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RE: The elephant in the room


This is my first post to this group so my apologies in advance if 
I breach any protocol.  For full disclosure, I should state at 
the outset that I am the CEO of DeepDyve, a startup that is 
partnering with publishers and renting* articles to 
non-institutional users for $0.99.

I've been following this thread closely and agree with the risks 
facing the scholarly publishing industry.  It is not simply the 
economy, which will go thru cycles; rather I believe the risks 
are more fundamental and lasting, namely how users will 
experience content and their ensuing expectations.  I believe the 
scientific and scholarly publishing industry will face the same 
crossroads that other content industries are facing today 
(newspapers, magazines, music, books, video...) and much as we 
may want to believe that our content is 'different', history 
suggests otherwise.  I blogged in more detail about this at: 

William Park

*By rent, we allow the user to read-only the article at our site 
thru a "viewer" such that it cannot be downloaded, copied or 
printed.  More info at:  http://www.deepdyve.com/how-it-works

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Sandy Thatcher
Sent: Tuesday, December 01, 2009 8:03 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: 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