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Re: Future of the "subscription model?"
- To: <email@example.com>
- Subject: Re: Future of the "subscription model?"
- From: Sean Johnson Andrews <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 18:33:04 EDT
- Reply-to: email@example.com
- Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org
On 10/25/11 7:19 PM, "Rick Anderson" <email@example.com> wrote: >> What do you all imagine as the future of the "subscription >> model" for purchasing academic library collections? Is it >> alive and well and growing or is it on its way out, supplanted >> by memberships, open access, and a growing variety of other >> options for obtaining publications, particularly electronic? > When a library subscribes to a journal, it's saying to the > publisher "I'll pay you up front to send me all the articles > published under the rubric of Journal X for a year, regardless of > how many of those articles turn out to be of any actual use or > interest to my patrons." In the print environment we had no > choice but to buy articles that way, but in the online > environment that level of waste isn't necessary anymore, and our > shrinking budgets are making it much harder to justify. It makes > much more sense to let pay only for those articles that actually > get used. But the current pay for play on these is extraordinarily high. It wouldn't take that long to rack up the full subscription costs when you're paying $50-200 for single articles. Isn't that a deal breaker? On the other hand, since it is hard to tell which will get used in advance what about the California University system's model (discussed by Ivy at the ARL/CNI) of doing really careful metrics about value for each article--and then using this as a bargaining chip in negotiations? If this could be mainstreamed it would seem like a good way of putting more strength on the side of libraries in making these arrangements. > There are several problems with that approach, one of which is > that we're functioning in a scholarly economy that has been > significantly shaped by the necessary inefficiencies of the > print environment. Publishers can't make as much money selling > only the articles that people want as they can selling articles > in 12-month bundles. This means that to the degree that the > marketplace for articles becomes more rational and efficient, > those publishers that have benefitted (however unintentionally) > from the inefficiencies of the old system are going to suffer. > That's a real problem, and I'm not sure what the solution to it > is. But I'm pretty sure that the long-term solution will not > involve libraries paying for articles their patrons don't want, > because the money to do so just isn't there anymore. A lot of truth to all of this, and perhaps if there was a massive and coordinated shift by scholars to Open Access publishing in the near future. But as you pointed out a few weeks ago, there are veritable oceans of data locked behind those paywalls. It may not be as big a deal in sciences, business and other disciplines with a shorter horizon of scholarly interest (i.e. Where the primary interest is in access to the latest work) but in the humanities and social science, a good portion of the access granted by the subscription fee is access to the archive. How will libraries get around this without continuing to pay subscriptions? Sorry if this is a commonly covered topic, I'm new to the list. Sean -- Sean Johnson Andrews, PhD ACLS Public Fellow, 2011-2013 NITLE Program Officer National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education 1001 East University Avenue | Georgetown, Texas 78626 http://www.nitle.org | tel. 703-597-6948 | fax 512 819-7684 http://breakingculture.tumblr.com/