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Hypermedia Online Publishing: the Transformation of the Scholarly Journal

8.6.6 Future prospects

When Todd Kelley started out with Project Muse, he thought there were 3 stages (each lasting about 3 years) that they would go through:

i. Startup period

During this phase, on the editorial side (the first copy content costs) he believed that print would subsidise electronic. It has essentially worked out that way. The money coming in from Muse is not going to royalties or editorial costs.

ii. Mature system

This would be characterised by up to 500 sites (or thereabouts) licensing Muse journals. As the project moves into this stage Muse has to pay its own way because grant money has run out and one can start to pay royalties for electronic access on top of print. This is essentially where the project is now. He predicted that as libraries start to drop print, there are costs that the press has which are higher (due to smaller print runs). As these costs change, they should disassociate costs of print and electronic to better reflect their individual costs. This then drives the transition of libraries from print to electronic. Round about year 4 of the project he expects print and electronic subscription rates to cross over. One can then add more and more subscriptions to the electronic product at near-zero marginal costs, which is not the case for print.

iii. All ties between print and electronic are cut

In this phase, print sales start to slip. This puts the Muse model and approach out front rather than tagging onto print. He hopes by end of 1998 that the electronic version will be the journal of record. Todd Kelley has been recommending that the press start to plan for print on demand for those who will still want print. He has also been recommending a document delivery service for those who want it. When asked about the long term future of print, he indicated that he thinks print will be gone altogether by 2003.

Last modified: Monday, 18-Sep-2017 03:28:07 AEST

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