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Re: Future of the "subscription model?"
- To: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: Re: Future of the "subscription model?"
- From: Rick Anderson <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2011 20:16:03 EDT
- Reply-to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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>The staff editors and the members of the faculty editorial >boards, however, do NOT function as "experts" in this process, >but rather have a broader point of view, where issues of >relevance and importance to the wider community of scholars >(outside the narrow speciality of the book) and beyond to >readers outside academe very much come into play. Understood. But these presses don't typically sell very many copies of the scholarly books they publish. Does this suggest that the staff editors and faculty editorial boards who are analyzing the marketplace don't know what they're doing? Or does it suggest that they're consciously publishing high-quality books for which they know there is low demand, in the time-honored spirit of Thomas J. Wilson ("a university press exists to publish as many good scholarly books as possible short of bankruptcy")? I'm open to a third possibility, but I'm not sure what it might be. >Rick may not know this, but presses do turn a lot of books down >on market grounds, because they do not think they are relevant >or important enough to interest a wider audience. Sandy may not know this, but I've worked in the book business. I spent four years of my career elbow-deep in the products of UPs and scholarly trade presses, analyzing their content, helping academic libraries figure out which ones were best suited to their collection parameters, and seeing how many of which ones sold to what kinds of institutions. And I do know that presses (even scholarly ones) turn down manuscripts on a regular basis in light of market realities. But the books that get rejected aren't at issue here; the problem we're discussing has to do with the ones that get accepted and published. A book isn't more useful to scholars just because ten other manuscripts were rejected as less marketable. >P.S. If librarians are worried about publishing based just on >quality alone, then why are they so excited about PLoS ONE, >which narrows the criteria even further, to just methodological >soundness, not even assessing articles on the basis of >substantive contribution? I think there's a bit more ambivalence about PLoS ONE in the library world than Sandy suggests, in part for the reason he cites. But I can think of two reasons why at least some librarians would be excited about it. The first is that they see it as a force helping to move the publishing world in the direction of open access. The second is that PLoS ONE articles are available for free. Librarians tend to worry less about the relevance and importance of articles that can be made available to patrons at no cost and with a minimal investment of staff time. --- Rick Anderson Assoc. Dean for Scholarly Resources & Collections J. Willard Marriott Library University of Utah firstname.lastname@example.org