Who wins?

June 9, 1995

Paul Seedhouse University of York pks3@york.ac.uk

Stevan Harnad writes that the only expenses involved in producing electronic academic journals are editing expenses. He says that since authors "gain the most" from electronic scholarly publications, they should pay the cost of editing "through some version of page charges".

But he neglects to mention that although authors advance their careers through single articles in journals, the careers of editors are advanced through every article published in their journal. They "gain most". Applying his logic, the costs of editing should therefore be recovered from the editors.

It is not necessary to charge anyone for electronic academic journals, provided an institution is prepared to fund Internet access and give academics research time to edit the journal. A refereed electronic journal that does not charge anybody for articles and is not backed by any publisher or commercial sponsor is already in existence in my field. TESL-EJ has 3,000 readers in 55 different countries and is the only journal in the field which is available free.

So although both professors Harnad and Fuller imply that the involvement of publishing companies in producing electronic academic journals is desirable, it is not necessary.

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