10.2 USBE FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY, Agnes M. Griffin
10.3 NOTES FROM IFLA IN PARIS, Barbara von Wahlde
10.4 1990 BLACKWELL NORTH AMERICA SCHOLARSHIP AWARD, Frank D'Andraia
10.5 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS, Chuck Hamaker
10.6 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE ADDICTIONS: AN EXCHANGE OF LETTERS, Daniel H. Jones
10.7 INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS FOR EXCHANGE OF MACHINE READABLE SUBSCRIPTION ORDERS
Did everybody notice the ISSN???
Feedback is wonderful, positive, negative, or neutral. Nobody disagreed with my statement in issue no. 7 that a newsletter such as this one should not be refereed. A few of you even sent messages supporting that position. Peter Graham at Rutgers (BITNET: GRAHAM@PISCES) also sees the other side: "If you WERE to send out items for refereeing, it could certainly be a relatively painless and speedy process." I agree, at least about "painless," but I guess my point is that I don't ever expect this newsletter to become a journal, and refereeing is for journals.
Peter also got into the sticky question of citations to the newsletter. "Your ISSN comment prompts me to ask: how do you suggest we cite references to the journal, especially specific articles? I've already had this problem with the Kermit newsletter. What page is Hamaker on? Might be an interesting side discussion. I don't think it's covered in the MLA Style Sheet."
He doesn't have a fundamental suggestion to make yet, but adds: "Line numbers could work if they were always present, but even when on the original document transmitting or displaying systems don't always present them. One option might be to use the traditional form for encyclopedia references, e.g.
Hamaker, Charles, NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES (September, 1989; no. 7), s.v. "Hamaker's Haymakers."
"This form would depend on standard headings being available in the electronic journal. I don't know of activity in this area. It's a much broader issue than for librarians alone; someone with the right contacts might well ask the MLA and University of Chicago style sheet people to deal with the disciplines and provide guidance."
John James (BITNET: JOHN.R.JAMES@MAC.DARTMOUTH.EDU) sends this information about dissemination of the newsletter at Dartmouth: "Not everyone at Dartmouth uses BITNET. This is our paperless method for handling the NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES. The BITNET copy is saved on the Library's File Server. Staff can access the Fileserver and read the newsletter online and, if desired, print portions of the text. The complete backfile resides on the Fileserver." Thanks, John. I'm impressed!
I want to recommend to you, especially the librarians, Deana Astle's article, "Suicide Squeeze: The Escalating Cost of Scholarly Journals," in the July-August 1989 issue of ACADEME (vol. 75, no. 4, pp. 13-17). The content of the article is similar to Deana's recent article, "The Scholarly Journal: Whence or Wither" in THE JOURNAL OF ACADEMIC LIBRARIANSHIP (vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 151-56), but the ACADEME version is directed especially toward faculty members. Members of the American Association of University Professors will have received the article as a benefit of membership and may be ready to listen and learn more about their local situation. That issue of ACADEME features The Electronic Library and includes artlcles by Timothy Weiskel, James Rice, Richard M. Dougherty, and Ruth W. Clinefelter and Jack E. Hibbs.
10.2 USBE FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY
Memo (undated) from Agnes M. Griffin, President, USBE Board
The Board of Directors of the Universal Serials and Book Exchange (USBE), Inc. announces that as of September 12, 1989, a petition for bankruptcy has been filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. This action was taken by full and unanimous vote of the Board in consultation with both legal and fiscal advisors.
Originally located in the Library of Congress, USBE began as a postwar program to rebuild war-torn libraries overseas. From this concept of libraries helping libraries, USBE emerged as a network dedicated to the redistribution of periodicals, books and other scholarly materials. In this capacity, it provided a unique service to the library community for over 40 years.
While membership in USBE has remained relatively consistent for the past several years, the purchase of single copies and backfiles of serials, the mainstay of its income, has declined steadily. Staff cuts were made and new marketing strategies were attempted. In addition, new ventures in fundraising and new roles for USBE were explored. Despite these actions and efforts, no relief to the declining revenues was found.
