Re: 2.0K vs. 0.2K

From: Thomas J. Walker <tjw_at_GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 08:15:13 -0400

At 03:53 PM 5/7/99 +0100, Stevan Harnad wrote:
>> Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 13:52:06 -0400 (EDT)
>> From: "Arthur P. Smith" <>
>I know and profoundly appreciate (and unfailingly acknowledge) that!
>APS sits on the side of the angels in this (and in many other things)!
>> In fact, Tom Walker's
>> journal does NOT allow this unless authors pay their electronic
>> reprint fee.
>And it is for this reason that I have suggested since the
>beginning of the American Scientist Forum that although Tom's heart is
>undeniably in the right place, his proposal is unrealistic. Not only
>does it assume that S/L/P can persist, but it imagines that authors
>will pay page charges on TOP of S/L/P even though they could achieve
>the very same result for free, by self-archiving!

Firstly, if Tom Walker's journal is the Florida Entomologist (for which he
is the WWW Associate Editor), that journal has yet to charge authors for
their electronic reprints. Since 1994, the Florida Entomological Society
has *given* e-reprints to all Fla. Entomol. authors as an added service.
This service is paid from the $45 per page fee that authors have paid since
1990. However, if library subscriptions begin to drop, e-reprints may then
be sold rather than given away.

Secondly, my proposal does not assume that S/L/P can persist. It assumes
that paper publication isn't going to end immediately and that in the
meanwhile some authors will want to pay a fee (e.g., price of 100 paper
reprints) to secure immediate, permanent, toll-free Web access for the
formatted, refereed, archived version of their articles. In essence it
dares publishers to offer for sale *now*, what most authors want
(permanent, convenient, toll-free Web access to their articles). It does
not require or imply that the price of such access would remain the same if
central printing of issues were to cease.

So far as I know, no society sells immediate, infinite Web-freedom for the
PDF versions of refereed articles. APA is coming close to giving such
access away (!) but, if I understand Smith's most recent posting correctly,
APA still forbids authors to post the PDF files of their formatted,
refereed articles on xxx. Posting on xxx is surely more desirable to
physics authors than having the files freely accessible on any other
server. Would APA authors be offended if given the chance to pay APA to
put their refereed articles on xxx? Is APA tempting its authors to violate
their signed agreements by giving them no legal way to have the final PDF
files of their articles on xxx? Wouldn't APA be more fiscally responsible
and be promoting free access in a more sustainable way by offering this

It is instructive to consider the response of the Entomological Society of
America to the suggestion that it sell infinite electronic reprints to
authors of articles in its four principal journals. The Governing Board
approved the idea in Dec. 1995 and again in Dec. 1996, but their staff
chose not to act. In June 1997, staff and Governing Board finally decided
to offer e-reprints, but chose to sell them by the hundred downloads and at
the same per-hundred price as for copies of traditional paper reprints.
About 10% of authors are buying this limited service now, and I have been
told that at its June 1999 meeting, the Governing Board will consider
making ESA e-reprints infinite--perhaps to increase ESA publishing revenues
to partially cover new costs.

New costs, because in late1998, ESA's Governing Board decided to pay about
$14 per page above current costs to put ESA's journals on the Web in HTML
and PDF. After a six-month free trial period, access will be restricted to
subscribers, because ESA must find a way to raise the extra $56,000 per
year that this form of e-publication costs. On the other hand, selling
e-reprints profits ESA about $14 per page
[] (or even
more if you consider that the cost of the PDF files is paid by the $14
Most life-science societies that I know have taken actions similar to ESA
(except they have not considered offering electronic reprints, infinite or
otherwise). The idea that selling immediate free access to some articles
(e-reprints) can produce revenues that will pay for delayed free access to
all articles has not caught on, but I am still trying to get three
societies to consider it seriously. Would not members vote to approve the
idea, if given the chance?
[For details of ESA actions on e-publication of their journals, see]

Tom Walker

Thomas J. Walker
Department of Entomology & Nematology
University of Florida, PO Box 110620, Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
E-mail: FAX: (352)392-0190
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:45:31 GMT