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Re: Reed Elsevier results

Responding to both Ken and Nathaniel:

1.  Insofar as one strand of the argument for OA publishing is 
that it will marginalize commercial publishers, the "dramatic" 
growth of OA is incompatible with profit growth from commercial 
publishers.  If you believe (as I do) that OA can grow AND 
commercial publishers can become even more profitable, in part by 
coopting OA publishing, then there is no conflict.

2.  I am on record as being an advocate of OA publishing.  See my 
essay in FirstMonday:




That essay was published in 2004.  I made some predictions there, 
that author-pays models would flourish, that commercial 
publishers would coopt OA, and that over time the total cost of 
scholarly publishing would rise.  All of these things have begun 
to come true.  The notion that I am somehow opposed to OA is 
nonsense.  I spent much of my summer working with a client in 
creating the plans for an OA service.

3.  Green OA, on the other hand, stands on shaky economic ground.

4.  I am aware of many initiatives by libraries to reduce costs 
that have nothing to do with OA.  Particularly fascinating is the 
growth of PDA.  The trend lines for library staffing do not 
suggest that libraries are bloated organizations.

5.  Another model, practiced only by Oxford and Cambridge as far 
as I know, is to think of publishing as a source of revenue to 
help fund a university's research activity. I think that is the 
most prudent step a university can make.  I have argued this 
point here:




6.  The real issue is that some advocates of OA are caught up in 
a theological battle.  That's plain silly.  It should be possible 
to critique an aspect of OA publishing without being lumped with 
greedy despots.

Joe Esposito

On Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 2:23 PM, Nathaniel M. Gustafson-Sundell
<n-gustafson-sundell@northwestern.edu> wrote:

> I wonder why you lobby so hard against OA efforts if they are so
> ineffective?  Anyway, Elsevier's products on strongly established
> legacy products really say nothing about library cost-management
> strategies.  You are probably not talking about the full range of
> cost-management strategies, but just the ones that you are
> predisposed to disagree with, such as OA approaches, both green
> and gold.  I would argue that these strategies, or trials really
> (as they are both fairly young in the history of the business
> they are changing), have so far been surprisingly effective.
> If we want an honest discussion on or around the grounds of this
> thread, we should look at Elsevier profits on journals
> established within the past 15 years (I bet there's a loss) and
> we should look at what it would cost libraries to pay commercial
> firms for access to the journal titles that are currently OA
> (those thousands of titles that have been established in the past
> 15 years) -- we should also think about where costs in general
> might be without the yardstick of OA journals, given the hokey
> that gets said about what it costs to run peer review and to do
> copy editing.  I know this leaves gold OA aside and there's a lot
> more to be said, but I think there's enough here for a
> discussion.
> -Nat
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
> [mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Joseph Esposito
> Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2011 6:31 PM
> To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
> Subject: Re: Reed Elsevier results
> Perhaps there is a different lesson to be drawn from this, Ken.
> Perhaps the point is that the strategies libraries have been
> using to reduce their costs are not effective.  One can get in
> high dudgeon because it feels good, but is it effective?  Rather
> than talk about the morality of academic publishing, why not
> focus on the economics and strategy?
> Joe Esposito
> On Mon, Aug 1, 2011 at 7:45 PM, Ken Masters
> <kmasters@ithealthed.com> wrote:
>> Hi All
>> Increased profits from commercial publishers do not in any way
>> negate a statement that OA has massive growth. There could be
>> many reasons that Reed Elsevier has increased its profits.
>> Reducing costs is one way to increase profits (This is 20
>> discussed in the article). Increasing prices of publications
>> and big deal contracts is another. This does not appear to be
>> mentioned in the article, but those of you who deal with
>> library budgets can comment on that.
>> Still it's nice to know that, in the midst of a world financial
>> crisis (where education institutions and libraries are being
>> forced to lay off staff, cut services, reduce operating
>> hours,etc., because of massive financial cuts) companies that
>> supply publications to those same institutions are able to make
>> such impressive profits from those institutions. I'm sure
>> many librarians sleep more easily at night knowing this.
>> Regards
>> Ken
>> Dr. Ken Masters
>> Asst. Professor: Medical Informatics
>> Medical Education Unit
>> College of Medicine & Health Sciences
>> Sultan Qaboos University
>> Sultanate of Oman