You will notice that in this issue of the Newsletter the two major reports are taken from ACQNET and SERIALST, two online discussion groups that sometimes treat topics relevant to this newsletter. All three editors (or owner in the case of Birdie MacLennan and SERIALST) communicate with each other and believe that our publications do not compete, but complement each other. I had hoped to include the reports on Soviet journals and library cancellation plans in the last issue, but it got too big too fast. I doubt that ever again reprints and summaries from other sources will take so large a share of an issue.
35.2 SUBSCRIPTIONS TO SOVIET JOURNALS
Marcia Tuttle, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET, and a lot of help from ACQNET, CRI@CORNELLC.BITNET.
On February 20, my library's Slavic bibliographer, Nadia Zilper, received unconfirmed information that Les Livres Etrangers in Paris, our primary source for Soviet journals, standing orders, and monographs, was bankrupt and had gone out of business, presumably as a result of the chaos in the Soviet publishing industry resulting from the collapse of the Soviet economy. We understood that the vendor did not place any 1991 renewals. ACQNET, as this Newsletter has mentioned before, is an online discussion group concerned with library acquisitions matters. We felt that ACQNET was an appropriate vehicle for informing others of what we had been told and to learn more about the situation. Christian Boissonnas at Cornell, editor of ACQNET, went into action as soon as he received the electronic message from us. Along with our message, the following explanation from Christian appeared on ACQNET the next day:
This morning I have talked to Georges Delorme, owner of Les Livres Etrangers. The company is not bankrupt, but is going out of business, effective next Monday, assuming that it receives the legal authorization to do so.... The reason Delorme gave me is that the centralized book procurement system in the Soviet Union has collapsed. Since he depends on that system for 99 percent of his business, he sees no way he can satisfactorily meet customer expectations, so he's closing shop.
He currently is negotiating with Collets in London for them to take over his outstanding orders, including subscriptions. He does not yet know whether they will accept. When he does, he will write a general letter to all customers to tell them what's going on.
He is, of course, very unhappy. He is very pessimistic about the long-term situation in Russia. He hopes that, within two or three years, things will have straightened out enough so that he can get back in business. He is not optimistic about that happening. He did express his concern for his customers and says he hasn't told them yet simply because there hasn't been enough time since he made the decision and he is prohibited by the Court from doing so until next Monday....
Electronic mail messages appeared quickly on ACQNET from subscribers in both the United States and Canada illustrating the confusion that Les Livres Etrangers' closing had caused. Many libraries received FAX messages from Collets soliciting their business. Others were sent renewal lists from Victor Kamkin, Inc., in Maryland. A Canadian library heard from TROYKA, LTD. in Toronto. All imposed a March 1 deadline, presumably imposed on them by Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga, the Soviet distributor, for confirmation of subscription renewals. Panic reigned!
Boissonnas stepped in again as the voice of reason:
Slow down some, people! You're forgetting one essential fact: If the distribution system in Russia has broken down, neither Collets nor Kamkin, nor Gorbachev himself, will be able to send you any titles. What these people are doing is trying to steal market share by getting you to place money with them now and getting you tied down to them....
Warning his readers that he was posting unconfirmed information, he continued to pass on messages received for the discussion group. One of them was from Brad Schaffner at the University of Kansas:
Now that LLE is out of business, there seems to be a lot of confusion in regards to Soviet subscriptions. I have been in contact with several other Soviet bibliographers and this is a summary of some of the points discussed.
As I understand it, Delorme closed shop, he did not go bankrupt. He did this because Mezh. Knig. is having trouble supplying materials. (Import Publications of Chicago is also out of business.) Many Soviet publishers are unhappy with Mezh. Knig. and are looking to deal directly with vendors in the West in an attempt to increase their hard currency profits. In general, the Soviet distribution system is falling apart. I keep in contact with several Soviet libraries and they are also having trouble obtaining publications.
