Re: Journal expenses and publication costs

From: Albert Henderson <chessNIC_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2003 11:31:14 -0500

on Fri, 17 Jan 2003 Jan Velterop <> read me wrong:

> [ Reply to Albert Henderson on thread:
> "Re: Nature's vs. Science's Embargo Policy"
> ]
> The nice thing about input-paid open access as practised by BioMed Central
> is that the juxtaposition of universities (the bureaucracy, in Henderson's
> terms) and sponsors of research (the faculty acc. to H.) disappears.

        This interpretation is far from correct.

        The bureaucracy exists both in universities and
        in the sponsors of research.

        The sponsors of research are mostly government
        agencies, foundations, and other NGOs. The
        sponsors receive research proposals, make
        grants, and administer policies.

        The faculty prepare proposals, execute the
        research, edit the journals, and referee both
        proposals and claims of results.

> This
> open access publishing model is beneficial for universities looking for cost
> reductions as well as for sponsors of research looking for better
> dissemination of the research results. In fact, for both it offers dramatic
> improvements. According to preliminary figures from David Goodman for
> Stanford alone, the savings, if all articles were published in the kind of
> open access publishing model BMC uses, would amount to more than 7 million
> dollars every year. And for the researchers publishing in our open access
> journals it means download figures of hundreds, sometimes thousands per
> month, and rising; figures that leave traditional journals far behind.

        The open access model promises the end of libraries
        and librarians as reductions in library spending
        reach a final conclusion. Such an end to library
        spending will very likely mean an end to journals,
        the economic power of faculty, including learned
        associations, editors, and political leadership.

        More downloads are not necessarily better, since
        the main cost of information is the cost of
        readers' reading and associated activities. Tenopir
        and King point out the cost of readings far exceeds
        the cost of journals and its potential for saving.
        This is where publishers' delivery of select
        material to a select audience outstrips the various
        open plans which force the reader to consider
        unrefereed and quack articles.

        The bureaucracy -- universities and sponsors --
        cares little about wasting people's time as long
        as they can claim they are "doing science."

        On the other hand, the faculty is frustrated by
        economies that result in inefficient and ineffective
        research and education. As Thorsten Veblen put it,
        the prevailing counterargument by the bureaucracy
        may be paraphrased as "in order to serve God in the
        end, we must all be ready to serve the Devil in the
        meantime." In short, the Faustian Bargain.

        Best wishes,

Albert Henderson

Received on Fri Jan 17 2003 - 16:31:14 GMT

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