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Re: The elephant in the room

And what makes you think, Bill, that a "central body" would not 
quickly become politicized and end up being lobbied to subscribe 
to the journals of the larger publishers first, since they after 
all have the political influence that we small publishers don't? 
Call me a cynic, but I don't see this as a solution to the 
problem you identify.

>Fred is of course dead right, and this threat to scholarly
>communication is by no means new. On the one hand you have the
>greed and cunning of big publishing, forever thinking up new ways
>of grinding more money out of libraries, and on the other - and
>apologies for saying so on this list - the gullibility of
>librarians in falling for it! And thats before even mentioning
>complete rackets like site licensing and FTE payment models. Of
>course everyone discussing these matters, while having a
>legitimate interest in scholarly communication, has a partisan
>position. As a 'fringe' publisher, I have lost count of the
>number of times librarians have said that they would like to buy
>more of our journals but, given that 75% of their budget is
>pre-empted by certain large combines, sorry no can do. Which is a
>shame. Fringe publishers offerings are necessarily niche; one can
>interpret that to mean 'worthless'; I however would interpret it
>as adding richness and detail to the landscape of scholarly
>communications. While I agree with Fred that the wholesale
>collapse of scholarly communication is a possibility, I am not
>convinced that OA (yet) offers anything more than superficial
>attractions. Because fringe publishers necessarily have small
>sales, one way of supporting them, and so supporting diversity in
>publishing, could be through national licences, where a central
>body subscribes to a publishers output on behalf of all
>universities/like bodies in its country. Need not cost much,
>could be a simple answer to one part of the problem.
>Bill Hughes
>Multi-Science Publishing