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Re: Re Matt Cockerill's comments

I agree with Richard Feinman about the pricing for author-pays publications, but I doubt the article will become the unit of scientific communication. Journals have integrity. It's different in the (popular) music business. Few albums hold together; popular music is a great form, but its range is narrow, making the single tune the preferred format. (In any event, before the Beatles single records were the bulk of the music business. It could be said that the current focus on individual tunes is a return to pre-Beatles formats and economics.)

It will be hard to call attention to individual articles without the "wrapper" of a branded journal. This is a marketing problem, and it will hold true for scientific publications whether they are toll access or open access.

Joe Esposito

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Feinman" <RFeinman@downstate.edu>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Sunday, March 25, 2007 6:06 PM
Subject: Re Matt Cockerill's comments

This is a remarkably ironic comment from the publisher who is
constantly trying to raise the Author Pay Charge on BMC journals.
Authors are also customers and therefore, under conditions where
publishers "will charge as much as they can in order to maximize
their revenues,... The customer (the research community"
including Authors) "can choose the publication service that
offers the best value,"  so that when BMC finally raises the APC
on all of its journals, the only Authors who will find value in
new journals without an established reputation will be those who
need to publish at any price.

A reasonable goal is that the article, not the journal, is the
unit of scientific quality, analogous to the trend towards
downloading of single songs rather than the sale of albums in the
music world.  Although this will never be universal and authors
may continue to be willing to pay for being published in prestige
journals, high author fees will not generally be considered good

In the end, the implementation of OA will be with efficient
operations like Scholarly Exchange or those who use OJS.  This
will require more investment of energy at startup by the editors
but in the end BMC will provide only a limited solution to the
publication problem by substituting avarice at a different point
than than the subscription end.

Richard D. Feinman, Co-editor-in-chief
Nutrition & Metabolism ( http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/home )

Articles published within a day or two of acceptance.
Indexed PubMed, PubMed Central, ISI Thomson.


"Matthew Cockerill" <matt@biomedcentral.com>
03/21/07 06:03 PM
Please respond to liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject Re: the Yale argument on open-choice

Is it not clear, though, that 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