The ALA Association of Library Collections and Technical Services Board of Directors has not yet made all of the decisions about the future of the NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES, but one thing is certain: there will be no paper edition of the newsletter, effective after issue no. 13. A memo went to all paper subscribers. Those on the waiting list are being informed and given the reasons for discontinuing the paper edition (the great expense and the loss of timeliness) and detailing the various ways to subscribe electronically. Present electronic subscribers may receive requests for paper copies from your colleagues in your own and other institutions. We hope you will share.
A DataLinx message from Susan Davis at SUNY Buffalo will be of interest to persons concerned about the impact of the demise of USBE. Susan says that the May 1989 issue of ONLINE has a list of back issue periodical dealers (complete with phone numbers) on page 102. The next issue of the Newsletter will have a piece on ALCTS' Duplicates Exchange Union.
Travis Leach, University of Arizona, sends this message: With hindsight to the 1989 Charleston conference, librarians interested in the preconditions on the publication of research material may want to read "Making Authors Toe the Line," by John Maddox, Editor-in-Chief of NATURE, in NATURE 342 (no. 6252), December 21/28, 1989, p. 855. And in the same issue, a letter from Dr. Lennart Philipson and colleagues at Heidelberg, on page 849.
In addition to the Gordon and Breach response to the AMS survey, noted below, Christopher E. Schneider, International Sales Director for G & B, has a letter in the January 3 CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION (page B4). He responds to Judith Turner's article (October 25) about the publisher's legal action against the American Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, and Dr. Henry H. Barschall.
Immediately below Schneider's letter is one from Albert Henderson, Principal, Henderson Associates, Bridgeport CT. Deana Astle has summarized the letter: He states in part, "Publishers are simply forced to raise prices to stay in business." He further states, "Concerned members of the learned community who wish to contribute a useful study might compare the growth of library budgets, staffs and buildings to the growth and changing needs of their clientele since 1960. They would provide a more useful perspective on the journal pricing question. Ultimately, I believe they would show the responsibility lies more with the educational and political establishments than with the publishers." Henderson blames Barschall for delving into territory he was not familiar with and concludes, "If, when cancelling a subscription, academic institutions accepted the blame for increased prices to others, we might release valuable energy for more productive challenges than lawsuits and diatribes." Astle concludes her report as follows: "This attitude is a little unsettling, but does show that we have more education to do. He perceives rising journal prices as necessary and blames libraries for forcing up the costs when they cancel subscriptions."
The Newsletter's readers are alert! Joan Grant just reported that the January 24 CHRONICLE has a letter (pages B3 and B4) from Harry Lustig, Treasurer of the American Physical Society, and Kenneth W. Ford, Executive Director of the American Institute of Physics, responding on behalf of their societies and Dr. Barschall to Chris Schneider's letter printed in the January 3 issue. The men answer G & B's claims: 1)"that its journals are more specialized than those of other publishers, and thus are both more costly to produce and more useful to subscribers;" 2) "that the comparisons in the survey were unfair because of the need to adjust for postage, copying licenses, and free supplemental publications;" 3) "that the survey included an unfair selection of journals;" and 4) "that one of its journals is a handbook [and no other handbooks are included in the study]." The letter concludes, "... the evidence is mounting that G & B is pursuing its commercial interests through threats and lawsuits against those who conduct or publish studies that provide information about its journals' prices ests of the entire scholarly community."
Richard Jasper, Acquisitions Librarian at Emory University, sends this message: At ALA I met Stephen Lustig, Academic Sales and Marketing Director of Cassell PLC in London. He had heard from one or more American librarians that they maintained separately budgeted amounts for U.S. and non-U.S. publications. He's wondering if that constitutes discrimination on the part of libraries against non-U.S. publishers. An interesting idea.... His address is Artillery House, Artillery Row, London SW1P 1RT; phone 01-222-7676; FAX 01-799-1514.
Finally, those of you who have promised to write or report on various matters and meetings, now is the time.
