Once again you newsletter readers are proving to be very special people! I have written a number of journal articles and, if my experience is typical, perhaps one in eight generates response. This morning I ran into David Taylor and asked if he had heard from anyone after his request for information about serials cancellation projects, in issue no. 16. His eyes lit up, his 7:55 a.m. smile broadened into a grin, "Oh, yes! I'll have to send them to you." Thanks for helping David with his book. Managing the Serials Explosion was well reviewed and is often cited. A second edition will be most welcome.
I have promised many of you who reported/complained about multiple copies of BITNET newsletter issues that I would explain what was happening. How does this sound? When I command the UNC VAX to send out an issue (the last one was 37k) to nearly 300 id's, it first makes a copy of the file for EACH SUBSCRIBER, then it sends them out. It seems that the UNC VAX is short of disk space. Thus, the computer usually runs out of space while it is making these copies -- and starts over when more disk space becomes available. Finally, one time it gets all the way through the list without running out of space, and the issue goes out -- every copy the computer has made. The result is that subscribers whose id is near the top of the list get the most copies and those whose id's are near the bottom (the earliest subscribers?) get the fewest. This procedure also explains why it sometimes takes as long as two days after I upload the file for the issue to actually go out. I had coffee with Paul Jones, the Postman, last week and he told me that the VAX now has additional disk space. He managed to get some of it for the mail system so, for at least a few more issues you should get only one copy. I would appreciate knowing when someone does get more than one copy. There are other things we can do (if we MUST).
Gordon & Breach update: Word came from a Newsletter subscriber and has been confirmed by Mary Lane of the AMS that G & B has filed suit in Germany against the American Mathematical Society. The publisher has also appealed the recent Swiss Court decision that threw out their lawsuit against the AIP/APS.
Two more articles on Gordon & Breach are: "Publisher Continues Its Fight Against Price Surveys," by Ken Kalfus in the February 5 Scientist (page 5), an update on the lawsuits and related matters; and "Library Survey From Journal Publisher Sent Under Unsuspecting Foundation's Name," by Judith Axler Turner in the February 21Chronicle of Higher Education. The latter article gives a detailed and fascinating history of the questionnaire sent on the letterhead of the Foundation for International Scientific Cooperation. See also Tom Gaughan's editorial in the March American Libraries.
In the February 28 Chronicle Kim A. McDonald reports on the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in New Orleans. The article, "Scientists Urged to Help Resolve Library 'Crisis' by Shunning High-Cost, Low-Quality Journals," focuses on presentations by October Ivins (Louisiana State University), Robert Peet (Biology Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Fred Spilhaus (American Geophysical Union), and Karen Hunter (Elsevier Science Publishers). Ivins laid the groundwork for the discussion by summarizing the present crisis and its antecedents. Peet discussed the situation at his institution. Spilhaus suggested that scientists refuse to publish in, review for, or purchase "low-quality, high-cost journals." Hunter defended the commercial publisher's high prices by pointing to the increased amount of scientific research that is worthy of publication.
When I read Bill Britten's article in College & Research Libraries News ("BITNET and the Internet: Scholarly Networks for Librarians," February 1990, p. 103-07), I learned something about the newsletter: You can subscribe yourself, without benefit of me! I had understood that only UNC's postman could add id's to the mailserver, but Bill found out differently. One can subscribe by sending the following mail message to either LISTSERV@UNCVX1 or MAILSERV@UNCVX1:
SUBSCRIBE PRICES-L your_full_name
The advantage of subscribing through me, however, is that I send a test message to make sure we can talk to each other before I have your id added to the list.
Even with electronic newsletters the timing is sometimes bad. Just missing the last issue is this announcement from the Association of Research Libraries:
Ann Okerson has accepted the position of Director, Office of Scientific and Academic Publishing. Ms. Okerson, who received her M.L.S. from the University of California, Berkeley, will have initial responsibility to identify and influence the forces affectin the production, dissemination, and use of scientific and scholarly information. Her past experience includes: Jerry Alper, Inc., Manager, Library Services; Simon Fraser University, Head of Serials Division, Senior Librarian - Head of Serials Section, and Senior Librarian - Acquisitions Division; and a one-year sabbatical to B.H. Blackwell in Oxford, England, where she worked on a variety of issues.
