I'm afraid this issue's "Mea Culpa" comes "From the Editor" for not being as careful as she promised. Here's a message from Sarah Stevens-Rayburn (LIBRARY@STSCI.BITNET):
In the discussion of the price increase for Analytical Chemistry, Anne McKee made the statement that an increase from $59 to $289 was a 450 percent increase. According to my calculator, that's a 389.8 percent increase, bad enough, I'll admit. I fear if we aren't careful to be accurate in our complaints, we'll lose credibility.
Sarah is correct on all counts.
This is from the Chapel Hill Newspaper of November 29, 1990:
Bill Hildebolt, student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has accepted a challenge from his N.C. State University counterpart to see which school can raise the most money for its libraries.
The deadline for the contest is 5 p.m. Feb. 1, 1991. In a bet agreed on by the two presidents, the losing school's student leader will be forced to sit in a prominent location during the Feb. 6 State-Carolina game in NCSU's Reynolds Coliseum, wearing clothes of the winner's choosing and rooting for the rival team.
Hildebolt said in The Daily Tar Heel today that he hopes to raise more than $5,000 from UNC students, parents and alumni. The money will be held in endowment funds until a total of $25,000 is reached. Fund-raising will continue after the Feb. 1 reckoning.
Hildebolt is planning an all-Carolina blue outfit for NCSU Student Body President Ed Stack to sport at the game, he said.
For you non-Tar Heels, the "Feb. 6 State-Carolina game" is basketball, of course.
We hear so much dire news today on serials pricing that I am taking the liberty of passing along something from Heather Steele's recent letter to customers of the Blackwell Periodicals Division. She has been given temporary custody of John Merriman's "file of rather unusual letters and requests from publishers and customers."
From an Asian shell society:
It is with much regret that I bring you the sad news that we have decided to suspend publication of our journal due to a very difficult economic situation in our country today. You therefore have a credit of $21.45 representing unserved subscriptions. Since it is difficult for us to obtain foreign currency, we would like to offer the following alternative in refunding your credit: We could send you shells of an equivalent amount, postage to be billed.
From a science fiction journal:
You don't understand: the only way a subscriber can cancel a sub. is to DIE, literally.
From a literary journal:
We don't publish this, get stuffed.
Thanks to Heather and John for this diversion.
30.2 GIFT SUBSCRIPTIONS FROM PROFESSORS: A RESPONSE TO
Anne E. McKee, George Mason University; DataLinx: AMCKEE.
I've had some experience with what Marie was questioning in the last issue of the Newsletter, and I thought I would share my thoughts with you.
1. The first thing to consider is whether the professor(s) is willing to pay the individual rate or the institutional rate. Many times faculty don't know there is a tiered structure and are horribly surprised when they discover the contrary. Also, there is the ethical and legal question involved in using individual rates for library use. Some publishers have gotten quite stringent in the last few years of investigating any library where they believe the individual rate is being misused. Some of the publishers (as I'm sure you are aware) even print in bold letters across the front of the journal, "FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY!"
2. Once the pricing question is resolved: how does one go about paying for the journal? Should the professor pay directly for it or should the library handle all ordering procedures and then inform the professor when the invoice arrives? This, too, is fraught with problems: a) suppose there have been budget cuts since the order was placed and the faculty member no longer has the dollars? b) what if the professor is on sabbatical or has left outright since the order was placed? Etc.
3. Then, once the order has been placed, how will it be received? By the professor, who will then forward to the library, or mailed directly to the library? The claiming question must be resolved: does the professor do it or the library? What about renewal notices?
I'll give you a quick run down on things I've had to consider when faced with professors who wanted to donate journal subscriptions:
I. I personally find it unethical to accept a professor's offer of a journal subscription only to find out s/he means to order the "individual rate" and then give it to the library. I will refuse it every time.
II. I have had numerous problems with obtaining the subscription if the offer for the institutional rate to be paid by the professor has been accepted. If the professor has it mailed directly to him/her and then forwards it to the library, there always seems to be an incomplete run. Many times the professor will retain the issues until s/he has about four or five of them and then send them over to the library, which means we never have the current issues on the shelf. If the donation is mailed directly to the library, I still seem to have more trouble than usual obtaining all the issues.
III. Renewals. I've had an inordinate amount of trouble in renewing these subscriptions. Professors leave campus and then we're forced to cancel again. Or, they can't afford to pick up the subscription so we're forced to cancel. It is especially bad when they offer to pay for a brand new subscription one year and then are not able to keep up the arrangement the next year. You have one year on the shelf; do you bind it or discard it? Etc.
