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Re: Changing the game

"Public, European,
>money is behind OAPEN. In short, a new form of competition is rising"

Up to a point Lord Copper. It looks like the grant was about $700,000 split
among half a dozen university presses, for 30 months - its not clear whether
that $700,000 is the total amount or an annual amount, either way, its not
huge; and unless the EU is back in the business of breaking its own rules to
benefit its buddies, grants made under econtentplus are matching funds, ie to
get the $700,000 the university presses would have had to have come up with
that amount themselves to put into the project. Did they do that? Quite how
$1.4m is consumed in stuff like 'building platforms' and all the rest of the
vague EU-speak used to describe OAPEN, it would be interesting to know. It's
never clear what the EU is doing, or why - it probably itself doesn't know, but
to suggest that the EU is funding open access publishing is at this stage a
suggestion too far.

Bill Hughes
Multi-Science Publishing

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sandy Thatcher" <sgt3@psu.edu>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, October 06, 2009 3:16 PM
Subject: RE: Changing the game

>I would be very happy if universities would more broadly spread the
> cost of supporting the system of scholarly monograph publishing in a
> collective fashion. This was a recommendation made back in 1979 by
> the National Enquiry into Scholarly Communication. We can all see how
> completely unresponsive the university community was to that
> recommendation.
> I daresay, with all the budget crises affecting universities today (I
> hear that faculty at the University of California don't even have
> phones in their offices anymore), there is no chance whatsoever of
> this happening anytime soon, if ever. Nor is it likely in the U.S.,
> where "big government" is a fear of a large segment of the
> population, that we'll see any widespread federal government support
> for subsidization either. And Jean-Claude should realize that, in the
> humanities at least, what public money is available hardly ever funds
> 100% of any research project. So, an NIH-type mandate is likely to
> prove ineffective.
> Canadian press directors can speak for themselves, but I feel
> confident in predicting that $8,000 does not come close to covering
> the full cost of publishing a monograph, OA or otherwise, for them.
> My guess is that these presses also, like ours, have to depend on
> some sales in the normal marketplace, whether for e-editions or POD
> editions, to cover their costs.  I would estimate $20,000 to $25,000
> for a monograph of average length just to publish the first copy,
> exclusive of any costs associated with paper, printing, binding,
> warehousing, and distribution.  So Jean-Claude's assumption that
> $10,000 per book would do the trick is off the mark also.
> For our Romance Studies series, which is offered OA, we still have to
> sell between 100 and 150 copies of each title in cloth and between
> 500 and 600 in paper POD just to break even.  None of our books in
> the series so far has yet to reach that point.
> Now, if we were to abandon prepublication peer review and rely on
> just post-publication review alone, the costs would lower
> significantly. But then how different would we presses be from
> commercial publishers? And what would our "brand" then be worth to
> faculty who need to get tenure and promotion?
> I share Jean-Claude's enthusiasm for OA as an ideal for monographs as
> well as articles. I just don't see how we can get there anytime soon
> without a huge sea change in thinking within university
> administrations about how to pay the costs.
> Sandy Thatcher
> Penn State Press