(Please be aware, this article was posted on April 1st)
The Scholarly Kitchen is closing its toll gates tomorrow. After three years of blogging, the writing team behind the popular (and Webby-nominated) blog feels its work has achieved enough renown and reputation to command a fair price on the information market.
The Chefs will be offering a menu of payment options to our devoted readers. Annual metered subscriptions — named to be in keeping with our kitchen motif — will be available in several flavors, including:
- Demitasse: Read half of each post. $25 per month.
- Shots: Read three straight posts quickly — bang, bang, bang — and the next three will not make sense. $50 per month.
- Vente: Read all posts, become jittery. $75 per month.
In anticipation of a paying clientele, the Chefs have prepared some groundbreaking posts on topics and research sure to interest professionals across the spectrum of scholarly communication:
- Blood Samples Confirm of Publishers Come From Dark Side
- When Nature Calls — Science Publisher Launches Nature Urology & Scatology
- “I Thought It Was Tofu!” — Open Access Evangelist and Vegetarian, Stevan Harnad, Caught in Burger Joint
- Study Finds Librarians Really Are the Sexiest, Wittiest, and Nicest People in the World
The decision to erect a pay wall didn’t come easily to the Chefs. But a decisive Excel spreadsheet provided by Joe Esposito — who immediately claimed he was not performing premature quantification — clinched the deal. The other option — an author-pays model — was dismissed amidst rollicking laughter at the blog’s first business meeting, after Phil Davis turned his pockets out with a winsome smile.
“I’ve always enjoyed the work for its own sake,” said David Crotty. “But at the end of the day, a boy’s gotta eat!”
The Society for Scholarly Publishing played no role in the decision, leaving the business model and attendant revenues to the authors of the Scholarly Kitchen.
“We felt it best to let the writers determine the value of what they produce,” said Lois Smith, President of the SSP. “We think it’s priceless, but apparently, they think less of it than we do.”
With the decisive spreadsheet in hand, the Chefs have already secured loans from a large financial institution to erect a headquarters building just outside of Washington, DC. The building is planned to be a multi-purpose affair, with some parts leased out to lawyers, some given over to conference facilities, and other parts left vacant.
“We wanted it to be like any other publishing building,” said one Chef, wishing to remain nameless. “There’s something reassuring and familiar about it. Empty halls. Underutilized vastness. Feels like home . . . ”
The business plan also has a contingency built in to account for the possibility that nobody pays. Dubbed the SQS (status quo scenario), it simply means that the Chefs continue to work for nothing but fame and glory. Significantly, this tab on the spreadsheet is the only one we printed out.