As you can see, there are many, many things to consider about gift donations. I think Marie should count herself very fortunate that the faculty on her campus care enough for the library and the students to want to retain the journals by assuming the payment. I personally believe that these gift subscriptions take up more staff time in ordering and claiming than regular subscriptions and after being "burned" a number of times, will not usually accept the gift. Only Marie, however, can decide if these possible problems are outweighed by the fact that they can still make the title available to the students. Good luck!!
30.3 MORE FROM VIRGINIA TECH'S SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATIONS
Lon Savage, Virginia Tech, SAVAGE@VTVM1.BITNET.
The Scholarly Communications Project of Virginia Tech, started two years ago as one university's response to the serials pricing problem, has begun marketing a technical journal. The project is intended to develop alternative models for retaining ownership of scholarly information within the university environment.
The journal is The International Journal of Analytical and Experimental Modal Analysis (IJAEMA), a publication of the Society for Experimental Mechanics of Bethel CT. The university project began editing, printing and distributing the journal last January. It began marketing the journal this fall.
Letters have gone out to faculty and to librarians at universities where modal analysis activity is evident (mostly in engineering schools), soliciting institutional subscriptions. The letter to librarians states that a commercial publisher, one of several known for escalating serials prices, had made a bid to publish the journal at the time the university's bid was submitted. The Society has indicated it approved Virginia Tech's bid to publish the journal partly because of the university's commitment to hold down the price for libraries.
The university project is marketing the journal, a quarterly with many mathematical equations, at a price of $75 per year for institutional subscriptions, the same price charged by the society last year. The project also plans to develop electronic communication of the journal's contents and already has begun placing its tables of contents and abstracts on the Internet.
30.4 REPLY TO "PRICE INCREASES REDUX"
Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands; SCITECH@KAP.NL.
We would like to reply to the article written by Deana Astle concerning the International Journal of Fracture. We believe the information presented is misleading. The facts are:
The increased frequency of publication from 3 volumes (12 issues) in 1989 to 5 volumes (20 issues) of 1990 was announced at the time of renewing subscriptions in late 1989. Thus, 1991 will carry an increase of 1 volume (4 issues) compared with 1990.
The price increase per volume is:
The US$ increase is composed of 22.7 percent increase because of the US$ exchange rate and 4 percent from inflation.
1990: Dfl 315 US$ 148 1991: Dfl 330 US$ 187.50 5 percent
The exchange rates:
1990 was $1 = Dfl 2.16
1991 is $1 = Dfl 1.76
We hope this clarifies the situation.
30.5 BRITISH LIBRARY PROBLEMS
Lloyd Davidson, Northwestern University, L_DAVIDSON@NUACC.BITNET.
The New Scientist of 3 November 1990 has a short article on page 16 that describes the economic difficulties, both long and short term, that are being faced by the British Library. The library is going to be forced to sell land that was "earmarked for expansion of the library in the next century" and it has been forced to stop buying about 3,000 translations of foreign scientific monographs, some reference works and abstract journals and 201 periodicals, 163 of which are translations of pure science periodicals from Eastern Europe. Like other libraries around the world, the problem is caused in part by funding increases which have not taken "into account the huge increases in the cost of scientific journals." Since so many of us depend on the British Library as a resource of last resort, any diminishment of its collection scope is cause for general concern.
30.6 SERIALS ISSUES FROM THE CHARLESTON
Janet L. Flowers, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; JFLOWER@UNC.BITNET.
As usual, the Charleston Conference on Issues and Trends in Acquisitions and Serials (November 8-10, 1990) covered a wide range of topics, from education for acquisitions librarians to preservation to selection criteria. The issue of serials pricing was muted compared to previous conferences, but two panels did concern serials-related matters, so I will report them here.
The first panel dealt with emerging technological trends. Bill Potter, Director of Libraries at the University of Georgia, spoke to the demand side, noting four trends that are building toward a greater use of technology. The four trends are as follows: 1) Libraries are expanding online catalogs to include indexes and other databases; 2) The use of indexes on CD ROM is leading to an increased use of the lower end of collections, i.e., a core of popular titles; 3) The exponential increases in the costs of scientific journals are leading to consideration of ways to replace the scholarly communication system for this area; 4) The evolution of national networks, such as NREN, is offering the distribution channel for these services.
Ward Shaw, President of CARL, spoke to the supply trends. He traced major technological developments in the past fifteen years from OCLC, to PACs, to networks, to full text delivery. He noted that his company, and others, are discovering end users willing to pay to avoid the bureaucracy of the library.
Members of the audience raised the predictable questions of the cost of technology, the role of editors in an electronic environment, preservation concerns, and copyright issues.
