Re: ORGLIST: (prices of journals) x (the efficiency of the peer review process)

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From: Bob Gawley (rgawley$##$
Date: Tue Dec 08 1998 - 14:18:57 EST

Twenty years from now, maybe the expensive journals will have gone bust and
the cheap ones survived, but introducing new journals (even cheap ones)
still presents a short term dilemma:
How does one convince a librarian to purchase a new title when they are, at
the same time, looking for titles to drop? Furthermore, if we stop
subscribing to one journal to begin subscribing to another, we may save
money, but we will not solve the dissemination problem, we will exacerbate

Wouldn't an alternative solution be to convince publishers to either
publish their titles more cheaply or to discontinue them altogether?

The ACS has decided to launch a new journal "Organic Letters", presumably
to compete with "Tetrahedron Letters" and/or "Synlett". At the same time,
the "Journal of Organic Chemistry" will stop publishing communications. So
one journal becomes two. Both may be cheap, but Tet Lett and Synlett are
still there, and the net cost to the library just went up, not down. In an
ideal world, perhaps ACS could have convinced Elsevier to turn over Tet
Lett to them, and then -- assuming ACS could publish it less expensively --
we wouldn't need Org Lett.

>From my perspective, the short term situation is getting worse, not better,
as a result of these new titles. The long term situation will only get
better if the expensive titles are discontinued by the publishers, in which
case the librarians and nonprofit societies like ACS will have put
themselves in the questionable position of having driven a publisher out of
the business of scientific publishing. Is that such a good idea?

Just a thought.

Robert E. Gawley, Professor
Department of Chemistry
University of Miami
P. O. Box 249118
Coral Gables, Florida 33124-0431
Phone: 305-284-3279
FAX: 305-668-3313


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