I costi di una rivista scientifica

La biblioteca non ha tutte le riviste che servono ai suoi ricercatori e spesso non riesce a comprarne di nuove perchè gli abbonamenti hanno raggiunto dei prezzi davvero alti. Abbiamo detto spesso che una via di uscita potrebbe essere quella di orientarsi verso riviste open access, gratuite per l’utente finale e i cui costi di pubblicazione sono sostenuti dall’autore stesso. Di fronte a richieste di 1500-3000$ per la pubblicazione di un articolo molti però rimangono perplessi.

Quali fattori concorrono a creare questo costo? Sono giustificati o qualcuno “ci fa la cresta?”

L’articolo appena pubblicato Scholarly Publishing Re-invented: Real Costs and Real Freedoms
Julian H. FisherAnn Arbor, MI: Scholarly Publishing Office, University of Michigan, University Library
vol. 11, no. 2, Spring 2008 (URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.3336451.0011.204) fa un’analisi di questo problema dettagliando tutti i costi che concorrono a formare il prezzo finale di un articolo e una rivista

Lettura integrale consigliata, di seguito alcuni interessanti stralci:

The cost of copy editing depends on the area of specialization, manuscript length, and regional pay rates. Nonetheless, allocating from $25-$75 for a 5-10 page manuscript seems a conservative yet realistic number.

[…]The ongoing debate about the cost of publishing a scholarly article is often subsumed in the question of who pays. Today the familiar subscription model, in which the reader pays for publications, shares the economic landscape with a newer author-pays model. BioMedCentral and the Public Library of Science both began with low author-pays fees. Their fees have risen, though not to the level that commercial publishers (who have adopted the author-pays concept to some extent) have set their fees.

t[…]Not-for-profit fees that began under $1,000 now appear to have edged up to $1,500, while commercial publishers levy a $3,000 or greater fee on authors who wish to make their articles freely available at the outset.

Scholarly Exchange has begun experiments with a number of models to promote sustainability. Since a journal’s startup period, the first months to a year, may be the most fraught in terms of recruiting content as well as editorial and reviewing assistance, SE provides the initial year of participation for a journal at no cost. This financial encouragement facilitates publishing experimentation at no risk, for a new publication or to transfer what was a paper-based product to paper-and-electronic or electronic-only. SE has also been testing the acceptance and viability of various forms of advertising, ranging from automatically back-fed topic-related advertising to display advertising solicited by the journal or society and on-screen acknowledgement of journal sponsorship. SE has developed the capability for donation opportunities on-screen in association with article downloads to support journal activities. [SE] While the amounts gathered may be relatively small in relationship to the typical revenues from subscriptions, the costs that have to be offset under the Scholarly Exchange model are trivial. […]

While studies have pointed to first-copy paper or paper-plus-electronic production costs per article in the $4,000–$5,000 range, the current experience that Scholarly Exchange has had with its hosted electronic-only journals points to dramatically lower costs.[…]
The economic argument is controversial but supportable, and functioning examples are already in place. The commercial world and many of the open access journals still wedded to old and established technology have difficulty accepting these newer and dramatically lower cost models. Beyond that, there is resistance, perhaps better described as reluctance and doubt, from the very community that could benefit most, academics.

Promoting change requires an acknowledgment or an admission that the scholarly publishing mechanism is dysfunctional or broken. Many in the scholarly community fail to see the process in those terms, because the system appears to them to be functioning satisfactorily, and therefore the sought-after change has not occurred. They choose, for reasons of career advancement, to submit to journals that have an established reputation, are affiliated with their professional or scholarly society, or specialize in their field of expertise, not taking economics into account.

The existing system limps along at a cost that is not evident to academic users but is painfully apparent to administrators and librarians. The increasingly exorbitant prices are hidden in higher tuition fees, steeper institutional overheads charged for research grants, ever-longer lists of subscriptions cancelled, manipulative bundling arrangements, and restrictions on acquisitions of other reference resources—in effect the denial of access to intellectual resources.



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