the purpose. Any 
reasonable university administrator will see the virtues of using 
some of the newly available money from the cancellation of 
science subscriptions to support publication fees in all fields 
of study. As Sandy remarks, the humanities faculty will make it 
clear that they expect such consideration.

(This is one of the reasons libraries may not be suitable to 
mange publication funding: they typically do not have the power 
in campus politics to stand up to the interests of individual 
academic groups. The chief academic officer is in a much stronger 
position. )

The median ARL library spent $5.8 million in serials in 2005*. 
Assuming that $0.8 million is the cost of the many small serials 
to which Open Access paid on behalf of the author funding is not 
applicable.  The $5.0 million is enough to fund 1,000 journal 
articles at $2,500 each, and and 100 books at $25,000--quite 
apart from funds from granting agencies, using the current costs. 
If journal articles can be produced at half the cost (as for many 
non-profit publishers), and if publication subventions needed by 
books publishers are half the full price of production, then it 
will fund 2,000 articles and 200 books. The median faculty size 
for an ARL institution is 1,353. This is at least 2 articles per 
science faculty a year, and 1 book for humanities faculty every 
other year. Many science faculty produce more, but they usually 
have grant funds available in addition.

*(The actual amount is about $0.6 million higher, for some 
institutions report electronic serials separately.)

The general principle of funding publication at the author side 
is applicable to all fields. The opportunity that this gives for 
open access is similarly pertinent to all fields. The need is 
also similar--it is just as hard for those working in small 
colleges to acquire expensive monographs as articles from 
expensive journals.  Just as many first-rate journals have 
subscriptions in the low 100s, many first-rate academic books 
sell a similar number of copies.

The best thing that could possibly happen to Penn State Press is 
the adoption of universal open access.

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

----- Original Message -----
From: Sandy Thatcher <sgt3@psu.edu>
Date: Friday, March 16, 2007 6:26 pm
Subject: Re: Open Choice is a Trojan Horse for Open Access Mandates
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu

> If I interpret what David is saying correctly, this means that 
> scientists carry so much more political clout on most campuses 
> that what they deem to be a priority use of funds will 
> determine where they are re-directed, as opposed to the 
> humanist scholars who might actually benefit from having more 
> money spent on monograph purchases since, as the MLA report so 
> clearly demonstrated, the monograph still is very much the 
> "gold standard" for promotion and tenure in their fields. Isn't 
> it time for the humanists to rebel?
> Sandy Thatcher
> Penn State University Press
>>We are not just more likely but certain to be able to have the
>>money used for subsidizing article publishing in open access
>>journals, because the money will be used for this purpose
>>whether we will or no.
>>The faculty and administrators want money for the purpose, and
>>the savings by canceling journals is an exceedingly attractive
>>source. Furthermore, it is hard to argue otherwise, for
>>ultimately the money is being used for the same purpose, to
>>support scientific communication through journals. I cannot
>>imagine any administrator giving the library money to purchase
>>large commercial journals once the contents of these journals
>>will be available without payment, and I cannot imagine any
>>faculty that would not agree.
>>The only real question is the degree that the control of this
>>money will be in the hands of the library.
>>Unless libraries make serious plans for the use of this money by
>>supporting publication in distinctive ways, such as editing
>>faculty publications or subsidizing the local production of
>>journals, I do not think there could be a strong case for
>>retaining the money in the library budget. its the people
>>without specific attractive projects who lose out in budgeting.
>>Strategically, Stevan Harnard is right that the best way of
>>keeping control the money will be to cancel the journals as soon
>>as practical, before we are compelled to, and immediately use
>>the money for appropriate ends. If we take action only
>>defensively, it is not likely that we will be able to retain or
>>control the money. With luck, we might be able to retain some of
>>it for books, but not if we wait until the money is removed over
>>our opposition or hesitancy.
>>If the university expects to be able to pay for all publication
>>fees through a combination of internal and external funds, the
>>support should probably be administered in a routine way through
>>the research office, just as other research support is managed.
>>If the university expects to be able to supply only part of the
>>money necessary, it would be much better administered outside
>>the library, because the library does not have the practical
>>power to deal with the demands of competing groups--it will be
>>much more hazardous than administering the division of
>>acquisition funds, because it will affect individual faculty
>>members very directly.
>>There is no reason for libraries to expect funding for functions
>>they do not perform, and our best chance of retaining adequate
>>funding for our unique purposes of bibliographic and reference
>>assistance is to concentrate on this, and adapt our organization
>>to realities.
>>I consider myself an optimist in this, for I think it will be
>>possible for the profession to adapt.
>>David Goodman, Ph.D., M.L.S.