15.2 INFORMATION ALERT, NO. 1 & NO. 2
Duane Webster, Association of Research Libraries, 1527 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington DC 20036, Telephone: (202) 232-2466.
TO: ARL Directors (dated January 19, 1990)
It has come to our attention that a survey on the collections of scientific, technical and medical journals in libraries is being distributed to a portion of the membership. The survey is sponsored by The Foundation for International Scientific Cooperation and seeks, among other items, to determine if the ARL Serials Prices Project report prompted cancelation of journals.
To date we are unable to determine the purpose of this survey or the nature of the organization conducting the survey. There is no such organization listed in the Washington, D.C., phone directory, although the foundation gives a Washington mailing address.
We seek any information you may have on this enterprise. Did you receive the survey? Did you or your staff respond to the survey? May we have a copy of your response? Do you know anything about the foundation? Do you know the person signing the letter as Director, Maurice Levy?
Please FAX a response to me at (202) 462-7849 if you have relevant information.
TO: Directors of ARL Libraries (dated January 24, 1990)
I have received follow-up information concerning the survey on the collections of scientific, technical, and medical journals in libraries sponsored by the Foundation for International Scientific Cooperation. Postal authorities indicate the survey was mailed using a postage meter registered to Gordon & Breach. The P.O. Box for return of the survey is rented by an individual in a Washington law firm.
As you are aware, Gordon & Breach is conducting a lawsuit against Dr. Barschall, the American Institute of Physics, and the American Physical Society. Legal counsel has suggested information provided by this survey could be used to assess damages for future litigation.
I welcome any other information you may have regarding this and other surveys.
[NOTE. Although Webster's memoranda are addressed to ARL library directors, his issue is of far broader concern. The survey mentions the American Institute of Physics and American Mathematical Society journal pricing surveys, as well as ARL's Serials Prices Project. Library directors should be informed if the survey has been returned. If newsletter readers who are not ARL directors have information about the foundation (or have received or responded to the survey) I will be happy to receive it and pass it on to ARL. --Marcia Tuttle]
15.3 RESOLUTION ON FREE SCHOLARLY
American Library Association Council Document #46, approved at Midwinter 1990 meeting
Whereas, The costs of publication and other library materials and services, including scientific and technical journals, are rapidly increasing; and
Whereas, Escalating costs confront the library community with serious problems regarding the selection of publications and other library materials and services including scientific and technical journals; and
Whereas, Analysis, publication, and dissemination of studies and other information concerning the comparative costs of such materials and services are of vital importance to the library community by assisting it in using library funds in a manner which best serves the needs of its patrons; and
Whereas, The many benefits of such studies to the library community include assisting in collecting, analyzing, comparing, and summarizing data in a readily accessible form; and
Whereas, Library professionals are capable of evaluating such studies to determine whether or not they include criteria relevant to purchasing and subscription decisions; and
Whereas, Disagreements concerning the accuracy of data criteria assessed, the method of analysis employed, and conclusions derived may be freely challenged and debated in the scholarly arena; and
Whereas, The appropriate method by which to respond to or challenge the analysis, publication, and dissemination of such studies s to participate freely and openly in an intellectual debate in a public forum; and
Whereas, The use or threat of litigation or other legal action for the primary purpose of discouraging such studies is inappropriate, as such action impedes scholarly discourse and makes it more difficult for libraries to best serve the needs of their patrons by depriving them of valuable information regarding the comparative costs and benefits of library materials and services; now, therefore be it
RESOLVED That the American Library Association endorse, encourage, and support the analysis, publication, and dissemination of studies and other information concerning the comparative cost of publications and other library materials and services, including scientific and technical journals; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the American Library Association, while in no way seeking to limit the legitimate use of legal action, disapproves the use of litigation for the purposes of discouraging the publication of such studies and information rather than engaging in a free exchange of views and scholarly debate.
