6.0049 E-Publishing and Remuneration (1/68)
Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 2 Jun 1992 14:50:20 EDT
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0049. Tuesday, 2 Jun 1992.
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 1992 09:34 EST
I was inspired today to put down some thoughts about e-publishing and
remuneration. However, I am a relative e-neophyte and would appreciate
responses from those of you who have already passed over this ground.
E-PUBLISHING AND REMUNERATION:
Recently, I saw a posted notice from a publisher of a scholarly journal in
which she stated her willingness to provide e-texts from the journal. Her
biggest concern was that the journal has no institutional support and must
survive off of subscriptions and archive sales. No news here, this has to be
one of the primary problems with e-publishing.
This started me thinking - why would it be so difficult for me to purchase,
via e-mail, chapters or articles from e-journals? The aforementioned
publisher suggested that she could easily provide a table of contents and
excerpts, but again, the question was, how to be compensated. Her question
was whether or not providing this information would inspire subscriptions.
My feeling is that, for most of my academic work, there is no way that I could
afford to subscribe to all of the journals I have used for my research. What
I do is what most students do, I hunt down pertinent articles in the library
and xerox them. If I xerox a 15 page article at 10 cents per page, that's
$1.50. I would be more than willing to pay almost 2 times that much for a
soft e-copy of that same article. For most scholarly journals, that $3.00
would amount to almost half or a third of the cost of the entire issue. Let's
imagine for a moment that the publisher begins to post an e-copy of the table
of contents and excerpts from each new issue (as well as keep an archive of
the same from past issues) and is able to supply e-copies of requested
articles. It seems logical to me that the journal could realize a profit from
What I would propose is a system of voucher purchasing which could take place
at the researcher's university. The Academic Computing Facilities here at New
York University could sell me a $20 dollar voucher and assign me an account
number. The e-journal publisher would have to set up some kind of secure e-
mail account to which I could send my request for a specific article. In my
request, I would include my account number which they would use to collect
payment from the account I have set up at my univeristy.
At this point, I am stuck - it seems like e-transference of funds between
universities might be problematic. I might suggest that the e-journal
publisher come up with some sort of system whereby payments could be collected
once every few months from the countless requests from various universities.
However, if the part of the issue if to avoid the exchange of paper, maybe
someone could work out a scheme for taking care of this electronically.
I am undoubtedly ignorant of the countless technological snafus and
opportunities for fraud in a setup like this. At any rate - this would
clearly have to be a large scale academic collaboration. It would be geared
towards scholarly journals published in connection with a university and all
requests for articles, etc. would come from other scholars and academics
connected with universities which would be able to support the voucher system.
Undoubtedly, such a consortium would be possible given the current
proliferation of the CWIS's (Campus-Wide Information Systems) which are
providing highly sophisticated yet simple access to information for university
communities, both on and off campus.
I welcome all responses.
R. Scott deLahunta
New York University