What? NO further responses to the Elsevier purchase of Pergamon??
Apologies to Arnold Hirshon for omitting him from the Contents of the last Newsletter. Just one more indication that the editor makes mistakes. I'll try not to do it again.
Ann Schaffner at Brandeis (SCHAFFNER@BRANDLOG.BITNET) is trying to compile a list of meetings at the ALA summer conference that will deal with serials pricing issues. If you know of any such meetings, please send her a brief message. Perhaps I can persuade Ann to let the Newsletter print the list.
37.2 JOURNAL PRICES - 1991 AND 1992
Joel Baron, Vice President and Director, Publications and Publisher Services, The Faxon Company; Courier: JBARON.
SUMMARY: The rapid and successful conclusion of the Gulf War has had a very positive impact on the US dollar. Faxon expects that the US dollar will remain relatively strong throughout the course of this year, thereby creating a favorable currency exchange effect on journal prices for US libraries in 1992. For titles published outside the US, we expect that currency rates will reduce the average base price increase of 9.5 percent to a small actual increase of 3.5 percent. Prices for titles published in the US are expected to increase an average of 9.5 percent.
1992 PRICE PROJECTIONS
Faxon expects to see the US dollar continue to gain against foreign currencies as the year progresses. Although the US dollar dropped considerably during the Gulf War, it has since risen above pre-war levels and we expect it to remain there for at least several months and then to strengthen even further. The dollar could end the year ahead of 1991 rates by about 6 percent.
While publishers continue to hold the line on page and title proliferation, overall base price increases, in the publisher's currency, will be in the 8.5 percent to 10.5 percent range. Therefore, for libraries in the United States, USA-published titles can be expected to increase an average of 9.5 percent in US dollars, while non-USA titles can be expected to increase the same amount exclusive of currency effects. The strong US dollar should bring the actual price increase down to 3.5 percent for US libraries purchasing non-USA titles. This projection is significantly lower than Faxon's earlier projections this year.
For libraries outside the US, increases for non-USA titles may vary depending upon the countries and currencies involved, but generally should fall in the 8.5 percent to 10.5 percent range. For USA-published titles they should see increases of 15.5 percent in European currencies.
These are still preliminary projections. We recognize how strongly journal prices affect library budgets and will continue providing updated projections throughout the year.
1991 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE INCREASES
Price increases in US dollars were extraordinarily high for the 1991 subscription year, driven largely by the extreme drop in the value of the dollar against all the major European currencies. In early and mid-1990, Faxon had projected increases of 8 to 11 percent for titles published in the United States and 18 to 24 percent for titles published outside the United States. The actual price increases were slightly higher than these initial projections, due to continued erosion of the US dollar throughout 1990. According to Faxon's data, the average collection in the United States experienced the following US dollar title inflation:
- 12.0 percent for titles published in the United States
- 25.6 percent for titles published outside the United States
- 16.2 percent for all titles
Libraries outside the United States generally experienced smaller price increases because they benefitted from the weaker US dollar. The exact figures vary according to the specific country, the journals purchased, and the currency of purchase....
It is important to note that some major European publishers have attempted to moderate the effects of currency values on journal pricing by fixing their exchanges at rates that are more favorable to US purchasers than the market rate.
37.3 $TRETCHING DOLLAR$: SERVING SCHOLARS AND SURVIVING
Society for Scholarly Publishing Annual Meeting
The Annual Meeting of the Society for Scholarly Publishing will be held in Philadelphia on Wednesday May 22 through Friday, May 24, 1991. According to Judy C. Holoviak, SSP President, "Under the direction of chairman David Dresia, the program committee has offered a theme and designed a program to meet today's needs." The program announcement continues:
The Society's 1991 Annual Meeting program is designed to deal with the here and now, including difficult economic times. This year's meeting will put special emphasis on small group interaction where publishing problems, opportunities and case studies will be discussed. The concurrent sessions will be developed along three tracks: the price of quality; the cost of selling; and the cost of electronic publishing.
