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View Diary: Academic publications and Aaron Swartz (40 comments)

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  •  Libraries pay through the nose for accesss (8+ / 0-)

    to these publications. It's nothing to pay upwards of $5000 for a subscription to just one.  Online is just as expensive (perhaps moreso!) and the licence agreements are beyond complicated.

    •  Compared to books (3+ / 0-)

      that is crazy expensive. It makes you wonder why it is so much more expensive than just buying a regular book. Is it just that they know universities are dependent on them and thus will be willing to pay for the subscription? Or, they need to charge more because there will be relatively few buyers - the whole university might only have one subscription since everybody accesses it online anyway. It is different now than it used to be before the internet, when I had a college job reshelving bound journals and handling interlibrary loan requests in one of the campus academic libraries.

      •  Fewer buyers, I suspect (4+ / 0-)

        It is the reason given why some text books are so horribly expensive (beyond the normal "expensive" of text books in general). It makes a certain amount of sense, and is comparable to other "products" where a basic charge can be spread across numerous buyers until it is almost negligible, but on it's own makes manufacturing a small number exorbitant. Example: now and then I have to purchase a quantity of commemorative pieces. If the "mold charge" is $500 and I needed only 5 of them it would add $100 to the cost of each piece. If I buy 1000 of them, the per piece cost is only 50 cents. Similar initial outlay affects T-shirt designs. Same theory also impacts medications for rare diseases.

        "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

        by Catte Nappe on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 10:18:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You are paying not just for the physical bit... (1+ / 0-)

        but the content and the money it costs to peer review, etc.  Without sales to the public and very little advertising assistance, scholarly journals depend on subscriptions, etc. to cover the cost of doing the work. This is NOT cheap.

        •  I see what you mean, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poco, cynndara

          although the fact that the publishers generally don't pay authors means that they are not paying for the content, doesn't it? The peer review process is also mainly done for free in that peer reviewers are not paid by the publisher. However, there is definitely administrative time in keeping track of all that.

          But, certainly the relatively few copies they will sell compared with, say, Twilight ;) or even a mid level book means relatively high cost per item.

        •  nonsense (4+ / 0-)

          I've never been paid anything for doing a peer review of an article and neither has anyone else I know. I really doubt the costs of sending an email attachment or something in the post justify charging $5000 bucks for a journal. The costs are due to the fact that these journals are owned by private firms that jacked up the prices to make profits.  

        •  Honestly (0+ / 0-)

          I think you are paying the publisher's profit margin.  Because almost ALL of the content work is free.  When there was real typesetting to be done and print runs of a limited circulation paper journal, yes, those costs are much higher for an item which has a maximum circulation of a few thousand (and that's the really popular ones).  But moving to an online model, there's just no reason to be paying most of these fees at all.  Electronic articles are 95% formatted by the authors with modern office computer equipment.   If not by the authors, then by one of the office admins (of which there are more, not fewer, in the academic departments I know).  The need for "graphic designers" is minimal.  Anybody can format a two-column article in Word, run an APA style check and insert the charts and diagrams.

    •  I can vouch for that. I did contracts & credits (3+ / 0-)

      for a university press for awhile in '08, (left mid-October before the 2008 election). It's time-consuming, to say the least.

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 12:13:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And that cost has led to a backlash (2+ / 0-)

      Best known was Harvard's decision -- & Harvard is one of the wealthiest universities in existence -- to action. Link

      The general problem has been described here.

      And a large number of academics have decided to single out the highest-profile villain in the publishing world, Elsevier, by boycotting its publications: they have pledged not to edit its publications, review its submissions, or submit papers to its journals. Link

      Am I too cynical in describing this as another example of how the 1% is exploiting the rest of us to increase their wealth?

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