Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More on affordable rather than free journals

Chrysanne Lowe, A Student Perspective on the Serials Crisis, Library Connect, January 2007.  Excerpt:

The serials crisis has been examined and debated by librarians and publishers for nearly two decades, so one might think this topic exhausted without resolution. But when Elsevier’s Senior Vice President of Global Academic & Customer Relations Dr. Jasna Markovac was approached by Dr. Bruce Ganem of the Baker Laboratory at Cornell University with an idea to have a team of graduate students ponder the subject as a senior research project, Markovac saw opportunity for a fresh perspective.

The proposal was to conduct an “Operational Analysis of Scholarly Journal Publication and Access Alternatives in the Digital Age.” Three promising young students from the Master of Engineer Project in Cornell’s School of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering took on the task: Mr. Byung Gon Yoo, Ms. Mine Bayrak and Ms. Sundari Swami under the direction of Professor Mark Eisner and Professor John Muckstadt of ORIE. Adding perspective to the team were Cornell University Librarian Sarah Thomas, Dr. Markovac and the late Ross Atkinson, the deputy university librarian at Cornell University who invested countless hours helping to put this project in motion....

The team suggested that publishers were in a good position to address these needs by creating subject-specific portals to collect, organize, share, certify and archive STM information. They supported a quasi open access model supplying preprints, rough drafts and open communication but felt that researchers would be willing to pay nominal amounts for peer review, formal publishing, archiving and indexing. Additional revenue could come from advertising and special issues, and they favored author fees as well as institutional portal subscriptions by libraries that waived individual author fees.

The call to action was a call for compromise from all sides: Authors pay a little, libraries continue paying via reduced subscription fees, and publishers reducing fees and broadening revenue streams....

Thanks to Dana Roth for the alert and for this comment:

This is exactly the business model currently followed by the Electrochemical Society and the Society for Neuroscience and was the general practice for society publications (e.g. ACS, APS) before Robert Maxwell and the crush of commercial journals which began in the 1960s.