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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorscott
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2012
    • (edited Feb 9th 2012)

    I’ve had a look at Scholastica, which seems quite good. They’re run by a bunch of UChicago associated people, and seem very responsive to comments. (I went through most of their interface, using their convenient builtin feedback form to comment on rough edges. I’m sure they would appreciate others doing the same.)

    I would really like to see them allow stronger arxiv integration — primarily, submitting manuscripts simply by providing an arXiv URL.

    Have other people looked at Scholastica? What other systems are out there?

    It would be great if we could collectively prepare a summary of the options available for review management — I think this would be a necessary part of making the case to editorial boards that it’s time to make the jump away from Elsevier.

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorscott
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2012

    I’m talking to the Scholastica folks on Friday Feb 10, as they want to show me the preliminary arXiv integration they’ve implemented over the last week. I’ll report back here.

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorSam Nead
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2012
    I believe that MSP wrote and now uses EditFlow -- http://msp.org/services.html -- talk to Rob Kirby to find out more.
    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorCschaffner
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2012
    I've also been talking to the developers at Scholastica. They showed me their prelim arXiv integration today and it looks smooth to me. They seem eager to provide whatever service is required by the community and they are really fast responding! They do not seem to have enough clients yet to make concrete promises about their pricing policy.
    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorCschaffner
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2012
    There's an open-source software called Open Journal Systems at http://pkp.sfu.ca/?q=ojs
    Open Journal Systems (OJS) is a journal management and publishing system that has been developed by the Public Knowledge Project through its federally funded efforts to expand and improve access to research.

    I do not have any personal experience with running or using this software. Does anybody else?
    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorScott Morrison
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2012

    I actually talked to Rob last week about EditFlow. I’ll try to blog about what I learnt, soon.

    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthorAndy Putman
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2012
    The big problem with Scholastica is that in their model, authors pay to submit their papers. I would be very opposed to going down this road with mathematics.
    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorNoah Snyder
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2012
    Andy could you explain that further? When I look at things like PLoS ONE it seems that the price point is higher than makes sense for math, but at a lower price point it seems like a totally reasonable sustainable model. The ArXiv's cost is $7 per submission, say we go up an order of magnitude and charge $70 per paper on average (with some sort of price discrimination: more if you have a grant, less if you're unemployed, or a grad student, or in a developing country). I'm not sure if that's enough, but if it is it seems like a totally great model to me. The only real downside I see is that it stops us from getting some money from universities library budgets that we get now. But given the decreases in library budgets I don't know how significant that loss is in the long run.
    • CommentRowNumber9.
    • CommentAuthorNoah Snyder
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2012
    Hrm, trying to do some back-of-the-envelope calculations with AGT. At $300 a year for an electronic subscription with say 300 subscribers that's $90,000/year. They publish roughly 100 papers per year. So that's $900 per paper. I'm not sure what their acceptance rate is, but say it's 50%, that would give you a price of $450 submission. So maybe I'm wrong in thinking you can get by with one order of magnitude above the arXiv, maybe it's two. That does make that funding model less appealing. I really would like to get a better handle on what a journal's budget looks like.
    • CommentRowNumber10.
    • CommentAuthorHenry Cohn
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2012
    My second-hand understanding is that for a small math journal publisher, you seem to need roughly $40-50/page for high-quality journal publishing, and that's if you're pretty efficient (which some journals aren't). You might be able to cut costs a little if you compromise on things like careful copyediting or formatting, or from amortizing fixed costs over many journals, but you won't save a lot without some real innovations. The main reason the arXiv's costs are so low is that submitting an arXiv paper hardly requires any human intervention; another is that they have huge economies of scale.
    • CommentRowNumber11.
    • CommentAuthorTerence Tao
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2012

    The Journal of the AMS (and, I think, some other AMS journals) switched to Editflow a few years back. I quite like the system as an editor (it is certainly superior to Centrack, which was AMS’s in-house system), but I don’t know how smooth it is to use on the production side of things.

