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

Re: Science Online model and Princeton

I see we are back to journals costs and pricing again. I can claim rather
more actual experience than anyone in the ARL of costs and pricing in that
I have worked with these concepts at a practical level within major profit
and non-profit publishers. Some of the commentaries by those outside the
business like McCabe (mentioned by Kraus) are just wrong.

As far as costs are concerned, there is plenty of information available
online at a workshop organised by the body that actually represents the
scientific user worldwide, the International Council of Scientific Unions
(see www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/icsu/). Costs are higher. I know Peter Boyce will
tell you and me that they do not need to be if everyone adopted the ApJ
approach but other publishers have not and most do not intend to work that
way, sometimes for perfectly good reasons.

As far as pricing is concerned, commercial publishers exist to make money
- for their shareholders, non-profit publishers exist to make a surplus to
help fund their other activities. Obviously there are significant
qualifications. Some commercial publishers deliberately accept a
relatively low level of concern in order to increase their business with
learned societies. Some learned societies are now beginning to expect
meetings to fund themselves. Many university presses make no money at all
though it is not clear in all cases that this is deliberate. There is no
secrecy here. Accounts are available in most cases. Most liblicense
readers do live in a market economy. Why the surprise?

In the end the user communities will decide. If scholars do not put their
best articles into expensive journals, the expensive journals will not be
wanted by the patrons. What Trudy Gardner is saying is that librarians
need to know information other than what their patrons actually need and
whether they can afford to buy it. That may be a valid approach but does
she think she has the tools for this new job and can she ever get the
information to make valid judgement? Does she actually buy her car by
deciding who makes the lowest profits. I don't.

Anthony Watkinson

-----Original Message-----
From: Joe Kraus <jokraus@du.edu>
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Date: 09 December 1998 02:50
Subject: Re: Science Online model and Princeton

On Mon, 7 Dec 1998, Trudy Gardner wrote:

} ... We have no way of knowing what it actually costs to
} publish a journal.  In Consumer Reports we can find out what the real
} costs of a car are and what are "reasonable profits" for the dealer...

This is a great report from the ARL -


"Competition in Scholarly Publishing? What Publisher Profits Reveal"  by
Brendan J. Wyly, Johnson Graduate School of Management Library, Cornell

"As both customers and critics of commercial scholarly publishers,
librarians might find useful a summary of the recent finances of the
publicly traded companies that have significant scholarly publishing
operations. A financial analysis can help us determine if our trust in
maintaining long-term relationships with these companies is warranted and
at the same time suggest whether our concerns that an anti-competitive
market is operating are supported by the data."


Several other articles from Issue #200 may be of interest as well.


     Special Issue on Journals

     Views of the Current Marketplace for Scholarly Journals by Mary M.
Case, Director of the ARL Office of Scholarly Communication

     The Impact of Publisher Mergers on Journal Prices: A Preliminary
Report by Mark J. McCabe, Assistant Professor of Economics, Georgia
Institute of Technology

     Competition in Scholarly Publishing? What Publisher Profits Reveal by
Brendan J, Wyly, Johnson Graduate School of Management Library, Cornell

     Comparing Value and Estimated Revenue of SciTech Journals by Stanley
J. Wilder, Assistant Dean for Technical and Financial Services, LSU

     At the Speed of Thought: Pursuing Non-Commercial Alternatives to
Scholarly Communication by Mike Sosteric, Assistant Professor, Centre for
Global and Social Analysis, Athabasca University, and Director,
International Consortium for Alternative Academic Publication (ICAAP)

Happy Reading,

Joseph R. Kraus   Science Librarian   Penrose Library
Univ. of Denver   2150 E. Evans       Denver, CO 80208
(303) 871-4586    jokraus@du.edu      http://www.du.edu/~jokraus