Pull quote: “Mathematicians have developed a very different approach to disseminating their own work, and accessing the work of their colleagues, from those that have developed in literature or anthropology. If the approach to publication contracts is to be made more rational and more attuned to the specific contexts that contracts are supposed to address, the disciplinary groups need to lead the way. We could make a lot of progress, I hope, if major scholarly societies drafted model publication agreements and offered them to their members to use.”

Pull quote: “It is very important that the MLA, one of the oldest and largest scholarly societies in the U.S., is taking notice of the changes that are happening in scholarly communications. As with the faculty open access conversations, this is evidence that change is penetrating the academy broadly and deeply. The revolution in scholarly communications will not, in the end, by accomplished by librarians; it will be accomplished by scholars, authors and their scholarly societies. That those groups are beginning to notice the need for change and to engage in the debates about how to accomplish it is a significant step forward.”

Pull quote: “Instead, the societies with comparatively robust revenues benefit from having a common source of income: an online scholarly database or bibliography. Such digital platforms for scholarly information evolved from projects that were hatched decades earlier, often sparked by the peculiarities of history or the obsessions of individual scholars. They have grown in importance over time and have come to serve as the intellectual nerve center of the discipline.”

Pull quote: “For small scholarly societies, subscriptions to their scholarly publications can make up a large portion of their operating budgets. Moving to an open access model may mean the loss of some of this revenue, and society members may question whether an author-pays model of open access publication will be able to offset the cost of publication. On the other hand, many societies may see a greater fulfillment of their mission by expanding open access options.”