Ann has already sent useful materials on serials pricing for the newsletter, and I look forward to a close working relationship.
Chuck Hamaker told me that the University of Iowa Libraries Newsletter for January 1990 uses this newsletter as a major example of the new electronic journal. They apparently redistribute it internally to "more than twenty people interested in this topic." Chuck says he himself sends it to five others and wonders about the "multiplier effect." Just for fun, I'd like to calculate our readership (very roughly!) for the BITNET edition. If you load the newsletter onto a LAN or forward it to your own distribution list, will you let me know approximately how many id's are involved? Do any ALANET or DataLinx subscribers do the same thing?
18.2 INSTITUTE ON COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT FOR THE
Samuel Demas, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, BITNET: EKZY@CORNELLA.
Themes and Objectives: The systematic integration of electronic resources into the concepts and practices of collection development is a major challenge to libraries in the 1990s. Decisions concerning investments in electronic information resources should fall under the purview of a comprehensive collection development policy. This will ensure intellectually coherent and cost-effective development of an institution's base of scholarly resources. This institute is designed to help collection development administrators gain the perspective, knowledge and skills needed to play an important role in decision-making on electronic information.
The Institute will explore the implications of electronic publishing for library "collections" and how they are "built," financed and managed. In plenary sessions, speakers and panelists from a variety of backgrounds will assess the impact on our concept of "collections" of: changing patterns of scholarly communication, national networks, and the question of access vs. ownership. Workshops will provide state-of- the-art practical training in specific aspects of collection development for the electronic library. Case studies and exercises will be used to stimulate discussion of the challenge of including all pertinent information, regardless of format, in the mix of resources which constitute our "collections."
In the final session, the Institute Analysts will present, for discussion by Institute participants, a synthesis in the form of an agenda for developing the electronic library in the next decade. A monograph based on the Institute will be published. A primary outcome of the Institute will be recommendations addressing continuing education needs and formulation of curricula for future Institutes.
Location: All meetings and room accommodations, and most meals will be in the Statler Inn and Conference Center on the Cornell University campus.
Fees, housing and meals: Thanks to generous corporate support arranged by the Faxon Institute, an overall conference fee of $325 covers registration. Double room accommodations and meals (from Sunday dinner through Wednesday breakfast) are included in the registration fee. Participants selecting double room accommodations will be assigned a roommate unless they specify another participant with whom they wish to room. Single rooms are available for an additional $35 per night.
Registration: To ensure an atmosphere conducive to close interaction between speakers and participants, registration will be limited to 90 persons. Priority will be given to collection development officers from academic libraries. To register, complete the attached form and mail, with payment, before April 6, 1990. Cancellations will be accepted until April 2, subject to a $20 processing fee.
Preliminary Program Outline:
2:00 - 6:30 Institute Registration - Statler Inn
6:30 - Opening Banquet - Statler Inn
After dinner speaker: Robert Kahn, Corporation for National Research Initiatives
Monday, April 30:
9:00 - 10:00 Developing the Electronic Library Jan Kennedy Olsen
10:00 - 10:30 Break
10:30 - 12:00 Panel: Changing Patterns of Scholarly Communication: Implications for libraries Rowland Brown, Morris Glicksman, Peter Graham
12:00 Lunch - Statler Inn
1:30 - 3:00 First Round (Choose one)
* Selection criteria for electronic formats (CDROM, computer files, online resources and micro software), and guidelines for selecting among formats - Kathy Chiang & Nancy Evans
* Legal and Ethical issues: negotiating equitable access to information - Brian Kahin & Peggy Seiden
* Mounting files locally vs. providing remote access: financial, technical and organizational considerations in providing patron access to numeric, bibliographic and full text files - Howard Curtis, Emily Fayen, Brian Sweet
3:00 - 3:30 Break
3:30 - 5:00 Second Round (Choose one)
* Collection managment and development policies for electronic resources - Tony Ferguson
* Management issues/strategies: organizing for integration of electronic resources in libraries - Sam Demas
* Financing access to electronic information while building print collections - Gene Wiemers, Carl Deal
6:00 - 6:45 Cocktail Hour (cash bar)
Tuesday, May 1
9:00 - 10:00 National Networks: Implications for Higher Education - Fred Weingarten, Office Technology Assessment
10:00 - 10:30 Break
10:30 - 12:00 Panel: National Networks: Implications for Libraries - Brian Kahin, Steve Metalitz, Ward Shaw
12:00 Lunch - Statler Inn
1:30 - 3:00 First Round (Choose one)
Repeat of sessions offered on April 30
3:00 - 3:30 Break
3:30 - 5:00 Second Round (Choose one)
Repeat of sessions offered on April 30
6:00 - 7:00 Reception
7:00 - 9:00 Dinner - Statler Inn
Wednesday, May 2
8:30 - 9:45 Financing Electronic Information Resources Moderator: Malcom Getz, Vanderbilt
9:45 - 10:15 Break
10:15 - 12:00 Developing the Electronic Library: Agenda for the 1990's Institute Analysts Robert Hayes, Jan Kennedy Olsen
Reaction/discussion by conference participants.
