2.921: EDITOR, a sample (133)

Tue, 2 May 89 20:17:34 EDT

Humanist Mailing List, Vol. 2, No. 921. Tuesday, 2 May 1989.

Date: 01 May 89 21:48:16 EDT
From: Malcolm Hayward <MHAYWARD@IUP.BITNET>
Subject: EDITOR, Number 5 (187 records)

[I pass along for your interest a sample issue from a new discussion
group devoted to scholarly publishing. It was announced on Humanist once
before, but this sample may do a somewhat better job of alerting you to
the possibilities. --W.M.]

EDITOR: A moderated discussion group for those interested in the
publishing of Scholarly Journals. Please address all mail for
the group to MHayward@IUP.

In Issue 2, Roy Flannagan raised the question of typesetting via
computer and desktop publishing--a question also raised by the
controller of my budget. Two comments on this topic follow.


The following was written in response to your request for information
on the suitability of DTP in publishing scholarly journals. . . .

To my great regret, I have just reached the conclusion that DTP in
its current form - or at least Ventura 1.1 and 2.0 - is *not* a
viable production option for the journal I have edited since 1983
("Studies in Zionism" - deals with the history of Zionism, Jewish settlement
in Palestine/Israel, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and more.) The journal
is written and edited in Tel Aviv University, and printed and distributed
by Johns Hopkins University Press in Baltimore. We send JHUP camera-ready
copy - typeset bromides with page-layout. Since 1983 we have been
interfacing with a phototypesetter via disk. For a while, we experimented
with inserting a lot of the typesetting codes via a wordprocessor, but
gave that up as too complicated and not sufficiently cost effective.
In response to constantly increasing typesetting costs, and also
(mea culpa) because of my fascination with DTP and with book production,
I decided that we would produce camera-ready copy using Ventura. The
program can produce Postscript files for a Linotronic 300, and
bromides produced directly from our Postscript disks cost only
$2.50/page, as opposed to $2.00/1,000 chars when the typesetter
gets normal ascii w/p files. Theoretically, that would have saved
us circa $3,500 annually.
I tried it twice. The cost-savings were real. But nothing else promised
›word lost in transmission--"worked"?|
I had some experience with Ventura previously, and knew enough
to realize that the production of a style sheet incorporating
my journal's exact design was a job for a professional Ventura
service bureau. I paid $300 for a style sheet. The same bureau produced
the postscript files. But Ventura couldnt handle the complicated
layout of the annual bibliography in our field that the journal
publishes. Neither could footnotes (as opposed to endnotes) be generated
automatically. So they were moved around "manually," a very time-consuming
process that also created large gaps between the end of text and
the start of the footnotes on many pages. By then, we had compromised
our layout a number of times, were weeks late in the production
schedule (for the first time in 6 years) and were no longer
on speaking terms with the service bureau.
The appearance of Ventura v 2.0 encouraged me to try again, this time
with a much bigger and more experienced service bureau. Version 2.0
of Ventura can generate footnotes, but it does so with (a) an irregular
gap between text and notes (which isnt too bad), and (b) flexible
bottom margins. In other words, no two pages were the same length. That is
totally unacceptable, and we ended up cutting up the bromides and pasteing
them by hand. That left us with gaps of up to 3.5 cms between text and notes.
We were, again, six weeks late when we mailed the copy off.
Conclusion: DTP is only worth it if you are willing to make
numerous compromises on the quality of the copy (layout, design) and if
cost considerations are the most important factor. I would love to cut
costs, but life is too short to spend so much time fiddling with
DTP. I am going back to editing and leaving production to the
typesetting professionals.

Ron Zweig
Tel Aviv University


›On the subject of DTP, I extract from a reply I gave my Dean
who asked if I was using DTP "to save typesetting costs." I
would not bet my life on the direct relation between numbers of
pages and printing costs, but it seems to me accurate.|

I suspect, however, that you would like the long answer. The
long answer is that the savings by desktop publishing (DTP) are
illusory. What you save in typesetting cost you lose in printing
cost. Let me give an example: ›a colleague's journal| has a
page that is 60 characters wide and 32 lines deep. He gets 1,920
characters per page. Studies in the Humanities has a page that
is 72 characters wide and 39 lines deep for a total of 2,808
characters per page. In other words, our journal gets 41% more
text per page than ›his|. Since printing costs are based on the
number of pages, if we were to typeset by DTP, we would have to
increase printing costs by 41%. The printing costs for the last
issue was bid at $1,593. A 41% increase would increase the cost
by $653.00. Since the typesetting costs for the last issue were
$575.00, desktop publishing would result in a net loss of $75.00.

The reason that a DTP manuscript cannot print as much text per
line is because of the quality of printing. If you examine very
carefully the printing of ›my colleague's journal| in comparison
to the printing of Studies in the Humanities, you will see that
the letters of Studies are much sharper and clearer, easier to
read, and more well-defined. This allows Studies to achieve a
greater line length. . . . ›Thus| different approaches to
typesetting and printing would seem on the surface to offer
substantial savings, might in the long run not be so very
attractive. The cost analysis that I have provided does not,
indeed, take account of the time involved in setting type via a
DTP package such as Ventura. I would estimate conservatively
that 20 hours would be required to set type by Ventura for a
journal the size of Studies in the Humanities. If I were to do
the work myself, with my time being worth approximately $35.00 an
hour, the labor cost of $700.00 would make DTP even less

At Studies in the Humanities we are always on the look-out to
save money. I think you will find that our costs for producing
the journal have actually decreased over the past few years. I
wish that DTP were a way by which we could save additional funds,
but from a detailed cost analysis, I think you will agree, that
it really does not at this time promise much in the way of
savings. --Malcolm Hayward