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RE: Interlibrary loan and electronic journals

As i see it, right now publishers survive by selling subscriptions for 
everything that gets into their journals.  All of it may (should) be of 
scholarly quality, but most of it is read only only by the author(s), 
reviwers, and copy editor.  So you are really buying dozens or hundreds 
of articles for the 1-2 you really want.  For a good journal in science 
this comes to $500 + per useful article.

Go to a fee for each article makes sense in some ways, but when publsiher 
xyz decides to charge $1000 for each each article (knowing they will sell 
very few), what will people do?

Publishers have a certain overhead and try (or do) make a profit.  Divide
the number of subscriptions by their desired income and you get the price
of a current journal.  Divide the number by a few articles and you get a
higher number.  Of course, if this was the real world, there would be
downsizing and cost cutting so that there was not the need for a high
level of income to produce the same profit.  But we are dealing with 5
year olds who want their way, don't listen, and know everything (i.e,
scholars who feel they need to publish in a high price journal or perish).
One of these days someone will have to tell them to grow up before they
bankrupt the libraies of this world. 

Steve Heller, USDA, ARS, Plant Genome Project
Bldg. 005, Room 337
Beltsville, MD 20705-2350 USA
Phone: 301-504-6055   FAX: 301-504-6231
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