On further investigation [after the item in Newsletter 37], we discovered that for at least the last few years, Gordon & Breach's Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals (ISSN: 0026-8941) consists largely if not entirely of Conference Proceedings and is not a "refereed journal" in the commonly accepted sense of that term. These Conference papers were not even typeset, but were reproduced as submitted. Each volume in the "1990" year consisted of one issue, as far as we were able to ascertain, containing approximately 250-300 pages. Each "volume" cost 422 Sfr (approximately $400 at the time of purchase). Three volumes (191-193) in 1990 were devoted to the Proceedings of the 8th Liquid Crystal Conference of Socialist Countries held in Krakow, Poland in 1989. The price of the proceedings of this Conference (roughly 900 pages), was 1266 Sfr (approximately $1200). The facts speak for themselves.
NS2.2 DETERMINING HOW MUCH TO CUT
Harry Llull, University of New Mexico, HLLULL@UNMB.BITNET.
The Centennial Science and Engineering Library at the University of New Mexico is planning to cut the serials budget by 10 percent. We are one of five discipline related collection development clusters within the General Library of the University of New Mexico. CSEL accounts for 44 percent of the overall General Library collection development budget. Each cluster is making its own decision as to whether to cut serials or not.
I took into account the following factors when deciding on a 10 percent cut. First, I started with the worst case scenario. For us that would be the following: 1) the same amount of money as last year; 2) inflation no higher than 30 percent; 3) use of the monographic funds to cover serials. I hope to create the 30 percent cushion as follows: 1) we will attempt to carry over 5 percent from this year's budget to apply to next year's budget; 2) we may have as much as 5 percent in our serial lines for one time purchases for cumulative indexes that will have to go to cover inflation; 3) a 10 percent cut in serials; 4)and finally, if we have to, the monographic budget, which is 10 percent of our serials budget, would have to go entirely to cover serials. The 5 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent cut, and 10 percent monographics budget gives us a 30 percent cushion to work with to address both inflation and any unforeseen overall budget cuts to the General Library's collection development funding.
We are in the last semester of a year and a half use study of bound journals. We intend to target the no-use journals, low-use journals, Soviet journals and translations, and other foreign journals. Selectors in CSEL who have canceled titles in the past two years will be given credit for those cancellations and will not be expected to cancel a full 10 percent. I hope to make up the difference from the general science collection, the reference collection, and zero-use titles in all subject areas.
I am presenting this to the faculty as a way to reallocate funds within CSEL. We have a number of new researchers for which we cannot buy at this time journals they request. Another goal is to get our balance between monographs and serials down to a 20 percent books, 80 percent journal split. The General Library is attempting to get more monies added to the materials budget. If we do, I feel we will be even in better shape to reallocate after the cancellation program.
Each of us has to address our own particular factors and I just wanted to share the factors I used. I would be interested in reading how others came up with their cancellation goals.
NS2.3 READMORE SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND MEDICAL (STM)
LIBRARIES 1992 JOURNAL PRICING PREDICTIONS (April 15, 1991)
Harry Hoffer, Readmore, Inc., 22 Courtlandt St, New York NY 10007.
This year Readmore is making several predictions based on the type of library. Experts have pooled the information they have received from their contacts in the publishing world, incorporated advice from the NY-based foreign currency traders, and, after analyzing the information, have made the following preliminary predictions:
Average STM Price Increase: 11 percent
British prices: 10.5 - 11.5 percent
European prices: 9.5 - 11.5 percent
U.S. prices: 9.5 - 11 percent
Although librarians began asking us in December to provide pricing predictions for 1992, we have delayed doing so until now as we felt that the uncertainty of the world situation and its impact on relative currency values would make such predictions unreliable at best.
However, we understand that this pricing information is vital to your budget-setting process. We are making our predictions for 1992 at this time even though few publishers have made firm decisions on what their prices for 1992 will be. Many are waiting to see what will happen to the economy, to the strength of European currencies and the US dollar, and are still evaluating the impact of the 1991 cancellations.
Since the end of the Persian Gulf War, the US dollar has made a miraculous recovery from its post-World War II lows against the German mark and its 1991 lows against other major currencies.
If the dollar continues to gain strength against the major European currencies, then the American libraries will gain a welcome relief from the high price of foreign journals. Our low European price increase of 9.5 percent reflects our belief that the dollar will continue to gain strength. The stronger dollar will make European journal prices more attractive in the US market. We will alert you to any significant changes.
During 1991 the prices of journal subscriptions increased drastically more than most publishers or agents had predicted, seriously impacting library budgets. Most of the increase was as a result of the unfavorable exchange rate of the dollar against major European currencies. This Fall, when we analyzed the 1991 price increases of major British, European and American publishers, we found that journal prices had risen as follows:
Average 1991 Price Increase: 17 - 19 percent
British prices: 18 percent
European prices: 24 - 28 percent
US prices: 13 percent
US libraries should find much lower price increases for 1992. The lower rates are mostly a result of improved exchange rates based on the strength of the US dollar.
[Blackwell's, Readmore's parent company, sent out its own announcement dated April 2. Two versions of it have reached me. While very similar, there are differences between the two companies' documents. The memo submitted by Blackwell's to "North American Academic Libraries" predicts an average increase for these customers of 9 percent. Broken down by area, they see British prices increasing at 10 percent, European prices at 7 - 8 percent, and US prices at 8.5 - 9.5 percent. One version includes this paragraph:
Our predictions should be used, therefore, as a rough guideline only as situations could arise that might result in price increases quite different from those we have predicted. As the dollar has recently strengthened against European currencies we have not included a factor for currency differentials in our predictions. If, however, the dollar weakens against European currencies, the above figures should be adjusted to allow for this....-ED.]