In the second panel, Joe Barker, of the University of California at Berkeley, explored the unbundling of the service charges from subscription agents. He defined unbundling as the breaking up of charges into components that are sold separately or in smaller bundles. Joe proposed four levels for the new services: no frills, the precision, self-helper (e.g., library does its own claiming), and the golden passport. The parallel with banking services may help you see the range of support these levels would provide.
Libraries would pay only for those services used. The vendor could levy supplemental charges based on units of time or volume (e.g., number of claims), surcharges, or a sliding scale.
Joe noted four risks associated with a change to unbundled services. 1) Would it be fair? (Do the librarians and the vendors know the costs of their services?) 2) Who would support the research and development efforts of the vendor? 3) What should the contractual obligations be? (How long should the contract be? What stipulations could be made to cover a change in mix because of serials cancellations?) 4) Would it be just too confusing for everyone?
On the other hand, he postulated several advantages for both libraries and vendors. It would enable libraries to pay for only what they used. Libraries could manage their money better by weighing the cost of using the vendor versus doing the work locally. He thought that vendors could use unbundling as a new form of competitive selling. They could use it to lead prices away from unprofitable services.
Joe's parting questions to the audience were: Are we ready for this? Is it worth it? Do we dare? (See his article, "Unbundling Serials Vendors' Service Charges: Are we Ready?" in the Summer 1990 issue of Serials Review.)
Dan Tonkery of Readmore responded by observing that most serials managers are unaware of the service rate they are currently being charged. He also stated that service charges are not related to the range of serials being purchased and that the more aggressive libraries are thriving at the expense of others in the current approach.
To refresh the audience's memory, he reviewed the factors affecting service charges including the title mix (noting that the STM titles clearly pay for the humanities and social sciences). He described the growing pressure to increase service charges as stemming from declines in the discounts from publishers, increased operating costs, changes in the title mix, and an increase in service demands from libraries.
(Note: In the Hyde Park Corner segment of the program, Jerry Curtis, of Springer Verlag New York, responded to a request for information regarding the range of service charges. He described the range as being from 0 - 18 percent, depending upon the mix and noted that the serials vendor only has two sources of revenue: discount and service charges.)
Tonkery pointed to examples of existing unbundled services such as consolidation of orders for off-site check-in, online check-in, union lists, database building, and credit arrangements.
Craig Flansburg from Faxon warned that unbundling could lead to micro-managing. He also noted that vendors have always amortized costs over their user base and provided some fairness through this distribution. He cited Marcia Tuttle's comments in an earlier article, calling for a full and effective partnership between librarians and serials vendors.
30.7 HAVEN'T WE ALREADY PAID FOR THIS???
Danny Jones, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio; JONES@UTHSCSA.BITNET.
Last week I received a mailing from ISI about the special introductory price offer on the Journal Citation Reports. When I called they told me this offer covers the 1989 JCR's. Until now the JCR was included in the annual subscription I paid in advance for Science Citation Index and Social Science Citation Index, and I paid for the 1989 subscription in the fall of 1989. As I see it, I've paid in advance for two years of JCR's and their separate subscription should begin with 1991. Furthermore, as a state institution, I do not think the attorney general would allow me to pay twice for the same product. I'd be interested in how others view this.
30.8 SAN ANTONIO ADDRESS BY FRANK PRESS
Danny Jones, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio; JONES@UTHSCSA.BITNET.
Frank Press, President of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, gave a public address on science and technology policy in the U.S. at Trinity University in San Antonio, November 19, 1990. In the question period following his address Steve Euhaus, Ph.D., who retired several years ago as editor of Applied Mechanics Reviews after more than 25 years in that position, commented on the effect of journal price increases on university libraries in recent years and asked Dr. Press what could be done by the university libraries. In his brief response, Dr. Press acknowledged the problem and suggested that the universities should get together and stop buying the expensive journals or, alternatively, they could agree to buy limited copies of the journals and share them.
30.9 USELESS RESEARCH REPORTS
Bradley D. Carrington, University of Kentucky Library; BCARRING@UKCC.UKY.EDU.
>From a letter of Aaron W. Hughey to the Editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education, November 14, 1990, page 14:
It has long been my contention that Journal of College Student Development Personnel and most other student-services journals are comprised primarily of irrelevant commentaries and useless research reports. Comprehensive studies that could provide many of the insights so desperately needed are practically non-existant....As a practitioner, I want something I can easily translate into concrete administrative practice....Unfortunately, providing this kind of information does not seem to be a primary motivation for most of those currently contributing to our various publications.
Might also apply to the journal literature of librarianship.
30.10 RESPONSE TO DEANA ASTLE
Siegfried Ruschin, Librarian for Collection Development, Linda Hall Library, 5109 Cherry Street, Kansas City MO 64110-2498.
