STLQ: Commentary: The Crisis In Scholary Communication, by George Porter | May 14, 2004
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"The crisis in scholarly communications is now well into its third decade by many accounts. I was discussing journal cancellations with a faculty member when we touched on Henry Barschal's seminal analysis of commercially and society published journal prices. Stanford and Yale have collaborated to document the entire case of Gordon & Breach v. American Institute of Physics and American Physical Society.
Library-publisher dynamics have not changed greatly in the intervening years, but the broader awareness and concern with the topic has undergone a sea change in the last few years.
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) petition did not result in a massive boycott of journals. PLoS did make a significant splash with coverage in the broader news media at the time. The emergence of PubMed Central, BioMed Central, and PLoS as publishers has not gone unnoticed, perhaps due to the sensitization of faculty and the media through the earlier effort.
The latest example, though, drives home to me just how much things have changed. I've been tracking the ripples caused by Donald Knuth and the editorial board of Journal of Algorithms (Academic Press/Elsevier) resigning en masse on December 31 and launching ACM Transactions on Algorithms (TALG), as noted on The Sci-Tech Library Question? and in the PAM Bulletin. The latest ripple:
At What Cost? As the price of scholarly journals skyrockets, Stanford fights back. Stanford Magazine May/June 2004. A couple of pages of glossy alumni magazine coverage devoted to Stanford's difficulties with journal costs and library and faculty efforts to change the system.
Of course, the changes are not confined to alumni magazines. The Knuth/JoA shock wave is being noted within the academy, as well. Caltech Library System's Online Journal Database (OJDB) has had a place holder entry for TALG since word broke of the new journal. A similar place holder can be observed in the working journals collection of Algorithms and Complexity Research at Glasgow...."