[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Cost of peer review

On Thu, 6 May 2010, Joseph Esposito wrote:

> I agree with the entirety of Professor Harnad's comment except 
> for this:
> The institutions can and will pay for that, per paper refereed, 
> out of a fraction of their annual windfall 
> subscription-cancellation savings.
> Of course, we shall see when it happens, but I ask the members 
> of this list to look around them.  Universities are high-cost 
> organizations. That is not to say that the costs are not worth 
> it.  But the windfall? Doubtful.
> But I say I agree with most of what Professor Harnad says. 
> Libraries will cancel subscriptions (some already are).  And 
> universities will (mostly) mandate deposits into repositories. 
> So the vision promulgated here seems to me to be directionally 
> correct.  It's simply an expensive solution to a small problem.

It's good to hear that Joseph Esposito agrees on the solution -- 
but we don't seem to agree on the problem (or the cost!):

The problem is needlessly lost research usage and impact, because 
it is not currently accessible to all of its intended users, but 
only those whose institutions can afford a subscription to the 
journal in which it happens to be published.

The evidence that this problem is large, not small, is the OA 
Impact Advantage (the higher usage and citation rate of OA 
articles) and the small fraction of all peer reviewed journals 
that even the richest universities can afford to subscribe to. 
(There are at least 25,000 journals publishing at least 2.5 
million articles a year.)

Universal Green OA will solve this problem -- not because it 
causes universities to cancel journals (it is not sure it will do 
that, since the Green OA version is just the author's refereed 
final draft, provided as a supplement, and it certainly has not 
done so already, when less than 20% of any journal's content is 
OA), nor because it lowers journal publishing costs -- but 
because universal Green solves the access/impact problem 

It is, however, sure, that if universal Green OA does eventually 
cause universal subscription cancellation by universities -- 
because the Green OA supplement is enough, and there is no longer 
a market for the print edition, the online edition, 
access-provision or archiving, but just for peer review -- then a 
fraction of the money universities save annually from those same 
subscription cancellations will pay for the "rump" costs of 
publishing its journal article output: peer review.

Stevan Harnad

> On Wed, May 5, 2010 at 7:25 PM, Stevan Harnad <amsciforum@gmail.com> wrote:
>> First things first. Once Green OA self-archiving mandates are
>> adopted universally by institutions and funders, the planet
>> will have Green OA (to the refereed final drafts of articles
>> accepted for publication), at long last, to the enormous
>> benefit of research, researchers, their institutions, and the
>> public that funds the research, in terms of research uptake,
>> usage, applications, impact and progress.
>> As long as subscriptions continue to pay for publication (the
>> print edition, the online edition, distribution, archiving, and
>> peer-review/copy-editing), there is no need for any further
>> change.
>> If and when universal Green OA should eventually make
>> institutional subscriptions no longer sustainable (because
>> users are satisfied with the Green OA version, so their
>> institutions cancel their subscriptions), then publishers will
>> cancel the print edition and online edition, offload the
>> distribution and archiving to the global network of Green OA
>> institutional repositories, and charge only for the
>> peer-review/copy-editing costs. The institutions can and will
>> pay for that, per paper refereed, out of a fraction of their
>> annual windfall subscription-cancellation savings.
>> But we are nowhere near that yet. Most of today's Gold OA fees
>> are not only much higher than they would be if users were all
>> satisfied with the Green OA version, but the money to pay for
>> them is still mostly tied up in journal subscriptions.
>> That's why all this pre-emptive speculation is irrelevant. The
>> only thing missing today is OA itself, and universal Green OA
>> mandates will provide it. After that, publishing will adapt as
>> a matter of natural course.
>> Stevan Harnad