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RE: Critique of OA metric

It is simple to conceive of a decoupling between the journal 
'quality' brand (is the research correct?) and the journal 
'alerting' brand (here is a group of articles that may be of 
interest to you) as described by Sally.  In the print world 
grouping papers thematically together made perfect sense; in the 
online world where people increasing use search engines (whether 
specific, like Medline, or general, like Google) to find papers 
it is perhaps less useful.

So, a journal table of contents e-mail may be useful, but equally 
I may be more interested in seeing the daily digest of papers 
with a particular tag in Connotea, say. That way the community 
would define its own interests rather than having the collection 
codified by an editor.  And different communities could combine 
the content of different journals in different ways.  This to me 
is what PLoS One has done - provide the quality brand, but leave 
the 'what's this journal about' to the readers.  It seems 
inevitable (and was once titles and abstracts went online!) that 
the 'alerting' brand is going to become less and less within the 
control of publishers and more in the control of users.


David Prosser
SPARC Europe

In message <200910280153.n9S1rXeZ027622@quickgr.its.yale.edu>
liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu writes:

> There are other important aspect of the journal brand, besides 
> a given quality level (however defined).  The editor and 
> reviewers also select articles of interest to a particular 
> community, and collect them together in one (physical or 
> virtual) place, so that readers don't have to search everywhere 
> for them (this may go further, and reflect the editorial team's 
> particular take on the area, though this doesn't always 
> happen).
> In some ways I would say that the signal 'what this journal's 
> about' is an even more crucial one to readers than 'what is the 
> quality level of this journal'.  Interestingly, PLoS One would 
> appear to lack that signal (but then, I suppose, so does 
> Nature!)
> Sally Morris
> Partner, Morris Associates - Publishing Consultancy
> Email: sally@morris-assocs.demon.co.uk
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
> [mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Ahmed Hindawi
> Sent: 26 October 2009 23:22
> To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
> Subject: 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"
> http://tinyurl.com/ykz34es).
> 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. =A0Not 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