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Submission Fees (was: RE: "Overlay Journals" Over Again...)

The idea of submission fees is one that we at the California 
Digital Library have also repeatedly attempted to advance in 
recent years. Publishers frequently cite the steep rise in 
submissions as a factor affecting their cost structure.  It makes 
no sense that this activity is entirely subsidized by other 
players in the publication chain.  Some recent modeling that we 
have done at CDL - admittedly based on rough and preliminary 
figures from a variety of sources - suggests that even very 
modest submission fees, if implemented by publishes across the 
board, would come close to completely covering the systemic cost 
increases associated with the steady increase in publishing 
output overall (another factor to which annual price rises for 
journals are frequently attributed by some analysts).  If anyone 
has studied this - i.e. the potential contribution that 
submission fees would make to the cost of the scholarly 
publishing system as a whole - with any rigor, I would be very 
interested to see those data.

It's easy to understand how the current incentive system works 
against this: what publisher will voluntarily disadvantage itself 
in attracting submissions by imposing such fees if its 
competitors do not? Nonetheless, as library budgets continue to 
contract, the survival of scholarly publishing may just depend on 
finding ways to distribute costs across a wider base. 
Submission fees - even if modest ones - should be on the table.

Ivy Anderson
Director of Collections
California Digital Library
University of California, Office of the President

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Jan Velterop
Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 2009 9:54 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Re: "Overlay Journals" Over Again...

The situation is this:

1) researchers HAVE to publish and HAVE to have their
publications  peer-reviewed;
2) existing systems (OA-author-paid as well subscriptions) ONLY
pay  for PUBLISHED articles.

So the real problem is this: in neither case is the organization
of  peer review per se paid for. Those who argue that it is,
place the  entire burden of cost exclusively on the PUBLISHED

What is needed is a system such as, say, your diving test. You
pay  for the test, whether you pass or not. Translated to
publications, a  fee at submission is what we need, for which
peer-review is  organized. And this fee should be non-refundable,
whether the article  is accepted for publication or not.

Where is the courageous and/or visionary 'publisher' (just using
a  familiar term that should probably be changed into 'assessment
organization' or pithier equivalent) who starts a system like

Jan Velterop

On 1 Jul 2009, at 06:40, Joseph Esposito wrote:
> What Professor Harnad is proposing is very similar to the review
> process that brought on the subprime mortgage crisis.  Anyone who
> lost retirement money or a job or is struggling with a mortgage
> payment should read on.
> The rating agencies (Fitch, Moody's, and Standard & Poor) are
> approached by anyone who wishes to market a security.  "Here are
> some mortgages; would you rate them for us?  We will pay your fee
> for your appraisal."  That is, the rating agencies are
> compensated by the very organizations that have securities to be
> evaluated.  This tends to result in securities getting better
> ratings than they deserve--a systemic flaw.  Many of the loans
> that have gone unpaid were rated AAA by the agencies.
> Now we have a proposal that authors pay to get their material
> evaluated. The potential for abuse is tremendous.  And it is
> risky by design, not because of the poor character of the
> participants.
> This is not an argument against open access; like Professor
> Harnad I believe that "author-pays" publishing is going to play a
> large role (though I think it will be only one form of business
> model for research literature).  The problem is what the author
> is paying for.  It is systemically corrupt for authors to pay for
> peer review.  I would prefer to see them pay for online hosting
> and various tools that make the literature more useful.  And one
> of those tools would be a commenting and annotation feature that
> would serve as a form of review.
> List members may recognize in this description some of the
> elements of community-based online social media.  Cognitive
> scientists make up a community (or several) just as do the fans
> of the Grateful Dead or Radiohead.  The open access movement
> simply has not caught up with the Internet.
> Joe Esposito