5.2 ASSOCIATION OF RESEARCH LIBRARIES' PROJECT ON SERIALS PRICES: OVERVIEW AND SUMMARY, Jeffrey Gardner
5.3 MEDICAL JOURNAL PRICES, Deana Astle
5.4 BIG PRICE INCREASE, Lelde Gilman
5.5 WORDS FROM THE ALA PRESIDENT ELECT, Patricia Wilson Berger
5.6 SOCIETY FOR SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING: FUTURE OF SCHOLARLY JOURNALS - APRIL 9 TO APRIL 11, 1989, LAKE ARROWHEAD, CALIFORNIA, Vicky Reich
5.7 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS, Chuck Hamaker
5.8 EBSCO ANNOUNCES ANNUAL INDEX MEDICUS PRICE STUDY, Madelyn Bonnett
The Subcommittee on Serials Pricing Issues (subcommittee of the RTSD Publisher/Vendor Library Relations Committee) will have its regular meeting on Sunday, June 25, from 9:30 until 11:00 in the Ming Room at Loew's Anatole Hotel. Some concerns have risen and will be on the agenda; among them, the future of the (expensive) paper edition of this newsletter and problems of bibliographic citation of the newsletter. The committee members hope a good number of our newsletter subscribers will be able to attend the meeting and let us know how to be of more help to you in the area of serials pricing.
The RTSD Task Force on the Economics of Access to Library Materials will meet twice during the Dallas Conference, both times in a committee format with plenty of room for guests. The first session, entitled, "Forum of Scholastic Journal Users," is on Monday afternoon, June 26, from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m., in room S411 of the Dallas Convention Center. A major topic on the Task Force's agenda will be the ARL report on the cost and price of serials, with input anticipated from users of scholarly journals. The second session, Tuesday morning, June 27, meets from 9:00 until 11:00 a.m., in room W105 of the Convention Center.
5.2 ASSOCIATION OF RESEARCH LIBRARIES' PROJECT ON SERIALS PRICES: OVERVIEW AND SUMMARY
Jeffrey Gardner, Director ARL Office of Management Services. Because of the scope and significance of this study, the NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES is reproducing this document in its entirity. It is available to those who send a SASE to the Association of Research Libraries, 1527 New Hampshire Avenus NW, Washington DC 20036. The full report is available for $60.00.
Research libraries, and the scholars and researchers that rely upon them, face a major crisis. The crisis is that the ever escalating prices of serials subscriptions have eroded the purchasing power of the research library collections budget resulting in the potential loss of information to the scholar and researcher. Even the largest libraries can no longer afford to maintain comprehensive research collections because the cost of purchasing scientific, technical, and medical (STM) research results published in journals has skyrocketed. Both the loss of information and ready-access to a comprehensive collection have a direct bearing on the creation of ideas, research and development, and the movement of these results into the marketplace. These in turn, influence the ability of a country to compete in a technologically-based world economy.
The rising cost of journal and serials prices, a major source of information for the academic and research communities, is a problem for libraries in a number of other ways as well. For example, the increased costs of maintaining scientific and technical serials collections has led to a serious degradation in the libraries' ability to maintain their collections in the humanities and social sciences. This also has limited the ability of the research libraries to purchase materials in other formats, such as electronic services and books.
The serials prices problem is not new -- it has recurred throughout the twentieth century. During the last five years however, it has spiralled out of control. It has become evident that the publication of certain key STM serials is concentrated increasingly in the hands of a small group of publishers. More of the money spent on academic library subscriptions is going to fewer publishers and the cost of these serials is rising. For example, one university found that 20% of their subscriptions account for 72% of the total serials budget. Three companies together consumed 43% of the increase in that university's serials expanditure for 1987. This pattern is not unique among Association of Research Libraries (ARL) member institutions.
