1.2 BIBLIOGRAPHY ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES, Lloyd Davidson
1.3 NASIG PREVIEW, Mary Elizabeth Clack
1.4 UKSG PREVIEW, Marcia Tuttle
1.5 TASK FORCE ON THE ECONOMICS OF ACCESS TO LIBRARY MATERIALS, Marcia Tuttle
1.7 GOOD READING
1.9 OVER TO YOU
Welcome to the first issue of the ALA/RTSD Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues. By way of introduction, let me reproduce the press release from the ALA Public Information Office:
The Resources and Technical Services Division of the American Library Association has created the Subcommittee on Serials Pricing Issues to gather and disseminate statistics and other data on the rising costs of journals to libraries, perhaps the greatest concern among academic libraries today. The creation of this body is an effort to reduce duplication of effort among persons and institutions assessing and combatting the impact on their collections of unprecedented increases in the price of serials. The group is also charged with identifying trends in serials pricing and determining what additional data need to be gathered. The subcommittee acts as a clearinghouse for information about serials pricing: news, studies, questions, and other concerns. Part of the Resources and Technical Services Division's Publisher/Vendor-Library Relations Committee, the subcommittee is composed of persons with experience in gathering statistics on serials prices and trends: Deana Astle (Clemson University, how to do pricing studies), Mary Elizabeth Clack (Harvard College, price indexing), Jerry Curtis (The Faxon Company, publishing and currency exchange), Charles Hamaker (Louisiana State University, collection development), Robert Houbeck (University of Michigan), and Marcia Tuttle (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), chair. Collection and dissemination of information is by both electronic and paper formats. Electronic newsletters are being offered through ALANET, BITNET, and The Faxon Company's DATALINX. EBSCO customers will have access to the newsletter on EBSCONET. Persons wishing to receive either the electronic or the paper newsletter may send their user id or mailing address to the Chair. There is no ALA charge for the newsletter in either format. Communications about serials pricing issues may be sent to the subcommittee chair, Marcia Tuttle, in several ways: on ALANET - "Tuttle"; on BITNET - "Tuttle@UNC.BITNET"; on Faxon's DataLinx - "Tuttle"; and by paper mail - Serials Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, C.B. #3938 Davis Library, Chapel Hill NC 27599-3938.We have not tried to determine a frequency for the electronic edition of the newsletter, but intend to transmit while the news is still news. The paper edition is expected to go out about every two months as dated memos. While we will be happy to send the paper edition, BITNET is by far the easiest and least expensive for the editor, and we encourage you to use that system if possible.
Please feel free to use any information in this newsletter in your work. Contributors and the editor would appreciate credit.
Response to the press release, based on the brief mention in CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION and HOTLINE continues at the rate of 10 to 12 subscribers and inquiries each day. Many of you have sent news and questions, some of which are incorporated into this first issue. Please accept the committee's thanks and keep them coming! Our survival depends on your participation, as well as the continuing library need for serials pricing news.
1.2 BIBLIOGRAPHY ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES
Lloyd Davidson, Life Sciences Librarian, Seeley G. Mudd Library for Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston IL 60208, BITNET: L_DAVIDSON@NUACC.ACNS.NWU.EDU, ALANET: ALA0996 or NW.LD.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The High Cost of Science Journals
As anyone knows who has any responsibility for ordering journals these days, the cost of science journals has risen much faster than the cost-of-living index. This has forced many institutions, including mine, to begin cancelling all those journals which are at all peripheral to the major research areas we serve. (At Northwestern we received some unexpected help in making some of these decisions from our campus administrators when they cancelled the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.) This cost increase, which is especially high for foreign journals and those produced by commercial publishers such as Academic Press, Pergamon, Elsevier, and Gordon & Breach, is due only in part to the falling dollar. The effects at Northwestern have been so severe that it has completely emptied our monograph budget and leaves us very little latitude for exploring new areas like CD-ROM databases. As an aid for those who would like to review this issue, I have listed here several recent articles that discuss various aspects of the problem:
