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RE: Should university presses adopt an OA model for all of theirscholarly books?

One wonders why.... I was assuming a quarterly journal with about 96 pages per
issue. There are of course journals that publish more frequently and have many
more pages annually than 4 x 96, as well as some with complicated typesetting,
but I wanted to keep my estimate simple, representing what I consider to be the
"typical" journal in these fields. I'd love to see the breakdown of costs that
add up to more than $100,000 per journal. Can you supply them, from memory or

P.S. Our Press publishes 11 journals in the humanities and social sciences for a
total cost of around $185,000 annually, and my figure of $15,000 is rounded off
from that experience. Copyediting for most of them is paid for by the editorial
office, not the Press, so if that expense were added to the mix for all of our
journals, the total would probably round off to $20,000.

Sandy Thatcher
Penn State University Press

>It is an interesting thought, but, based on my experience at a
>university press that publishes nearly 50 journals, Sandy's
>numbers are off by a long shot.  Average costs per journal at
>this press, excluding PPP, were well over $100,000 per journal
>per year in humanities and social sciences.
>Nawin Gupta
>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
>[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Sandy Thatcher
>Sent: Monday, November 24, 2008 9:47 PM
>To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
>Subject: Re: Should university presses adopt an OA model for all of their
>scholarly books?
>My own recent back-of-the-envelope calculations showed that it
>would cost universities a total of $14 million annually to
>publish all university press journals and $200 million to publish
>all university press books annually as open access. This is based
>on the assumption that the average annual cost of publishing a
>journal in humanities and social sciences in university presses
>is $15,000 and that presses account for roughly 700 journals
>overall, and that the average cost of publishing a monograph is
>$20,000 and that the annual output of presses collectively is
>10,000 titles. These figures, of course, exclude all costs
>associated with printing, binding, and shipping physical copies,
>including warehousing. (Those costs constitute roughly 30% of the
>overall cost of publishing a monograph.) If POD is provided,
>there would of course be some income stream generated to offset
>those costs, but also some extra costs coming from the
>manufacturing and distribution of the POD copies. But when you
>think that even without generating any income, all the output of
>university presses, both journals and books, could be made OA for
>a total annual cost of about $214 million, that seems like a
>possibly wise investment--especially when you consider that this
>amount probably is less than the total of annual salaries for
>Division 1 football coaches! And if this cost were shared equally
>among all 3,000 American colleges, it would amount to less than
>$72,000 per university annually, a piddling amount. If the
>Carnegie classification were used as a basis for charging
>universities proportionate fees according to FTE student or
>faculty count, most colleges would pay far less than this.
>So, do I hear a motion for funding university press operations so
>that all of our output could be made available OA--and we can
>stop arguing about copyright?
>P.S. Maybe have Google contribute its $125 million to this goal
>instead of paying legal fees and startup costs of the Book Rights
>Registry for the settlement?
>Sandy Thatcher
>Penn State University Press
>>At ELPUB 2008, Greco & Wharton presented a compelling case for
>>why university presses should adopt an OA model for all of their
>>scholarly books - a case based entirely on economics, not
>>Greco & Wharton present analysis showing how a small press
>>releasing 20 Open Access books would generate $128,511. in
>>profit; a large press releasing 100 titles would generate
>>$642,555.00 in profit (p. 11).
>  >
>>This is based on a processing fee approach (G&W use the term
>>author- pays), with $250 as a preliminary charge, and $10,000 on
>>final publication. This is for electronic text, with
>>At first, this figure seems high, and I was quite sceptical. The
>>more I think about it, the more sense this makes. Like journals,
>>the primary market for scholarly books is academic libraries.
>>Instead of paying to purchase for very limited access (in print,
>>only one reader at a time - or none, if the book disappears),
>>why not work together to pay for production of a book for open
>>For further analysis and links, please see The Imaginary Journal
>>of Poetic Economics, at:
>>Any opinion expressed in this e-mail is that of the author
>>alone, and does not represent the opinion or policy of BC
>>Electronic Library Network or Simon Fraser University Library.
>>Heather Morrison, MLIS
>>The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics