Re: The True Cost of the Essentials

From: Markus Schneider <m_g_schneider_at_HOTMAIL.COM>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 18:01:09 +0000


if you look at the ARL statistics and expenditures for serials
of law faculties in particular, 76 law libraries spend
$63,607,619 US
on (individual) access to 272 journals
which is about $235 000 US available per annum per journal.

of course, this is an oversimplification (e.g. some "contribute" more
than others; cost structures depend on the individual discipline...),
but the figures show that there is a lot of money out there which could
be invested in a much more productive way (i.e. resulting in a much
higher research impact). if "only"the investment is co-ordinated
("channeled") in a better way - i.e. by funding higher level digital
property (i.e. publishers who add non-digital value) rather than individual
access to this digital property - research impact could be much higher
at perhaps even lower costs.

No groundbreaking news. but apart from the organization of this funding
scheme, plain economics need to be taken into account and could be a
problem. so, how much does it actually cost to run an e journal?

with shared facilities (and therefore no costs to the publishers), a
1998 PWC study estimates costs for a law journal to be around 100 000
(http: //, Odlyzko generally
mentions a $300-$1000 figure per paper

fytton simlarly mentions $400 US
for a 10 page paper at a rejection rate of 50% JHEP flatly states that their actual costs are around $200,000 US

Since the latter is an actual cost figure and comes from insiders who
definitely should know about this issue, I think the 200 000 is a useful
indicator. (in this respect, $235,000 is more than $200,000).

it doesnt take a lawyer ;-) to come up with the idea to compose a
questionnaire about the cost structure and use the listing as
a basis to make a quick overview of actual costs of journals throughout
various disciplines.

I guess everyone in here will agree that duplification of work is rather
annoying and often a waste of time; so, is someone else already working on
such a questionnaire/study? (ive been going through the 2003 postings
quite thoroughly, but didnt find a posting in that respect). If so,
when can we expect results? are there any preliminary results that
can be shared at this stage (i'm writing a paper on a similar topic and
would like to include cost figures)? if no one else is currently working
on the implementation of such a study i could write a draft and post it
for improvements.

in the (very?!) long run, perhaps such a benchmark study could be a useful
basis for making a monetary offer to publishers to change their business


Prior Threads on This Topic:

> "Savings from Converting to On-Line-Only: 30%- or 70%+ ?"
> "2.0K vs. 0.2K"
> "Online Self-Archiving: Distinguishing the Optimal from the Optional"
> "Separating Quality-Control Service-Providing from Document-Providing"
> "Distinguishing the Essentials from the Optional Add-Ons"
> "The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review)"
> "The True Cost of the Essentials
> "Re: The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review -
> NOT!)"
> "Journal expenses and publication costs"
> "Re: Scientific publishing is not just about administering
> peer-review"
Received on Mon Dec 15 2003 - 18:01:09 GMT

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