ARL ACTIONS. ARL initiated a Serials Prices Project in the spring of 1988 to determine a course of action regarding this crisis affecting research libraries' ability to serve the information needs of the scholarly community. The ARL Committee on Collection Development proposed a serials prices study; the ARL Board of Directors endorsed the concept; ARL members each agreed to commit a $200 special assessment to fund the work; and ARL staff coordinated the year-long effort. ARL commissioned two reports on the serials prices issue to identify factors contributing to the rising costs and to suggest possible remedies. A report by Economic Consulting services, Inc. (ECS) concentrated on four large publishers: Elsevier (Netherlands), Pergamon (U.K.), Plenum (U.S.), and Springer-Verlag (West Germany). The report reviews price data against estimated publishers' costs from 1973 through 1987. The results indicate that cost increases do not justify the price increases paid by research libraries. A second report by Ann Okerson, an independent consultant, provies an overview of the issue and suggests recommended actions to the Association.
The reports were completed in April 1989 and the ARL membership reviewed them at the May 1989 membership meeting. The results of that review included the passage of resolutions for action and acceptance of three broad recommendations made by the ARL Committee on Collection Development. These recommendations were unanimously adopted by the ARL Board and stated that ARL should:
lead efforts with external constituencies to communicate the nature of the problem and the actions needed to address the causes of it as well as to develop several library-oriented consumer advocate services.
orchestrate actions to introduce greater competition to the commercial publishers. Suggested steps include advocating the transfer of publication research results from serials produced by commercial publishers to existing non-commercial channels and encouraging the creation of innovative alternatives (e.g., non-profit, electronic formats) to traditional commercial publishers.
form a partnership with scholarly groups to find ways to manage the explosion in research and knowledge and the concomitant explosion in publishing.
Consideration of the Committee on Collection Development's recommendations by the membership led to the adoption of a resolution at this meeting expressing the member's willingness to provide additional financial support to the Association's efforts in this area.
BACKGROUND. The Okerson report's analysis of ARL member library statistics describes the problem, which is, in essence, that more money is being spent to acquire fewer materials resulting in less compenhensive collections. Although the average funding support to ARL libraries rose 234% from 1973 to 1987 (compared to a 182.5% rise in the U.S. CPI during the same period), and ARL libraries' average percent of expenditures devoted to materials rose from 29.2% to 33.1% with an accompanying shift in the percentage devoted to serials from 40.4% to 56.2%; the average serials holdings of ARL libraries dropped from 32% of the estimated universe to 26.4%. According to data collected by ARL, in 1988 the median price of a purchased serial was $115.00 -- an increase of 32% since 1986.
While there are multiple causes contributing to the current crisis, several predominate. They include the following:
PUBLISHERS' BEHAVIOR. The major problems have been increases in prices well beyond apparent increases in selected publishers' costs; rapid increases in the size of journals; and, the initiation of new journals -- at least partly in response to increased research specialization, but also in response to perceived market opportunities.
In addition, libraries have seen dual pricing schemes from some foreign publishers where prices in American dollars have virtually no rational relationship to the price in the country of origin's currency. Some publishers have been unable to establish definite pricing and publication schedules., some have issued surprise invoices for supplementary charges part way through the year, and some have combined several issue numbers into one physical issue.
EXCHANGE RATE FLUCTUATIONS. Certainly, the reduced value of the U.S. dollar in the world market has contributed to increased prices. However, various studies, including the one completed for ARL by ECS, indicate quite clearly that prices have risen well beyond what can be attributed to this factor.
GROWTH IN VOLUME OF RESEARCH. The number of scientists has grown rapidly over the last thirty years and, in a competitive environment, the journal article has become a major indicator of a scientist's value, both in terms of career development and fund-raising ability. The increased importance of international scientific research has also contributed to the increased volume of material published and required by North American scholars.
COMPETITION FOR PROMOTION, TENURE, AND GRANTS. Approximately 28% of the American scientists work in academe and account for nearly 70% of U.S. authored scientific papers. The promotion and tenure review process demands that academic scientists publish regularly to ensure security and career development.
Similarly, grants in support of research are heavily influenced by the publishing record of potential grantees. Some contend that, in certain cases, the major rationale for the scientific and technical journal is to provide outlets for authors rather than resources for readers.
MARKET DOMINANCE. For some time, the journal market has been dominated by a relatively small number of publishers, many of them profit-making. Many journals have a virtual monopoly in their subject area. And, until recently, publishers counted on scholars and researchers demanding that libraries maintain subscriptions to prestigious journals regardless of price. This has contributed to the trend toward larger journals, higher prices, and new titles in narrow, specialized fields.
