[Taxacom] Journal of Hymenoptera Research

James Whitfield jwhitfie at life.illinois.edu
Mon Feb 4 11:33:42 CST 2013


Thanks, David! Yes, I appreciate the thoughtful analysis and I think the
International Society of Hymenopterists is convinced (for the moment at
least) that it is going in the right direction. I hope so!!! This shift is
affecting many societies at the moment...

A lingering question from the thread below is an even more significant one
in my estimation, for Taxacom as a whole.

> why would
>> the Society collapse if the journal suddenly cost vastly less to
>> produce (e.g., if they went to online publishing with no print
>> version)?

As an officer for both ISH (now) and SSB (immediately previously), it is
becoming evident that belonging to a scientific society in order to get
the Society's journal is not a very compelling reason for increasing
membership (especially from students) anymore.

What other benefits are there to belonging to an international scientific
society?  I would argue that with real participation in such community
efforts, the long-term payoffs are big, especially for students/postdocs
becoming involved in the "big picture" items (and the other scientists
engaged in them) early on.  But it does take PARTICIPATION, not just
membership.  Our society (and I mean the whole USA and beyond here) as a
whole doesn't seem to me to be sufficiently emphasizing (or rewarding) the
value of CONTRIBUTING, not just asking for payoffs.

I am encouraged by the current crop of young systematists, who seem
willing and eager and up to the challenge...

Jim


> After reading a few responses to Donat's message I contacted colleagues at
> Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) about the
> issues being discussed.  Here is the feedback I received which I hope is
> helpful.
>
> David
>
> ======================
>
> Given the partial thread, it's difficult to know the full scope of the
> discussion. That said, based on the part you've forwarded, the discussion
> appears to be conflating two issues: 1) the cost of online-only
> distribution versus traditional print distribution and 2) the cost and
> mission benefit of open-access distribution versus subscription
> distribution.
>
> Online-only distribution would lower costs (typically by ~20 - 25%
> depending on the type of journal), while shifting to open-access
> distribution would require a new funding model. Discontinuing print, by
> itself, would eliminate variable costs, but the society's fixed editorial
> costs would remain. Whether the society is willing/able to cover those
> costs with a cross-subsidy (or some other supply-side model) will
> typically depend on financial and cultural issues specific to the
> society.
>
> Assuming that the article processing fees charged by the Journal of
> Hymenoptera Research have been designed correctly, the journal should be
> able to remain sustainable even as it increases the volume of articles
> published. The article fees of the journal are low (~EUR 150), and it's
> impossible to tell from the outside the extent to which the article-fee
> revenue is supplemented by revenue from sales of convenience print
> subscriptions and/or subsidies from the society. In any event, the society
> seems satisfied with the model.
>
> More generally, SPARC sponsors a variety of resources for publishers
> designed to help publishers evaluate and transition to funding models
> capable of supporting open access dissemination. These are available at:
> (http://www.arl.org/sparc/publisher/).
>
> ========================
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Dean Pentcheff
> Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2013 6:13 PM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Journal of Hymenoptera Research
>
> On Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 2:21 PM, Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu> wrote:
>
>> ...
>>
> why would
>> the Society collapse if the journal suddenly cost vastly less to
>> produce (e.g., if they went to online publishing with no print
>> version)?
>>
> ...
>
> That's a key question here. Does it cost (the society) less to publish in
> an online open access journal than in the classical commercial publishing
> model? I don't know (and neither does Donat :). Scientists like me who are
> not intimately involved in the publishing process tend to think that
> publishing an online Open Source journal should be very cheap. The
> experience of some recent large-scale Open Source journals argues
> otherwise — there's been a surprisingly big sticker shock at the final
> costs of publishing. We need better information, particularly for
> small-scale operations (e.g. not PLoS ONE).
>
>
>> ...
>
> any publication of any society that is NOT being made
>> available electronically is doing LESS to promote the exposure and
>> impact of an author's research than would otherwise be the case, and
>> the argument could therefore be made that publishing in
>> limited-distribution specialist journals is *bad* for one's
>> professional development, regardless of how well-targeted the audience
>> may be.
>
> ...
> Score! Tilt! Jackpot! YesYesYes. I cannot agree more thoroughly. It has
> always seemed utterly paradoxical to me that a society dedicated to
> promulgating the study of a subject would deliberately choose to keep its
> scientific efforts as inaccessible as possible by keeping them behind
> paywalls. The paradox is semi-resolved if we assume that, in many cases,
> the people making the society decisions aren't really aware of the modern
> full spectrum of publishing options.
>
>
>> ...
>
> in times like these,
>> would it not be helpful if professional societies DID use their funds
>> to actively support taxonomists, rather than simply giving them a
>> comfortable place to publish?
>
>
> Absolutely. Science is people working, not published results.
>
>
>>
>> Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research
>> Museum
>>
>>
> -Dean
> --
> Dean Pentcheff
> pentcheff at gmail.com
> dpentche at nhm.org
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>
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>
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-- 
James B. Whitfield
Department of Entomology
320 Morrill Hall
505 S. Goodwin Avenue
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL 61801
http://www.life.illinois.edu/whitfield





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