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

RE: Future of the "subscription model?"

Joe Esposito said in this string:

"Many of the tactics used to effect change are pointless, the 
expression of moral outrage among them.  "

I'd like to speak up for moral outrage. There are  instances 
where it is perfectly usable and legitimate, not pointless as Joe 

The moral outrage of the mid 80's when UK publisher's were found 
to be charging U.S. libraries two to three times the rate they 
were charging the rest of the world was neither pointless nor 
useless. I suspect that if we understood world pricing dynamics a 
bit better, that we would find that U.S. deals with publishers 
are being used to subsidize the rest of the world once again, as 
I am receiving reports from colleagues worldwide of total journal 
run Cost Per Use studies that document prices half or less what 
U.S. libraries are paying. An official of one of the major 
physics publishers stated in a public conference that worldwide 
the CPU for his journals was $2.00 a download. My CPU for that 
publisher is $20.00 a download.

I suspect that when we assimilate Year of Publication data a bit 
(COUNTER JR5) you will see another wave of outrage that could 
have real impact on how researchers and libraries behave. And 
ultiamtely on publishers. What if I told you for example, that I 
suspect that some publisher's pricing to libraries for Year of 
Publication use is in the neighborhood of $1,200 dollars an 
article for current year use of current output? That's what we 
are actually paying for,( current use), with our subscription 
dollars: the past year's use is sunk cost.

Since books are running about $60.00 a volume right now (any 
update on that figure is welcome if I"m out of date) is there any 
way in talking with Rick'Anderson's Associate Dean that the 
conversation might just change if Rick could demonstrate current 
year costs of $3,000 an article for individual journals --a 
figure I've seen in some of my analysis? How inefficient does a 
system have to be before it can be demonstrated that it is either 
corrupt or just plain destructive to the goals of the 
participants? And what responses should there be.

I believe and know from personal experience  that moral outrage 
is a powerful persuader if the data backing it are sound, the 
logic impeccable. It can be the critical factor that moves us 
from so what to what if, to concrete action. In fact I doubt any 
concrete action will be taken radically changing the journal 
system as it is right now  without moral outrage or moral 

Chuck Hamaker
UNC Charlotte