ECONOMICS OF JOURNAL PUBLISHING. Journal publishing involves high fixed (i.e., front-end) costs and low marginal costs for additional printings. Because the market for many very specialized titles is quite small (typically consisting largely of libraries) the cost per subscription must remain high if the journal is to continue to exist. Most publishers argue that different pricing for institutions and individuals does not provide economic benefit to the publisher; it provides titles to individuals at marginal costs.
KEY ROLE OF COMMERCIAL PUBLISHERS. Commercial publishers play an important role in the development, publication, and distribution of scientific and technical journals. It is a safe assumption that most, if not all of these publishers, make sufficient profits to continue their work. And while it is difficult to determine what their exact level of profits has been, there is evidence that either it is higher than can be justified or their operations are less efficient than is desirable. The ARL commissioned report from ECS indicates annual rates of price increases in excess of estimated cost increases, and comparative studies of similar journals published by not-for-profit societies indicate considerably lower prices.
IMPACT OF THE PROBLEM. The impact has been devastating to libraries and their scholarly users. The financial commitment needed to maintain serials subscriptions has forced research libraries to defer action on other urgent needs. For example, capital improvements to facilities have been delayed; the application of technology to library operations has been slowed; and the pressing need to allocate resources to the preservation of libraries' deteriorating historic collections has not been met.
The most critical issue, in terms of the future of scholarship and research in North America, is that libraries are purchasing fewer materials. The high price of serials means less money to purchase materials in all areas, leading to a deterioration of our research capability in the humanities and social sciences as well as technology and the sciences.
OPTIONS FOR ACTIONS BY THE RESEARCH LIBRARY COMMUNITY. An effective strategy for alleviating the serials crisis -- one that goes beyond prices to include a broader range of issues related to scholarly communication -- will require the cooperation of research libraries, scholars, university administrators, and both commercial and not-for- profit publishers. Three broad options for action are presented in Ann Okerson's report to ARL for consideration by those groups.
OPTIONS FOR IMMEDIATE ACTIONS BY ARL. ARL should undertake an urgent set of actions to demonstrate the serious impact on scholarship of the serials prices problem. To do so requires the development of an ARL capability to lead the Association's efforts with the university, government, scholarly, and publishing communities. Possible activities are described on page 41 of the Okerson report and include:
Providing information to libraries to assist them in making educated decisions regarding selection and deselection of serial titles;
Consideration of, and possible promotion of, alternative publishing technologies;
Development of subject-specific cost indexes for critical serial titles with consideration of measuring relative value of titles;
Ongoing program of education and publicity, directed toward librari- ans, faculty, university administrators, professional societies, and politicians;
Identification of problem publishers and coordination of protest actions by the library community;
Consideration of resource-sharing arrangements, including further exploration of trade restraint and copyright issues.
Actions recommended to individual libraries include:
Annual review, with faculty, of expensive serials regardless of current economic situation;
Development of better understanding of patterns of use of serials;
Development of greater use of existing serials collections.
OPTIONS FOR LONG-TERM EFFORTS. a set of actions is proposed which would work toward transferring the publication of research results from serials published by commercial publishers to existing non-commercial channels. Among the proposed actions, beginning on p. 42 of the Okerson report, are:
Distribution of the ARL-commissioned reports as widely as possible;
Convening a group of leading learned society publishers, university presses, and other potential credible non-commercial publishers with the intent of expanding their role in the publication of scholarly information;
Convening a group of university and granting agency representatives to explore making publication through a non-commercial channel the preferred means for reporting research results;
Presentation of the ARL position to appropriate congressional committees for actios in furtherance of the national interest;
Consideration of means of providing support for the development of credible alternative(s) to traditional publications provided by commercial publishers.
A set of actions proposed on p. 45 of the Okerson report suggests that ARL form a partnership with others in the scholarly community to examine the scholarly publishing process and to find ways to manage the explosion in research and knowledge and the concomitant explosion in publishing. The suggested actions include:
Publication and distribution of arguments regarding the need to reform the technique for judging academic promotion and grants so as to eliminate undue pressure for excessive publication;
Presentation of the problem to appropriate Congressional Committees, especially those involved in the funding of federal granting agencies.
