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

Re: Future of the "subscription model?"

>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.

That's true, but now we've changed subjects from models to 
pricing. The journal subscription makes no sense as an access 
model for articles, but it's possible for publishers to make that 
model attractive despite its irrationality by means of 
manipulative pricing. That's how they keep libraries from 
canceling their subscriptions and shifting to a more rational 
access model. The problem is that this strategy will only work in 
the short run, because at the same time that they're pricing 
per-article access at punitive levels, they're also raising the 
price of subscriptions at annual rates that are unsustainable in 
the long run.

>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?

It seems to me that the sensible approach to backfile content is 
very similar to the sensible approach to newly published 
articles: make all of it visible to researchers, and purchase 
what they actually use. But of course, this brings us back to the 
issue of pricing, which I freely admit is a tough one. But it's 
an equally tough problem under the subscription model.

Rick Anderson
Assoc. Dean for Scholarly Resources & Collections
J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah