Re: Mandating OA around the corner?

From: David Prosser <david.prosser_at_BODLEY.OX.AC.UK>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 11:50:16 +0100

Ensuring that the results of the research projects they fund are
disseminated as widely as possible is surely a legitimate thing for the
NIH to do and for the US Government to require the NIH to do. The
current system does not maximise the dissemination of those results so
resulting in reduced impact for the authors, reduced efficiency for
readers, and reduced return on the research investment made by the NIH.

I'm not at all convinced by the 'spending money on dissemination impedes
the discovery of a cure for cancer' argument. Spending money on making
sure that data are easily available has accelerated the pace of
scientific discovery (most famously in genome research) and there is no
reason to think that this will not be the same for papers. Anyway, if
the argument did hold, could NIH not extend it and suggest that if it
was not paying out millions of dollars each year in submission charges,
page charges, and colour figure charges it could support more research


David C Prosser PhD
SPARC Europe

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 284 451
Mobile: +44 (0) 7974 673 888

-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
Behalf Of Martin Frank
Sent: 22 July 2004 22:20
Subject: Re: Mandating OA around the corner?

Mark brings up a good point, especially in light of David Lipmann's
claim that it would only cost about $700,000 based on the hosting of
50,000 manuscripts annually. While this might be the number which
PubMed Central conveys to the public, without a true cost accounting I
am unconvinced that this is a real number. I suspect that the $700,000
does not take into account the general overhead (rent, heat,
electricity, janatorial) that most publishers have to include in their
cost analyses. I believe that Martin Blume alluded to that in his
response to David. I also question David's analysis because of his
claim that PubMed Central has an annual budget of approximately $2.5
million. While this is not a lot of money as compared to the total NIH
budget, it is in my view $2.5 million more than needs to be spent and
could instead be used to support approximately 6 research grants
designed to find cures for cancer, etc.

If the PubMedCentral budget is indeed $2.5 million as claimed by David
Lipmann, one could use that number as the basis for establishing what an
expanded PubMedCentral might cost if it started receiving articles from
50,000 authors per year from 4000 or more journals. At least when PMC
gets their downloads from journals now, they come in bunches using the
appropriate DTD, etc. Dealing with 50,000 submissions would probably be
much less efficient than PMC's current efforts with its existing journal

As I indicated, David claims that his budget for PMC is $2.5 million.
PMC currently hosts about 150 journals. That translates into $16,666 per
journal. Assuming that PMC is likely to receive submissions from the
equivalent of 3000 journals, that translates into a cost of
approximately $50,000,000.

I don't claim to know the right answer for the future cost of PMC, but
extrapolating from their own numbers, it is a lot of money and a lot of
lost research opportunities.

martin frank
>>> doyle_at_APS.ORG 07/21/04 02:00PM >>>

On Jul 18, 2004, at 1:08 PM, Martin Frank wrote:

> However, based on knowledge of the costs associated with the hosting
> of journals at HighWire Press, it is estimated that a full fledged
> archive of NIH funded manuscripts at NIH would cost in the
> neighborhood of $75-100 million.

Wild (uncalled for!) speculation in my opinion (additonal FUD removed).

According to David Lipman, this is off by at least an order of
magnitude. They
expect about 50-60,000 NIH funded manuscripts per year. Even a generous
per hosted manuscript* gives only $5-6 million. Lipman also pointed out
that one would not expect to have to immediately deal with this number
articles. Considering that NLM can leverage off of the existing PubMed
I think they are in quite good shape (even creating by hand good XML
with tagged references can be done for about $5/article). It should be
noted that
if this is really author-deposit of manuscripts (again, Lipman's
impression of the
intent of the legislative language), than this might even be doable on
the same
cost scale of ($1 - $10 per article). I suspect the real cost
will be
somewhere in the middle.


Mark Doyle
Assistant Director, Journal Information Systems
The American Physical Society

* My understanding is that hosting an article on Highwire is about $100
per article.

Martin Frank, Ph.D.
Executive Director
American Physiological Society
9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814-3991
Tel: 301-634-7118 Fax: 301-634-7242
APS Home Page:
"...integrating the life sciences from molecule
to organism"
Received on Fri Jul 23 2004 - 11:50:16 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:47:31 GMT