New survey shows: Economists sympathize with publishing reforms and Open AccessPosted: May 16th, 2012 | Author: Olaf Siegert | Filed under: Newspost | Tags: Economics, Open Access, Publishing Reform | 1 Comment »
A recent ZBW survey among German economists shows that they sympathize with the Elsevier boycott and Open Access, but still support the established reputation and ranking systems
Right now scientists from around the world are boycotting the Elsevier publishing house. The dominant magazine publisher stands accused of monopolizing scientific content by only making it accessible to the public for astronomical subscription prices. In contrast to this, the Open Access community requests that all publicly financed research findings should be made accessible for free. In early May, the ZBW held a survey regarding the current Elsevier boycott and the subject of Open Access which found that the established system of expensive subscription magazines is indeed unpopular, but is largely upheld because of a shortage of alternatives.
Read the full press release here
Re: How are publishers acntig as a cartel?The answer is they are not. They operate in a competitive market, where libraries with limited budgets have to decide among ten thousand or so significant scholarly journals which ones they will subscribe to. A competent librarian will make decisions on the basis of some measure of value for money. Where journal use is mainly online, downloads per subscription dollar provide one measure of value for money. Some libraries do use measures of this kind, thereby restricting the ability of publishers to raise prices. However librarians are often reluctant to acknowledge sunk costs in journals that receive little use. Thus journal series going back decades are maintained in a collection, while potentially more useful journals are not taken even on a trial basis.If library budgets become so restricted that even important subscription-financed journals cease to be widely distributed, then author paid open access journals will flourish. So perhaps that is the way forward: to cut the Harvard University Library budget by $3.75 million.