Re: Submission Fees (was: RE: "Overlay Journals" Over Again...)

From: Heather Morrison <heatherm_at_ELN.BC.CA>
Date: Sun, 5 Jul 2009 11:04:33 -0700

On 5-Jul-09, at 4:37 AM, Jan Velterop wrote:

So it seems double-dipping unless it's honest? Perhaps it's honest
unless it's clearly double-dipping.

A very wide-spread misconception, on this list and elsewhere, is that
subscriptions somehow are priced linearly.


Publisher revenue is indeed linear. If 10% of last year's revenue
stream is coming from publication charges, prices should be decreased
by 10%. OR, libraries and others such as funding agencies,
departments, etc., should not support the publication charges. This
may help explain why submissions are growing at fully open access
journals at a greater rate than the hybrid open access choice models
- for example, PLoS One is already among the world's largest
journals, and may well become THE largest journal by 2010. If I have
missed a success story list this from the open choice model, it would
be appreciate if someone could fill me in.

Jan Velterop wrote:

Another characteristic of subscriptions is that, in science in any
case (due to the monopoloid nature of journals and the uniqueness of
articles), they are utterly inelastic in economic terms. Or rather,
somewhat elastic in one direction, but inelastic in the opposite one.
When prices go up, there is a chance of cancellation. When prices go
down, there is essentially no chance of selling more subscriptions.


On decreasing prices: in library consortial deals, it is very common
for pricing for individual libraries to decrease considerably over
publisher list price, while the publisher / vendor receives maximum
revenue through a larger customer base and (often) the efficiencies
of central billing.

On inelasticity: I would argue that the inelastic market has already
passed its prime. Today, any researcher or group of researchers can
easily disseminate their own research results through repositories,
and/or set up their own open access journals, at minimal expense.
Publishers that have relied on an inelastic market in the past, would
be well advised to prepare for a future where there is competition.

Any opinion expressed in this e-mail is that of the author alone, and
does not represent the opinion or policy of BC Electronic Library
Network or Simon Fraser University Libraries.

Heather Morrison, MLIS
The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics
Received on Sun Jul 05 2009 - 20:18:41 BST

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