Re: Online Self-Archiving: Distinguishing the Optimal from the Optional

From: Arthur P. Smith <apsmith_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2002 14:00:38 -0500

Hi David! Do you count as one of our less than happy librarians?

David Goodman wrote:

>The proposed solution is that the gap be filled by revenue from the
>developing world.
Only proportionally as the developing world "develops" - should the US
be subsidizing the rest of the world in perpetuity? The less we spend on
publications, the more the rest of the world has to, if the same
quantity of research is being published (after the various improvements
that have been talked about here which could cut costs by a factor of 2
or 3 in the long run).

>In fact the present isn't quite that good, either, because a great many
>researchers are deprived of access to a great many journals, and
>publishers in general are unwilling to extend this access without
>additional money--which is not available.
Right, I didn't mean to imply the present situation was good at all -
nevertheless, there is the potential, and some progress (consortial
agreements etc.) towards more open access, rather than less. The reason
for not-quite-zero incremental costs is that publishers (especially
non-profit) are in the same bind as libraries - limited resources, and
they do need to get funding wherever they reasonably can. I believe most
of these incremental charges aren't huge - maybe 10% or so, so by doing
so for just about any consortial agreement you're certainly improving
the access to expense ratio. Of course libraries that already pay for
everything (like Princeton) will naturally ask what's in it for them -
not much, obviously, except the warm feeling of helping out less
fortunate colleagues...

>In my personal opinion, the APS has the best reputation for availability
>of all the leading publishers. Does everyone in this country
>and the rest of the world currently have access to them? If not,
>I challenge Arthur to make them universally available right now
>without additional cost.
Actually, we're doing a lot of this (relatively quietly) for developing
countries - country-wide
licenses etc. are becoming more common. But we can't afford to "make
everything available" without
some assurance that current sources of income will continue or be
replaced - last year we did make a serious
proposal along these lines to the AAU provosts but that doesn't seem to
be making much progress... We're ready, anyway, if the
libraries/institutions are ready to do their part.

Going back to my original question - does anybody have any numbers that
might corroborate or refute the assertion that the cause of the "serials
crisis" is the increase in world-wide research funding, and particularly
(at least for physics) the increase outside the US? Is there some clear
measure of total publication expense relative to research dollars that
could be looked at? I'd be interested in seeing numbers, both for
physics and other fields.

Received on Tue Dec 10 2002 - 19:00:38 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:46:46 GMT