B  U  L  L  E  T  I  N

of the American Society for Information Science and Technology         Vol. 30, No. 3        February/March  2004

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ASIST President Samantha
 K. HastingsPresident's Page

In November I attended the Council for Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) at the American Chemical Society Building in Washington, DC. Thanks to Eugene Garfield and Trudi Bellardo Hahn, ASIS&T is a valued member of the council. CSSP celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. Martin Apple, council president, leads a dedicated group of scientists devoted to science policy development as well as science leadership development.

During the introductions I mentioned that information science is integral to each of the sciences represented and received loud acclamation. The CSSP scientists understand the value of information science in their disciplines, as evidenced by the Sunday afternoon program which was completely devoted to issues of electronic publishing.

As chair of the CSSP Committee on Information Technology, Trudi introduced a panel of experts including our own Carol Tenopir. For the session topic "E-Journals: Cutting Edge? Or Cutting Off Our Future?" four panelists presented different views of the puzzle. John Willinsky, director of the Public Knowledge Project at the University of British Columbia, talked about "Economic Viability of Associations and E-Journals." He sees open access to knowledge as an economic model under a "free-to-read" mantra.

He discussed the following eight models currently in use:

  • redundant economics and supplementary points of access such as Cornell's pre-prints and e-prints as well as DSPACE at MIT;
  • dual offerings for free online and for sale print with British Journal of Medicine as a primary example;
  • delayed by offering print first then electronic access (New England Journal of Medicine);
  • selective access such as Lancet offers;
  • per capita model with free access offered to countries with per capita less than $1000;
  • Elsevier model with abstracts free for some 1700 journals;
  • Public Library of Science (PLOS) model where author fees support open access; and
  • co-operative model or combination of strategies.

Willinsky concluded that open access publishing for e-journals is within reach for scholarly associations by choosing any combination of the models listed. He also emphasized LOCKSS or Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe.

Next, Carol Tenopir from the University of Tennessee reported on "Cost and Price Models of Scholarly E-Journals." She emphasized that most often open access is to "bare bones" content with peer-review as the only value added. Copy editing, reference verifications and other value added services have additional charges. Often, the institution takes over costs to a greater degree in the open access model. Tenopir's data are substantial and enlightening. For example, from 1977 to 2003 there has been a decrease in personal subscriptions from six individual subscriptions to two. Generally, users do not substitute the cost of print for the cost of electronic access. Costs have increased for five major reasons:

    1. increase in numbers of articles, issues and pages;
    2. start-up costs for electronic systems including ongoing maintenance;
    3. higher labor costs;
    4. living in a dual-mode publishing world; and
    5. higher publishers' overhead resulting from market forces.

Tenopir concluded that we need commitment, assurances of quality and accessibility, adherence to standards and longevity for scholarly e-journals to work. For her article on "Patterns of Journal Use by Scientists Through Three Evolutionary Phases," see D-Lib Magazine, May 2003.

Michael Keller from Stanford University and publisher of HighWire Press presented the results of Stanford's Ejust survey of electronic journal users sponsored by the Mellon Foundation (www.ejust .standford.edu). Just a couple of highlights: 75% thought that not having back issues available is a big problem; most read PDFs (42%) or paper (43%) with only 14% HTML readers; 99% are shortening library visits and 85% use the hyperlinks to cited articles.

Keller offered the following advice:

  • Distinguish your societies' publications by facts such as features, cost, fundamental mission (for-profit or for science and society).
  • Move to Internet editions as soon as possible.
  • Remove the non-publishing expenses from your publications' budgets.
  • Be constantly responsive to authors and readers by adding new features, topics and fields, give fair pricing and have a responsible business model.
  • Emphasize productivity in the number of manuscripts submitted and accepted.

Marc Brodsky, executive director and CEO of the American Institute of Physics (AIP), concluded the panel with a look at models of online scholarly publishing. He gave an overview of the major AIP publishing activities, including "Peer X-Press" for online submission and peer-review for eight of their journals with preparation of 16 more.

Brodsky also emphasized importance of back files with 30% using articles older than one year. As AIP continues to build access and functionality for the publications of its 10 member societies, Brodsky stresses the importance of marketing and consortia.

There were many other great panels at the CSSP meeting, and I look forward to becoming more active in the council. In the meantime, these issues of electronic scholarly publishing, open access and longevity are integral to our deliberations and worries as the reality of an ASIS&T digital library gets closer. The next Board of Directors meeting is February 27 in Austin, Texas, before the Information Architecture Summit. Please send your suggestions and concerns to any board member or to me at hastings@unt.edu.

Samantha Hastings
2004 ASIS&T President
Associate Professor
Fellow, Texas Center for Digital Knowledge
University of North Texas
P.O. Box 311068, ISB 205F
Denton, Texas 76203-1068

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