SUBMITTED BY: Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS)
15.4 GORDON AND BREACH RESPONSE TO AMERICAN
SOCIETY JOURNAL PRICE SURVEY
Reports from Nancy Anderson (University of Illinois), Chuck Hamaker (Louisiana State University), and Dana Sally (University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill)
The January issue of the NOTICES OF THE AMERICAN MATHEMATICAL SOCIETY carries on pages 92-93, a paid, two-page advertisement by Gordon and Breach responding to the AMS journal price survey published in the November issue of the NOTICES. Titled, "AMS Continues Gross Distortion in Surveys; Abrogates Agreement with Gordon and Breach," the ad is entirely text, presented as a press release. The publisher claims that at the time of an earlier pricing survey, when informed by G & B of "many methodological and factual inaccuracies," AMS agreed to exclude G & B titles from its surveys. According to Chuck Hamaker, "The statement claims that using G & B's amended methodology, cost per 1,000 characters for APPLICABLE ANALYSIS would be 48 cents for 1988, rather than the 93.5 cents published in the survey. To get to this figure, G & B apparently deducted their $5.00 photocopying fee from the regular library rate, deducted for postage and handling, and subtracted 15 percent for `SIP' (Serials Incentive Plan) participation. A proper comparison, according to G & B would deduct postage and handling from the list price." Gordon and Breach summarizes its position near the end of the advertisement: "The problem with non-analytical surveys like this is that they do not really assess all of the factors involved in publication. For example, a publisher may publish a journal of high quality, having a limited audience; or he may have the policy of publishing a journal of low quality comprising material already covered by other publishers, and enjoy a wider number of subscribers. Our policy is to try to choose the best material regardless of the size of the market and produce and price as necessary...."
In the same issue of the NOTICES William Jaco, Executive Director of the American Mathematical Society, has an editorial (pages 2 and 18) entitled, "Journal Price Survey - Threatened." After reviewing the history of the Gordon and Breach objections to the series of AMS journal pricing studies, Jaco says, "There is simply no basis for the attack made by G & B on AMS. G & B are entitled, if they wish, to dispute the methodology, even though we find their arguments to be thin and self-serving. An open flow of information (and if needed an open debate) is in the best interest of all concerned. From this line of reasoning, we agreed to print the `advertisement' of G & B, even though the tone for the `advertisement' is regrettable. What G & B ought not to do, in our opinion, is to threaten the collection and dissemination of information by letters from legal counsel."
15.5 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS
Chuck Hamaker, Louisiana State University, BITNET: NOTCAH@LSUVM.
Research Library Group (RLG) members should ask their coordinators and collection development librarians for copies of the CMDC Steering Committee Meeting Agenda dated December 29, 1989, for the January 4 Steering Committee meeting in Chicago. In addition to an update on the RLG Long Term Serials Project, there are some startling analyses of number of libraries subscribing to chemistry, business, and mathematics journals, with the mean price of journals held ranked by number of libraries holding them. Contrary to popular belief, titles held by the LARGEST NUMBER OF LIBRARIES have the highest average prices, while titles held by the FEWEST libraries have the lowest mean prices!!
The January 1990 issue of BIBLIOTHEKSDIENST includes an article by H.J. Dorpinghaus, "Sing Preisvergleiche in Zukunft noch erlaubt? Verlag Gordon and Breach klagt vor dem Frankfurter Landgericht gegen amerikanischen Physikprofessor." It discusses the G & B suits, with a comment on differential pricing to Europe of the company's titles, and the "unpleasant memory" of the attempt to charge for a copylicense, which is illegal (discussed in BIBLIOTHEKSDIENST 21 (1987) p. 386-88). He also notes that the judgment of the Frankfurt regional court handling the case "may be very relevant for German librarians who concern themselves with price comparisons."