Institute Faculty: Ross Atkinson, Assistant University Librarian for Collection Development and Preservation, Cornell University; Rowland Brown, former CEO of OCLC, Inc., consultant to OCLC and other organizations; Kathy Chiang, Computer Data Librarian, Mann Library; Howard Curtis, Head of Information Technology Section, Mann Library; Carl W. Deal, Director of Library Collections, University of Illinois - Champaign/Urbana; Sam Demas, Head of Collection Development, Mann Library; Nancy Evans, Reference Librarian, Carnegie Mellon University; Emily Gallup Fayen, Director of Information Systems, University of Pennsylvania; Tony Ferguson, Resources Group Director, Columbia University; Malcom Getz, Associate Provost for Information Services, Vanderbilt University; Morris Glicksman, Provost, Brown University; Peter Graham, Associate Vice President for Information Services and Associate University Librarian for Technical and Automated Services, Rutgers University; Robert Hayes, Professor, UCLA Graduate School of Library and Information Science; Brian Kahin, Adjunct Research Fellow, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Robert Kahn, Corporation for National Research Initiatives; Steve Metalitz, Vice President and Counsel, Government Relations, Information Industry Association; Jan Kennedy Olsen, Director, Mann Library; Peggy Seiden, Carnegie Mellon University; Brian Sweet, Group Leader, Product Development, BIOSIS; Ward Shaw, Executive Director, CARL (Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries); Gene L. Weimers, Social Sciences and Humanities Program, Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress; others to be announced.
For more information contact:
A.R. Mann Library
Ithaca, NY 14853
18.3 VIRGINIA COPES WITH RISING SERIAL PRICES
Kenneth O. Jensen, Director for Collection Development, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, VA, BITNET: KOJ@VIRGINIA
In April 1989, a Study Group on Library Materials Pricing Policies was appointed by the General Professional Advisory Committee (GPAC) 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.
The Study Group investigated and made recommendations on four major areas.
1. The cause and effect of the escalating costs of periodicals.
2. Strategies adopted by Virginia's academic and research libraries in the face of increased cost coupled with essentially static funding.
3. The role of technology and the benefits it could bring to bear to ameliorate the crisis.
4. The role of the total scholarly community in addressing the problem.
Nancy Marshall, University Librarian at the College of William and Mary, chaired the Study Group, which issued its report on October 31, 1989. Among other recommendations for short term actions, the Study Group advised that librarians and faculty "should review their subscriptions to high priced-low use journals. Only a single subscription to such journals should be retained at one library in the state, with the agreement that priority telefaxing of article copies will be given to other Virginia academic libraries." A separate committee has now been formed to implement this recommendation.
Copies of the full report may be obtained from John Molnar, Council of Higher Education, 101 North 14th Street, Richmond, VA 23219.
