The future of AAA publishing: Opening a conversation- A comment on not taking publishers at their word

Posted on October 20, 2011

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There is an interesting conversation going on over at the AAA blog-     The future of AAA publishing: Opening a conversation. I would like to comment on one of the statements-

“Publishing academic journals (even digital-only ones liberated from the cost of printing and moving paper) entails significant expense, including administration, copy-editing, type-setting, web development, hosting and archiving.  Revenues to support this must come from somewhere.”

I bolded the type-setting because I find this the most ridiculous point put out by publishers to justify costs.  Type-setting was a job of great importance 400 years ago when someone needed to create fonts and load letters into printing presses. Even a few decades ago the job was of importance, minus the need to physically set the letters into a printing press, but now it is not needed. Computers and free fonts has obliterated the need for someone to do type-setting. Most publishers do not even have a single employee who does typesetting yet they claim it costs money.

Give me a break! Until someone shows me the actual break down of costs AND that it is needed AND there is no cheaper alternative I will continue to be very skeptical that any one should pay for journals. Especially when we have so many open access choices, that are not author pays either.

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Posted in: Publishing