Over the transom have come innumerable articles from unlikely places showing that issues serials librarians have been grappling with are beginning to surface in more general environments. This trend is significant because solutions to the problems we are all facing are not solely in library hands. An article in PULP AND PAPER, vol. 64 (January 1990), pages 122-23, by Ellen R. McCrady from Provo UT, is entitled "Book Preservation Pressures Speed up Conversion of Acid Paper to Alkaline." As a general discussion for the layman, it is excellent. About thirty percent of printing and writing paper being produced today is alkaline, and some in the industry believe it will reach the fifty percent mark this year. P.H. Gladfelter, probably the largest producer in the industry, is one hundred percent alkaline today, and five of the top ten producers have announced plans to convert completely. The major reasons for converting to alkaline are, the article notes, usually economic. It is cheaper to produce! That's good news for librarians, and good publishers looking for ways to save money should be aware of this as well. It will make all of our jobs easier.
News of conferences this spring is like springtime, sprouting out all over. EBSCO and the Cape Fear Library Association, in association with the North Carolina Library Staff Development Program and Duncan Smith of the School of Library and Information Science at North Carolina Central University, are sponsoring "SERIALS: GETTING OUR FAIR SHARE." The conference will feature a panel including Deana Astle of Clemson, John Tagler of Elsevier, and Ree Sherer of EBSCO. Paul Ribbe will also speak, and Becky Lenzini of CARL will present an overview of how automation is changing serials librarianship. Dates: April 23, 24, in Durham NC.
Cornell's Albert R. Mann Library and the Faxon Institute for Advanced Studies in Scholarly and Scientific Communication are sponsoring an INSTITUTE ON COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT FOR THE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY. The theme of the institute is the systematic integration of electronic resources into the concept and practice of collection development. Ross Atkinson (Cornell), Peter Graham (Rutgers), Brian Kahin (Harvard Law), Peggy Seiden (Carnegie Mellon), and others will be workshop leaders and panelists. Registration must be before April 1, and is limited to 90 persons.
Florida State's annual conference will include a collection development/management session with Barbara Meyers of Meyers Consulting Services, Duane Webster, and others. Deana Astle will be a reactor to one panel as well.
A Collection Development and Acquisitions Conference is being planned for St. Louis the middle of May. Contact Katina Strauch of the College of Charleston for details.
The BALTIMORE SUN on January 17, 1990, carried an editorial by Michael Zimmerman, who teaches biology at Oberlin College. "SLAPPing Down Speech" details a practice given a name by Penelope Canan and George Pring of the University of Denver in their article, "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation," in SOCIAL PROBLEMS 35 (December 1988), pages 506-19. Zimmerman places recent Gordon & Breach actions in the context of other lawsuits aimed at silencing activists.
The ARL NEWSLETTER of December 27 announces a new Serials Information Packet. It contains the full text of the final report of a Study Group on Library Materials Pricing Policies, appointed by the General Professional Advisory Committee of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. The study group was charged with considering ways to deal with the large annual increases in the prices of periodicals. Also in the packet are copies of Duane Webster's response to John Merriman's article in NATURE; an article from the MCGILL REPORTER, entitled "Sky-High Serials Prices Fuel Library Financial Crisis," the 1989 AMS journals pricing survey; and a guest editorial from the October 1989 issue of the BULLETIN OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF MEDICINE, "Will Libraries Exist in the Year 2000?" by Anne M. Pascarelli (volume 65, pages 859-65).
The January 15 issue of CURRENT CONTENTS has a thought provoking article by Stephen Lock, who will retire this fall as editor of the BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL. "`Journalology': Are the Quotes Needed?" discusses how criteria identifying a "scientific" article have changed over time. In addition to supporting proposals for a yearly published "self-audit" by journal editors, he suggests that editors publishing inappropriately reviewed material may end up being sued for "damages" for acting irresponsibly. The article is well worth reading. It was first published in the Council of Biology Editors publication, CBE VIEWS, volume 12 (1980), pages 57-59.
PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, January 12, has a lot of important stuff, including a note that Cambridge University Press has just purchased Eyre & Spottiswoode from Octopus. A new twist on Takeovers? A special section of the issue, "PW International," has a lot of information on Japanese markets, and Gayle Feldman's section, Professional Publishing, has an article by Robert Weber, "Mapping the Future in Professional Publishing." Using the technique of "future mapping" he explores several scenarios, all of interest to libraries. Finally, an ad in that issue notes that Maxwell Macmillan International publishing group will distribute, or represent, worldwide, G.K. Hall, Twayne, and a host of other very familiar names.
Takeover fever, as we know, hit RJR Nabisco, whose junk bond debt is being paid, according to the latest issue of the NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, through such devices as a thirty percent jump in the price of Nabisco crackers on our grocery shelves.
A company of major concern to libraries, UMI, was part of the Bell & Howell sale to a Texas style takeover and amazingly is as unsensitive as any big conglomerate, UMI has raised prices on such things as the NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS on microfilm by about 29 percent for the backrun. NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE backrun is up twenty percent since last year, and the NEW YORKER is up twenty percent. Hey, remember we are libraries, not S & L's. The feds bailed out the S & L's; there is no evidence they are going to save our boat. Serials librarians should do their own comparisons of such price increases and ask for an explanation. If we don't ask, they think we don't mind! Letting publishers know we noticed is still our most effective action. Don't be afraid to ask any publisher to rescind or explain a price increase. They ain't sueing nobody for asking directly and some even complain bitterly when we don't ask them directly. Get it from the horse's mouth -- but check his teeth, like any good horsetrader.
Tom Leonhardt, University of the Pacific (phone 209 946-2434) is working on a conference limited to 106 participants, for May 18-20th in the Sierra Nevada: Feather River Institute on Acquisitions and Collection Development. At least this first conference will have a major speaker whose talk will be "Lonesome Dove Acquisitions in the West." Tom hopes that this regional conference will be a focus for librarians to get together and talk about common problems in acquisitions and collection development. He has maps for how to get there and says that registrants flying in will go through RENO and have an hour's shuttle trip to the old Feather Run Prep School.
The October 1989, issue of INCITE (Newsletter of the Australian Library and Information Association) carries a note from the Australian Serials Special Interest Group (ASSIG) concerning Marcia Tuttle's visit to Australia last this year. Speaking in Adelaide to about 115 librarians and library technicians, as well as Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, the ALIS newsletter notes that "despite a rigourous schedule and many flight changes due to the pilots' strike, (she) was always interesting, entertaining, and informative." (INCITE 10, 16 (Oct. 16, 1989), page 8). Several of Marcia's presentations and those of other librarians in Australia seem to have raised issues of interest to American librarians as well, and INCITE notes especially lively discussion following some of the papers.
15.6 LEARNED SOCIETY PUBLICATIONS PRICING
Alan Singleton, Development Manager, Institute of Physics, London; JANET, via BITNET: IOPPL@GB.RL.AC.UK.
I have been following the discussions on pricing, particularly the contributions from Karen Hunter, Duane Webster, et al, with considerable interest. It seems to me a very worthwhile effort to give all these views as thorough an airing as possible.
Amongst Pieter Bolman's reported statements at the IFLA meeting (Newsletter, no. 10) there was one which really does need correcting. It ran, "Learned societies operate with their fixed costs covered and deal only with variable costs. This situation permits societies to have cheaper rates." This is not correct for many learned societies, particularly for those that are significant or substantial publishers.
There are many types of learned societies, just as there are several kinds of commercial publishers. There are, no doubt, some societies who operate solely on the basis of honorary and voluntary officers who in some way donate their time to the publishing enterprise. Many others cooperate with other publishers (learned society or commercial) who carry out functions on their behalf. However, substantial societies like the Institute of Physics, where I work, carry just as significant a burden of fixed costs as a commercial publisher. Indeed, we could even argue that it is greater, since in most cases we directly employ many professional, qualified staff to undertake the administration of the refereeing system on behalf of the physics community in addition to those staff carrying out all the conventional publishing operations.
