[Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Tue Jan 19 14:26:27 CST 2016

So, here's a thought: why not let publishers apply for funding directly to publish open access? It amounts to the same thing, if everything is above board and is what it seems to be. Somehow though, I can't quite see that happening ...


On Mon, 18/1/16, Daniel Mietchen <daniel.mietchen at googlemail.com> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit
 To: "Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Monday, 18 January, 2016, 3:47 PM
 It may be worth considering here that
 in the current system, billions
 of dollars are going to the publishing industry every year
 (globally, and across all disciplines), and have been doing
 so for
 many years.
 From http://doi.org/10.1038/495426a : "Data from the
 consulting firm
 Outsell in Burlingame, California, suggest that the
 industry generated $9.4 billion in revenue in 2011 and
 around 1.8 million English-language articles — an average
 revenue per
 article of roughly $5,000. Analysts estimate profit margins
 at 20–30%
 for the industry, so the average cost to the publisher of
 producing an
 article is likely to be around $3,500–4,000."
 Most of this is through subscriptions (by libraries,
 corporations or
 individuals), some of it through advertising, some from
 other sources
 (e.g. database access, membership schemes). Most of this is
 to most researchers, the exceptions being things like page
 charges or
 color figure charges in traditional venues or OA fees more
 Now consider a thought experiment: If every single one of
 the ca. 2
 million articles we publish every year would be published
 for an OA
 fee in the PLOS ONE range (ca. USD 1,500), that would cost
 USD 3
 billion altogether, which is roughly the amount of *profit*
 publishing industry is making now.
 While many traditional publishers (and especially their
 journals) hover well above those 1,500 dollars, many newer
 ones have
 OA fees well below that, often due to more efficient
 workflows. So if
 OA at the efficiency of PLOS ONE or better were to replace
 traditional publishing model, this would mean significant
 (billions per year eventually) for the scientific community
 - and thus
 the public - which we could use to build an infrastructure
 that would
 make scholarly communication more efficient, to include
 things beyond
 PDF and discovery mechanisms beyond citations and journal
 TOC alerts.
 Besides, the educational value of a paywall to lay readers
 in taxonomy rarely tops that of a relevant OA paper.
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