Dionne, Richard J. 1988. "Science Libraries at a Crossroads." American Scientist 76 (3), 268-72. An excellent general review of the effects rising journal costs are having on library budgets and a discussion of the impact of technology, including CD-ROM, on library services. Several citations to related articles are included. Thompson, James C. 1988. "Guest Editorial -- Journal Costs: Perception and Reality in the Dialogue." College and Research Libraries 49 (6) (November): 481-82. Thompson makes a very successful attack on publishers like Robert Maxwell, owner of Pergamon (an easy target), and other for-profit science journal and book publishers who he feels are largely to blame for the rising cost of science journals. Meyers, Barbara. 1988. "Price Comparison Study of Optics Periodical Literature 1984-1986." Optics News 14 (5) (May): 21-25. Note: The reprint I have is dated August 1988 (revised), Copyright Optical Society of America. A comparison of the cost per 1000 words of major optics journals in 1986. When ranked by cost most commercial publications were in the most expensive half, most society journals, with the exception of translation journals, were in the least expensive half. The most expensive journal covered was the Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, published by Wiley- Heyden, which costs nearly $1 per 1000 words. The least expensive was Optical Engineering published by the Int'l Soc. for Optical Engineering (SPIE) at 4.2 cents per 1000 words. Mermin, David N. 1988. "What's Wrong With This Library?" Physics Today 41 (8) (August): 9-11. Controversial and grimly amusing article which blames physicists, libraries, and publishers for the problem. His most radical suggestion is the circulation of a cancellations newsletter among libraries and other interested parties. "A Faculty Member's Perspective." U.C. Davis Library Newsletter (Both the title of the newsletter and the complete citation are unknown.) The author is chairman of the Human Physiology Department at U.C. Davis, and he follows the change in cost per page, calculated in 1972 dollars, of two journals, the American Journal of Physiology (AJP), published by the American Physiological Society, and Microvascular Research (MVR), published by Academic Press, from 1972 to 1987. The real cost has been quite stable for the AJP over this period, about 2 cents per page, while for the MVP the cost per page was 3 times that of AJP in 1972 and has since nearly doubled, in 1972 dollars, to over 10 cents per page. He also finds that the number of published pages has increased faster than the number of scientists and scholars, by a factor of 2.5 times, a fact that he interprets as a kind of publication inflation response to tenure and research funding decisions which use number of publications as a measure of productivity. Abrahams, S.C., and Matula, R.A. 1988. "Crystallographic Publishing in Retrospect and Prospect." Acta Cryst. A44:401-10. Interesting general paper that briefly discusses cost per 1000 words of 15 journals in 1986. The range is from 1.1 cents/1000 (Inorg. Chem./American Chemical Society) to 11.5 cents/1000 (J. Less-Common Met/Elsevier). Jones, Daniel H., and Bowden, Virginia M. 1988. "Journal Cancellation." (letter) Science 242 (9 December): 1361. Report of a survey done among science libraries in the Southwest that found 13 libraries have cancelled about 1200 subscriptions to 1111 titles and 20 medical libraries have cancelled 3883 subscriptions to 2777 titles between 1987 and the end of 1988. Many unique titles have been cancelled. "Journals: A Survey." Bull. Amer. Phys. Soc. 33 (7): 1437-47. Very well done article that looks at the 1988 cost/1000 characters for each of nearly 170 journals, and cost per 1000 characters divided by ISI's Impact Factor (obtained from SCI Journal Citation Reports). The Impact Factor is a measure of how much use there is by scientists of the articles in a journal. The range of cost/1000 characters is from 0.39 cents for Astrophys. J./AAS to 31 cents for Phys. Chem. Liq./Gordon and Breach. Cost/Impact Factor ranges from 0.063 cents for Rev. Mod. Phys./APS to 54.1 for J. Non-Equilib. Thermody./de Gruyter. This last measure is considered by the authors to be the most significant measure of the cost effectiveness of a subscription, with the lower Cost/Impact Factor ratio being the more cost effective subscription, and the highest value being the least cost effective subscription. Barschall, Henry H. 1988. "The Cost Effectiveness of Physics Journals." Physics Today 41 (6) (July): 56-59. "A survey of more than 200 journals shows that their cost-effectiveness, as measured by the ratio of the cost per printed character to the frequency with which articles are cited, varies by three orders of magnitude." Gordon and Breach journals had the highest average cost/1000 characters (19.6 cents) and, by this measure, were the least cost effective. Several possible solutions to the crisis are suggested. See also, however, the statement by K.W. Ford and G.B. Lubkin regarding this article in Physics Today 41 (11) (November 1988): 9. Gordon and Breach claim there were misleading statements, errors, and distortions in Barschall's article and that the method he used is flawed. Reference is made here to a related article by Barschall which was distributed by SLA in June. The issue is under discussion between AIP and Gordon and Breach for possible clarification. Ribbe, Paul H. 1988. "Relative Journal Rankings by Price and Prestige." American Mineralogist 73 (5-6) (May-Jun): 449-69. Note: This is not the correct title. Information on this article was obtained from quotes in Current Contents/Life Sciences 31 (48) (November 28, 1988): 15. These authors discovered that the number of grants received by authors increased as the prestige (measured by Impact Factor) of the journal increased. They also found that professional societies' journals are more dominant in the field of mineralogy yet only cost 1/3 to 1/20 the price of commercial for-profit journals. Some of the latter now cost libraries over $10 an article. A Survey of American Mathematical Research Journals. 1983. Reprint with additions from: Notices of the American Mathematical Society 30 (7): 715-19. Dated now but good for comparative purposes. Gives subscription price, price per 1000 characters, pages published, circulation, page charges requested and back volume availability for nearly 100 journals.