It appears that Mezh. Knig. passed LLE's subscription lists to a number of vendors without consulting Delorme. They want payment soon because the subscriptions for 1991 have already been submitted....
Keep in mind that if it is a distribution problem no vendor will be able to supply materials. Unfortunately, I believe that the problem will get worse before the situation improves.
Some librarians, receiving renewal lists from Kamkin, called the company. One was David James of Johns Hopkins. Here is some of what he heard from the manager, Ms. Kira Caiafa:
Mezhdunarodnyi Knigi ... is now a private corporation. They are doing some publishing on their own, no longer just distributing for other Soviet publishers. They are, she assures me, "sounder than ever," and one can now buy stock in the company! Books ordered from Novyi Knigi are being shipped as always, and Kamkin has received since January 30 tons (that is what she said) of Soviet publications.
Technical publications from the republics and other outlying areas are difficult to get, but they have always been difficult to get as the tirages are small. The tirages for books ordered from Novyi Knigi are based on orders received in advance from Western European and US markets.
Ms. Caiafa said that Mezhdunarodnyi Knigi has sent her all US subscriptions that Livres Etrangers was handling, as well as all advance orders for monographs placed using Novyi Knigi. Victor Kamkin will be contacting serials customers to confirm renewals. All payments sent through Paris to Moscow for current subscriptions will be honored.
Scott Wicks of Cornell had a less enlightening experience:
I just got off the phone with Natalie Zabasky from Kamkin. I am very surprised at the lack of information I received. I expected her to, well, give me the scoop on the publishing situation within the Soviet Union. Every tidbit of information I gathered was pried out of her as if an impacted wisdom tooth. It is also possible that I was the 101st caller today and that she was growing weary of having to explain it all one! more! time!...
What I put together from our conversation concerning the disarray of the Soviet publishing industry is that it is no longer run by the government. MK has been privatized (no longer subsidized by the government) and that we (or our vendors) may be forced to prepay for any future publications....
What really ticks me off is that we are told we have a deadline (3/1/91) which is so close at hand that we haven't the time to think this process out in full.
Vicky Reich of Stanford reported portions of a message from Wojciech Zalewski, Stanford's Slavic Curator:
Kamkin (Kira Caiafa) told me that all books ordered by us through Les Livres will come to Kamkin. Kamkin, as it seems, will not know who ordered what because they will not have our order slips.
Kamkin just received 30 tons of books from Mezhkniga. What is in those containers they do not know. They will have to hire many people to struggle with this new sitution.
I talked to Ivanov, director of Bibl. Inostrannoi Literatury. He did not offer much insight due to chaotic situation in the USSR. He said, what is obvious, that publishers have no structures to enable them to handle sales directly. Voprosy Istorii is dead, Novyi Mir almost dead or dead. Exchange libraries have the means to buy books for us and they need us.
My own library attempted immediately before the apparently artificial March 1 deadline to transfer our subscriptions to a trusted international vendor, whose rep advised us that they could not guarantee the fulfillment and prices promised by Kamkin. After a very helpful conversation with someone at Kamkin, I FAXed them our approval of the renewal list and a copy of the following letter from Zilper:
Victor Kamkin, Inc.
4950-56 Boiling Brook Parkway
Rockville MD 20852
Dear Mrs. Zabavsky:
We understand that Mezhdunarodnaia Kniga has transferred our subscriptions, previously placed with Les Livres Etrangers (LLE), to your dealership. At our request LLE provided us with a list of our subscriptions. However, we received renewal notes from you for only a few titles from that list. Therefore, enclosed please find a list of titles previously acquired from LLE, for which we would like to renew subscriptions for 1991.
We, however, are deeply concerned about the following issues:
1. The delivery of newspapers, magazines, and journals that we presently receive on subscription from Victor Kamkin, Inc. is extremely unsatisfactory. There is also virtually no response from your office to our claims. Moreover, many 1990 issues are three to six months behind schedule.
