Non-profit journals fight back

November 24, 2000

A St Andrews University economist is seeking academics' support for a bold initiative to use the internet to combat the growing cost of academic journals.

Manfredi La Manna, reader in economics, devised the scheme during a "commercialisation sabbatical", which he won in a St Andrews and Scottish Enterprise Fife competition. He was alarmed that soaring subscription costs meant many university libraries were cutting the range of journals, while libraries in developing countries were being priced out.

He has set up a non-profit-making company, the Electronic Society for Social Scientists, which is owned by the university. It plans to bring together an international pool of researchers to produce peer-reviewed online economics journals at half the price of their commercial counterparts.

"This is not a scheme to make St Andrews University or myself rich. It's a way of making the whole academic community less poor," Dr La Manna said.

"What makes a good journal is the people who write for it, the people who referee for it and the people who edit it, and they are academics. These publications are going to be distributed at the lowest possible price that is compatible with rewarding authors, referees and editors," he added.

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