Please feel free to use this archive of the Links and Trends sections of my web site as a reference source. However please note that as of May 2014 this information is no longer updated and therefore we cannot guarantee the functionality of all links.

Electronic and virtual publications

How Much Information? - For a report from Hal Varian’s group at Berkeley which confirms that with the world population estimated to be  6.3 billion,  almost 800 MB of recorded information is produced per person each year. It would take about 30 feet of books to store the equivalent of 800 MB of information on paper.

A clear review of the current stages of development of institutional repositories by a former librarian at Georgia Tech.

PubMed Central (PMC) changed its policy in two areas that make it more attractive to publishers to participate. Firstly the strict requirement for publishers to have their full text hosted on the PMC site - as distinct from their own- is now waived and PMC will provide a link to a journal site. Secondly, for those who do deposit their data with PMC, a copy of this data is available on request at no cost, and in parallel a project is well underway to digitize back issues – a solution to long term archiving? The result has been growth in the number of PMC journals from an initial 8 to over 100 by February 2004, and now just over 80 in January 2006. Note that more than 60 of these journals are from one Open Access publisher BioMed Central.

A recent report by Simon Inger and Tracy Gardner on How readers navigate scholarly content is now available and provides a comparison with a previous study in 2005 noting essential changes.

Do Open Access articles have greater research impact? An article by Kristin Antelman in College and Research Libraries September 2004 shows that they do.

ISI published an article (Oct.2004) on the relative citation and immediacy of open Access journals across a number of disciplines within the ISI JCR.


Change in coverage of OA journals within ISI JCR from February 2004 to June 2004. (source: McVeigh: OA journals in the ISI database: Analysis of Impact Factors & citations patterns: Oct 2004 )

Technology Review is enabling users to download an exact replica of the magazine that has resulted in immediate growth of its international subscriber base. The cost of an annual “download” subscription is $30 the same as print but faster and cheaper than the $64 international subscription price.

Amedeo  - the medical literature guide provides weekly e-mails with bibliographic lists of free medical articles and information The site asserts "Within the next two years, the most important medical journals will be available online, free and in full-text. The access to free scientific knowledge will have a major impact on medical practice and attract Internet visitors to these journals. Journals that restrict access to their Web sites will lose popularity." The site is supported by educational grants from 8 pharmaceutical companies.

Online Community Report - For anyone interested in finding out more about online communities, there are lessons to be learned from the online consumer communities, although all of them translate across to professional publishing effectively.

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Domain Totals (URLs)

Percent Loss

.edu (234)


.com (73)


.org (60)


all URLs (515)



Open access and openly accessible: a study of scientific publications shared via the Internet published in the BMJ by JD Wren. The article  examines the posting of journal reprints on non-journal web sites and compares posting trends between open access and subscription based journal articles . The broad conclusion is that the higher the impact of the publishing journal and the more recent the article, the more likely it is that the article can be found online at a non-journal web site.

Bergstrom and McAfee have conducted an exhaustive review of journal pricing across all the major disciplines using a range of analytical methods to assess cost-effectiveness. Their site also includes an open letter to university administrators making the case powerfully that the symbiotic relationship between faculty and publishers, where each benefits from the other, has broken down completely, especially citing evidence that commercial publishers are the worst offenders.

“With apparently immaculate timing, in July 2004, we saw both a  US Senate appropriations committee and a UK House of Commons Select committee that both published proposals and reports that may have a profound impact on scholarly publishing most especially in biomedical fields. Each group proposed full open access to research articles, funded by tax payers, either through posting on the NIH Pub Med Central service in the US or on appropriate, and in most cases, yet to be built institutional repositories in the UK.

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) has recently announced that author fees will increase from $1,500 per article after July 1st 2006.  Fees for articles published in PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine will each increase to $2,500 and fees for the PLoS community journals will increase to $2,000.  A news story about the financial performance of PLoS states that income covered just 35% of expenses in 2005 and that the original Moore Foundation grant money is running out fast.

Another initiative supported by ARL and SPARC from publishers and journals that do not serve the research community. "Declaring Independence" includes a diagnostic guide for Editors to help answer the question " Is your journal truly serving its community". The site includes data by discipline on the average subscription price for titles plus a rich bibliography.