We are well aware of the problems in the Soviet publishing and distribution industries. We also heard reports about the refusal of Soviet publishing houses to work with Mezhdunarodnaia Kniga because they want a share of the profits in hard currency, and under present arrangements have none. What we want is straight-forward information about what Mezhdunarodnaia Kniga can and cannot provide to Western customers, so that we can plan our acquisitions based on reliable information.
2. Another important issue is the outrageous price increase due to shipping charges.
It is interesting to note that in the 1990 Mezhdunarodnaia Kniga catalog Gazety I Zhurnaly SSSR the prices were in rubles. The catalog also had a stamp: 1 ruble = US $1.70. The 1991 catalog provides prices in US dollars. These prices are much higher than the 1991 escalated prices in the USSR, even if the conversion is done according to the least favorable US dollar conversion rate. We thought that the unusually high price for subscriptions in hard currency was probably due to the shipping cost.
We were surprised to receive your letter dated February 22, 1991 about an additional outrageous shipping cost. We would be more than happy to pay shipping expenses if the subscription price accurately reflected the Soviet price converted into dollars. Since we already pay in dollars the extremely high prices for Soviet subscriptions, we consider it poor business practice for you to charge us an additional, very high, price for shipping.
3. We wish Mezhdunarodnaia Kniga would understand that American libraries cannot absorb such increases in the cost of subscriptions. At present, many U.S. libraries are experiencing financial difficulties, and have already gone through several rounds of subscription cancellations. The current price increase will trigger further cancellations, and may even jeopardize the existence of Slavic collections and programs at some universities. In any case Mezhdunarodnaia Kniga's profit will decline.
4. Finally, we are alarmed at the inability of Mezhdunarodnaia Kniga to supply us with publications of cooperatives and joint venture publishing houses, provincial publications, publications "on author's expense," and particularly periodicals produced independently of government supervision.
For the time being, we will continue the 1991 subscriptions with your agency. At the same time, we plan to monitor vendor performance very closely, and we will look for alternatives if performance remains unsatisfactory.
We hope that you will communicate our concerns to Mezhdunarodnaia Kniga, and that you will continue to represent our interests on the Soviet book market.
Slavic and East European Resources Bibliographer
We none of us know if we will get our Slavic serials in 1991. We don't even know if they will be published. But certainly, we will be watching to see the results of our rushed decisions just prior to the questionable (if renewals had really already been "submitted" -- see Schaffner message) deadline of March 1.
35.3 LIBRARIES' REDUCTIONS IN SERIALS EXPENDITURES
Reprint of messages appearing in SERIALST.
The online discussion group SERIALST, out of the University of Vermont, recently had a query and several responses regarding potential serials cancellation projects. They are directly related to our topic, and I thought Newsletter readers would like to see them. The messages are reprinted below with the permission of Birdie MacLennan, owner of the discussion group. To subscribe to SERIALST, send a message to LISTSERV@UVMVM: subscribe SERIALST.
The original message from Jean Farrington, University of Pennsylvania, farrington@A1.RELAY.UPENN.EDU:
We at Penn are soon embarking on a large scale serials cancellation project, probably in the neighborhood of about $200,000. I wondered if other libraries that are also going to be cutting large numbers of serial and periodical titles would be willing to share with me their target dollar figures for cancellation....
Response from Michael Sullivan, UCLA, ECZ5PTL@UCLAVMS.BITNET:
The physical sciences and engineering libraries at UCLA will probably be cancelling in the neighborhood of $200,000 for 1991/92. Our overall budget is $1.3 million (books and journals), which is about 35 to 40 percent of the overall UCLA book budget. This doesn't include medicine or biology -- they'll probably have to cancel some too.
Response from Carol Schaafsma, University of Hawaii, CAROLS@UHUNIX.BITNET:
The University of Hawaii Library is anticipating the need to cancel serials in order to stay within our 1991/92 budget. We are planning to earmark $400,000 worth of titles, in $100,000 increments. The first $100,000 will be cut immediately. The remainder will be cancelled in increments, as reality, the legislature, and the Governor demand.