The Board attributes the declining revenues to several changing patterns in the world of libraries. The success of resource sharing, the advent of electronic information, increasing reliance on microformats, and library budget pressures are today's library realities. Whatever the cause or combination of causes, we have regretfully closed the doors on 41 years of service to the library and information community.
The Board is aware of the inconvenience, and, for some, the financial loss this closing represents. The Board and USBE staff have made every effort to accommodate libraries' needs over the years, and we regret that we are no longer in a position to do so. At this point all assets and liabilities are under the control of the Court. Members who have deposit accounts should receive a notice from the trustee appointed by the Court within 30 - 45 days. The notice will include instructions for claiming any funds that may be owed. Any member who does not receive such a notice may contact the Court directly.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees of USBE, I want to express appreciation for the support you have given in the past. We will appreciate your continuing understanding as we go through this legal process.
10.3 NOTES FROM IFLA IN PARIS
Barbara von Wahlde, SUNY Buffalo.
Editors of library journals sponsored a program on publishing of library periodicals. However, two of the panel members were from scientific publishing firms and compared and contrasted library publishing with scientific publishing. The program, chaired by Russell Bowden, The Library Association, focused on four areas: 1) mechanisms for fixing prices and calculating profit margins; 2) the role of differential pricing (individual, geographic, etc.); 3) access and permissions; and 4) the intended purpose (the audience for professional library journals). The panel consisted of Jan-Willem Dijkstra and P.S. H. Bolman, representatives of the European offices of Elsevier and Pergamon, respectively; Evelyn Shaevel, the ALA manager of publications; Donald G. Davis, Jr., the University of Texas Press, Austin, and editor of THE JOURNAL OF LIBRARY HISTORY; Maurice Line, formerly Director General of the British Library Document Supply Centre and currently editor of ALEXANDRIA; and Bar U. Nwafor, Director of Libraries of the University of Jos, Nigeria. About one hundred persons attended the session.
Bolman, from Pergamon, is a former physics professor and worked for a number of years at Elsevier before moving recently to Pergamon. He personalized much of his scientific overview by focusing on physics. For instance, physics articles are growing at a yearly rate of 4 percent. The publisher notices an erosion of subscriptions of about 3 to 5 percent annually. He blames this on resource sharing. (As an editorial aside, I think it is economic; if resource sharing truly took off, subscriptions would drop much more drastically.) The publisher wants and needs to retain the same profit margins and levels. Publishing costs are about 90 percent fixed and 10 percent variable in terms of the number of copies printed and distributed (the percentage could shift to 80/20 with large print runs). To retain "market share" and profit, publishers need to increase prices by 8 percent a year, regardless of inflation or exchange rate fluctuations. This is not true in publishing library journals. Journals with ads are another source of income (library journals have relatively few). While costs are going up, the market is shrinking. The speaker had published an internal paper in 1976 on this subject identifying the publishing spiral as it was predictable even then. Fixed and variable costs relate to differential pricing especially the geographic element. Learned societies operate with their fixed costs covered and deal only with variable costs. This situation permits societies to have cheaper rates. Bolman did not see much difference between the commercial, learned society, and scholarly publishers in terms of specific types of costs, as they affect all of them. He identified one "leak" in the system as photocopying. Re-publication is also a concern of commercial publishers. He used the Adonis Project as an example of a way to investigate this concern. Editorial policies of commercial publishers are helped by professionals in the field.
Dijkstra, from Elsevier, focused on some of the differences found in the library market and scientific publishing. All titles lose money in the first 3 to 5 years of publication. Publishers look at "programs," not individual titles. Elsevier does not have differential pricing. In the case of library publications, there are a small number of journal subscribers, few ads are placed, and sale of back volumes is not a large source of income. The research and development office of the firm is considering individual articles, current awareness service, and secondary information sources as new areas for exploration. Factors affecting pricing are costs associated with the journal and the revenues which can be broken down as follows: for costs - 1) editorial fees and expenses; 2) production; 3) fulfillment and distribution; 4) marketing; 5) administrative overhead; 6) discounts to subscription agents. The revenues include: 1) subscriptions; 2) advertising; 3) reprints, and 4) sale of back volumes.
