Adapting Florida Entomologist

to Changes in the Numbers of Institutional Subscriptions

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In 1993, the members of the Florida Entomological Society (FES) implemented Immediate Free Web Access (IFWA) to the Florida Entomologist and became one of the first scientific societies to support the vision of a worldwide electronic information network.  Since then, many scientific societies and publishers have developed online versions of their journals. 

The transformation to electronic publishing improves accessibility, reduces the costs of library services, and reduces the need to print and distribute large numbers of paper reprints.  Most importantly, it greatly expands the opportunity to link research information and researchers together into a coherent, easily searchable structure.  Scientists, indexing services, and publishers have begun linking journal articles, databases, and other information together in highly productive ways. Journals in html format routinely insert links to articles or abstracts (e.g., Science). IFWA greatly facilitates the development of such linkages and reduces the need for large infrastructures to collect user fees or restrict nonsubscriber access. 

However, IFWA can be financially problematic for journal publishers.  Traditionally, publishers obtain revenue from author charges, personal subscriptions, and institutional subscriptions.  Scientists who can access journals online through an institutional subscription may cancel a personal subscription, and institutions may cancel subscriptions to journals that are freely accessible.  For this reason, many scientific societies (even those that provide online access only to subscribers) are finding it increasingly difficult to publish financially viable journals (for some background see previous issues of the Newsletter, Tom Walker's Electronic Publications Web Pages, and a pdf* report by the Entomological Society of America [ESA] Publications Committee).  After 7 years of relatively stable subscription levels, the number of institutional subscriptions to the Florida Entomologist for 2001 has declined significantly and FES must now take action to avoid a revenue shortfall.

FES faces the choice of abandoning IFWA or implementing new charges to cover its costs.  IFWA provides important benefits to authors and the scientific community (see The Impact of Electronic Publication on the Academic Community), and restricting immediate online access may inconvenience the membership without reversing the decline in the number of institutional subscribers.  Therefore, beginning with the March 2001 issue, the Florida Entomologist will assess an IFWA charge of $100 per article (see Authors Instructions). The IFWA assessment will be adjusted annually in accordance with changes in net revenue and changes in the costs and benefits of publishing in related journals.

*The ESA report is in PDF format.  In order to view it, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed.  (Click  to download).   Persons with visual disabilities can convert PDF files to text at

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12/16/00 Richard Mankin

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