I was not trying to exclude the author page charges. They are a
separate approach, and seem much more feasible. If we do cut costs by
90%, then we need to collect only about $400 per paper, or $1000 per
typical publishing author per year, which does not seem so bad.
Further, that $400 per paper is about what it used to cost to have the
paper typed by departmental technical typists.
To get back to membership fees, even partial support would not get us
far. At a rough guess, total membership fees of all mathematical
societies might be $6M per year, which is only 30% of the $20M we need.
Further, that $6M is just about the cost of Math. Rev. alone (and I
doubt one can reduce the costs of MR too much without seriously
compromising its quality).
Why does one way of slicing costs seem reasonable and another one not?
It seems to be related to scholars' willingness to pay, and that
willingness depends on whether it is their own money that is being
spent or not. When I talk to people, it seems that they are willing to
pay a couple of hundred dollars a year for memberships (for US
mathematicians, it usually means AMS and perhaps MAA or SIAM in
addition) and one or two inexpensive personal subscriptions in their
specialty. (Personally I spend closer to $2K per year, but I am
atypical, both in the number of societies I am a member of, and the
number of journals I subscribe to.) Also, people who run professional
societies speak often of members' resistance to higher membership fees.
On the other hand, scholars' institutions are willing to spend much
more. A top research university is spending $5-10K per year for each
mathematics faculty member for the math library.
The conclusion I draw from this is that we need to get institutions
to pay for publications.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Tue Feb 13 2001 - 16:24:07 GMT