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RE: Koreanosaurus (regarding PDFs instead of forelimbs)
My question is: why do scientific papers use for-profit publishers (such as
Elsevier) AT ALL? Why not a nonprofit organization (Such do exist - like PLOS -
but why does the other kind exist *at all*, much less be predominant)?
Obviously there'd still be costs somewhere, but it seems that it'd necessarily
be less without a profit motive. (Nowadays anyway. In the pre-Internet age,
economies of scale mattered for publication, so it wasn't necessarily the case.)
If one doesn't require print copies, the concept of a 'publisher' as in a
company whose main work is publishing is entirely unnecessary - internet
publication is too easy, with essentially zero startup cost, to require that.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jaime Headden" <email@example.com>
To: "Mike Taylor" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Dinosaur Mailing List"
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 3:23:38 PM GMT -06:00 US/Canada Central
Subject: RE: Koreanosaurus (regarding PDFs instead of forelimbs)
Mike, you wrote:
< Right. Publishers are supposed to make money by, you know, publishing. Making
available. Spreading the information around the world. It's pretty funny that
many publishers now spend most of their effort in trying to prevent information
from being published.>
Publishers have to make money; they do this by marketing their items for
sale, not for giving out free versions -- at least this is how it works for
popular fiction. If they can meet their projected overhead, they can afford to
push a free-market campaign to increase interest, but only if they project the
item sells well (so they invest more money into the project by giving away
product or underselling).
You are forcing a product with a limited appeal and near mandatory publishing
regime to run on the same marketing platform as Legos. That doesn't fly.
Publishers of scientific magazines run on a different program than toys, and
that includes the fact that they sometimes run at a loss, and continue to do so
throughout their run (especially if they are only supported through donations
and registration fees and dues, like several paleo and geo journals are).
Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)
"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)
"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion
> Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2010 19:04:24 +0100
> From: email@example.com
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> CC: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; DINOSAUR@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Koreanosaurus (regarding PDFs instead of forelimbs)
> On 20 October 2010 18:10, Augusto Haro wrote:
> > 2010/10/20 Jonas Weselake-George :
> >> Regarding redistribution of papers, some historians of science have
> >> argued that the critical moment was when people stopped keeping their
> >> knowledge secret (eg. alchemy's secret rituals) and started openly
> >> publishing their work. Almost all other techniques followed after that
> >> step.
> > I think publishers, as all the people in the world, have to live from
> > their work and the money it produces, and thus have to be compensated.
> > However, inasmuch as they do not starve because of people making pdfs
> > free I have no objection to the latter procedure, but only praise.
> Right. Publishers are supposed to make money by, you know,
> publishing. Making available. Spreading the information around the
> world. It's pretty funny that many publishers now spend most of their
> effort in trying to prevent information from being published.
> BTW., the best way to get a given paper -- especially new ones -- is
> nearly always to email the author. I have never yet met an author who
> wasn't delighted that someone's taking an interest in his work.