Friday, May 26, 2006

update on Chapter 1/2: Elsevier author pays option

The number of commercial publishers offering author/institution pays options has increased since the book went to press. Elsevier recently announced it will offer this option for _some_ journals. Below please find a brief accouncement of Elsevier's decision from their library relations office and an explanation/response by a University College London librarian that contextualizes Elsevier's decision within a recent initiative in the Physics community to convert major journals to OA. (The text is copied from the liblicense listserv)

Note is is _not_ all Elsevier journals!

Interesting questions: So, will Elsevier only offer this option for those journals whose scholarly communities are placing significant pressure on publishers by a) developing alternative journals b) getting funding agencies (NSF, NIH) to require OA access? Will those fields without prestigous OA journals or funder OA requirements be less likely to have the author pays option for their commercial journals?

--- Original Message -----
Thu, 25 May 2006 17:50:43 -0400 (EDT)
Re: Sponsored Articles In Elsevier Journals
This announcement by Elsevier of an open access option for physics authors is welcome but not entirely unexpected. The commercial risk to Elsevier from losing authors to those journals which do offer an open access option must be too great for Elsevier to ignore, particularly in the light of an initiative by CERN announced at the Berlin 4 Open Access meeting on discussions with publishers about conversion of the major physics journals to OA.

We await further details of the Elsevier scheme, but two points strike me immediately. Firstly Elsevier are proposing to charge authors colour charges on top of the OA fee, whereas some other publishers make no additional charge. And secondly there is no mention by Elsevier of a reduction in subscription rates as OA income increases. Again publishers vary in their policy on this. Some are playing fair on this point but others may be using OA income simply to boost profits.

However, we are now beginning to see a situation where the differences between publishers on such issues are more transparent, and authors will be able to make an informed choice.

Frederick J. FriendJISC Scholarly Communication Consultant
Honorary Director Scholarly Communication UCLE-mail

Original Message -----From: "Menefee, Daviess (ELS)" To: Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 11:51 PMSubject: Sponsored Articles In Elsevier Journals">>Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 11:51 PMSubject: Sponsored Articles In Elsevier Journals

Please excuse any duplication.>> From May onwards some Elsevier journals will be offering to > their authors the option to pay a sponsorship fee to ensure > that their article, already accepted for publication, is made > freely available to non-subscribers via ScienceDirect.>> Worldwide approximately 10 million researchers can already > access these journals through institutional subscriptions. In a > few instances, authors publishing in these journals have > requested an option to make their articles freely available > online to non-subscribers.>>

Six journals in Physics are the first to offer such an option.> These are:>> Nuclear Physics A> Nuclear Physics B> Nuclear Physics B Proceedings Supplements> Nuclear Instruments and Methods A> Physics Letters B> Astroparticle Physics>>

Thirty more journals across other fields such as Life and Health> sciences also plan to offer this option in the next two months.>> The author charge for article sponsorship is $3,000. The fee> excludes taxes and other potential author fees such as color> charges which are additional. Information about selecting this> option is now available on the journal homepages at> as well as Elsevier's author gateway site,> The availability of this option will be> offered to authors of the above-mentioned journals only after> receiving notification that their article has been accepted for> publication. This prevents a potential conflict of interest> where a journal would have a financial incentive to accept an> article.>> Please feel free to contact either of us or your Elsevier> representative with any questions.>>

Tony McSean, Daviess Menefee>> Library Relations> Elsevier


Greg D. said...

It seems to me that such moves to “free up” individual journal articles at one level of granularity -- on individual author web pages, or in the institutional repositories of their employers -- do nothing to address the cost that a library must face if it still wants the complete, authorized, indexed, abstracted, organized, formatted and finalized contents of one of these journals. No sales would be lost. In fact, even if certain highly-cited articles were freely posted, wouldn't that increase the journal's citation count and then put pressure on libraries to purchase the journal of record that hosted them? No research library in it's right mind is going to stop subscribing to _Technology and Culture_ just because I happen to have posted the three articles I've published in this journal on my own web site.

Dorothea said...

Absolutely true, and this is an argument often used to counter "the sky is falling!" FUD from publishers. has been around for a long time. Effect on physics journals? Nil.

The effect of open access on journal pricing has thus far been subtler. They're scared enough of it (and of related initiatives) that journal inflation has slowed to a crawl.

That's healthy, IMO. Open access doesn't have to Take Over The World to help resolve the serials crisis -- it just has to be a credible competitor to the Elseviley Verlag greedheads.

k8 said...

"greedheads" - I might just have to steal that word and use it sometime.