18.4 CARNEGIE FOUNDATION REPORT ON FACULTY
Holly Melanson, Coordinator of Collections Development, Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S., Canada; BITNET: BIRDSALL@AC.DAL.CA
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has published some figures useful to the debate on quality control in scholarly publishing. The Condition of the Professoriate: Attitudes and Trends 1989 gathers information from a survey of 5,000 faculty members at a variety of educational institutions. It is no surprise that 54 percent of those surveyed say it is difficult to receive tenure without publishing. Only 41 percent agreed with this statement in the 1969 survey. However, there are signs that faculty members are disturbed at the amount of publishing being generated: 38 percent say that publications are just counted and not qualitatively measured at their institutions. A similar number agree that the pressure to publish reduces the quality of teaching at their university. Respondents at research universities agreed more strongly with the latter statement (52 percent) than faculty members at colleges and other types of institutions of higher education. These facts and figures can advance discussion with faculty of journal price increases and their root cause.
18.5 A CRISIS IN SCHOLARLY PUBLICATION: WHAT YOU CAN
Peggy Johnson, Interim Collection Development Planning Officer, University of Minnesota Library; BITNET: M-JOHN@UMINN1.
(Johnson wrote a summary of the journal pricing situation for presentation to Minnesota's Senate Library Committee. Subsequent discussion led to the points under "What You Can Do." These excerpts from the report and discussion are reprinted from Library Line: An Occasional Newsletter of the University of Minnesota Libraries - Twin Cities, February 1990.)
The consequences of the serials crisis are significant. The proportion of library budgets devoted to serials expenditures is increasing at a rate that threatens to consume the entire acquisitions budget. Nevertheless, the serials holdings of the members of the Association of Research Libraries have decreased over the last three years and continue to do so. In other words, research libraries are spending more, but buying less.
These trends are having a very adverse effect on the University of Minnesota and, indeed, on our state.
First, they prevent the Libraries from reclaiming ground that was lost over the last two decades with respect to peer institutions.
Second, they cause libraries in Minnesota to become even more dependent on MINITEX, and this in turn places greater stress upon the interlibrary loan system.
Third, they are eroding the ability of libraries to support campus instruction and research.
And, finally, they are causing unplanned and, in some instances, highly skewed budget allocations within libraries, some of which may not be in consonance with academic priorities.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
When these issues were discussed by the Senate Library Committee on December 7, 1989, several suggestions were offered. Taken together, these might be viewed as an "agenda for action" by scholars and librarians.
--First, professors should resist the temptation to write in terms of "least publishable units" (LPUs). That is, submit one complete article on one's research findings rather than several smaller articles to more narrowly focused, specialized journals.
--Second, scholarly and professional associations should regularly evaluate their relationships with commercial publishers. Faculty can encourage such scrutiny at professional meetings or by means of contacts with members of editorial boards.
--Third, faculty who are members of scholarly associations could stimulate greater discussion of the growing crisis in scholarly communication and request that these associations address this topic at annual meetings or through newsletters and journals published by the associations.
--Fourth, faculty need to become as well informed as possible concerning this matter and explore whether it is always in the best interest of scholarship to relinquish copyright of their articles to commercial publishers.
--Finally, scholars need to become more cognizant of the high cost of scholarly materials, and the fact that libraries are often required to pay considerably higher prices for subscriptions than individuals pay.
18.6 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS
Chuck Hamaker, Louisiana State University; BITNET:NOTCAH@LSUVM.
My complaint about Mathematical Reviews on Disk is partially answered by William B. Woolf, "The Mathematical Reviews Database: The Power of Modern Technology," in AMS Notices, 37 (February 1990): 132-34. Woolf notes that 90 percent of the cost of MR comes from preparation of the data for the database. I think my point is still valid, however, that since paper subscriptions are already paying the way, they should consider striking out to new markets: find out if it works, experiment, see if lower pricing works -- and helps or hurts. If you don't throw the dice you can't win the crap shoot. The AMS Board believes, however, "that each user of the information (should) somehow participate in the funding of its creation. The problem of determining pricing policies for the various products so as to accomplish this equitably is not an easy one; the AMS staff and Board of Trustees struggle with it regularly." My advice is still the same: go for a larger subscription base: it's the first time in almost 2 decades the opportunity has come; last time it was technology. Include a CD ROM player in the initial subscription for first time subscribers, especially to third world countries. Take a chance on the future. Take a crack at U.S. AID -- anybody -- to get players into the rest of the world. And, publishers all, why don't you cooperate on that kind of a project? Get players and cheap pc's into Hungary, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Rhodesia, and Poland -- with surge protectors please. If you are really international, get the Japanese to help bring them into the 21st century before we land there without them. (Tefko Saracevic at Rutgers would be a good contact; he's working on microfilm readers and basic subscriptions in microfilm to third world countries. You do read the ASIS annual conference proceedings don't you?)