The following studies were funded through a special assessment of ARL membership and a grant from the Council on Library Resources:
1. Economic Consulting Services Inc. A STUDY OF TRENDS IN AVERAGE PRICES AND COSTS OF CERTAIN SERIALS OVER TIME. Washington DC: Economic Consulting Services Inc., March 31, 1989.
2. Okerson, Ann. OF MAKING MANY BOOKS THERE IS NO END: REPORT OF SERIALS PRICES FOR THE ASSOCIATION OF RESEARCH LIBRARIES. Eastchester NY: Ann Okerson, April 1989.
5.3 MEDICAL JOURNAL PRICES
Deana Astle, Clemson University Library. BITNET: DLAST@CLEMSON.
I have just seen an article in the January 1989 issue of the BULLETIN OF THE MEDICAL LIBRARY ASSOCIATION. It is entitled "Update on Inflation of Journal Prices: Medical Journals, U.S. Journals, and Brandon/Hill List Journals," and was written by Michael R. Kronenfeld and Sarah H. Gable (vol. 77, no. 1, p. 61-64). The abstract reads: "The paper examines the increases in prices for the last twenty years for the journals listed in the 1987 Brandon/Hill list and for the last twelve years for those on a list of medical and general periodicals published annually in LIBRARY JOURNAL. This information is compared to the general U.S. inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Despite the decline in the general rate of inflation, the buying power of libraries has continued to dwindle. Librarians need to use this information when justifying increased budget requests. They also need to interact more effectively with publishers to resolve this problem. The buying power of the dollar (as compared to the 1975 dollar) spent on the Brandon/Hill list journals is not 59% of that of a dollar spent in the general economy. This compares to 64% in 1983, when this research was updated."
In the same issue is a series of letters between Peter Stangal, Director of the Lane Medical Library at Stanford and Elsevier, Pergamon, Springer, Dekker, Liss, and Karger (p. 80-84).
5.4 BIG PRICE INCREASE!
Lelde Gilman, UCLA Biomedical Library, reports that EUPHITICA, a Kluwer publication increased from $150.00 in 1988 to $364.00 in 1989. This was formerly a society publication, but was taken over by Kluwer and increased in frequency.
5.5 WORDS FROM THE ALA PRESIDENT ELECT
Patricia Wilson Berger, Chief, Information Resources & Services Division, National Institute of Standards & Technology. Excerpts quoted with permission from a letter to Dr. Frederick R. Kovar, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, dated December 1, 1988.
Much of our problem results from the greed of foreign publishers -- including one publisher in tiny Liechtenstein! Even persisten devaluations of the dollar do not account for annual increases of such magnitude. It is time for scientists, engineers, scholars and librarians to apply strong, persistent pressure to persuade rapacious publishers to cut out the rough stuff. Further ... there are just too damn many science journals and the trend needs to be reversed NOW.
When my staff analyzed our journal statistics we discovered that 8 publishers received 59% of the total we have spent thus far for 1989 subscriptions; these 8 furnish just 27% of the titles we renewed. Of the 1,300 subscription renewals processed, thus far, 108 are for journals which cost $1,000 or more per year. This year, the prices of an additional 44 titles we buy will rise above the $1,000 mark. Three publishers (all foreign) seem to be particularly greedy, namely, Gordon and Breach, Elsevier and Pergamon. Therefore, we are examining what titles we buy from them in order to target some or all for cancellation. I will notify each publisher what and why we cancelled and I will publicize our actions in the library press as well.
I would like to persuade you and your colleagues to join science librarians in our efforts to contain spiraling journal costs, because I know from long experience that physicists are especially adept at applying their God-given, Machiavellian talents to frustrate the will of those who would cause them grief. We need your help soonest to thwart the attempts of those publishers, especially those foreign publishers, to bankrupt science libraries in the United States.
5.6 SOCIETY FOR SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING: FUTURE OF SCHOLARLY JOURNALS - APRIL 9 TO APRIL 11, 1989, LAKE ARROWHEAD, CALIFORNIA
Vicky Reich, Chief Serials Department, Stanford University Librar- ies, Stanford CA 94305. (415) 723-4847; BITNET: CN.VAR@STANFORD.
