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RE: the Yale argument on open-choice

I'd like to clarify a few points:

If you look at the average price increases for journals, they 
correspond more or less to three drivers:
 	Increase in the number of papers processed
 	Fall in the number of subscribers
 	Underlying cost inflation

I see no evidence that publishers (of any type), these days, are 
driving prices up as hard as they can;  this may have been the 
case in the heady days of the late 70s/early 80s when library 
funds seemed to be bottomless (!), but publishers have long since 
woken up to the negative consequences of alienating their 
customers through unreasonable price increases.

Of course, the introduction of increasingly flexible and 
innovative licensing models has meant that, in recent years, the 
price paid per journal has actually begun to fall (see both ARL 
and LISU figures)

Secondly, ownership or otherwise of copyright has nothing to do 
with anything - this is a widespread and unhelpful 
misunderstanding.  It all depends on the precise wording of the 
agreement between author and publisher.  A growing number of 
publishers offer 'licence to publish' agreements which leave 
copyright with the author (or their employer, depending on their 
situation).  These, however, can - if well worded - allocate to 
author and to publisher exactly the same rights;  the best of 
them always endeavour to secure for the publisher the rights it 
needs, while securing for the author all the rights she needs 
(short of those which would actually damage the publisher). 
There are various model agreements about - see, for example, 
those on the ALPSP website

Sally Morris
Consultant, Morris Associates (Publishing Consultancy)
South House, The Street
Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3UU, UK
Email:  sally@morris-assocs.demon.co.uk


[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Matthew Cockerill
Sent: 21 March 2007 21:25
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Re: the Yale argument on open-choice

Is it not clear, though, hat price inflation is an expected
consequence of the subscription model?

If the research community hands over ownership/exclusive rights 
to publishers, it is economically predictable that publishers 
(whether commercial or not-for-profit) will charge as much as 
they can in order to maximize their revenues. Given that the 
academic community *really* needs access to that research, there 
is virtually no upper bound on what publishers with enough market 
power can get away with charging for subscriptions . The natural 
solution to this is surely for the research community *not* to 
give away the ownership/exclusive rights to the research.

Under an open access publishing model, you immediately have a 
much more effective market. The customer (the research community) 
can choose the publication service that offers the best value, 
ensuring that prices are kept down. This kind of 
'substitutability' generally doesn't exist with the subscription 
model - hence the problem of journal inflation.

Matt Cockerill
BioMed Central