    • CommentRowNumber12.
    • CommentAuthorSam Nead
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2012
    @Scott - I'll be interested to hear about EditFlow. Thanks!
  1. I would like to mention Annotum

    It’s a wordpress.org based solution, coming out of the BeyondPDF workshop last year.

    This is not really interesting for mathematics since we’re too used to LaTeX based solutions, but it’s useful to have in mind when trying to get other sciences on board.

    • CommentRowNumber14.
    • CommentAuthorScott Morrison
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2012
    • (edited Feb 11th 2012)

    @nsnyder, @Henry, my conversations with Rob confirm this sort of lower bound — MSP doesn’t think they could produce something like Geometry & Topology at under $50/page, and that’s after the investment in developing their own software (editFlow), and a lot of volunteer labour. Copy-editing (dubious importance, mostly it has added negative value to my own papers so far) comes in at about $30/page, so is essentially prohibitive for “low budget” journals.

    • CommentRowNumber15.
    • CommentAuthorScott Morrison
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2012

    @Noah, I’ve heard that the acceptance rate at G&T is about 1 in 3. I agree this makes “pay on submission” look very unlikely.

    To add some context regarding Scholastica’s intentions to charge on submission, currently the biggest journals they have on board are law reviews, with about 1500 submissions and 15 acceptances per year. They think $5 per submission looks fine there, and it sounds believable, but very far from our situation.

    • CommentRowNumber16.
    • CommentAuthorScott Morrison
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2012

    Further, @Noah (referring to the comment above about not getting money from university budgets), I think it actually makes sense to think about journal subscriptions and author fees as coming out of closely connected pots of money. UC Berkeley, for example, will pay up to $6000 per year (max $3000 per paper) to subsidize open access costs for faculty, and my understanding is that this money passes through the library system.

    Rob Kirby is currently proposing that libraries make this official policy — they promise to cover all their faculty’s submission fees, and then subscribe to journals out of whatever remains in that pot.

    This may end up being a necessary approach — the big commercial publishers are very much looking forward to charging us at both ends, submitting and subscribing. See, for example, the language in the investment report quoted from Gower’s blog post:

    Open Access is unlikely to hurt Elsevier in the next five years and the longer term risk is more than priced in, in our view.
    
    • CommentRowNumber17.
    • CommentAuthorNoah Snyder
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2012
    Do I understand right that the $50/page includes that $30/page? It's shocking to me that anyone thinks copy editing is worth that much.
    • CommentRowNumber18.
    • CommentAuthorNoah Snyder
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2012
    Hrm, looking over it again probably since they're "low cost" you're saying that they don't do copy-editing. But probably that $50 includes printing? Looking at their pricing it appears that the costs of printing and distribution are probably only a third of the total, so electronic only would still be a lot if money.
  2. This recent addition to journals of the LMS: http://education.lms.ac.uk/the-journal/ might be interesting.

    It’s entirely online, open-access, combining a blog with a journal, allowing commenting via wordpress etc. Very simple, using established, reliable technology. Should be worth asking for advice.

    • CommentRowNumber20.
    • CommentAuthorScott Morrison
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th 2012

    @Noah, I’m actually a little unclear on this. I think that G&T does spend significant money on copyediting. I’ll interrogate Rob next week.

    • CommentRowNumber21.
    • CommentAuthorHenry Cohn
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th 2012
    I don't know how much they spend, but in my experience MSP has some of the best copyeditors I've ever dealt with. (AK Peters did too, before Alice and Klaus were terminated by Taylor & Francis.) This makes a real difference - at most journals I find dealing with copyeditors to be a frustrating exercise in keeping them from introducing typos or inconsistencies. However, the two times I've published in G&T I've been really impressed, so whatever they are doing, it's working.

    One of my fears, as a perfectionist, is that in the end there will be no market for high-quality journals, and it will turn out that putting author-typeset papers on a web site is all the community is willing to pay for. That wouldn't be so terrible, but something would be lost.