On 5/19/2011 7:36 AM, Mike Taylor wrote:
> I dunno. How do you assess the whole realm of proprietary stuff?
> Wouldn't the same approach work for free stuff?
> -- Mike.
A fair question. I think there's maybe at least two parts: marketing and bundling.
Marketing is of course not ideal, and likely counterproductive on a number of
measures, but at least when a product is marketed you get sales demos. Even if
they are designed to make a product or collection look as good as possible, it
still gives you some sense of scale, quality, content, etc.
I think bundling is probably more important. It's a challenge in the free-stuff
realm, but for open access products where there is bundling (for instance,
Directory of Open Access Journals) I think you are likely to see wider adoption.
Bundling can of course be both good (lower management cost) and bad (potentially
diluting collection quality for your target audience). But when there isn't any
bundling, which is true for a whole lot of free stuff, you've got to locally
gather a million little bits into a collection.
I guess what's really happening in the bundling case, at least for free content,
is that collection and quality management activities are being "outsourced" to a
third party. This is probably why DOAJ gets decent adoption. But of course, this
still requires SOME group to be willing to perform these activities, and for the
content/package to remain free, they either have to get some kind of outside
funding (e.g., donations) or be willing to volunteer their services.