On the pressure for society journals to sell out

Ein sehr schöner Beitrag (leider finsterste Realität!) von Peter Murray-Rust, Should the Foology Society sell its journals to commercial publishers, A Scientist and the Web, May 17, 2009. (Fettdruck durch mich)

I received a request from a well-known learned society, which I will anonymise as the Foology Society … A well-known scientist and long-standing member and officer of the Society (Prof. Foo) rang me and asked if I could give her informal advice about whether the Society should sell its flagship journal to a commercial publisher. The motivation was not primarily to raise revenue, but fear about the commercial prospects of society journals. She sent me the following which epitomizes the concerns of many of the society officers:

Libraries will target most of their cost cutting attentions on the smaller academic/not-for-profit sector subscriptions in order to protect the large commercial contracts such as the “Big Deal” and similar consortia. The days of small independent publishing are over, out-licensing is the only way to protect publishing income.

She regards this as a catastrophe for the society and the journal and asked if I could provide contrary views.

via Peter Suber