1.3 NASIG PREVIEW
Mary Elizabeth Clack
The Fourth Annual Conference of the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) will be held at the Claremont Colleges, Claremont, California, from June 3-6, 1989. The general sessions will include a keynote address by Gillian Page, Director of Pageant Publishing and co-author of JOURNAL PUBLISHING (London; Boston : Butterworth's, 1987) and four panels: (1) The Process of Scholarly Communication (two editors, an expert on the tenure process, and a library director), (2) CD-ROM (including a broker, a producer, and a user), (3) Serial Acquisitions (vendors and librarians discussing the country of origin vs the consolidated ordering approach), and (4) Journal Pricing Update (representatives of three groups discussing action plans). Eleven workshops will also be held on the following topics: The Future of Service Charges, Form vs Function in the Serials World, The Commercial Binding Contract, Serials Automation System Interface with Vendors, Cancellation Projects, Cataloging of Non-Print Material/The "Whys" of Title Changes, The Journal Bid Process, The Thor Power Tool Decision and Its Effect on Journal Inventories, The Process of Serials Automation, and Current Awareness as a Collection Management Tool. For more information, please contact: Mary Elizabeth Clack, Serial Records Librarian, Harvard College Library, Cambridge MA 02138, 617-495-2422, "CLACKMB" on DataLinx.
1.4 UKSG PREVIEW
The United Kingdom Serials Group will hold its 12th Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting on April 10-13, 1989, at the University of Birmingham. The program includes papaers on Serials Communications - The Future, Statistical Sources for Journal Prices, Budget Preparation and Presentation - Academic Libraries, Budget Preparation and Presentation - Special Libraries, Time Management, Motivation, Performance Indicators, Education and Training for the Book and Information World, Thoughts on the Standardisation of Information on Journal Covers, and Accessing News. Workshops include: CD-ROM, Allocation of Resources, Management Information: Collection and Use, Serials Automation: Learning from Experience, Serials Cataloguing: Current Problems and Ideas Exchange, and Journal Sales and Marketing. In addition, visits have been arranged to libraries and other places of interest. Closing date for applications is March 23, 1989. For further information and a booking form, please write or call Marcia Tuttle.
1.5 TASK FORCE ON THE ECONOMICS OF ACCESS TO LIBRARY MATERIALS
This task force was appointed a year ago with the following statement of purpose: "to develop a strategy for ALA's participation on national and international levels in discussion, investigations nd actions relating to the availability, economics and distribution of library materials. Specifically, we are interested in having that task force develop a long-term mechanism to address the rising costs of serials." (letter from Marion Reid to Robert Wedgeworth, dated 19 April 1988) Robert Wedgeworth, Dean of the Columbia University School of Library Service, was appointed chair. Other members are: Duane Arenales, Chief, Technical Services Division, National Library of Medicine; F. Dixon Brooke, Jr., Vice President and Division General Manager, EBSCO Industries, Inc.; Tess Carey, President, Turner Subscription Agency; Keith Courtney, Taylor & Francis, Ltd. (for North American Serials Interest Group); Tom Delsey, Head, Acquisitions and Bibliographic Services Branch, National Library of Canada (also representing Canadian Library Association); Joan Grant, New York University Library (for Association of College and Research Libraries); Jim Hoover, Law Librarian, Columbia University Law Library (for American Association of Law Libraries), Richard A. Lyders, Director, Texas Medical Center Library (for Medical Library Association); Paul Peterson, Assistant to the Director, Linda K. Hall Library (for Special ibraries Association); Linda Pletzke, Assistant Chief Order Division, Library of Congress; George J. Soete, Assistant University Librarian, University of California San Diego (for Association of Research Libraries); Sarah E. Thomas, Chief, Technical Services Division, National Agriculture Library; and Marcia Tuttle (for RTSD Publisher/Vendor-Library Relations Committee Subcommittee on Serials Pricing Issues).
