PLOS ONE Output Falls Following Impact Factor Decline

Stephen J Bensman notsjb at LSU.EDU
Sat Jul 5 08:09:05 EDT 2014

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Thank you for giving my ideas serious consideration.  

I am not sure how this thing is going to work, because it is very complex.  My model is arXiv, but there are other open access models.  LSU is establishing a repository to give its faculty's research broader accessibility and post data for replication purposes as required by the NIH.  I like the idea, because you can store and cite you own data online.  The variables and procedures for an institutional depository are complex.

There could be mixed models with publishers providing access to repositories for their titles.  That seems to be the logic of some of these subscription contracts.  The library provides a fixed sum based prior years' subscriptions, and the publisher gives access to its entire list beyond this core.  That maintains cash flow but is open access in certain respects.  We have access to Scientometrics on this basis.

The basic idea is that computer space is cheap and unlimited, and you can get more bang for the buck by incorporating this concept.  That kicks open the way for the expansion of the system which was being strangled by the journal system.  The publishers were selling less and charging more, and that is the road to financial disaster.

If you are interested in how this being done in business, here is the WWW site for EMC:

What makes the open access institutional repository workable is the Google search engine, which replaces traditional indexing and cataloging, making the repositories accessible.

All I can tell you is that LSU Libraries is waiting for next year's budget, and, if it is what is being predicted, we are going to slash the hell out of our serials budget.  But this no longer the big disaster it once was due to Google accessing Web sites and the efficiency of our ILL, which can get any article in 24 hours.


From: ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics <SIGMETRICS at LISTSERV.UTK.EDU> on behalf of David Wojick <dwojick at CRAIGELLACHIE.US>
Sent: Friday, July 04, 2014 10:45 AM
Subject: Re: [SIGMETRICS] PLOS ONE Output Falls Following Impact Factor Decline

Dear Stephen, that is an interesting possibility, one of many in fact, but
possibilities for change are not evidence of the unsustainability of the
present system. In fact subscription revenues are still growing.

Regarding your specifics, (1) I do not see how cheap computer space works
selectively against subscription journals, as they can use it too. (2) Does
your repository model eliminate journals altogether? If so then you face
the loss of (a) peer review and (b) ranking by rejection, both of which are
thought to be values added by journals, among others.

But the relative merits of the many various OA models being tried out today
are not really the issue here. Every proposal has merit or it would not be
being tried out. I just see no evidence that any of them is about to
replace the subscription system. Ironically their multiplicity is probably
an obstacle in itself.


At 09:56 AM 7/4/2014, you wrote:

>As for me, I am not arguing the case of the subscription system on its meri=
>ts.  It functioned well in its day.  I am arguing the case on its brutal ec=
>onomics.  The subscription system is not financially efficient.  It costs a=
>  lot to publish a journal, and editors are forcing authors to remain within=
>  size limits due to cost factors.  Even then costs sky rocket because the p=
>ublication universe is exponentially expanding.
>On the other hand, computer space has become very cheap.  I have a nephew w=
>orking for EMC, which makes and sells computer space.  It started making mo=
>ney hand over fist, and its stock went through the roof, enriching me.  Whe=
>n I asked him why, he said that its product became very cheap, and the comp=
>any was able to reduce drastically the price on its product, exponentially =
>expanding it sales.  That is when a company really makes money.
>The logic here is to base the scientific information system not on publicat=
>ion and journals but on computer space, which seems to be infinite and chea=
>p.  That is what is done by open access institutional repositories, which a=
>re now feasible because the Google search engine can efficiently index them=
>  and retrieve from them.  Technology has made the journal not only technolo=
>gically outmoded but economically inefficient.  As for scientometrics, ever=
>ything human socially stratifies, and institutional repositories will also =
>do this, and the game can go on.
>Stephen J. Bensman, Ph.D.
>Louisiana State University

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