Shaevel, from ALA, said there was not a single method for setting prices; it depends on the individual journal manager. Most editors are volunteers; major costs are production costs; revenues include ads, subscriptions, and subsidies from member dues. A number of journals are profitable. Except for the very biggest, overhead for journals is covered through member dues.
Representing scholarly publishing, Davis focused on university presses and their journal programs, including a very limited number of library science titles. He encouraged more research on library journals. Davis suggested more publishing by university presses but acknowledged that they lack venture capital.
Maurice Line thought that the number of journals has been increasing but that the average number of articles per journal is declining in the library field. He advocates holding imaginative sessions on solutions. He is the editor of a new journal, ALEXANDRIA, which needs 300 subscriptions. It is being priced to recover costs in 3 years. He thinks new library journals may be favored by selectors. He would prefer more specialization in journals, better quality control, more short articles and summaries, more review journals, less repetition, more conference papers in journals, and more overarching journals.
The last speaker, Mr. Nwafor, summarized problems and difficulties for Third World libraries. They are severely affected by major economic problems. Foreign subscriptions can be handled well enough when they have the money, but their major problem, with minimal bibliographic control, is finding local journals.
During the question and answer session Bolman said Pergamon needs 8-13 percent profit (which is what their money might earn in interest). They pay "honoraria" plus other editorial expenses. They have to pay interest of about 5 percent on the journal, as well, as an "investment" for new titles. He gave an example of physics journals reducing page charges but raising journal prices by 200 percent or more.
Dijkstra said that word processing improves quality and speed but does not reduce costs (it stabilizes them). Paper costs have been increasing annually by 7 - 8 percent. Sometimes it is still cheaper to rekey copy from word processing when standards are poor.
Another session of interest and relevance to serials pricing was the paper given by Malcolm Getz, Director of Vanderbilt University Libraries. He discussed the library's commitment to an extensive journal collection and focused on the future of library acquisitions. Vanderbilt spends a large portion of its budget on serials, but as information explodes, the library is procuring a smaller portion of it. Vanderbilt has a commitment to acquiring materials in electronic format. His predictions: funding will not grow as fast as publishing; his library will collect a broad core, but depth only in a limited set of subjects. We should expect libraries to face competition in providing information to our users. Competition could include: service on high speed national and international networks, personally owned electronic archives which compete with the local research library (he cited possibly CD's for doctors, lawyers, economists, etc.).
10.4 1990 BLACKWELL NORTH AMERICA SCHOLARSHIP AWARD
Frank D'Andraia, University of California, Riverside, BITNET: DANDRAIA@UCRVMS.
Since 1976 Blackwell North America has contributed a $1,000 scholarship to a U.S. or Canadian library school in honor of the author or authors of the outstanding monograph or original paper in the field of acquisitions, collection development, and related areas of resources development in libraries. The 1989 recipient of the award was Frederick C. Lynden for "Prices of Foreign Library Materials: A Report," COLLEGE & RESEARCH LIBRARIES 49 (1988): 217-31. Other recipients have included Herbert S. White for his article, "Publishers, Libraries and Costs of Journal Subscriptions in Times of Funding Retrenchment," (1977) and Ann Okerson for "Periodical Prices: A History and Discussion," (1987).
Nomination forms may be obtained from Frank D'Andraia, University of California, Riverside (DANDRAIA@UCRVMS). Nomination forms, as well as supporting documentation -- a letter stating the reason for the nomination -- should be received by the BN/A Scholarship Committee Chair by 1 December 1989. Nominations should be sent to: Stanley P. Hodge, Chair, BN/A Scholarship Award Committee, 5000 Hamilton Lane, Muncie IN 47304.