At ALA Midwinter, the task force (known as EALS) sponsored an open forum on the factors involved in pricing serials. There was also a business meeting, that began with some discussion of the previous day's open forum at which Charles Ellis (John Wiley), Fred Spilhouse (American Geophysical Union), and Gordon Graham (Butterworth) spoke about the factors involved in pricing journals. Some felt the forum had been very helpful; others felt the publishers could have been more candid and the task force members' questions more insightful.
For the open forum planned for Dallas ALA in June, Wedgeworth will invite university administrators and representatives of scholarly societies. This is a change from his original plan to hear from librarians at that time.
The group heard reports on other meetings and projects that are dealing ith its assigned topic: the Society or cholarly Publishing seminar on "The Future of the Scholarly Journal" in Chapel Hill in October; the NASIG annual conference and its statement of purpose (an organization for all participants in the process of dissemination of information through serials); the Association of Research Libraries study of the cost of journals for the past fifteen years (the same report as was given in several other groups, but a fascinating, detailed report). There were also brief reports from the Canadian Library Association, the Medical Library Association, and the American Association of Law Libraries.
The chair appointed a subgroup of the task force to address "problem publishers," those identified in the ARL study, probably in New York. He had hoped to see the chief executives of these publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair, but the RTSD Board does not look with favor upon his requests for funds. It was suggested that Wedgeworth address the annual general meeting of the STM (Scientific-Technical-Medical) Group, which gathers immediately before the Frankfurt Book Fair. The subgroup consists of Wedgeworth, Thomas, and Arenales, with Carey as consultant. They will work up a plan, questions, etc., before the next meeting (and may have met with these people before June).
Wedgeworth feels that it is time for an "ADONIS"-type project in North America.
Wedgeworth sees the task force report being ready by Annual Conference 1990. He asked each member what he/she thought the report should be. Comments included "well-written," "summary for wide distribution; full report for limited distribution." I asked for clarification of the purpose of the task force, because it seemed to me that we weren't doing anything different from a number of other groups, such as ARL and the PVLR Subcommittee on Serials Pricing Issues. Why duplicate their work? But the task force's purpose is to analyze, evaluate, act as a catalyst, offer alternatives, and educate. We need to identify our audience for the report, and we will include a bibliography.>p>
1.6 CHARLESTON CONFERENCE SURVEYS
[Last Fall Katina Strauch sent questionnaires to registrants for her November 1988, conference on "Issues in Book and Serials Acquisitions: Questioning Assumptions." Three questionnaires were used, one for librarians, one for publishers, and one for vendors. Katina has summarized the results (which were compiled by Corrie Marsh and Bill Raggio) for this newsletter as well as for her own newsletter, AGAINST THE GRAIN, NEWS FOR PARTICIPANTS IN THE CHARLESTON CONFERENCE, issue no. 1, March 1989, soon to be mailed to 1988 conference attendees.]
The Library Peer Data questionnaires at the Charleston Conference 1988 were returned by 86%  of the recipients. A) The large majority of the responding libraries had materials budgets over one million dollars, though other significant categories had budgets between $50,000 and $999,000. B) For 1989/90, 72% predicted an increase in the materials budget with 27% predicting a static budget. C) Regarding percentage of the (1988/89) materials budget spent on various categories of materials (monographs, periodicals, memberships, database services, audiovisual, binding), the most significant number of libraries spent the majority of their materials budgets on periodicals and magazines (50-74%). D) Apparently, the percentage differential between serials and books can keep growing since 70% of the respondents stated that they do not have a cap on their materials budget. E) Eighty-six percent of the respondents have cancelled serials in the last three years and 55% plan to continue (or start) cancelling serials. Total number of serials cancelled was largely between zero and fifty. F) Few (especially large) libraries seemed to be able to rank journals from most expensive to least expensive because of the time required to do so.