I agree with Deana Astle's statement in no. 29 of the Newsletter that libraries cannot and, I add, should not continue to sustain inordinate increases in subscription prices, whatever reasons the publishers may allege to "justify" them.
Though this in no way diminishes the strength of Deana's argument, it should be noted that the prices of two of the journals that she mentions already drastically increased for THIS year. The subscription price for volumes 42-46 (20 issues) of the International Journal of Fracture in 1990 was $675.00 plus postage, not $437.49. (We paid $725.69.) The increase for next year is therefore "only" a little over 53 percent.
The story of Biopolymers is complicated. Volume 29 for 1990, of this "monthly" consisted of 14 numbers, but five of them, 4/5 (March/April), 6/7 (May/June), 8/9 (July/August 5), 10/11 (August 15/Sept), 12/13 (Oct/Nov) were combined numbers. These double issues do not contain a perceptibly greater number of pages than the single ones.
Last August, Wiley began to publish an additional volume, vol. 30 also dated 1990. The subscription cost for the year was thereby doubled, even though volume 30 was to consist of only seven issues compared to the "fourteen" of volume 29. So far, we have received nos. 1/2, 3/4 and 5/6 of volume 30 (1990). Contrary to the usual practice, Wiley did not bill for volume 30 ahead of publication, but decided to include it with the 1991 subscription. The invoice now states that the charge of $1575.00 covers 24 issues in 2 volumes from August 1990 to December 1991. Since volume 30 was to be published in seven issues, volume 31 would have to consist of 17 issues.
30.11 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS
Chuck Hamaker, Louisiana State University; NOTCAH@LSUVM.BITNET.
Stanford and challenges to and reviews of its overhead understandings with the federal government continue to make the news. The New York Times Education section (Wednesday, November 7, 1990) discusses the problem with a good overview of the possible changes that three ongoing reviews could bring not only to Stanford, but to higher education overhead charges in general. Many of the articles mention a concern about overhead charges connected with Stanford's libraries. This is because the initial letter detailing concerns about the Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) that Stanford had reached with the Office of Naval Research specifies dollar amounts concerning library cost reimbursement charges. The letter, apparently written March 6, 1990 by Paul Biddle, ONR representative at Stanford, states:
The special study that supports an MOU may not be acceptable.... DCAA (Defense Contracting Audit Agency) identifies excessive library cost reimbursement through the overheads amount to $30 - $40 million during the period 1983-86. The Controller's Office (at Stanford) indicates this is a "done deal" due to the existence of an MOU that ONR fully understood.
What this all means, I think, is that Stanford negotiated a charging algorithm for library overheads that resulted in at least the dollar amounts mentioned above. Of course, Stanford in its annual reports to ARL identified library expenditures in the range of about $70 million for the years mentioned. This suggests the algorithm may have created reimbursement levels of close to 65 percent or more for Stanford's library expenditures. Overall, overhead charges from all sources contribute about a third of Stanford's annual operating expenses, and after tuition were its second largest source of operating or unrestricted funds. What is clear, even if the library reimbursement algorithm included much more than the libraries included in the ARL numbers, is that Stanford had figured out how to maximize overhead returns from the federal government. After having agreed to those overhead calculation formulas, the government is now crying foul. And the resulting uproar may affect how all higher education is treated in overhead calculations with the federal government.
Jack Timberlake, University of New Orleans, passed on to me a copy of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Chemical Sciences Alumni News (Fall 1990) detailing problems at the Chemistry library there. Ninety-five percent of the current materials budget goes for serials. "There is virtually no money for monographs, or to build the collection for the future ... Chemistry librarian Tina Chrzastowski points out.... In the last year I have found for the first time that the Chemistry library's budget has been unable to meet all the research needs of the faculty and students." The column is basically to introduce an appeal for funds to alumni, but as Jack pointed out in a note to me, "Years ago ... smaller libraries complained that the big schools were unsympathetic and thus their lack of concern contributed to the problem."
From where I sit, it looks to me like we are all in the same boat today, big and small, and ignoring the cost of the materials we buy, or perpetuating the "go get more money" syndrome, is not an answer for either large or small libraries. If anything, it has exacerbated the situation.
The Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues (ISSN: 1046-3410) is published as news is available by the American Library Association's Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, Publisher/Vendor-Library Relations Committee's Subcommittee on Serials Pricing Issues. Editor: Marcia Tuttle, e-mail: 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; telephone: (919) 962-1067; FAX: (919) 962-0484. Committee members are: Deana Astle (Clemson University), Mary Elizabeth Clack (Harvard University), Jerry Curtis (Springer-Verlag New York), Charles Hamaker (Louisiana State University), Robert Houbeck (University of Michigan), and Marcia Tuttle. EBSCONET 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.