10.5 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS
Chuck Hamaker, Louisiana State University Library, BITNET: NOTCAH@LSUVM.
The July/August issue of FAX LETTER (Faxon's newsletter for customers) has projections for 1990 prices. What it does say is a pretty good estimate of dollar increases from some publishers. What it doesn't say is in some ways even more interesting. For Pergamon Press, the newsletter quotes from a letter to Faxon from Pergamon, calling attention to the fact that Pergamon titles will, once again, have a lower list price to the U.S. than to the rest of the world for 1990. The FAX LETTER does note, however, "At this time we do not know what the average percentage increase will be for these 'lower' rates. It is possible, however, that the increases could be significant."
At LSU, we checked 163 Pergamon titles received here, comparing the 1989 price list with the 1990 price list. The overall increase rate for this list of titles was 15.6 percent! The reason for the increase seems to have less to do with actual costs to Pergamon of production, or even real growth in size than with an attempt to close the differential rate gap created when Pergamon switched from worldwide pricing in dollars when the dollar was strong, to worldwide pricing in Deutsch Marks (DM) when the dollar began its decline worldwide. This automatically-created differential created the gap (in this instance favorable to U.S. libraries) that is now the "excuse" for this incredible price increase. In spite of Brian Cox's warning to NASIG members at Dennison, Ohio, three years ago that this difference in price meant Pergamon was "losing" money by selling at "lower" prices to the U.S. market, all this really proves is that when any differential price is tolerated on a worldwide basis, those upper level prices become price leaders. And sooner or later the "gap" is narrowed by raising the lower level prices. As the U.S. and England are where printing and editorial work is done for these titles, "inflation" is not an excuse for the price increases. Currency manipulation and perhaps recent Maxwell purchases are more likely culprits.
By the way, TIAA/CREF holds a fair number of shares in Maxwell Communications Inc., Pearson (the Longman Group), Elsevier, Wolters-Kluwer, and Reed. So some of us may have a voice, unrecognized until now, in what these companies do. Thanks to Bill Schenck, Library of Congress, for calling this to our attention.
10.6 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE ADDICTIONS: AN EXCHANGE OF LETTERS
Daniel H. Jones, The Univeristy of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
(Danny sent the Pricing Newsletter copies of the following correspondence and gave his permission to print his letters.)
August 1, 1989 Iris Accordino, Director Journals and Encyclopedias Division Marcel Dekker, Inc. 270 Madison Avenue New York NY 10016 Madam: I am writing to express our serious concern about two Dekker journals to which we subscribe. As they are both substantially delayed we are not currently prepared to renew our subscriptions for 1990. DRUG METABOLISM REVIEWS - This title was supposed to publish two volumes of four issues each in 1989 (vols. 20-21), for which we paid $598.00. Thus far only volume 20, no. 1 has been published, which we received April 25, 1989. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE ADDICTIONS -- This title is supposed to be a monthly publication for which we paid $625 in 1989. We received the first issue of the 1989 volume (vol. 24) on July 21. I recognize it is the editor's responsibility to see that manuscripts are delivered to the publisher in a timely manner in order to publish a journal on a regular schedule. I also believe it is the publisher's responsibility to subscribers to see that the editor meets publication deadlines. In 1988 our library cancelled 14 percent of our subscriptions and these two titles managed to survive the cancellation review process. In 1990 we will likely face a similar cancellation review and one important review criterion will be a journal's ability to meet its publication schedule. We will be monitoring these journals to be sure they meet our expectations before we decide to continue subscribing. Sincerely, Daniel H. Jones Assistant Library Director for Collection Development xc: Editor, DRUG METABOLISM REVIEWS Editor, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE ADDICTIONS
I can see from your letter that you are conversant with the fact that most publication problems stem from the uneven flow of manuscripts. Interestingly enough, for both journals there has been a slow period, and now both are deluged with papers. Accordingly, I can provide you with the publication schedules for each of the two journals.... (These schedules showed both journals becoming current by February 1990. -Ed.) We very much value your patronage, and I hope that this information will reassure you of our commitment to radically improving the timeliness of each journal.... I would like to thank you for the initiative you took in writing to us. We appreciate your efforts and the opportunity to show you our future plans.