Our serials budget for 1990/91 is $2,500,000. $400,000 would be a 16 percent cut. On top of the approximately $150,000 which we cut back in 87/88 when this whole problem first began to surface, we're into the territory where the cuts really hurt.
Response from William Meneely, Georgia State University, LIBWEM@GSUVM1.BITNET:
Georgia State cancelled $250,000 worth in 1988. That amounted to 2,600 titles, about 1/3 of our subscriptions. We're gearing up for another round of cancellations aimed at 1993 renewals -- our review process takes about a year to run. I have major concerns about our serials budget: I predict it will be 97 percent of our FY92 budget. No target amount yet for this review.
Neighbors close by are, I believe, in the process of cancelling: Georgia Tech is doing about $100,000 prior to 1992 renewals (inquire of Amy Dykeman, ADYKEMAN@GTRI01). University of Georgia is working on $400,000 prior to 1992 renewals (contact John Yelverton, JYELVERT@UGA).
Response from Stephen D. Clark, William and Mary, SDCLAR@WMVM1.BITNET:
At the College of William and Mary, we are just finishing up a $100,000 serials cancellation project (just yesterday, I mailed our cancellation list to our major periodicals vendor). Our serials budget is a little over $820,000.
We are attempting to maintain a 60:40 serials-to-book ratio, or at least within that ballpark.
The last serials cancellation that we had to do was about 3 years ago. If the Commonwealth of Virginia continues on its present financial course (a graceful downward slide), we will most likely have to go through another such project in 2 to 3 years.
Response from Gaele Gillespie, University of Kansas, GGILLESP@UKANVM.BITNET.
In reply to Jean Farrington's inquiry regarding possible serial cancellation projects/target dollar figures: Our last major serial cancellation project was done to the tune of approximately $178,000 in August 1987. At that point in time, most subject bibliographers had to identify a certain percentage or dollar amount within their collective serial titles/subject funds to cancel in order to meet the overall cancellation goal. Because cancellation projects are so far-reaching and entail an incredible amount of advance planning, a timetable was developed which took into consideration both the needs of the bibliographers and the Serials Dept., and it worked very well. We are now gearing up for another cancellation project, but we are approaching it a bit differently this time. Instead of having to meet a specific or target dollar figure per se, each bibliographer must make the decision, based on the overall materials budget situation (we are not getting any additional funds next fiscal year, but we're expecting an inflationary factor of at least 15 percent for serials), how many serials they will have to identify for cancellation if they cannot transfer the necessary money from the monographic side to the serials side to keep their existing serials afloat next year. The sci/tech areas will be the ones hardest hit this time around. We are planning to have a timetable similar to the one we used during our last cancellation project so that all titles earmarked for cancellation will be identified to the Serials Dept. by August 1st. Since bibliographers' decisions will affect firm orders, approval plans, and serials, several individuals have been involved in the planning & development of how to deal with the 91/92 FY budget scenario, so please feel free to contact any one of us with any questions you may have (I realize my information may not be entirely comprehensible to those of you not familiar with our local budgetary situation and methodologies...). And good luck on meeting your cancellation goal -- it's a tremendous amount of work from any perspective.
35.4 FROM THE MAILBOX
>From Janet Fisher, Journals Manager, MIT Press, FISHER@MITVMA.MIT.EDU.
I find a number of things on my desk that I need some librarian opinions on. Do you mind helping?
1. We publish two annuals: NBER Macroeconomics Annual and Tax Policy and the Economy. The organizers have asked if we would sell subscriptions to them. Right now they are available on standing order from the book division of the Press. The journals department does production but does not sell, mail out renewals, etc. Would librarians subscribe to annuals? Do you prefer standing orders? These seem like they can go either way. Which is better for you?
