Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, September 16, 2006

More on publishing coops

Heather Morrison, Publishing Cooperatives: Another Seminal Work by Raym Crow, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, September 15, 2006.  Comments on Crow's case for publishing cooperatives (longer February 2006 version or shorter September 2006 version).  Excerpt:

[Crow] presents a blueprint for moving to open access that will work for a great many publishers....

From my perspective, this is a unique opportunities for libraries to be involved in helping to set up and support such cooperatives. Many of these societies would very much like to move to open access, but lack the means. Their members are our faculty; it makes sense for us to help them, as this creates the changes in scholarly communications we have been seeking.

It is not hard for a library to provide support. There is free, open source software available. Hosting costs are minimal, and technical supports costs can be quite reasonable. Simon Fraser University Library, for example, has analyzed the costs involved per-journal to come up with a cost-recovery fee of $750 Canadian per journal, as listed on the SFU library web site [here].

This is a unique window of opportunity for library leadership in creating change in scholarly communications, in my view.
For the small, print-only publisher, with a little help, it could actually be quite easy to move from print-only to online and open access. It is easier to move to open access immediately, than to set up authentication and electronic subscription tracking first (it's probably more work to set up authentication and tracking than it is to set up an electronic journal)....

Even if the cooperative approach initially is likely to appeal first to the smaller publishers, not the big expensive ones where we'd really like to see changes, here is something to think about: once a cooperative is established, any editorial board fed up with high prices and limited access - has someplace else to go....