On April 9 through April 11, the Society for Scholarly Publishing sponsored the second in a series of meetings on the future of the scholarly journal. The meeting, held in Lake Arrowhead, California, was organized by Jim Thompson, University of California, Riverside, with Vicky Reich, Stanford University. Sixty-two librarians, scholars, and publishers met to discuss the complex and dynamic relationships of libraries, published literature, and scholarly research.
The seminar was organized around four common "solutions" that are offered in response to the high price of serial subscriptions: acquire more collection development funds for libraries, share resources and establish cooperative collection development programs, retain/recapture the universities' control of information dissemination, and design and implement alternative forms of publication.
The keynote address by John Curry, Vice President for Budget and Planning, University of Southern California, examined the economics of higher education over the next decade concluded it is unlikely that libraries will obtain a rising percentage of their institutions' budgets for collection development. Dr. Curry described the escalating calls against university budgets and the declining vitality of internal and external funding sources. He stressed that the erosion of financial resources is beginning to force universities to justify programs by their potential to improve productivity. He challenged the group to reassess whether the community can continue to afford the "value added" services of traditional published literature and libraries.
Responding to Dr. Curry were Dennis Smith, University of California, and John Tagler, Elsevier Science Publishers. Smith corroborated Dr. Curry's assessment of library materials budgets. Tagler said that marketplace forces have been studied and noted: in recent years Elsevier has dramatically dropped the number of new journals launched per year and has kept the growth of existing journals to a minimum.
Peter Briscoe, University of California, Riverside, addressed the second solution, resource sharing. He analyzed the importance of realizing the goals of resource sharing, and stressed that libraries working together can provide the same or more materials to users for less cost. He also debunked some common myths about resource sharing: publishers think it reduces sales and violates copyright and librarians think it is a panacea. Librarians always spend their entire materials budget (publishers get it all!), if a title is borrowed more than five times a subscription is happily placed, and remote access to materials is less than ideal.
Responses to Briscoe's presentation were made by Judy Holoviak, American Geophysical Union; Henry Snyder, Professor of History, University of California, Riverside; and Joseph S. Alen, Copyright Clearance Center. After heated debate the sense of the group was that resource sharing is a coping strategy and not a solution to the high cost and high volume of research materials. Low use items are the primary candidates for inclusion in cooperative acquisition agreements. These materials will increase in price as the number of subscriptions decreases; can we afford to provide access to these materials?
An entire day was devoted to discussing the retention/recapture of information dissemination within the university and the design and implementation of alternative forms of publication. Mark Kibbey, Carnegie Mellon University, gave a thumbnail sketch of the state of the art technologies being used to build the "electronic library."
Richard Lucier and Nina Matheson, Welsh Medical Library, Baltimore, discussed their work in "knowledge management." Lucier and Matheson have built an impressive research tool based on a human genetics reference text. International network access to a machine readable file allows users to annotate and update the text with their own research results; library staff also updates the work daily. The retrieval package easily moves the user from the text to an exact location on the genetic map. This project demonstrates the potential of librarians and university publishers cooperating in the design and implementation of new tools for the dissemination of research information.
James Williams, University of Colorado Library, is meeting with faculty to gauge their openness to presenting only the very best articles for tenure and promotion decisions. He is also exploring with the University of Colorado Press the possibility of beginning new journal titles in an attempt to retain scholarly processes within the university. Williams's suggestion that universities retain copyright over their faculties' works was met with a strong negative reaction from the publishing community.
A lively, enjoyable presentation was delivered by Richard E. Lanham, Professor of English, UCLA. Dr. Lanham stressed three reasons for the university to use electronic text: culture cannot be accurately preserved in an outmoded format, it's fun to create electronic text, and the copyright law is brought into "deep confusion" by this medium. He also stressed that the original purpose of journals was to serve as a vehicle for conversations. In universities these conversations are now conducted on network bulletin boards.
