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Is it time to stop printing journals?
- To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: Is it time to stop printing journals?
- From: "Mark Leader" <MLEADER@ascb.org>
- Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2007 18:07:49 EDT
- Reply-to: email@example.com
- Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org
The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) is considering discontinuing the print version of its journal Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBC). We welcome comments from the library community about the value of print journals and the adequacy of LOCKSS, Portico, and PubMed Central as archives of electronic journals. We are also curious about whether librarians would be interested in a print-on-demand option for obtaining archival print copies if regular print subscriptions were discontinued. The impetus for discontinuing the print edition is a desire to reduce author charges, especially for color figures. The cost of producing the print edition greatly exceeds revenue from print subscriptions. Author charges (page charges and color charges) are the largest source of revenue for the journal. In effect, authors are subsidizing the print subscriptions. We suspect that it is not feasible to raise the print subscription rate enough to cover the cost of print. The many-fold increase in the subscription rate that would be required would likely launch a vicious cycle of declining subscriptions and escalating subscription rates and would be tantamount to discontinuing the print journal anyway, but in a sloppy, uncontrolled manner. The online version of MBC is the journal of record and is rich in material not found in print: More than 60% of the articles include supplemental data or videos online. Since 2000, print subscriptions have been available only to institutions that also have online subscriptions (and to ASCB members, who receive access to the online journal as a benefit of membership). The online institutional subscription rate is on the low side: $578 for approximately 5400 pages per year. The print subscription rate is ridiculously low: an additional $83 for a U.S. institution. For 2007, the rates were increased for the first time since 2002. As we strive to maintain the journal's financial viability while maintaining a fair balance of revenue sources, we ve had to take a hard look at the value of the print journal, which seems to be expensive to produce and perhaps unnecessary. We have been soliciting comments from authors, editors, and ASCB members and would also like to hear from librarians. Thanks in advance for your advice! W. Mark Leader Director of Publications American Society for Cell Biology email@example.com phone: 301-347-9317 fax: 301-347-9350