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Re: Librarians who pay for nothing (Re: Economics of Green OA)

Of course, with the gold OA model, you are entirely at the mercy 
of publishers, who will charge what they need to make their 
preferred profit margin and will not be any more transparent than 
they are now about their actual costs. End users will benefit, 
but will the costs to the system be any less?

Sandy Thatcher

>we discussed the same issues regarding SCOAP3. Of course there 
>is the free rider problem and of course no public accountant or 
>financial manager in an university will understand, why a 
>library wants to spend money for publications, that are free 
>accessible, when facing budget problems at the same time.
>On the other hand it might be smart to support the transition 
>from subscription based models to golden OA models. I think this 
>has nothing to do with gift economy but with the question, how 
>to organise the transition from paying a product (e.g. a 
>journal) to paying the supply of service from a publisher under 
>the condition, that the product is OA. This is a welfare economy 
>problem, I suppose.
>Dirk Pieper
>Am Mittwoch, 24. August 2011 04:03:38 schrieb Sandy Thatcher:
>>  Rick has given us a good sense of the myriad of sometimes
>>  conflicting desiderata that influence librarians' decisionmaking,
>>  and it's a good lesson for publishers to keep in mind. The "free
>>  rider" problem has long been with us, of course, and I'm not so
>>  pessimistic as Rick that ways around it cannot be found. The
>>  transition from a market to a gift economy will not be easy,
>>  though, I agree. One promising approach, taken by the Stanford
>>  Encyclopedia of Philosophy that he mentions, is establishing an
>>  endowment, which is the surest way to guarantee long-term
>>  sustainability for any project.   Perhaps the supporters of arXiv
>>  can follow the SEP's lead in that regard.
>>  Sandy Thatcher
>>  At 10:18 PM -0400 8/22/11, Rick Anderson wrote:
>>>>I believe that most librarians are very smart.  Because they
>>>>are smart, they will not purchase things that they can get for
>>>Joe is stating an obviously true principle here, but of course
>>>the reality on the ground is a bit more complicated. Librarians
>>>don't have the luxury of simply making straightforward
>>>value-for-money decisions, because we're under pressure from a
>>>variety of different directions: from publishers (especially of
>>>science journals) who want to increase prices at rates that are
>>>patently unsustainable given library budgets; from researchers
>>>and students who insist that ongoing access to those journals
>>>is essential; from administrators who don't have a lot of money
>>>to give libraries and who expect strong ROI from the money they
>>>do give them; from institutional priorities that value some
> >>disciplines more than others; and from other librarians (some
> >>of them powerful) who expect everyone to join in the good fight
> >>for greater public access, especially to the published results
>>>of publicly-funded research.
>>>All of these factors play out in complicated ways when issues
>>>related to OA arise. One upshot is that librarians sometimes
>>>do, in fact, pay for things that we could get for free. One
>>>example is the arXiv, which is currently being supported by
>>>libraries that have nothing direct to gain from paying for it
>>>-- we pay because we believe that the arXiv is important and
>>>that investing some of our scarce resources in the project of
>>>keeping the arXiv open constitutes a wise use of those
>>>resources. Something similar happened with the Stanford
>>>Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
>>>One important question, I think, is what kind of future any
>>>publishing model can have if it relies on people ponying up for
>>>stuff that they could get for free. I tend not to be optimistic
>>>about the future prospects of such a model. As Joe pointed out,
>>>some models (Green OA, hybrid journals) complicate things by
>>>blending OA with non-OA content, so it's not always a binary
> >>question. But to the degree that stuff gets made available for
>>>free, and to the degree that budgets continue to contract or
>>>remain stagnant, it's hard to see how any system based on
>>>voluntary payments can survive in the long run. Even the arXiv
>>>is probably going to have to eventually find a different model.
>>>Here at the U of U, we're preparing for a $300,000 journal and
>>>database cut next year, with every expectation that we'll cut
>>>that much again the following year. I can easily foresee a
>>>future scenario in which we have to say "We love and believe in
>>>the arXiv, but we simply can't afford to support it anymore and
>>>will have to hope that others step up behind us as we drop
>>>Rick Anderson
>>>Assoc. Dir. For Scholarly Resources & Collections
>>>J. Willard Marriott Library
>>>University of Utah