2. I have a request from a CD publisher who wants to include book reviews from our publication Journal of Interdisciplinary History on a CD-ROM with book reviews from as many as 20 other history journals. Book reviews comprise about 30 percent of our journal. Would many librarians be interested in such a product? Is it likely to hurt subscriptions to the journal?
3. I have a request from UMI to include full-text access to our journal Quarterly Journal of Economics on a CD-ROM. Will this hurt subscriptions to the journal?
4. We did a cumulative index to Linguistic Inquiry about two years ago covering its first 19 years of publication. We are talking about how to keep that up in the future. The editor has asked about recommended frequency for such cumulative indexes (every ten years is my thought) and I'm pushing to put a volume index in the last issue of each volume. But then he says, "What about electronic indexes?"
As you can see, most of these are technology related. It's hard to know which way to go on most of these things. We don't know what the consequences will be, but we feel strong pressure to be in CD-ROM projects and electronic databases.
Any reactions you can give to these questions will be appreciated.
I enjoy your newsletter! Thanks for all your hard work to bring open communication to all players dealing with scholarly communication issues.
>From Frederick C. Lynden, Brown University, AP010037@BROWNVM.BITNET:
Would you be able to query your subscribers about how they are gathering data on local serial expenditures? I need to know specifically:
1) Does your institution have an online system which keeps records of local serial costs by title, publisher, and/or subject?
2) What system are you using to gather such data? Example, NOTIS, INNOVACQ, etc.
3) How much historical data is available through your system?
4) Have you used the price data to project costs and/or for budget justifications? What percentage increases have you seen for domestic and foreign titles overall?
5) Do your local costs match the experience nationally, i.e., double digit inflation?
Responses could be sent to the Newsletter for everyone's edification, or to me directly at AP010037@BROWNVM.BITNET. Thank you very much.
>From Jim Mouw, University of Chicago, MOUW@MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU:
I just now ran across this letter in an old file. Even though it is dated I thought it might add a little levity to the Newsletter.
Verona, March 1984
To All Readers of Acta Thermographica
Whenever a life ends it is always a very sad moment. It is thus with great sorrow, that we are announcing the definitive end of the vital cycle of Acta Thermographica! Our journal will be no longer despatched to all the Thermographists, worldwide.
The cause of the end of this cycle is only financial. The vitality of the research in the thermographic field is on the contrary extremely lively, as shown by the very many papers sent in recent times to Acta Thermographica, which we are unfortunately not able to publish any more. We are very sorry not to be in the state to grant all the Themographists (sic) who received our Journal so far with the further reading of those new papers which we are now forced to return to the Authors.
I have talked about sorrow for the disappearance of Acta Thermographica: I believe everybody will fully understand this sadness, thinking to the almost 8 years we have been working to this idea. However, if we do not consider this sad evenience (sic) with the eyes of the person who created a Journal with great hope and labor, but consider what Acta really meant, I am sure a fully positive balance may be drawn the very moment we relinquish it.
Acta Thermographica has been since 1976 the undisputed world thermographic center-point, providing a forum for the fastest exchange of experiences and of results achieved. In this long period, 363 papers by a total number of 745 authors from all over the world were published: we do thank them all, on this occasion, for their precious collaboration. We strongly hope our work -- in the moment it comes to an abrupt end -- to be positively considered by whomever deals with thermography, not in the medical field alone.
I have now to thank all the members of the Editorial Board ... who managed in these long years, and among lots of difficulties, to have our Journal published: they deserve my most sincere gratitude.
To all Thermographists in the world my best wishes of good work, with the hope they will keep for a long time Acta Thermographica in their hearts.
Editor in Chief
Almost makes you want to send them a buck.