September 7, 1989 Marcel Dekker, President Marcel Dekker Inc. 270 Madison Avenue New York NY 10016 Dear Mr. Dekker: I have just been informed that the INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE ADDICTIONS will double its frequency and more than double its price from $625 for 1989 to $1350 for 1990. This frequency change is very different from the one you outlined in your letter to me of August 10 and I am very surprised. This is obviously a troubled journal; it did not produce a single issue until July of this year. Given this publication pattern I cannot responsibly authorize advanced payment of such a large amount and I think you should reconsider your pricing for this title. Biweekly publication is too ambitious for a journal which obviously has had trouble meeting monthly publication deadlines. We have not authorized our agent to renew this subscription at this rate. I strongly urge that you freeze the frequency and subscription price at 1989 levels and let this journal prove its worth for a few years before trying to increase either the frequency or price. Sincerely yours, Daniel H. Jones Assistant Library Director for Collection Development
Danny has not yet received a reply to his second letter, but he promises to share it when it arrives.
10.7 INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS FOR EXCHANGE OF MACHINE READABLE SUBSCRIPTION ORDERS
From material sent by Edwin A. Shelock, Chairman, Joint Serials Committee, Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers/The Publishers Association (Serial Publishers Executive)
For some time an international group of publishers and subscription agents, the International Working Party on Magnetic Media Transfer, has been working on a Handbook of Standards to be used in the exchange of information between publishers and subscription agents. Members of the Joint Serials Committee and the Association of Subscription Agents (both UK groups) from the UK, the US, the Netherlands, and Japan have developed standards from their experiences in exchanging data electronically.
The working party consists of representatives of five agents: Faxon, EBSCO, Blackwell, Swets, and ReadMore; and five publishers: Pergamon, Royal Society of Chemistry, Taylor and Francis, Plenum, and Kluwer. It meets three times a year, at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the UK Serials Group Conference, and the Special Libraries Association. Edwin Shelock has chaired the group since its inception, but he will retire soon. Brian Cox of Pergamon will be the next Chair.
A draft of the Handbook was issued in June 1989. The Introduction states: "The primary objective of this document is to publish the standards which have been agreed by a wide cross section of companies operating in the industry, and to encourage their use by clearly explaining the recommended contents and format." Contents are (besides the Introduction): Objectives of Data Transfer Standards; Transaction Types for which Standards are Defined (subdivided into Publisher to Subscription Agent and Subscription Agent to Publisher); and two appendixes.
Minutes of the group's meetings and copies of the handbook are available upon request, from: E.A. Shelock, Chairman, Joint Serials Committee, Royal Society of Chemistry, The Distribution Centre, Blackhorse Road, Letchworth, Herts, SG6 1HN, England.
Readers of the NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES are encouraged to share the information in the newsletter by electronic or paper methods. We would appreciate credit if you quote from the newsletter.
The NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES is published as news is available by the American Library Association's Association of Library Collections and Technical Services, Publisher/Vendor-Library Relations Committee's Subcommittee on Serials Pricing Issues. Editor: Marcia Tuttle, BITNET: TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET; Faxon's DataLinx: TUTTLE; ALANET: ALA0348; Paper mail: Serials Department, C.B. #3938 Davis Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill NC 27599- 3938. Committee members are: Deana Astle (Clemson University), Mary Elizabeth Clack (Harvard University), Jerry Curtis (Consultant), Charles Hamaker (Louisiana State University), Robert Houbeck (University of Michigan), and Marcia Tuttle. Back issues of the newsletter are available electronically free of charge through BITNET from the editor and in paper from ALCTS, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago IL 60611. Paper issues are priced at $5.00 per issue, per copy, prepaid. Billing charge: $2.00, plus postage.