The Vendor Peer Data questionnaires were returned by 59%  of the recipients. Seventy percent of the respondents were book wholesaler/jobbers.
A) Fifty percent of the vendors do not maintain statistics on publisher error rates, but forty percent do. B) A trend by publishers toward requiring or encouraging direct orders from libraries was noted by 64% of the vendors. C) Ninety percent of the vendors said that shipping and freight costs had increased over the last three years. Seventy-eight percent of the vendors admit that they have passed on this publishers' cost increase to libraries. D) To the question "Do you believe that publishers' discounts are changing?" 100% of the respondents replied "yes," and 78% state that there is a "downward trend." E) Interesting enough, especially for librarians who have always heard about the "ideal order mix," there was very little unity as to what vendors as a group perceived as this mix.
The Publisher Peer Data questions were returned by 80%  of the recipients.
A) The majority of the responding publishers work through library wholesalers, though percentages vary. B) The primary method for promoting library sales was "direct mail." C) Seventy percent of the publishers responding have experienced increased subscription cancellations from library customers. D) Eighty-nine percent of the publishers state that they have refereed publications. E) An even number replied yes and no (36%) to the question of whether they compensate editorial board members financially. F) To the question "How closely do you monitor the citation rates of your journals," sixty-seven percent responded "somewhat" and 22% responded "very closely." G) Interestingly, the number of items published did not seem to have dropped off significantly from 1986-1988.
[Katina states that responses could be collated many ways; this is a very brief summary. For a copy of the data or to discuss the results, Katina is at College of Charleston Library, Charleston SC 29424, 803-792-8020, "Strauch" on DataLinx.]
1.7 GOOD READING
October Ivins now writes a regular column on serials prices in SERIALS REVIEW. The latest one just arrived and reports on three relevant meetings: the Society for Scholarly Publishing Annual Conference in June 1988, the SSP Seminar on the Future of the Scholarly Journal in October 1988, and the "Charleston Conference" in November 1988. In addition, a section named "Reflections on the Role of Vendors, Publisher Discounts, Service Charge Assessment, and Market Changes" updates these matters of great concern to librarians. Tuttle and Ivins are interchangeably mentor and disciple, thus the editor recommends this column highly.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY has a recent article on our topic. In the January 13, 1989 issue (vol. 235, no. 2), on pages 68-70, "The Serials Pricing Controversy" interviews publishers, vendors, and librarians -- too many of them to mention.
1.8 NEWS IN BRIEF
"NEW AAP LIBRARY ACQUISITIONS SURVEY REPORTS THAT LIBRARIANS MAKE THE PURCHASING DECISIONS. Librarians continue to play the key role in the decision- making process as it pertains to acquisition of materials, and they do so in an environment where there is increased pressure on library budgets and collections. This is among the findings in the second Library Acquisitions Survey conducted on behalf of the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers. Like the first survey, conducted in 1985, the most recent study investigates the various factors involved in the selection and purchase of books, journals, series and non-print material in seven different subject disciplines. The more recent survey, however, developed a separate questionnaire for the corporate library sector in order to more effectively research the distinct acquisitions patterns of this group....The survey is available for $99 (AAP members) and $165 (non-member) plus tax where applicable. Please contact the PSP office at 212-689-8920 for an order form." -- PSP BULLETIN 3:1 (Winter 1989):3.
1.9 OVER TO YOU
Betty Nirnberger at Penn State University Library, budget analyst for the Acquisitions Department, is currently working on budget projections for fiscal year 1989/90, and asks: Do you have any information of projected prices for next year? Perhaps geographic or publisher breakdown? Her BITNET address is: BLN@PSULIAS.BITNET, but I'm sure more of us would like the answer to that!
Bob Schnucker, Book Review Editor of THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY JOURNAL says: "On the basis of my conversations with other humanities journal editors, there is an ill defined gut feeling that as he libraries attempt to solve their (our) journals cost problem, the science folk will win out and the cuts will be made in the Humanities and Social Science areas. Such cuts could have profound changes on the number of journals now in existence as well as to their format." Any response??