The Promise and Peril of 'Open Access'  - For an overview of the current situation on open access based on a series of recent interviews with the stake holders. Now economists are concerned about journal pricing, and this web site clearly articulates the concerns, and the economic facts and arguments from Ted Bergstrom an Economics professor at UC Santa Barbara.

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Library budgets and licensing

Low uptake of Institutional Repositories (IR) by faculty in recent surveys echoes earlier results. An excellent summary of the work done recently on understanding the resource implications and state of IR’s concludes that the more mature an IR is, the more skeptical respondents have become about the success of any given content recruitment strategy. This challenges IR’s as a tool for transforming the current scholarly publishing model.

"Creating Congruence” by Margaret Landesman and Johann Van Reenen. A thought provoking article on the apparently opposing forces librarians are now supporting with recommendations for resolution.

Although the devil as always is in the detail, key findings of the ebrary sponsored 2008 Global Student E-book Survey include the following:

  • On research or class assignments, e-book usage is on par with print books, with almost equal numbers of students using each type.
  • Fifty-one percent of students would “very often or often” opt to use electronic versions of books over print versions, compared to 32% who “sometimes” prefer e-books and 17% who always use the print version.
  • E-books rank among the top resources students consider trustworthy, along with print materials such as books, textbooks, reference (dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps), and journals.

ARL Libraries Total Electronic Serials Expenditures, 1995-2001

Expenditures for electronic serials have increased by 75% in the last two years alone and by 900% since 1994.

Data from the ARL Supplementary statistics show that ARL member library expenditure on electronic serials and subscription services have increased from just $11 million when first reported on this survey in 1994-95, to more than $151 million today (see charts). Also, 48 ARL libraries reported another $20.3 million expended on their behalf through centrally funded consortia. In addition to library materials funds, libraries spent $12,578,752 for document delivery and interlibrary loan activities and $25,006,573 for bibliographic utilities, networks, and consortia in 2001-02 from their operating funds (excluding staff costs).

Mary M. Case, "A Snapshot in Time: ARL Libraries and Electronic Journal Resources," in ARL: A Bimonthly Report of Research Library Issues and Actions from ARL, CNI, and SPARC , August 2004. Mary’s paper focuses on the seven commercial and seven nonprofit publishers whose electronic titles were most subscribed to by libraries responding to a series of surveys. The study “..confirms that libraries need to be tough when negotiating uses of the resources they need and that support from others on campus has been critical in canceling journal bundles and/or negotiating better terms with publishers”. There is a reportedly rapid pace with which {ARL} libraries are choosing electronic formats and canceling print.

A research project is in process at Drexel University to evaluate the economic implications of converting the current journal collection of a university library to an all-digital format. Click here to view an article by Carol Montgomery on the impact of e-journals on library costs.

Elsevier and the “big deal” - This article documents some current librarian response to Science Direct pricing for 2003.

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Online business models and pricing

Beware of reports on reports! The report published by the UK Research Information Network entitled UK Scholarly Journals 2006 Baseline report claims to be “as authoritative a base of evidence as can currently be constructed” According to the RIN web site an expert panel was assembled to ‘rigorously check the data and conclusions presented to them’.  In the sections that deal with my own work for JISC in 2005 notably in Area 2 of the report: Journal supply-side economics, there are a number of errors of fact and analysis ranging from over-simplified and thus meaningless views of numbers and costs derived from my report, to an incomplete description of the disciplines covered and inaccurate statements about the publishers’ data included in the report. A member of the expert panel commented to me “...we did not review every piece of evidence in detail and so unfortunately may have missed some issues.” So when you need to refer to the report, go back to the original sources for accurate figures, as I expect my report is not the only one poorly represented.

The price of University Press books - includes the results of a survey which revealed that university press book prices increased by 13.6% 1989-2000 whereas the Consumer Price Index went up by 38.9%.

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Pre- and e-prints

 "The Santa Fe Convention of the Open Archives Initiative" -  D-Lib Magazine  (February 2000). For a thoroughgoing review of where preprint servers are and where the authors believe they are heading - technically and for the research communities.

OSTI for the Pre-Print Network - subject pathways - provided by the US Office of Science and Technology Information (OSTI). This segment of the site links to pre-print collections in all of science and medicine. Looking through it will give a sense of how rapidly this form of communication is growing.

