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INTARCH-INTEREST  December 2001

INTARCH-INTEREST December 2001

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Subject:

Re: A new model?

From:

Jon Whiting <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

For announcements and discussion concerning the e-journal Internet Archaeology <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 1 Dec 2001 14:09:48 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (66 lines)

> Date:         Fri, 30 Nov 2001 04:24:27 -0000
> From:         Catherine Petts <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject:      Re: Internet Archaeology Pricing policy - A New Model ?
>
>  It is no different from taking out a subscription to any other journal.
>

But it should be different. The economics of journal production as an
e-journal as opposed to a printed journal are very different, as is the
usage.

With a printed journal, it would be very difficult to produce a version
tailored to the requirements of each individual subscriber. With an
e-journal, the whole journal is available but each subscriber is then able
to access only those parts that interest them. As with many journals, each
issue contains a number of articles, usually with different subjects. When I
receive printed journals, I know that I will read a number of the articles
but not others if the subject matter is not one that interests me at the
time.

This does not stop me from reading other articles later if I then become
interested in them. I also recognise that I am paying each time for the
whole journal, even if only a few, sometimes no, articles interest me. Some
journals recognise this fact and, as well as producing a complete journal,
produce off-prints of individual articles. The total cost of all the
off-prints from a single journal would exceed the cost of the complete
journal, but is economic for 1 or 2 articles.

I don't have any details of the photocopying of individual articles from
archaeological journals, which I am sure must be fairly extensive. Some
years ago I read about the information available from the US Copyright
Clearance Centre of journal articles. This showed that some articles had a
very large number of copies made, indicating a great interest in that
subject, whilst other articles seem never to have been copied.

With the development of e-journals, I am free to select the articles that
interest me. And then if my interests change, as they often do, then I can
still access further articles.

As you say, nothing is free and I entirely agree with you. I feel that it is
not the fact that we are being asked to pay, but the pricing structure being
imposed. Looking at previous contents of IA, there are usually only a small
number of articles in each issue that interest me. As an amateur in
archaeology, my primary interest is industrial archaeology which is still
not well represented in IA. As a computer professional, I am also interested
in the development of e-journals which is fairly well represented.

I know it is difficult to decide on the costs of access, but I personally
feel that 40 UKP per issue group (2 issues) is rather excessive if only 2 or
3 articles appeal to me. This is more than the cost of printed journals,
even though as has been pointed out before, IA tends to include access to
extra facilities like databases and extensive gazetteers.  I think that a
graduated pricing scheme could be applied, for example 10 UKP for the first
article in an issue group, 5 UKP for each of the next 3, and 3 UKP for the
next 5 articles. I don't think that there would be much problem in
implementing a charging system in this manner.

In the future, it would be possible to price articles or even parts of
articles, individually. This would then enable the facility to browse part
of an article cheaply before deciding to purchase access to the whole
article. The development of Digital Rights Management has been extensively
tested already in the realm of music with various pricing strategies
implemented. It has already been extended into the area of e-books and will
soon be available for e-journals.

Jon Whiting

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