Electronic publishing did not receive a clear vote of confidence from the participants; however, there was agreement that new technology "products" should not be built on the model of print publications. There was also reexamination of the need to print all research in the "journal format." Some felt that not all research was of sufficient quality to warrant this expense, and that publication on newsprint was sufficient. This also assumes that long term library access is not needed for these materials.
Throughout the workshop discussions centered on the role of the tenure and promotion process in "causing all this literature." At times people came perilously close to accusing the scholars of being the source for the problems of our industries. In the final meeting, led by Chet Grycz, University of California Press, there was agreement that this is inappropriate and wrong. This attitude shifts responsibility away from our individual spheres of influence and encourages a helpless, hopeless stance. As publishers and librarians, it is our role to serve the academic community.
After tangling with words, definitions, and feelings of frustration, the group agreed on a general statement of "the problem": OVER THE PAST 40+ YEARS, THE SCHOLARLY PROCESS HAS EVOLVED MORE RAPIDLY THAN THE SERVICES AND SUPPORT SYSTEMS (LIBRARIES AND PUBLISHERS). THE GAP BETWEEN THESE TWO PROCESSES IS NOW SO LARGE THAT THE SYSTEM MAY BE IN DANGER OF COLLAPSE. IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN/REGAIN OUR HISTORICAL ROLES OF PROVIDING THE SERVICE OF INFORMATION CAPTURE, DISSEMINATION, AND ACCESS TO THE RESEARCH COMMUNITY, PUBLISHERS AND LIBRARIANS MUST ACTIVELY EXPLORE NEW VISIONS AND NEW PATHS OF COLLEGIALITY.
The group agreed that the Society for Scholarly Publishing should continue to sponsor meetings on this topic and expand the discussions to include other scholarly groups.
5.7 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS
Chuck Hamaker, Louisiana State University Library, Baton Rouge LA. BITNET: NOTCAH@LSUVM
Some well done and important regional studies are being produced documenting the "hazards" to libraries of the long term trends of increasing prices of research journals. The most recent received here was from the Texas Library Association Acquisitions and Collection Development Roundtable, Committee on Library Materials Funding, which released on May 1, 1989, a report entitles, "The Quiet Crisis: Funding for Materials in Texas Academic Libraries." Gene Rollins, University of Houston, was chair of the committee which produced the report. Other members were Dennis Gibbons, Texas Christian University; Carol Kelley, Texas Tech; and Glenda Thornton, University of North Texas. They note that in just one Texas state supported institution, 11,000 journals were cancelled in the past two years. At least one Texas institution bought no books in 1987/88, and overall 65,000 fewer books were purchased by Texas state supported institutions in fiscal year 1989 than in 1985. This kind of perspective is needed as budgets suffer a little less than they have in the last three years, and it is just as important a factor as tracking the cost of journals. Contact Gene (who provided my copy) or other members of the committee if you need a copy of the report. It is a good model for other regions and states to use. Thanks to Stuart Grinnell for bringing the report to our attention. If you know of other regional or state based surveys of the condition of academic libraries, please let Marcia Tuttle or Chuck Hamaker know about them.
The AMA-sponsored conference on Peer Review in Biomedical Publication is reported briefly in the WASHINGTON POST, May 16, page 11 (Health Section). Although brief the report does hit most of the problems with the peer review system from the perspective of editors and authors. Among other points (including discussions of "shading" a percentage point or two to make something "significant," salami publication, and grant pressure to publish), the report points out that in fact referees do not exercise yes/no powers over a manuscript's fate; editors do. (Thanks to Bill Schenck, LC, for a copy of the article.)
The January issue of the BULLETIN OF THE MEDICAL LIBRARY ASSOCIATION includes, among other serials-pricing-related articles, Alvin M. Weinberg's "Science, Government and Information: 1988 Perspective," p. 1- 7. It reviews the 1963 report by the President's Science Advisory Committee concerned with the responsibilities of the technical community and the government in the transfer of information. It is a healthy tonic to some of the crisis mentality of today. In anecdote form, however, some of the real problems presented by information overload, and some of the opportunities for bringing order out of chaos are discussed. For example, the operators of Three Mile Island could have prevented the meltdown if they had been aware of the similarity of the warnings they received from instrumentation and previous events at two other nuclear power stations. Synthesis of the massive data on nuclear properties was achieved when one researcher intimately familiar with the massive observational data intuited similarities which led to the development of the shell theory of nuclear structure. Weinberg also provides a useful distinction between the ability and willingness to pay for quick access to information characteristic of engineers, operational scientists, or physicians, who need information, and the more "deliberate" access needs of the more traditional scholarly or contemplative approach.