In a recent speech, Allan Bromley, President Bush's science advisor said the U.S. is threatened with the prospect of becoming "The first fully industrialized third-world nation." At the U.S. Education Department-sponsored conference he also pointed out "it is clear we are not educating students so that they can compete effectively in the international marketplace." (from the NASULGC Green Sheet Circular Letter no. 1, Feb., 1990, p. 12.)
The same issue of the Green Sheet (p.7) reports a study from Walter W. McMahon of the University of Illinois -- a joint study with Hans de Groot of Erasmus University, Rotterdam and J. Frederick Volkwein of SUNY Albany -- noting that 11 private universities and 21 top public institutions representing 22 percent of the schools studied, generated 55 percent of the academic publications. If anyone knows McMahon, this part of his study, which generally focused on other concerns, would certainly be of interest. Has it been published? If academic publications are this closely "produced" there may be some real solutions out there for our mutual problems.
However: ARL statistics are out for 1988-1989. They include a new graph prepared by Kendon Stubbs, which provides dramatic evidence of the condition of America's research libraries. Because of changes in reporting, there is now a historical line of data on number of monograph volumes purchased from many of the ARL libraries, as well as data for number of serial titles purchased. Since 1985-1986 the libraries providing this data indicate a 19 percent drop in books purchased and no increase in the number of serial titles purchased. Monograph unit price is up 38 percent since 1985-1986, and serials unit price is up 44 percent. This suggests that to have remained even, libraries would have had to increase BOOK BUDGETS AT THE SAME LEVEL AS SERIALS EXPENDITURES TO PURCHASE THE SAME NUMBER OF BOOKS AS THEY DID IN 1985-1986! Are the same forces at work in scholarly and scientific book prices as in serials? The answer, from these data, seems to be an unqualified yes.
The January 1990 issue of the Library Association Record just arrived a bit waterlogged (as much of Louisiana is right now). The editor of MCB University Press's New Library World has resigned after seven years with the journal, in protest of the doubling of the price to 100 pounds sterling. Edward Dudley (the editor) had a letter about this in the November, 1989, issue of the Record. That's the good news. Russell Bowden, in a brief note on the Barschall/Gordon and Breach suits seems to ignore the fact that G & B has a major British office and prints most of its journals in the UK. As many others have, he insists Gordon & Breach is an AMERICAN publisher. However, he notes that the Library Association agrees with others that the Barschall suits are a form of intimidation. "Just as publishers claim the right to fix prices at levels they believe the market can bear or that production costs justify, so librarians and others must be free to criticise pricing policies which they believe are unjustified."
The bad news is that the Library Association Council has approved the sale of a large part of LA Publishing Ltd. to Bowker-Saur, part of the Butterworths publishing conglomerate (actually, it's part of the Reed conglomerate). Given the problems German libraries have had with exclusive arrangements with Saur distributing Bowker publications it is surprising the LA would sell them. This is an international problem, as Dr. Barschall reminded us. Going to Saur-Bowker-Butterworths: Library and Information Science Abstracts (LISA), British Humanities Index, Current Technology Index, Current Research in Library and Information Science, Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts, and The Journal of Librarianship, Edward Dudley, the aforementioned editor who resigned when MCB doubled the price of NLW, has an article in the same issue which criticizes the decision. "Question for all of us is what Auntie plans to do with loads of unexpected money we get in exchange for selling of the profitable bits of LAPL (Library Association Publishing Ltd.)? This question, asked by last year's LA President, Martin Sone, in LA Council is so far (18 Dec.) not answered. And what shall we do with the unprofitable bits?" (They held on to membership journals and the book division.) So Bowker gets bigger; will they force us in the Americas to buy the LA stuff from New York?? Colonialism redux. Ain't that part of why we had the Boston Tea Party?