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Will the Parasite Kill the Host? Sally Morris Morris Associates.

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Presentation on theme: "Will the Parasite Kill the Host? Sally Morris Morris Associates."— Presentation transcript:

1 Will the Parasite Kill the Host? Sally Morris Morris Associates

2 What I’m going to talk about An alternative (ex-publisher’s) view: Are Institutional Repositories a fact of life? What is the likely effect on journals? Does it matter? What should we do about it?

3 Where I’m coming from Publisher for >25 years Publisher of ~50 medical/nursing journals for >10 years Representative of scholarly and professional publishers for >8 years Now editor of a journal about publishing

4 Are IRs becoming a fact of life? Not much evidence that academics actually want them But if self-archiving becomes mandatory, most say they will comply Growing number of research funders and institutions leaning towards voluntary or mandatory self-archiving policies

5 What is the likely effect on journals? IRs are parasitic on journals – but will they kill the host?

6 What is the likely effect on journals? (1) Two surveys showing very clearly that when a sufficient percentage of the final version of author articles is freely (and easily) available, cancellations will follow Mark Ware: Factors in Journal Cancellation (ALPSP, 2006) Chris Beckett & Simon Inger: Self-archiving and Journal Subscriptions – co-existence or competition? (PRC, 2006)

7 Ware 340 responses 81% said availability in an OA repository would be a ‘very important’ or ‘important’ factor in cancellation decisions (but behind pricing (95%), usage (95%), user needs (93%)) Preprint/postprint versions not seen as adequate substitute (but PDF is) 32% think publishers should not be worried 11% think they should 54% think it’s too early to tell Beckett & Inger 424 responses ‘a significant number of librarians are likely to substitute OA materials for subscribed resources, given certain levels of reliability, peer review and currency’ Author’s unrefereed, uncorrected original MS is least adequate substitute Post-peer review version (irrespective of publishers’ editing) is adequate 38% think publishers should not be worried 38% think they should

8 What is the likely effect on journals? (2) Publishers’ experience to date: usage London Mathematical Society: articles self-archived in ArXiv received 23% fewer downloads on the publisher’s site Institute of Physics: journals whose content is largely mirrored in ArXiv see marked drop in usage on publisher’s site. Note also that High Energy Physics community making active move to OA publication Ware found that usage was a ‘very important’ or ‘important’ factor in cancellation decisions for 95% of librarian respondents

9 What is the likely effect on journals? (3) Publishers’ experience to date: subscriptions British Medical Journal: when all content was free on BMJ site, print subs (and ads) fell dramatically. Now that only research articles are free, revenue has almost recovered Molecular Biology of the Cell: in the 3 years following introduction of 2 month embargo, average annual subscription growth fell from 84% to 8% Proceedings of the National Academy of Science: 1 month embargo in 2000  11% fall in subscriptions in 2001; 6 months embargo reduced this to 9% in 2002 It makes sense to me! What rational librarian, faced with the need to cancel some journals, would not choose those whose content is freely available elsewhere?

10 Humpty Dumpty Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll (ill. John Tenniel), 1871

11 Does it matter? (1) If many subscription journals disappear, will this matter? We all need to be aware of the likely consequences of our actions

12 Peer Review Journals are currently the framework for conducting peer review on research findings Academics value this very highly, e.g. Authors and Electronic Publishing (ALPSP, 2002) – 96% of respondents ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ that they prefer to submit articles to journals that maintain formal peer review Other frameworks have been proposed Open Peer Review (e.g. Nature experiment) Peer Review applied directly to repository contents (e.g. J Smith, ‘Deconstructed Journal’)

13 Editing (1) Journals are also the vehicle for carrying out copy-editing to improve clarity and readability … and to check accuracy of references, in order that citation linking (highly valued) can actually work 42.7% of editor queries were to do with inaccurate or incomplete references 13.6% were requests for missing data 5.5% led to alterations that materially altered the sense  Wates & Campbell, ‘Author’s version vs publisher’s version’ (Learned Publishing, April 2007)

14 Editing (2) Good editing is, by its nature, invisible, but when asked, authors value it (more highly than readers) 60% of respondents thought that content editing and improvement of articles should be maintained in any new model 50% thought that language or copy-editing should be maintained 46% thought checking citations/adding citation links should be maintained  Authors and Electronic Publishing (ALPSP, 2002) … but not all journals any longer do much, if any, copy-editing

15 The journal ‘package’ Journals also provide a convenient ‘package’ for selecting and collecting together content of especial relevance and interest to a particular (sub-) community Information overload makes this increasingly important But maybe journals as we know them are not the only way?

16 Supporting other activities (1) Not all publishers are commercial Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory, 2005 (analysis by Raym Crow)

17 Supporting other activities (2) Nonprofit publishers put any surplus back into their other activities In particular, Learned Society publishers use surplus to support: Conferences (33% of respondents applied median 7% of their publishing surpluses to this) Membership fees (32% of respondents, 15% of surpluses) Public education (26% of respondents, 7.5% of surpluses) Bursaries (26% of respondents, 7.5% of surpluses) Research (21% of respondents, 25% of surpluses)  Christine Baldwin, What do Learned Societies do with their Publishing Surpluses? (ALPSP/Blackwell, 2004)  Knock-on effects for the scholarly community if publishing surpluses are reduced or eliminated

18 Which journals are most vulnerable? Single- (or few-) journal publishers ‘Over 97% of society publishers publish three or fewer journals, with almost 90% publishing just one title’.  Raym Crow, Publishing Cooperatives: an alternative for society publishers (SPARC, 2006) Society publishers limited to specific discipline Niche journals Low circulation  higher price Low-profit journals Less room for manoeuvre

19 What should publishers NOT do about it? Publishers raising arguments (valid or otherwise) against IRs are unlikely to do any good In fact, ‘shroud-waving’ could do more harm than good to the industry Remember the English Civil War…

20 ‘… the utterly memorable struggle between the Cavaliers (Wrong but Wromantic) and the Roundheads (Right and Repulsive)’ 1066 and All That W C Sellar & R J Yeatman (ill. J Reynolds),1930

21 What should we do about it? (1) Awareness Publishers need to make sure that the communities with which we engage understand the likely consequences of widespread mandatory self-archiving Funders and others need to understand that ‘one size does not fit all’ subjects differ journals differ The information must be based on factual evidence – research should continue into the actual effects as self-archiving mandates begin to bite

22 One size does not fit all

23 What should we do about it? (2) Make your content as available as possible (without going bust!) Decide if you can switch to Open Access publishing or not Hybrid/author-choice model a possible first step (as advocated by David Prosser) If not, decide whether you need an embargo period to protect subscriptions, and if so how long Will authors abide by this?  At the same time, be creative about adding value to scholarly communication in new ways

24 Riding the wave

25 What should we do about it? (3) Understanding what journals are for Journals serve authors and readers (directly) and funders and institutions (indirectly) Both publishers and those whom journals serve need to analyse the functions currently carried out by journals … establish which of these must be preserved … and work out ways of doing so

26 There may or not be a role for publishers as we know them!

27 Conclusions Institutional Repositories are not going to go away They have the potential to do great damage to many journals We need to make funders and others aware of the facts … but we must avoid ‘shroud-waving’ Publishers need to work with the communities they serve, to work out how best to add the value that is really wanted We cannot assume there is a role in future for journals, or publishers, as we know them!

28 Thank you!


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