Sunday, 3 August 2008

For Free or for Fee? Dilemma of Small Scientific Journals

During a tidy up of my desk environment here at the home office cum multi media studio, I came across some interesting Manuscripts that I downloaded and printed out last year.

One in particular was worthy of a blog post. I know of at least one reader of McBlawg (yes xxxxx xxxxxxxx, that's you) who will be interested in this Manuscript.

It's an excellent Manuscript from 2007 by four members of the Editorial Board of the Croatian Medical Journal (CMJ).

Check out For Free or for Fee? Dilemma of Small Scientific Journals archived here in PubMed Central.

Peter Suber blogged about this Manuscript July 2007 and that's probably when I came across it.

From the intro:-

Biomedical publishing is becoming increasingly dominated by multinational companies, advertising research articles at the international market, presenting them electronically through web-based services, and distributing them to readers-consumers. It seems that they will soon become the sole publishers for the majority of biomedical journals. In the past decade, however, we witnessed a quiet revolution in the whole structure of scientific communication, influenced by new technologies and initiatives such as Open Access, PubMedCentral, PLoS, and BioMedCentral.

and then the


After analyzing pros and cons for commercial publishing, we concluded that the CMJ would not benefit from such a change. Our interests are beyond making a profit and we still think that setting the standards and education are the fundamental aims of the CMJ.

Finally, the audience and readership of the CMJ are very loyal to the journal, which serves as a meeting point for many Croatian scientists who also work abroad, and it is unlikely that most of them would welcome losing its distinct national character and scope. Therefore, we may conclude that, for the time being, there are no pressing reasons for the journal to join any big commercial publisher. The journal should stay true to the course that has proven so successful in the past, and make sure to regularly and carefully re-evaluate its position in international medical publishing.


Chris M0EEG said...

Nice post. I recently requested an estimate from a big publisher to print a not for profit supplement to allow an otherwise unpublished medical conference to appear in a medium-impact journal. £45k pounds (about $80k dollars US). This is just the cost of running print presses, ink, binding and postage. Even keeping things at charity status costs big money. The internet helps, but most major publishers would not allow a web-only supplement to receive the same credit (=impact) as their paper journal. Someone has to pay for publishing eventually.

McDawg said...

Thanks Chris m0eeg

"Someone has to pay for publishing eventually."

Absolutely. This applies to both print and on-line versions.

With regards to the case in question flagged up, can you confirm roughly how many pages we're talking about?

I'm still relatively new to the finite details of the STM publishing industry although I am reasonably aware that 'the supplement' contains/may contain raw data.

My knowledge on raw data and the potential ways in which this can be made more widely accessible at a more reasonable cost is virtually nil.

I strongly support all good Journals and admit that I need to learn more with regards to areas like this that I have not yet properly chartered. So thanks.

chris m0eeg said...

The supplement would have been 30 pages of peer-reviewed abstracts and a few full papers. No raw data. Most conference proceeding appear in such an adjunct to the main journal. Even electronic .pdf files need editing and laying out in the "house style." I am an editor of a journal, and know how long this can take.