How should advertising work in online journals?
(all this of course, IMHO, and not representing anyone else - but I'd like to start a conversation)
Compare many statements of the type:
"I don't want to pay for access, just support your service with advertising"
"It should be all open access, with the author paying, unless the author can't, then some foundation or other ought to pick up the slack"
to my horrified reaction:
"evil big publisher x dares to have Google ads on e access to journal y which we pay $x,000 a year to get"
to scientist/engineer reality:
"I sort of miss the ads for equipment and jobs, it made it easier to keep up with that sort of thing. I still flip through my society pub in print so I can get them. I'd like to be able to see older ones, too."
to publisher's reality:
- significant income used to come from advertising, particularly in chemistry and biomed journals, and as high as subscription prices are, they would be even higher without
- we haven't been able to convince advertisers to pay the same amount for online advertising
- we're getting a lot of crap for advertising in and around the scholarly journals we publish
Some publishers are picking only very relevant ads - like ones for scientific instruments while others, like one that starts with an Sp use Google Ads and they're frequently crap.
So how do we solve this problem? Some magazines have created online analogs of the print, that you can flip through like the print - and see ads, but this isn't the way most people use e-journals now. Magazines and trade pubs are used differently than journals. Some of the publishers surround the html pages for journal articles with carefully selected ads, but what do you do about pdf articles and "seagull" users (swoop in, grab pdf, leave)?
What would you say if your journal article got published and when it came out, it had an ad at the top of the pdf page? Maybe from a company you didn't like for some reason? (like poor experience with equipment or ethics or just bad blood with a sales person) Or what if you thought it made it look like your paper (or data gathering) were sponsored by that company, which could be a conflict of interest?