Wednesday afternoon's keynote speaker is Paul H. Mosher, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries, University of Pennsylvania. His topic is "Stretching Library Dollars." A second plenary session, "Stretching Funding Dollars," consists of a panel chaired by Allan Wittman, Partner, Wittman Associates.
Thursday's sessions open with a choice of 22 breakfast roundtables. Then for the rest of the day three sessions run concurrently along the three tracks noted above. Friday morning opens with small group roundtables, a choice of 8 topics, and closes with a plenary session, "Yes, Virginia, Scholarly Publishers Still Have Success Stories to Tell," chaired by Patricia Morgan, Director of Publications, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The meeting will be held at the Hershey Philadelphia Hotel, and special occupancy rates are available for reservations made before April 30. The Annual Meeting registration fee is $225 ($275 after May 1) for members and $285 ($335 after May 1) for nonmembers. For more information, contact Society for Scholarly Publishing, 10200 W. 44th Avenue, #304, Wheat Ridge CO 80022; Telephone: 303 422-3914; FAX: 303 422- 8894.
37.4 COMPUTISTS' COMMUNIQUE
Harry Llull, University of New Mexico, HLLULL@UNMB.BITNET.
A new electronic newsletter was scheduled to begin on April 1st. It is called the Computists' Communique and will be the electronic communications of a new organization called Computists International. The moderator of this publication is Dr. Ken Laws, email@example.com; 415 493-7390; 4064 Sutherland Drive, Palo Alto CA 94303. The following are brief excerpts from his initial announcements concerning this new organization and electronic newsletter:
The idea is to form an association of computer-oriented information scientists for mutual mentoring and career advancement. The Communique will keep you in weekly or even daily contact with other department heads, computer-science professors, AI and database researchers, consultants, software entrepreneurs, etc. Networking groups should have the broadest possible membership, so I also hope to include information brokers, library scientists, system analysts, technical managers, and other information-industry professionals.
What you get out of an association depends on what you put in it. With Computists, you have a chance to interact with other AI/IS/CS professionals around the world. You can access funding news, commentary, group discussions, and one-on-one consulting from people who have been there.
Computists International is an association; the Computists' Communique is a newsletter. Membership and subscription are bundled, but each offers its own benefits and potential. My role is to handle the administrative end, recruit enough members to make it all work, and keep the channel open by publishing the Communique. I will also be an active member, providing as much information and service as I can. In particular, I will use my network expertise, database of contacts, and NSF experience for your benefit. Part of my job will be to maintain contact with leading scientists, professionals, and organizations. I'm currently tracking thousands of research scientists, and will keep enlarging my database, contacts and expertise.
Ken Laws has a good track record in this area. He developed and moderated AIList for five years. AIList was one of the first electronic bulletin boards. It was one of the best examples of successfully using the Internet for informational services. Ken gave up the moderator role when he went to NSF for two years as Program Director for Robotics and Machine Intelligence. SRI AI Center in Menlo Park is providing the computing resources. NSF has authorized trial use of the NSFNET backbone for this service to the research community.
There is a cost for membership and receipt of the newsletter with a guarantee that if you cancel you will be refunded any unfulfilled dues. There are several types of membership: charter, regular, trial, and student/unemployed. The charter membership of $135 will apply to readers of the Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues past the April 1st deadline. If you are interested in subscribing at the charter price, just mention that you saw it here. Ken is not interested in institutional memberships. However, if an individual at an institution subscribes, the newsletter may be shared with the rest of the institution analogous to paper newsletters.
If you would like a fuller description of the publication and organization, you should contact Ken Laws. You may also contact me at HLLULL@UNMB.BITNET, and I will mail you a copy of his announcement.
