Thu 6 Dec 2018 4:43PM

The COS can do a better/smarter fundraising effort than the one they are planning...

BC Bruce Caron Public Seen by 240

The proposed COS fees for preprint services are an invitation to failure.

They are directed at the wrong agents, and create perverse incentives.

If the COS wants to get money back from the people who use these services, they should be asking authors who have their content on the service, not the managers/editors who are already volunteering their time to shepherd the content into the service.

Any reasonable cost-recovery effort would support and applaud preprint efforts that manage to gain the most use. Instead, this would only lead to higher fees charged to people who are already working for free.

What happens when a preprint service cannot pay the fee? Didn’t the COS sign up to be the host of this content in perpetuity (whatever that means)?

Wikipedia does not ask its editors to pay for the service, it asks its users. The editor/governance volunteers for preprint services are the last people who should be tasked to come up with money to support these.


Stéphanie Girardclos Thu 6 Dec 2018 5:19PM

I agree with Bruce. I'm a happy volunteer for the edition and governance of EarthArXiv but not for fundraising. I'm already fed up with the obligatory search of my own research money (when in fact I just want to teach and search) so I don't want to start adding a new yearly money worry for EarthArXiv.
I agree with Bruce. COS (and thus EarthArXiv) costs should be put on final users.
It is logical and there is no reason why it should be free as long as it is non profit and costs are transparent. Authors from the Global South should pay a symbolic cost (1$) and authors from the Global North could be proportionally (over)charged for that missing financial input.


Bruce Caron Thu 6 Dec 2018 5:31PM

The service can first still try to be free, as Wikipedia is free. COS can tell the author "your work is here and safe and findable for now and the future... how about paying that forward, please donate so that we can add someone else's work to this corpus." COS can do an annual plea for funds this way, and also point out to the author how their metrics are doing.


Victor Venema Thu 6 Dec 2018 8:55PM

Sounds like the wrong people to ask and awful communication not to say this upfront.

Bruce, where is this COS request you are responding to? I have not seen it yet.

I did get a general donation request, which is similar to the Wikipedia funding model and seems more appropriate.

COS could also ask users (uploaders and downloaders) to provide them with contact information for their libraries, so that COS can send a funding request on behave of a happy user. Libraries would be the best institution to support repositories.


Bruce Caron Fri 7 Dec 2018 12:20AM

There is just some preliminary discussion from COS about charging each preprint service a fee based on how many new preprints they have each year.


Jamie Farquharson Fri 7 Dec 2018 7:34AM

Wikipedia is a great example, and there are plenty of other websites with a "donate a coffee" button or similar. If push comes to shove, I would help fundraising, but I would prefer that the onus doesn't fall on the moderators/editors/cheerleaders who are already devoting time and energy to the project.


brandon Fri 7 Dec 2018 9:02AM

+1, @jamiefarquharson. Make it simple, make it easy. It shouldn't take 9 clicks to make a donation. Microservices/payments can be really handy---e.g. flattr and others.


Christopher Jackson Fri 7 Dec 2018 12:50PM

Hi Bruce,

I hear and agree with most of this, although I can see why COS are, by their proposal to split costs via increased costs for larger services, trying to maintain the 'community spirit'. Not to pre-empt this afternoon's call, but I think they charging authors would lead to the death of many of the smaller, COS-hosted service; i.e. it's enough of a challenge to get people to engage with/use preprints, without then charging them for this...

Anyway, we can return to this thread after this afternoon's phonecall.




Bruce Caron Fri 7 Dec 2018 2:53PM

Hi Chris.... I didn't mean charge authors to put their content on the site, but challenge users to help out with donations, instead of putting this on the shoulders of the volunteers who are doing the work already.


Christopher Jackson Fri 7 Dec 2018 12:53PM

P.S. In essence, part of what I am saying is captured here:



Victor Venema Sun 9 Dec 2018 7:07PM

What was the outcome of the call?

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