>From Kathryn H. Carpenter, University of Illinois at Chicago, U15139@UICVM.BITNET:
Kathryn Hammell Carpenter, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Adrian Alexander, The Faxon Company, compiled the U.S. Periodicals Price Index for 1991. It will appear as before in the April 15 issue of Library Journal. The average price for the sample titles (excluding Russian translations) is $104.36; with the inclusion of Russian translations, the average price is $138.53. These prices are 11.7 percent and 11.1 percent higher than the corresponding figures for 1991. They represent a real departure from increases of the past several years, as they show double digit inflation.
35.5 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS
Chuck Hamaker, Louisiana State University, NOTCAH@LSUVM.BITNET.
NREN issues. Two major concerns are apparent in literature I am seeing about the National Research and Education Network, both policy oriented. We probably all need to know about them. For a general and popular press overview see the new Spring 1991 issue of Whole Earth Review. Roger Karraker's "Highways of the Mind," p. 4-11, and Thomas S. Valovic's "Conflict or Cooperation? NREN and US Telecom Policy," p. 12-14. First, who is this new superhighway for information for, high end users, academic, scientists, etc., or anyone with a modem? Who will own it, pay for it, control it? Will Judge Green, who created the RBOCs (Regional Bell Operating Companies) effectively determine national communication policy, or will the big spenders in the business world, those who "already have power and information" ride their concerns through the fiber optic cables? Where is the individual in this vision? Copyright, copy protection, censorship, profit margins, the possibility of enterpreneurship under a whole new set of rules that might have to be made up as we go along, systems that could "revitalize public education," encourage competition or continue the good old information monopoly system that AAP seems to hold sacred -- all are in a sense up for grabs in this not so distant future. And whether the private individual gets into the action or not, that's where the money will come from to pay for it. The development of arguments is so hot and fast right now that issues defined in an Office of Technology Assessment Workshop in Privatization of NREN, held February 14, 1991, are already into the "public" arena with the Whole Earth Review articles. Thanks to Stanley Wilder for calling the articles to my attention and Pat Berger and Marvin Bond of NIST for summary, et al, of the February 14 meeting. As the profession with the lively concerns of all interested parties close to our hearts, librarians have not only to keep up on these developments, but should have a position on most of the issues. Carol Henderson of ALA's Washington Office keeps a voice in for public libraries and school libraries, and ARL's got a couple of staff on top of it, but who is speaking for the common foot-soldier? I think that is probably a librarian's job too.
Here's a question for all you publishers who read this. I've got a request for information from "College Marketing Group," a Division of CMG Information Services. They claim to serve "most of the major textbook and academic publishers who use our lists to reach people involved in decisions for books, periodicals and non-print materials." They have a printout, with names, job responsibilities, etc., and they want us to "correct any inaccurate information," deleting and adding names. They want to know who filled out the "questionnaire" and names of about a dozen or so possible people to send stuff to. Here's the question. How legit is all this? Does anyone really delete old names from mailing lists? (We get stuff for Corrie Baker at LSU yet, and I'm sure Corrie doesn't want me to tell you how long ago she left here). They want to know who routes "publishers' announcements to your decision makers?" Should I tell them the name of our mail-office person, since he technically "routes" stuff by department? That would be fun, wouldn't it? He does like to read, but I don't know what he'd do if thousands of pieces of mail came addressed to him.
Now, I'm a bit suspicious because the names listed as "teachers" on the printout are all librarians, and all of the five names refer to people no longer associated directly with collection development. Who uses these lists, anyway -- and why?? And, will "updating" it really reduce the level of pure unmitigated third class junk we get in the library daily?? That is the ONLY reason I would fill it out. Five old names mean nothing. I'm targeted, my staff is targeted, we are all on more mail lists than anyone needs, and when someone else in the library gets the junk they often send it to me too, to be sure I've seen seen seen it it it. And then we get phone calls calls calls on the same same items items. Get the messsssaaaaaagggeee? How do we get off these multiple lists?