37.5 HAWORTH CONSOLIDATED INVOICE
Jean Farrington, University of Pennsylvania, farrington@A1.RELAY. UPENN.EDU, message via SERIALST:
I thought the group might be interested in our experience with a Haworth invoice we recently received. Haworth sent us a "consolidated invoice" of all our periodical titles for 1991, even though we receive these through an agent. There was no cover letter and no explanation with the invoice even though they have never sent such an invoice before. We called and Haworth said they sent it because they wanted to give the library the option to pay them directly for these titles. Apparently, Haworth has had problems getting timely payment on the titles from the vendor. Most, if not all of our Haworth titles are with Faxon. Haworth got paid toward the end of December. Haworth also felt that some of their titles were being listed as "delayed" by the agent when, in fact, they were not delayed.
The upshot of all of this for us was that we can toss this invoice since the titles are with an agent. I do not want to get involved in unjust "finger-pointing" here, but there seems to be some problematic behavior on both the publisher's and the agent's part. How many libraries might pay the Haworth invoice without checking carefully that they are with an agent and thus pay twice and have to go through the business of requesting a credit or having subscriptions extended? If the agent is paying the publisher late, how many libraries will miss issues early in the year and then resort to claims that cannot be filled? Also, shouldn't we be able to trust a vendor's status report of "delayed" as being accurate at the time of posting?
Has anyone else had a similar experience?
[Farrington's message sparked a flurry of responses on SERIALST from librarians who had received either the same sort of consolidated invoice or separate invoices for Haworth titles they subscribed to through a vendor. The situation recalls to my mind a communication from Haworth several months ago soliciting direct subscriptions and promising claim fulfillment at no charge for a limited period after publication.-ED.]
37.6 RESPONSE TO JANET FISHER
Margaret McKinley, UCLA, ECZ5MCK@UCLAMVS.BITNET.
In reply to Janet Fisher's (Journals Manager, MIT Press) questions:
Since UCLA has ordered NBER Macroeconomics Annual (ISSN: 0889-3365) through a vendor, it really doesn't matter to us how MIT Press handles these items. We do subscribe to a number of annuals. Generally, these are handled through vendors and we don't demand that publishers try to maintain subscription records.
With respect to the Journal of Interdisciplinary History (ISSN: 0022-1953), we would certainly not cancel our subscription if its book reviews were available on CD-ROM. There's no guarantee that we would buy the CD-ROM product. Because of limitations on space, equipment and funds, we have to evaluate very carefully all of the CD-ROM products that we purchase. These products are also more vulnerable when we're looking for cancellation targets. This journal is heavily used in our library and, in any event, our users will want access to the 70 percent of the journal's content that will not be in CD-ROM form.
In the case of the Quarterly Journal of Economics (ISSN: 0033-5533), we would certainly not cancel if it were available on CD-ROM. The expense of buying equipment and CD's from UMI is something that we'd want to examine very carefully for the reasons mentioned above.
If Linguistic Inquiry (ISSN: 0024-3892) were indexed electronically, there would be no guarantee that we would have that index or that all of our users would have access to it. At least for the present, we'd prefer an index with each volume, supplemented, perhaps, by an electronic index.
I'm on shakier ground with Robotics Research, but I think that the concerns are not so much with additional issues per year as with the rise in subscription costs that these additional issues will drag along in their wake. Personally, if there's no difference in cost, I'd prefer more issues to thicker and heavier ones. Massive issues don't hold up well in our public areas when they're subjected to heavy usage.
I think that the Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues performs a valuable service in providing a forum for continuing dialogues between librarians, publishers and vendors. I'm pleased that publishers are making use of it.
37.7 MORE ON LIBRARY INTERNAL NEWSLETTERS
Judith Hopkins, SUNY Buffalo, ULCJH@UBVMS.BITNET.
In response to Arnold Hirshon's question about whether any libraries are experimenting with making their staff newsletters electronic publications (the question was in Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues, no. 36), we are and we aren't. The State University of New York at Buffalo Libraries have a monthly staff newsletter called Library News which has been and continues to be issued in print. However, in September 1988 when we were working to implement our local integrated system called BISON, we started a specialized newsletter that came to be called BISON Express as a forum to inform staff of plans, activities, accomplishments, to answer questions, etc. After starting out as a monthly the frequency lessened to an irregular quarterly, thus belying the EXPRESS in its title.