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Publishing News The Open University in the UK is one of the longest established open learning universities and is now thoroughly online. With 200,000 students enrolled at any one time, 580 undergraduate and postgraduate courses and at an average cost to each student for a 3 year undergraduate degree course of 4,100 ($6,150) the success of the OU is plain to see. 80% of OU undergraduates are in paid employment.

A short but informative article of particular interest to publishers on “Fair use and distance learning in the digital age” by Millison Smith which addresses controversial legislation on access to copyright material by distance learners. MIT announced in April 2001 that all the course material used with undergraduate and graduate students at MIT would be made available free of charge online for access anywhere in the world. Note: This initiative is not distance education which requires considerable investment of time and resources in the essential support of students and interaction between and within groups.

A new blog “Search Done Right” from the proprietor of vivisimo could be worth watching. It is at - The aim is to explore the latest trends, challenges, and news related to search and search technology. The first posts are up and reader commentary is enabled and welcome.

The Tasini Ruling: What the Future Holds - For a brief and clear overview of the "Tasini case" in which freelance writers won a major ruling from the US Supreme Court when the court ruled that companies must obtain freelancer's permission for republishing their work on the Internet. Exactly how much money will be distributed to freelance writers who are affected by this ruling has not yet been determined.

The annual Society for Scholarly Publishers (SSP) meeting in Boston in 2008 included many interesting sessions on “Inventing the future of scholarly publishing” essentially the impact and outcomes of so-called web 2.0. A summary of the meeting is available here but a small list of think points drawn from this meeting for consideration follow:

  • Be very clear about access rights and policies and work with and support community platforms.
  • Content portals position a publisher for the article economy and give the opportunity to experiment further with access models.
  • Before investing in virtual online venues, investigate where customers hold accounts and what they are doing on existing sites - lectures and conferences are most profitable and popular so far.
  • Handling reviewers is becoming one of the biggest if not the biggest challenge facing editorial offices.

Note that Ingenta has partnered with Baynote to provide an article recommendation service that is similar to the large consumer sites. According to the Baynote site,  “recommendations are automatic suggestions given to web site users that help them find products or content they like or need. It works with any type of content: products, articles, PDFs, videos, advertising, and more. Think of it as Amazon's suggestion system that is now available for any business web site.”

A brief summary of the author-side payments implemented in the past year or so by the largest commercial publishers as they experiment with Open Access to primary research articles through hybrid OA models. Notice the different names given below to each of the programs offered by these publishers.


Author - side fee per article

Which journals?

Blackwell see:

Blackwell Publishing - Online Open

$2,500 in 2006

108 out of 805

Elsevier see:

Elsevier - Article Sponsorship


6 in nuclear physics

Springer see:

Springer - Open Choice


All science

Taylor and Francis see:

iOpen Access


175 chemistry, math and physics

John Wiley see:

John Wiley - Funded access


45 biomedical


Copyright in E-mail -  A short overview of US copyright protection is included in the article "Copyright in e-mail" by Thomas G. Field. The article addresses all aspects including e-mail discussion lists and is essential reading for any publisher hosting or developing a community of users through e-mail.

Oxford University Press scaled up its Open Access experiment with Oxford Open at $2,800 per article and a discount to researchers whose institutions already have a current online subscription.

Tenopir and King’s article on “An evidence-based assessment of the impact of the author pays model” is a clear overview of some of the core issues and includes some perhaps surprising facts, such as only 15- 20% of US scientists have authored a refereed article.

The American Institute of Physics announced an experiment with the Open Access business model. From January 2005 authors of 3 AIP journals can pay $2,000 for their articles to be freely available online on publication. AIP have made a commitment to reduce their online subscription prices proportional to the uptake of this option.

For an interesting retrospective on online only publication of articles by the journal Pediatrics. The article includes plenty of data and analysis on the citation of articles published online versus print. Author perceptions of the differences between print and online publication are also explored. "Economic Cost Models of Scientific Scholarly Journals" by Donald W. King and Carol Tenopir. This report establishes trends and provides data regarding authorship, publishing, distribution and use of scientific scholarly journals.

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Last Modified: May 30, 2014

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