The first volume in Advances in Library Resource Sharing, edited by Jennifer Cargill and Diane J. Graves, just arrived here, and my reaction to it is really mixed. The best is probably the chapter by Adrian and Julie Alexander, "Intellectual Property Rights and the 'Sacred Engine': Scholarly Publishing in the Electronic Age." It is an article that should become the standard reference point for explaining the problems and pratfalls in copyright for the beginning of the electronic information age. The lines of battle are clearly drawn, the philosophies and pluses and minuses are dispassionately discussed, and the bibliography is solid. I would like to recommend that everyone read it.
The Richard Dougherty and Carol Hughes article, "Library Cooperation: A Historical Perspective and a Vision of the Future," states: "The library profession is at a critical juncture. Gaining an increased understanding of users' needs will be the key to librarians' future role in the knowledge transfer process." And, "...systems which create obstacles between the use of local resources and remote resources, which are so complex that they require the mediation of an information professional, which are slow, and which are based on traditional bibliographic units rather than the delivery of information will be inadequate...." This is a call for a major restructuring of how we do what we do. If you are in the process of rethinking the how and what of collections and "access" (and I agree with the editors that we must do this), then this is an important work. But the volume itself is extremely uneven, and I wouldn't recommend you go out and buy it for these two chapters alone.
The ARL Statistics, 1989-90 (Washington DC: ARL, 1991) are out, and they include an introduction by Kendon Stubbs at the University of Virginia Library that contains information that needs to be distributed more widely than the statistics. Here is a sample of the two-page introduction:
The 1989-90 data confirm the declining ability of research libraries to maintain traditional levels of acquisitions....Among university libraries that reported expenditures for monographs and serials and numbers of items purchased in each category, median serials expenditures rose 52 percent from 1986 to 1990. In the same four years, however, prices paid by the libraries rose 51 percent to a median price of $132.45 per subscription. The number of subscriptions held dropped by 1 percent.
There is evidence that the increases in median prices paid by ARL libraries were less than overall price increases among serials publishers and vendors, especially foreign publishers. This evidence suggests widespread cancellation of high-priced serials. Instead of maintaining the same mix of high- and low-priced serials, ARL libraries seem to be moving towards fewer high-priced serials. As a result, what the libraries are paying for serials rose in 1989-90, but not as much as if they had kept all of the high-priced serials they used to have. The 1 percent decline in serial subscriptions from 1986 to 1990 -- totalling 20,000 or more subscriptions among ARL university libraries -- may be due at least partly to cancellations of higher-priced titles....ARL libraries bought only 84 percent of the monographic volumes they purchased in 1986, about 5,300 fewer monographs per library than four years earlier. At a unit price for each volume of $39.95, this decrease in monographs amounts to nearly $23,000,000 less business from ARL members for monograph publishers and vendors.
The decrease in serials subscriptions, according to Stubbs, was the largest decrease since 1986. As a recent survey (Okerson, in a recent ARL Newsletter) reported, over half of ARL members intend to cancel further serials in 1990-91. Stubbs notes that 1989-90 reductions may seem like an "average" year. Although many librarians are "sick" of the serials crisis, it's clear it ain't over yet, and if I read the tea leaves right, may not end in the next decade.
A study by Elsevier in the new issue of Against the Grain in their add-formation or info-add noted that only 10 percent of faculty members consider price of journal when deciding where to submit their articles. That number will have to rise precipitously before publishers pay attention, because of the long held belief that as long as there are papers flowing to the journal there will be libraries buying it -- sooner or later. Ranking very low also was worldwide distribution of the journal. So, it looks like faculty don't care how much it costs or who it goes to. Or, really, whether anybody but the peer-reviewers ever read it. This is social Irresponsibility and in the long and short run, a disservice to the very ideals of science.
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 for Library Collections and Technical Services. 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. The Newsletter is available on BITNET, DataLinx, and ALANET. EBSCO and Readmore Academic customers may receive the Newsletter in paper format from EBSCO and Readmore, respectively. Back issues of the Newsletter are available electronically free of charge through BITNET from the editor.