To remedy this situation the BISON Implementation Team this month started to issue BISON Express items electronically. The messages are short, being the equivalent of just one item in the old print newsletter. They are much more timely (I have received three this week).
Since not all staff have e-mail addresses, one or two persons in each unit have been designated as the formal recipients. As one of the recipients in my unit I print out each message, give copies to the unit head and three department heads (who can route them if they so desire), and post one copy on a central bulletin board for all the staff to read.
Arnold Hirshon, Wright State University, AHIRSHON@WSU.BITNET, and messages from Library Administration and Management discussion group, LIBADMIN@UMAB.BITNET.
Recently on the LIBADMIN listserver (LIBADMIN@UMAB.BITNET -- Library Administration and Management) Dorman Smith, Head of Public Services at Central Michigan University started a discussion asking which libraries had or were considering cancelling Beilstein. I thought that you would be interested in the responses received.
Do you know of similar surveys that have been done about this particular title? Perhaps you can get newsletter subscribers to send in additional responses and those can be edited down?
This one title is so very expensive that it makes an attractive candidate for ANYONE's serials cancellation project. Given the report that 52 percent of ARLs are doing a serials cancellation project at present, I have to wonder what the publisher of Beilstein will think if lots of people cancel this highly expensive but seemingly not-useful-for-the-price publication. It seems that we might have an example of a Bibliographic Emperor with no clothes: once one person realizes we can do without the title, many people start to follow suit.
MESSAGES PASSED ON TO THE NEWSLETTER BY ARNOLD HIRSHON
>From Dorman Smith, Central Michigan University, 3XCE3U5@CMUVM.BITNET:
Because of severe budgetary pressures and a 80:20 ratio in our serials vs. monographs expenditures, we are contemplating cancelling this title. My records show we paid $24,000 for it last year. Now, we are also facing the $22,000 for the 12th Cum Index for Chem Abstracts.
CMU has around 16,000 students with only a MS degree in Chemistry, but a strong polymer science research program. In fact, the Chemistry program is thought to be one of the strongest programs on campus. However, out of an approx. $1.25 million materials budget, Chemistry takes more than $150,000.
I am particularly wondering, though no two schools are ever the same even in one discipline, if there are other schools similar to us that have wrestled with this problem? I would particularly like to have some indication of programs that have been able to cut Beilstein and still keep some sort of good relations with the Chem faculty.
>From Arnold Hirshon:
I'm so glad Dorman Smith asked this question. We are also looking at these titles in light of possible serials cancellations this year. I too would be fascinated to find out what people plan to do. This may be something we can sell to the faculty if we have strength in numbers, i.e., "lots of other respectable universities are cancelling their subscriptions too." I know that Virginia Tech was giving consideration to cancellation of Beilstein and providing online access instead, but last I heard they still had not reached a decision.
>From Rush G. Miller, Bowling Green State University, RMILLER@BGSUOPIE.BITNET:
Bowling Green State Univ. has a Ph.D. program in chemistry and it is considered one of the stronger programs here. Last year, we realized that through a clerical error, we had not received any issues of Beilstein for over a year. The Science Library staff were very concerned about the mistake until we realized that no one had complained, or seemed to have even noticed. So we decided on a strategy that included having the Head of the Science Library sit down with the Chemistry person who serves as the liaison with the Library and discuss the matter. It was very difficult for the chemistry faculty to argue that this title is essential when they were faced with a year's gap that not one of them had noticed! So we were able to cancel Beilstein with no real problems. We agreed to provide online access to ACS STN system. Beilstein is a part of that network and available online. No one has used it yet.
You might try offering it online and picking up that cost. It certainly wouldn't be $24,000 a year!! .
>From William Meneely, Georgia State University, LIBWEM@GSUVM1.BITNET:
I have a fairly similar budget to yours at Georgia State. I have a chemistry Ph.D. program to support. We cancelled Beilstein in 1981.
