Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Notes on the SSP conference

An anonymous blogger has posted some notes on the SSP conference, Imagining the Future: Scholarly Communication 2.0 (San Francisco, June 6-8, 2007).  The post on Day One is password protected.  Excerpt from Day Two:

...I also spoke with Melody Merin, Managing Editor of the news magazine of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.  AAPS is a small (13,000 members, <50 staff) organization headquartered in Arlington, VA.  They produce three journals, all open access.  Melody is in the process of developing the business case for taking their news magazine online.  She is interested in hearing ideas, recommendations, pitfalls, lessons learned, etc....

Morning Keynote

Dr. Larry Sanger, founder and executive of the Citizendium project, offered insight into alternative forms of collaboration between scientists in support of scholarly publishing.  Citizendium takes Wikipedia to the next level by adding “gentle expert oversight” and requiring contributors to use their real names.  As of June 5, 2007, Citizendium contains approx. 2,000 articles (only 20 of which are actually “approved”) produced by 1,700 authors and managed by 24 editors.

Following are some key bullets from his rather informative presentation:

  • “Academic publishers can survive in the new digital era only if they become something other than academic publishers.”
  • Lessons learned from previous initiatives to build online collections: ...
    • Use an open content license - content should still be there, even if the managing organization goes under, content will survive....

Dr. Sanger suggests four possible business models for selling “free” information:

  1. Advertising - increasingly lucrative but still some ethical concerns; however, consider that the old model (newspapers, TV) also includes advertising which has always been acceptable; make sure not to compromise content.
  2. Pay-to-Play - the contributor pays the publisher for the right to participate; not a popular model.
  3. Premium content - offer most base content for free, but charge price for deep, premium content.
  4. Patronage or “content brokering” - publisher is the middle man and is connected with large network of scholars, institutions, etc.; publisher solicits donations from individuals and institutions to sponsor the creation and maintenance of content; many librarians have tried this before but in vain; it is hard to get funding established to begin with but even harder to keep it coming for ongoing maintenance of the content; may want to consider tapping into foreign audiences....

Comment.  I'm glad to hear an AAPS insider say that all three of the AAPS journals are OA.  But the AAPS web site says that only two of its journals (AAPS Journal and AAPS PharmSciTech) are OA and that access to the third (Pharmaceutical Research) is limited to members of the society.  I'd welcome clarification of this; but either way, I applaud the AAPS for its commitment to OA.