Bavi Selk, Physicists push for free online journal access, Daily Texan, January 30, 2009. Excerpt:
…[T]he plan has met skepticism from journal publishers as well as some scientists.
UT physics professor Charles Chiu said journals should be priced in the free market but the groupâ??s plan might be an improvement on the current system.
â??Certainly there is room in improving the present journal-publication system,â? he said. â??It is conceivable that [the group] may lead to an efficient program, which has the potential to win out in competing with the current system of journal publication. Personally, I am comfortable using either system.â?
[Joseph Serene, publisher and treasurer of the American Physical Society] said the plan was well-intentioned and the American Physical Society would participate if the consortiumâ??s organizers collect enough money. But he said he worries that some of the participating libraries and research groups might eventually pull out of the project, leaving the journals with no financial support.
â??If it comes unglued, getting the subscription money back would be a real challenge,â? he said….The American Physical Society is a nonprofit group, and Serene said the price increases of journals are probably coming from commercial publishers….
Serene said UT pays about $17,000 a year for an online-only subscription to the American Physical Societyâ??s seven major journals, which includes about 16,000 papers a year. He said that after adjusting for inflation, that price had remained basically unchanged since 2003.
Additionally, Serene said his society allows its contributors to publish their papers on openaccess Web sites like arXiv, a free database that hosts draft versions of scientific papers.
â??Most anybody who really wants to see a paper can see it,â? Serene said, though he added that access was more restricted in other fields like biomedicine.
â??Itâ??s the kind of thing that sounds wonderful,â? Serene said of the consortiumâ??s plan. â??Weâ??d all love if scientific literature could be open to everyone. But weâ??re concerned it may have stability problems.â?