I've been reading all of this with some interest. Some off-the-cuff
Paid access turns away all but the most determined of users - this needs
testing but I doubt many would disagree this is a major obstacle for
switching to a subscription model.
The result is that non-priviledged users (those not at institutions,
with lower incomes, outside the first world...) lose access to
information, and are cut out of information/knowledge networks. Look how
many of us just on this list are unwilling to pay the fee.
Fee-based publications are no more financially viable than free ones.
The large commercial journals have only met their needs by greatly
increasing their prices - does a journal like IA wish to start this
Other funding solutions should be pursued whenever possible. Sliding
scale makes sense, but even more so, what about encouraging institutions
to voluntarily pay for access, as well as societies, governments,
funding agencies, and also individuals. Make the subscription a
membership, perhaps like a co-op (with special privileges..?), that
changes as more people join. As the overall costs are paid, the members
perhaps get reimbursed for overages, or benefit from a reduced
subscription the next year (while newer members pay slightly more)...
A percentage of each subscription should go towards an endowment.
This is all pretty fuzzy, but the point is to meet the overhead of the
journal in as user-friendly a way as possible, and not restrict access.
And work towards minimizing costs wherever possible. For example, people
usually spend way too much money on web development for minimal or even
For an alternative approach, I publish an online "journal" , a
non-serial database-driven approach called the Anthropology Review
Database (ARD) (wings.buffalo.edu/ARD/). This is a "zero-budegt"
publication, paid by university overhead, department generosity (mailing
costs for books), and volunteer generosity.
Hugh Jarvis (PhD, MLS)
Cybrarian/Web Information Coordinator
Creative Services - University at Buffalo
330 Crofts Hall, Buffalo, New York, USA 14260-7015
Tel: 716 645-5000 x1428
Fax: 716 646-3765
Email: [log in to unmask] (preferred)