The dollar is almost back to its level of Fall, 1986, having increased about 14 percent in the past few weeks because of higher U.S. interest rates. If foreign journal publishers contain their increases, which they may not be able to do given investor expectations, and if the dollar continues at or near its current level (perhaps plateauing a little lower than the current level), the only major concern for 1990 journal prices will be U.S. price increases. This was the major factor in price increases for 1989, and it is likely to continue as the major concern for 1990. There still seem to be few forces at work countering the profit taking stance of U.S. and international publishers. In fact, the ability of libraries to absorb the past few years of price increases from abroad may actually provide an incentive to American firms to be relatively unrestrained in their price increases for next year. Publicity about overall effects on libraries needs to be continued at a high level to get attention in other national forums. In fact, with dollar values up, we should be actively contacting colleagues in other countries for impact on their libraries. Also, watch Pergamon Press for major price increases, which have not been passed on in the past few years because of: 1) differential pricing to Europe and other parts of the world, and 2) a lower dollar and pound price that had been controlled to the U.S. market so as to minimize the effect of devaluation.
It's going to be a hot summer. We need to do a little more in depth analysis of possibilities open to European publishers with the dollar at its current strength. For publication schedules (i.e., size projected for 1990), do they go ahead and take the lid off (i.e., above, for instance, Elsevier's nominal 6 percent size growth overall this past year)? Do they set a price assuming the dollar to continue or to level off, decrease, or increase between now and bill payign time? What are the implications for prices with each scenario? We should be able to do some "strategy" implcations for publishers about now for each dollar scenario. Interested?
5.8 EBSCO ANNOUNCES ANNUAL INDEX MEDICUS PRICE STUDY
Madelyn Bonnett, EBSCO Public Relations. (205) 991-1184
EBSCO Subscription Services announces that it will undertake the first journal price analysis project to encompass the entire INDEX MEDICUS (tm) title file. Beginning in 1990, EBSCO's INDEX MEDICUS Price Study IIMPS) will be produced annually in January, with the results reported in May of each year in conjunction with the Medical Library Association's annual conference.
The basic report, which will take the form of EBSCO's existing Historical Price Analysis report distributed to customers annually, will compare prices of the 2,888 medical journals listed in the National Library of Medicine's INDEX MEDICUS (tm) for 1989. The report will contain price information for up to five years, the percent of change in price per year and the total percent of price change for each title. To make the IMPS report of more value to the health sciences community, the titles and pricing information will be grouped by the subject classifications used in the LIST OF JOURNALS INDEXED IN INDEX MEDICUS, a publication of the NLM.
"This first-ever comprehensive INDEX MEDICUS Price Study should prove invaluable to medical librarians due to its thorough ness and subject classification arrangement, which will allow us to analyze indepth the price changes and overall effect within each subject discipline," stated Dixon Brooke, Jr., Vice President and Division General Manager of EBSCO Subscription Services. He continued, "Librarians can take this comprehensive report, or a summary thereof, to the library administrator as evidence of past price shifts and as an implication of future trends in any medical subject discipline. It will be useful in making decisions on any number of critical areas, such as budgeting, collection analysis or holdings enhancement." Potential exists with the IMPS report for additional applications such as matching INDEX MEDICUS titles within a subject discipline against a library's collection to analyze its strengths and weaknesses and to assist with RLG Conspectus studies sometimes conducted by larger medical libraries to guide their collection development efforts.
EBSCO's schedule for the initial IMPS report calls for production in January, followed by analysis in the spring and the formal announcement of results released to the medical and health sciences community and press by the end of May, 1990. For more information on EBSCO's INDEX MEDICUS Price Study, contact EBSCO Subscription Services, Corporate Office, P.O. Box 1943, Birmingham AL 35201, (205) 991-1220.