We thus do incur such costs. In addition, they are not covered, for most societies, by a captive market of member subscriptions. In our case, for example, income from member subscriptions to the journals plays an insignificant role in the journals' finances.
15.7 AN AUTOMATED JOURNAL USER STUDY AND SERIALS
Jeffery Beam, Biology Library - Botany Section, Department of Biology, CB # 3280 Coker Hall, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill NC 27599-3280
(EDITOR'S NOTE. Academic branch libraries are susceptible to serious space, as well as financial, restrictions. I asked Beam to describe the system used in his library to combat these restrictions.)
The John N. Couch Biology Library - Botany Section has, since 1982, conducted a journal use study for the purpose of identifying low use titles for cancellation or withdrawal. Last year, an online system which also includes a stack management function was developed. The original manual study consisted of two very large and cumbersome notebooks which held a statistic sheet for each serial title in the collection. The sheet was designed to record not only the volume and year of the journal used, but also the month of use and six types of user. The online system has been simplified to only 3 types of user and a count of the use.
Lotus HAL 123 is the software used for the online system. Because this is a stacks management system also and journals are shelved in three areas, there are three separate files - one for the alphabetical stacks, one for the call number stacks, and one for our annex storage. The files consist of 8 columns. In column 1 each title is assigned a number. Column 2 provides an active/inactive code for the title with 1 representing active and 0 inactive. Column 3 holds the title. All pertinent title changes are recorded here, with cross references provided in column 4 to the title at which the statistic is kept. (Journals are usually shelved under the original title, with cross references on library stack end panels and in the user study, from newer titles to the original title._ The fourth column also provides the number of shelf inches occupied by the title. The inches are recorded only at the shelving title, not at cross references. In the call number management file this column also contains the call number. Columns 5, 6, and 7 identify type of use - Biology Department user; Other, or non-departmental user; and In-house use. The final column contains a total number of uses for that title.
At the top of each file is a self-calculating chart which gives the total number of inches in the stack area, the number of inches in use at the beginning of the statistical year, the number of inches used during the year, and the current number of inches remaining. This chart also records the number of active titles. A number of macros in the system allow for immediate computation and prevent the graduate assistants who input the statistics from altering any statistics inadvertently or forgetting to save their work.
The program is set up so that, despite the number of columns being larger than a screen, column 1 (the assigned number), column 2 (the active/inactive code) and column 3 (the title) are always visible. In all there are 878 entries in three files, including cross references. Cross references probably account for fewer than ten percent of the entries. The alpha file is the largest, containing 449 entries. For each of the three files a master file must be updated every time a title is added or deleted and whenever a bound journal is added to the shelf. To obtain the measurement for an added volume, a student assistant measures the volume when it returns from the bindery. The student records the measurement and passes it on to the graduate assistant in charge of the study. The graduate assistant records the addition of inches to only the master file and not the current year's file. It was decided to maintain the current year file only as a user study file and to use the master file as the stack management system. At the beginning of the year, then, a current year file faithfully reflects the current stack situation, but as the year progresses it does not reflect diminishing or increasing space. This prevents our having to record all bindery returns and other measurement changes in both files, which seemed redundant.
Since going online with the study the amount of time to do the study has been reduced by as much as ninety percent. Yet the graduate student must still load books onto a book truck, take the truck and circulation file to our computer, and look at each volume and matching card, as well as discharge the circulation card if the item was signed out. More work will be saved when the time comes for another major shift of the journal stacks, which at the present zero growth circumstance in Botany is about every two years. Never again will it be necessary to measure the whole stacks, make guesses as to growth patterns for particular titles, and rely only on personal experience with few hard statistics (circulation cards used to be reviewed) to support decisions to cancel or withdraw titles.
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 (ISSN: 1046-3410) 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. The NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES is available electronically on BITNET, ALANET, and DataLinx. EBSCO customers may receive the newsletter in paper format from EBSCO. Back issues of the newsletter are available electronically free of charge through BITNET from the editor.