Better late than never?

Greetings, faithful readers!  I’m sure you have both been wondering why the long hiatus — lots of reasons, mostly to do with laziness, but there’s one in particular I need to get out of the way right away.  I promised myself that I wouldn’t say anything on the blog until I’d corrected an error — and promptly stopped blogging for about two years!

But now I have things I want to talk about again, so it’s time (OK, way past time!) to do the necessary update.

In these two posts, I relied heavily on an NIH estimate of author-side charges, using it to calcluate page and colour charges on the basis of the assumption that most toll-access journals charge these.

On liblicense-L, Anthony Watkinson took me to task for that assumption, pointing out that it did not accord with his many years of experience as a publisher and going to the trouble of soliciting opinion from colleagues with similar backgrounds (all of whom agreed with him).

At the time, I could do no more than cede Anthony’s point that my claim was shaky at best. This followup is so long in coming because I kept fooling myself that I would do something about obtaining better data, but of course I have not managed to get around to that.  The references I do have for the NIH estimates are, shall we say, not up to the standard I would like:

1. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2008/09/open-access-science.ars
2. warning, huge pdf: http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/printers/110th/44326.PDF

and Anthony’s comments make it clear that more than half of the STM literature probably doesn’t levy page or colour charges — so if the NIH figures are to be believed and attributed to page/colour charges, someone must be really gouging!

I don’t know what’s up with the numbers, and I may never get around to figuring it out (though I still think the questions are interesting and would like to see whether, for instance, the NIH has better data available).  The point of this post is to highlight the problem with the figures I used, particularly the shaky nature of the references, about which I should have been much clearer in the first place.  I’ll update the old posts with links to this one.

My apologies to anyone who made use of the earlier posts for the unconscionably long time this update/correction has taken.

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