Re. Can journals monopolize science?

Marc Roussel mroussel at ALCHEMY.CHEM.UTORONTO.CA
Sun May 30 13:06:50 EST 1993


Roussel is correct in his response to Jong, but I am surprised that he
didn't also respond to the second point suggested -- that page charges be
raised (instituted?) to cover costs.

Certain parts of the world (natural sciences, economics, psychology?) have
had to endure "voluntary" page charges and even less "voluntary" submission
fees as part of the cost of "doing science." Those readers with grant support
or fairly philanthropic institutions may not have thought about the problem
these charges impose on unfunded authors. In my field (information science
this week) we have seen the "if you pay page charges you can have x "free"
reprints) approach from a Pergamon journal, but seldom see it otherwise.
Grant support is also pretty darned scarce and the journal demanding $$ would
quickly run out of submissions.

So who ultimately pays those page charges?  Well, if they are coming out of
your pocket, then you are (and probably not publishing very often or only in
those journals that don't charge fees).  If they are supported by your grant,
then the taxpayer (for NSF, NIH etc. grants) is paying them, along with
everything else. I am sure that an economist could give good reasons for
having and not having page charges; from my point of view they have little to
do with the _quality_ of the work, per se and a lot to do with keeping the
number of submissions down and costs down (or profits up??)  I would strongly
oppose raising them for the reasons suggested by Mr. Jong.

Kate McCain                          "bibliometrics R us"
College of Information Studies
Drexel University

mccainkw at duvm.ocs.drexel.edu

--------------------Original message----------------------------
In article <9305300438.AA13196 at net.bio.net> SJJ at ICBR.IFAS.UFL.EDU
("JONG, SONG-MUH J") writes:
>The difficulties of reviewing system can be solved by hiring more reviewers

     There's the crux of the problem:  Referees aren't hired, they are
volunteers chosen among the pool of active scientists.

				Marc R. Roussel
                                mroussel at alchemy.chem.utoronto.ca



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