Zeitschriften der DMG digital

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK
Sun Apr 19 09:46:58 UTC 2009

I've now worked out what I was doing wrong when trying to save page images 
of the ZDMG.  A silly error, and being able to save the page images really 
does help.  As you say, Steven, one can patiently save pages, and then 
print them out for quiet, serious reading.  And even make one's own PDF 
for later use and convenient storage.  Time-consuming, but nevertheless 
not hard to do.

On Sat, 18 Apr 2009, Lindquist, Steven wrote:

> The setup of this webpage retains a value for the print editions (past 
> and future), but is "completely free" to the end user who reads from the 
> online version.  By not making PDFs available for download, there is 
> still a value for the past/future print editions (new subscriptions, 
> people/libraries who own previous issues, and so on).  Going through a 
> mildly annoying process to print an article here or there should not 
> significantly hurt their financial bottom line.  Giving everything away 
> via PDF would.

Yes, I do take your point.  And JSTOR was a bad example for the reasons 
you gave.

However, there are more than four thousand journals and a quarter of a 
million articles available as free, Open Access pdfs, and that only counts 
those listed at http://www.doaj.org/.

Without examining the accounts of the ZDMG, it's difficult to make a 
definitive argument about the continuing financial value of back issues. 
I'm skeptical, though.

Furthermore, it is a documented certainty that making online journals 
available free (with article PDFs) often actually *increases* the sale of 
paper subscriptions.  This is the case with the journal Medical History, 
for example, that is edited out of my former department at UCL. 
(http://www.ucl.ac.uk/histmed/publications/med_hist) It's Open Access, 
free for both contributors and online readers, and yet the print 
subscriptions have gone up substantially since it was made Open Access.

However, maybe I'm wrong about the ZDMG specifically, and it is worth 
inconveniencing all current scholars for the sake of this back-revenue. 
If that is the case, then I would like to be given an option to pay a 
small fee perhaps one or two Euros per article, to have them as PDFs 
rather than the present system.  More rational would be to have an 
optional monthly or annual subscription, kept at a low level (say €20-30 
per annum) to allow the ZDMG to provide a convenient, modern service while 
protecting its presumed residual income.  Or a moving-wall of 10, 50, 100 
years (!) for whole PDFs.  Many solutions can be imagined that would help 
us all.

I don't want to sound ungrateful to the publishers of the ZDMG.  Having 
the back issues online in any form at all is superb.  And the keyword 
search facility, that we haven't mentioned, is also of incalculable value. 
It is just a pity that the project went so far, but at the very end point 
of delivery it retains a type of protectionism that creates a not 
insignificant frustration and waste of valuable research time for its core 


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