>From Patricia O'Neill, Cornell University, PON@CORNELLC.BITNET:
Before everyone decides that the Beilstein hard copy subscription can be cancelled and the online version used, they should take a good look at the documentation for the online database. Currently, and probably until the 5th supplement is finished publication the
ONLINE VERSION OF BEILSTEIN DOES NOT REPLACE THE HARDCOPY 5TH SUPPLEMENT.
The current online version contains up to 5 physical properties for compounds in the database that are not in the Hauptwerk through 4th supplement. The information input into the database from the 1960-1980 [sic] is NOT COMPLETE.
Also, before you cancel your subscription because of non-use you may want to consider the acquisition of SANDRA. This unique little program makes Beilstein very usable by giving users a clear indication of where in Beilstein a compound can be found. Once this product was purchased for the Emory University Chemistry Library the use of Beilstein went up dramatically. In addition, I as the Chemistry Librarian was then able to use and teach others to use the tool effectively and efficiently. Even if you have decided to cancel the Beilstein subscription, SANDRA would certainly make it easier for users to locate the information in the volumes you hold now.
The previous Physical Sciences Librarian at Cornell made the decision to cancel all of the big three. I am now trying to come up with the money to fill in $30,000 of Landolt Bornstein. It is unfortunate that these major sources of physical, chemical, electrical, and other properties are cancelled, because in many cases they are the only way to effectively get to information researchers need. I don't know how many times I must explain to users that locating property information is difficult because the major indexing/abstracting tools do not index them. The big 3 are expensive and underutilized tools. One reason is that the librarians often don't feel comfortable using them and teaching others how to use them.
>From Bill Miller, Florida Atlantic University, MILLER@FAUVAX.BITNET:
I started working on cancelling Beilstein about 6 months after I came here, and succeeded in about 18 months. We have a Ph.D. program in Chemistry, and the Chem. Dept. insisted that they needed Beilstein for accreditation. We finally found a pamphlet from ACS which expressly stated that Beilstein is not needed for accreditation. The final confrontation was between myself, the Assoc. Academic VP, a chemist, and the College of Science Dean (who let me know that he understood my position but had to adopt his in order to be perceived by his faculty as being on their side). Anyway, the short of it is that I won. I have not noticed any change in the quality of life since Beilstein disappeared. There are however two or three members of the Chemistry Dept. who will not make eye contact with me and presumably hate my guts. So be it. If I have to make the cuts I suspect we will have to make next year, the Beilstein controversy will be tame stuff indeed by comparison.
Dorman Smith relates a few other responses to his question:
Holy Cross (Tony Stankus, by phone) -- Drop it. They'll never know it. Suggests offering online searching and purchase of CD-ROM, Polymers on Disk.
Michigan State -- Wants me to let them know our decision (we're nearby).
U of Toledo -- Their Ph.D. program faculty has not supported its purchase.
37.9 FROM THE MAILBOX
Various subscribers; the mailbox is TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET.
>From Karen Nadeski, Tufts University, KAREN_N@TULIPS.LIB.TUFTS.EDU, via SERIALST:
The Arts & Sciences Library of Tufts University will be cutting $250,000 worth of subscriptions by the end of the fiscal year (we only subscribe to about 3200 titles). A couple of letters went out to all department heads about a month ago asking that faculty members review all titles of interest to them on a Faxon-gene-rated printout listing titles in ascending price order. For every title they want to retain, they are asked to fill out a Title Retention Form. Information requested on this form includes the following (besides name, department, date, title of journal):
How often do you read/cite this journal?
What contributions to your teaching does this journal make?
What level of student (underclass, upperclass, graduate) reads this journal?
Are reading assignments made or is the title used primarily for student papers?
If this title is used for your research, what is its primary contribution?
