Monday, July 05, 2004

Open access and cross-subsidization 

Craig Newmark points to a blog just devoted to open access fora for academic research. Craig also points out an article in which scientific publisher Reed Elsevier is worrying about the decline of its business model.
Writing in the company's in-house Review newsletter, Sir Crispin Davis warned that asking researchers to pay for their work to be published but then making it freely available on the internet "could jeopardise the stable, scalable and affordable system of publishing that currently exists".

Sir Crispin, who received a knighthood in the Queen's birthday honours list for services to information and publishing, added that traditional academic publishers "safeguard the publication process and ensure that every research [sic] can submit their work for free, including authors from underfunded fields or developing countries".

The defence of Reed's business model, which relies on academic institutions paying hefty subscriptions for publications, comes as a committee of MPs prepares to report on the state of scientific publishing in the UK after an extensive review.
Most cross-subsidization stories strike me as simply justifying an inelastic demand curve to a regulator in return for being allowed to charge a high price. But that demand curve is getting more and more elastic...