The simple point about paying attention to the amount, not just the percentage, 
is an important one.

This is advice I have often given to librarians with respect to subscriptions: 
if a publisher is charging $1 million per year, then an 8% increase is $80,000. 
If a journal subscription is $100, then an 80% increase would be $80. If you 
need to ask a department to cover the increase as your library budget is flat, 
the 8% increase from the high-cost publisher is enough that the department may 
not be able to hire a new junior faculty member, while an 80% increase for a 
$100 junior might come out of the photocopy budget.

This is not an unrealistic scenario. There are still many not-for-profit 
subscription journals with prices in the $100 range, while there are a few 
publishers with such high costs that even a small percentage increase is a 
substantive amount. Even a 1% increase for a $1 million subscription is $10,000.

Note that I am also working on tracking OA APCs. There are good reasons to 
think that moving to this model will open up competition, however if existing 
publishers simply change business models, charge high APCs and increase at 
rates above inflation year after year, I don't think we should make any 
assumptions. I argue that we can have both OA and a much more cost-effective 
system, but this will not simply happen on its own. Wise policy and prudent 
spending decisions are essential.


Heather Morrison

On 2013-10-04, at 8:09 AM, "Frantsvåg Jan Erik" 
<<>> wrote:

I strongly support David here – and I do have some background in economics.
While profit margins could be compared in percentages, that is not always 
relevant, especially when the scales are so different as between Hindawi and 
Elsevier. One can actually compare dollars, and see who gets the most out of 
science …

An interesting aspect is that while Elsevier’s profits demonstrate the strength 
of monopolistic competition and is something we should be wary of, Hindawi’s 
shows that there will be room for new entrants to the OA business, this has the 
potential of driving prices (costs, to us in science) down. (Publishers will of 
course strive to try to prevent this, but we should see it as an opportunity.)

Seeing this as an irrelevant fact seems a bit narrow-minded?

Jan Erik

[] På vegne av David Prosser
Sendt: 4. oktober 2013 10:27
Til: Global Open Access List (Successor of AmSci)
Emne: [GOAL] Re: Scholars jobs not publisher profits


"Ignoratio elenchi"? That's from Harry Potter, right?  Spell meaning 'facts be 

Heather is interested in the flow of money out of academia.  If that is your 
area of interest then the profit margins of large commercial, legacy publishers 
are clearly of more interest than the profit margins of other players.  From 
the figures I quote (from your blog), Hindawi takes $300 of profit from each 
paper it publishers.  A large commercial, legacy publisher takes about $1200*.  
From where I sit (and I admit my knowledge of economics is almost as bad as 
that of Latin) it is clear that $1200 per paper is a significantly larger 
amount than $300 per paper and there is no way the figures back up your 
contention that 'It appears that the money is just moving from one set of 
publishers to another.'


*My conservative guess - happy to have people with access to the figures 
correct this.  It's basically 30% of $4000

On 3 Oct 2013, at 23:04, Beall, Jeffrey wrote:


Thank you for your ignoratio elenchi.


[] On Behalf Of David Prosser
Sent: Thursday, October 03, 2013 3:03 PM
To: Global Open Access List (Successor of AmSci)
Subject: [GOAL] Re: Scholars jobs not publisher profits


in the comment section to your post Ahmed Hindawi points out that the average 
revenue per paper published by Hindawi is about $600.  For people like Elsevier 
it is in excess of $4000 per paper.  I think it is clear which publisher is 
taking (significantly) more money out of the system.


On 3 Oct 2013, at 20:31, Beall, Jeffrey wrote:


 that Hindawi’s profit margin is higher than Elsevier’s. So, I am correct in 
assuming that you include Hindawi in your advice below, no? Also, it’s been 
revealed that a number of the higher ups at PLOS are drawing salaries of over a 
quarter-million dollars a year, and one was even drawing a salary of over a 
half-million dollars. It appears that the money is just moving from one set of 
publishers to another.


Jeffrey Beall

[] On Behalf Of Heather Morrison
Sent: Thursday, October 03, 2013 11:43 AM
To: Global Open Access List (Successor of AmSci)
Subject: [GOAL] Scholars jobs not publisher profits

My reaction to the EBSCO report on expected ongoing high price increases by 
some in the scholarly publishing sector at the same time that academics at my 
alma mater have been asked to consider voluntary severance has been posted to 
my blog:

My conclusion:

It is time for scholars, university administrators and research funders to wake 
up and realize that creation of new knowledge is done by researchers, not 
publishers. Don't give up your job or or let your colleagues give up theirs 
without demanding that the large commercial scholarly publishers give up their 
30-40% profit margins.


Dr. Heather Morrison
Assistant Professor
École des sciences de l'information / School of Information Studies
University of Ottawa<>

ALA Accreditation site visit scheduled for 30 Sept-1 Oct 2013 /
Visite du comité externe pour l'accréditation par l'ALA est prévu le 30
sept-1 oct 2013



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