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RE: Why Cornell's Institutional Repository Is Near-Empty

> my speculation is that universal funder and university Green OA 
> self-archiving mandates, after first generating 100% OA (not a 
> speculation but an evidence-based prediction), will eventually 
> lead to journal cancellations, which will first lead to 
> cost-cutting and downsizing, abandoning the paper version and 
> eventually offloading even the provision of the online version 
> to the network of IRs, so that journals only perform peer 
> review; the cost-recovery model will then make the transition 
> to Gold OA publication charges, paid for by redirecting the 
> institutional windfall subscription cancellation savings.

For what it's worth, here's my evidence-based prediction: if and 
when an entire journal's content is made publicly available at no 
charge and with no embargo, only a fool will continue to pay for 
a subscription to it.  Library subscribers will immediately 
cancel their subscriptions and begin directing patrons to the IRs 
that contain the articles.  Again, this is not speculation: this 
is what any sentient and even marginally responsible librarian 
would do.  Some individual subscribers might choose to retain 
paid subscriptions for convenience, but a significant number will 
cancel and use a ToC service to direct them to the IR-published 
articles instead.  Again, this is not "mere speculation," but 
rather the simple prediction that most people will pursue their 
self-interest in a fundamentally rational way.

To the degree, therefore, that a journal depends on paid 
subscriptions to stay afloat, it seems extremely likely that a 
mandated Green policy would drive that journal out of business. 
("Being driven out of business" is the less delicate, but more 
accurate, rendering of the process that Stevan calls 
"offloading... the provision of the online version to the network 
of IRs.")

To the degree, therefore, that a scholarly society relies on 
sales of journal subscriptions to support its activities, a 
mandated Green policy will undermine its ability to continue 
those activities -- or even to continue functioning at all.

Everything above is basic logical inference.  Now some 
speculation: the more money libraries save by cancelling archived 
journals, the more likely it will become that the savings are 
noticed by administrators, and the more likely that the money 
will be swept by their sponsoring institutions and applied 
elsewhere.  Stevan is confident those swept funds will be applied 
to Gold OA publishing fees, and will therefore remain in the 
scholarly-information stream, there to continue enriching the 
information exchange.

THAT, I suggest, is mere speculation.

Rick Anderson
Dir. of Resource Acquisition
University of Nevada, Reno Libraries