Public Proponents Proliferating

I was recently reviewing research on the costs of recruiting subjects for population studies. I found that even with several million dollars of subscription costs paid by the University per year, about 1/3 of the articles I had identified were not covered by our subscriptions. These articles then required an additional $20 to $35 personal investment each if I wanted to see their details. For less well-endowed institutions, the challenge is even more significant for their faculty and students. In this context, it is heartening to read this report from the Public Library of Science organization. Not only have they published high quality articles but they have 5.4 million readers, 26,000 authors, 13,000 peer reviewers, over 11,000 articles submitted in 2008 and they project that 90% of operating expenses will be covered by the PLoS funding model by the end of 2009. Hats off to a daring and creative act of social and academic organization.

1 comment:

booksandbisquits said...

But your library, as well as many if not most others, employs interlibrary loan to defray those costs. My understanding is that for $5 per article at Countway you could get any of those articles with as little as a 24-hour turnaround time. With the National Library of Medicine's "Docline" system, you can have an interlibrary loan rushed through and can often get it in just a few hours. I agree that the per-article costs for medical and scientific journals are ridiculous, but the reality is that most physicians (as well as nurses, researchers, etc.,) connected to a library do not need to pay those high costs!