. "Session 4 Panel Discussion." Impact of Advances in Computing and Communications Technologies on Chemical Science and Technology: Report of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1999.
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vestiges of a time when there were page charges in most of our journals. However, in competing with the commercial journals, which do not charge page charges, we felt we could no longer charge page charges.
There are, also, tax implications. The IRS said that if page charges are mandatory then scientific journals are advertising, and you must mark every piece of paper published in that journal, "This is an advertisement." We didn't want to do that. I don't know if the IRS has changed its position on this.
The ACS Board of Directors has said that we should eliminate all page charges, which even now are voluntary, as soon as we can. That decision was made about 15 years ago, and we are still tagging along with a small number of journals with page charges. Page charges don't seem to be a way to go as best as we can judge.
Richard Lucier: I would like to comment on the notion that small societies handle a large amount of the information that needs to be managed. I agree with you that that seems to be a reasonable way to go, but my concern is how that scales over time. What I have observed over the years with respect to the development of scientific databases is that they often start out as a "cottage industry" product. Developing the database was an interesting and innovative activity; an individual researcher/member of a society took it on for a while, but as the need for access, the importance of reliability, and changes in technology occurred, an infrastructure more robust than the "cottage industry" could provide was needed. Societies like ACS can provide some of that infrastructure. It is my belief that a federation of universities could logically provide that to groups of small societies as well. In some respects, HighWire Press is doing that in the biomedical sciences for a number of societies, providing an infrastructure that does scale. Each of those societies would have a great deal of difficulty building that infrastructure on its own.
Gary Mallard: One thing you said, Lorrin, that I would have to disagree with, concerns marketing. You actually don't have to market things. The WebBook, which gets a lot of usage, has never spent a nickel on advertisement, has never done anything, and it is a little bit like the baseball field in Iowa. If you build it, they do come, and if you build it with a reasonably high-quality product, I think they will come in droves.
Lorrin Garson: Especially if it is free.
Gary Mallard: Of course.
Robert Lichter, Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation: That gets back to the question of prestige.
Allen Bard, University of Texas: I can tell you my view. I think there are quantitative measures of it for whatever you want to look at, like impact factors, and although I don't fully agree with that, that goes along pretty much with a kind of community opinion. I know that certain departments, when they make tenure decisions, look at the list of publications, have a numerical multiplication factor, a division factor for different journals, you know, Science, Nature, JACS, and so on. So, there is, I think, a culture that believes this.
Lorrin Garson: Another factor that might play into prestige is rejection rate. Prestigious journals, shall we say, tend to have a much higher rejection rate, which probably leads to a higher quality. They publish the more high-quality material, and I think the community, certainly people who have published for any period of time, have a pretty good sense as to which journals have a high rejection rate and which don't.