The Assistant Director for Collection Management and Technical Services, Bonnie Hill, originally wanted the faculty to review all titles over a particular price ($100, $150, maybe $250) but the Faculty Library Committee decided that all faculty members should see (if not review) all titles, so that's what they got. The Faxon list includes the costs of all journals over the last three years. Forms are due back to the library by May 15th and since this is the first time the faculty has been asked to do such a review, it's sent some shock waves through campus, both in terms of the cost of science vs. humanities/social science titles and the individual vs. institutional rate structure of some publishers. Still it may be a positive experience, educational, if not also stressful at times.
>From John Kilmarx, SUNY Binghamton, JKILLY@BINGVMB.BITNET:
On a follow-up to the brief piece on our fabulous 1989 democratic serials review (one organism, one vote!), we all kind of burned out on it, partly in shock and partly in dread of the certainty that we'd have to do another review in the near future. Well, the near future is underway NOW, and we have variable cut targets of over $200,000 to happen by this summer. We are not overly pleased.....but life goes on, and this time the faculty are better prepared (sort of like gardening; all that compost from two years ago has made the soil richer for this season).
>From Susan George, Dartmouth College, SUSAN.C.GEORGE@MAC.DARTMOUTH. EDU:
We received word late last week that the Gordon & Breach publication Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals (ISSN: 0026-8941) is going to have a per volume increase of $60 (for 1991). Faxon is in the process of calling all subscribers for permission to renew subscriptions. The projected cost for volumes 194-209 (1991 projected issues) is $7,264!!!!!! NOTE: For 1990, the publisher projected volumes 178-189 at a cost of $4,599; then, in midstream added volumes 190-193 for an additional cost of $1,555. The problem for 1991 is therefore two-fold: not only has the basic subscription increased, but we have no idea how many 'additional volumes' will appear and what their cost will be!!!!!
Maybe another title to contend with! I just found Waves in Random Media on our display shelf. It contained a note saying that volume 1 of the title is being distributed free of charge to 1991 subscribers to Journal of Physics A: Mathematica and General. It is also available on separate subscription. It's published by th Institute of Physics (UK) and for 1992 will only cost $215! What I can't find is if this journal will be 'bundled' in terms of cost with the JOURNAL OF PHYSICS set (now from A-G). Since there is an e-mail address for the publisher, I'm going to check with them and I'll let you know what I find out.
>From Alan Ventress, State Library of New South Wales, ALANET: ALA1187:
One piece of news from Australia. Last year Faxon opened a local office in Canberra and have started producing some useful data on our serials subs -- highlighting percentage price increases from the previous year (something we have always had to do in-house). One amazing increase is Computers and Fluids (Pergamon; ISSN: 0045-7930), increased from US $408 to $1006.45. We will probably cancel leaving only two other subscribers in New South Wales.
At the State Library of NSW we have a budget of $A1.1 million for serials ($A1 = US $0.77) so you can see we have to watch our budget even more closely than libraries in the US. As most of our serials are sourced in the US or Europe we are in a very parlous situation. Very few new subscriptions are being ordered and another cancellation project could be looming in late 1991.
Kim Parker, Kline Science Library of Yale University, kim_parker.sml@ yccatsmtp.ycc.yale.edu, is sending this letter to the editor of BIOCHEMICAL JOURNAL (ISSN: 0264-6021):
Editor, THE BIOCHEMICAL JOURNAL
59 Portland Place
London W1N 3AJ United Kingdom
I am writing to you to protest the publication of The Biochemical Journal Reviews 1990.
This was an unnecessary publication from several standpoints. This item is merely a reprinting of all the reviews in the journal from 1987-1989. You publish the titles of each review prominently on the cover of the regular issues of the journal, and the yearly index provides more than adequate guidance for those desiring to locate the reviews.
Since this came as part of our subscription to The Biochemical Journal, I can only assume that the cost of printing and distributing it was included in the subscription price. I object to this sincerely. We do not want this item, and we will be throwing it away since it is not even worth the effort to bind it in with the journal.
I trust that you will not be issuing another version of this issue for future reviews.
Head, Technical Services
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.