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Re: Critique of OA metric

I don't think the amount of author-side payments or the
percentage of their coverage of the cost of the publication is as
fundamental as being characterized in Sandy Thatcher's reply
here. IMHO, the most importance factor that differentiates OA
publishing from vanity publishing is the existence of the brand
and the publisher's desire to keep and enhance that brand by
editorially selecting what they accept for publication. The
typical vanity book publisher who relies on author payments does
not care about the quality of the books they publish because
there is brand based on the correlation between the quality of
different books in their program.

It is quite different when it comes to OA journal publishing,
where the publisher is trying to build a brand for the journal by
publishing only manuscripts of a particular quality level. This
leads to better reputation for the journals and the publisher
knows that this will lead to more manuscripts being submitted to
the journals for possible publication. If the correlation between
the quality levels of different articles in the same journal
became irrelevant, the publishers will behave quite differently
(I have possible causes and possible consequences of this
happening in the future in "2020: A Publishing Odyssey"

In my opinion there are two reasons for not seeing a Gold OA
scholarly book publishing programs or attempts by publishers: the
less important one is that it costs significantly more to publish
a scholarly book than it costs to publish a scholarly article (an
order or magnitude more in the estimation of many that know
better than me), which makes it more difficult to fund by
author-side payments. The more important reason is that it is
difficult to establish a brand as a book publisher because
authors don't expect that much correlation between the quality of
books published by a particular publisher. The journal brand as a
"Stamp of Quality" of the articles it publishes is certainly much
more visibile than the publisher brand as a "Stamp of Quality"
for the books it publishes.

Ahmed Hindawi

On Fri, Oct 23, 2009 at 11:34 PM, Sandy Thatcher <sgt3@psu.edu> wrote:
> Phil doesn't mention this, but one wonders why Shieber thought he
> could draw conclusions about OA STM journal publishing by looking
> at what happens in trade book publishing. Not only is book
> publishing VERY different from journal publishing, but it is even
> VERY different from most of the publishing that academic presses
> do.
> Moreover, in terms of subsidies requested from authors, both
> vanity academic publishers and the best university presses ask
> for subsidies; the main difference is that the former request
> them routinely, and they usually have to come out of the authors'
> own pocket, whereas for the latter subsidies are requested only
> when truly needed to make publication of a book feasible and they
> often come from departmental or foundation funds, not the authors
> directly. But, in any event, for university presses anyway, there
> is no correlation at all between the amount of subsidy required
> and the quality of the publication.
> Sandy Thatcher
> Penn State University
>>In another of his series of fine posts, Phil Davis has a good
>>critique of some of the metrics for OA that are coming out of
>>Harvard. Definitely worth a look:
>>Joe Esposito