NS2.4 UNITED KINGDOM SERIALS GROUP 14TH ANNUAL
CONFERENCE, 8-11 APRIL 1991, UNIVERSITY OF YORK
Kenneth L. Kirkland, De Paul University, LIBKLK@DEPAUL.BITNET.
This was the best of the six UKSG conferences attended since 1984 in terms of excellence of papers, and the food.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Gordon Graham, editor of Logos, "THE JOURNALS CRISIS: ORIGINS AND RESOLUTION"
Market forces will ease but not resolve the immediate impasse, as they did for monographs in the 1970s, frustrating all and satisfying none. Should market forces actually be in charge? Many journals seem to be sustained by powers impervious to the normal operation of said forces. Journals serve closed communities, are habit-forming, are purchased mostly with institutional funds, and grow in response to proliferating research, not simple need. Further, journals multiply in response to the twigging of knowledge and the irrepressible enthusiasm of scholars for their own disciplines. Journals are ideal victims for free-loading by systematic photocopying. They are the product of what scholars and publishers see as a beautiful, foreordained romance, but which librarians may regard as an uneasy menage a trois.
Twenty years ago the prophets foresaw a paperless society by 1990, but electronic journals have NOT replaced scholarly publishing. Seven hundred journals started in 1946 and most are still going. Three thousand journals started in 1980. Seven hundred journals started in 1990, and 400 ceased. On the sale of Pergamon to Elsevier, Graham noted that "Maxwell has sold his crown jewels" for 440 million pounds, and "I think he would rather have bought Elsevier."
Can it be imagined that journal publication is in peril? It is still vigorous, with labor of love from contributors and some editors. The most serious weakness is that being published is more important than being read. Other weaknesses include: 1. Vagaries of copyright; 2. Declining library budgets; 3. "Journal publishing has become too attractive." Cash flow is more important than profit, a dangerous idea; 4. The worship of research and publication has lead to diversion from books to journals in library budgets, which in turn could lead to a decline in scholarly creativity. Most library budgets are now 70 percent journals, 30 percent monographs. Who suffers? Students and scholars. "Books and not journals are what libraries should be about."
The main point is that commercial considerations are too dominant in scholarly publication today. All are guilty -- librarians, publishers, and scholars. "Let the University compete with publishers, and do their own dissemination, BUT don't crib funds away from libraries."
The heart of scholarly production and communication works at the level of the individual. The individual is regaining centrality, in contrast to the recent technological domination.
--Alan Gomersall, British Library Science Reference and Information Service, "THE END OF SERIALS AS WE KNOW THEM?"
The balance between monographs and serials is skewed, but subscription cancellations are increasing. The question now is access vs holdings. Until 1990 the British Library Science Reference and Information Service could practice collection buildup. They could share low-use titles with Boston Spa, and rely on them if the British Library didn't own a title. Now 200 high-use journals have been cancelled, along with 400 low-use titles. Salvation by electronic journal has not succeeded thus far. Direct contact between researchers is on the rise, through JANET and BITNET, for example, but this limits access to outsiders.
A national pool of papers, like ADONIS, is needed as a possible alternative to journal publication. Peer review needs to be much more rigorous. Research funding should be less dependent on article production. The information-for-profit idea is regrettable. We may become less concerned about back files and long runs, making holdings more transitory. We need research on readers' library use.
--Deborah Kahn, Chapman and Hall, "MANAGING THE SERIALS OUTPUT"
How do publishers maximize the value of the journal? 1. Quality -- controlled by refereeing; 2. Relevance -- the scope of material accepted; 3. Speed -- refereeing time, production time, backlog of accepted materials, and the size and frequency of the journal all come into play here.
What affects costs? 1. Typesetting; 2. Printing (half-tone, color content, print run); 3. Paper (half-tone, color); 4. Editorial costs.
How do librarians determine what is a fair price? Do price increases guarantee cancellations. Would page charges be a good idea. Do we need more sponsored supplements, abstracts, proceedings?
The quality of academic peers is declining. Can't have Nobel Prize winners screen all articles. One can't turn down an article that is as good as one could write oneself.
--David Whitaker, J. Whitaker & Sons, "RADICAL SOLUTIONS TO INTRACTABLE PROBLEMS"
There are too many academics needing to flesh out their syllabi (or "silly bees"). There are venal academics, greedy publishers, and weak librarians. Is no one blameless? There ARE no radical solutions. All must work together towards a common goal. If there is anything radical in this at all, it is pursuit of excellence.
Whose budget, whose library is it anyway? Subscriptions are like tenured faculty--hard to get rid of. Why do you bind some of the things you do bind? Are some of the journals only for current awareness? Recycle!
Academics: You are trained to weigh and to judge. DO IT! I do not believe in your editorial judgment if you are collecting that much information. Learn to cut.
Librarians: Measure and manage it. After all, it is YOUR library. (If you can't measure it, you aren't in control, and can't manage it).
Publishers: Be part of the chain.
--Fritz Schwartz, The Faxon Co. (US), "SERIALS CHECK-IN MADE EASY - A SISAC PRESENTATION"
SISAC (Serials Industry Systems Advisory Committee) was founded in 1982. With its sibling BISAC, SISAC is a division of BISG (Book Industry Study Group). Publishers, librarians, and agents comprise membership.
Until the creation, ratification, and use of the SISAC Symbol, there has been no accurate and economical means of expression to denote specific serial issue information for librarians or publishers to use in check-in, inventory control, document retrieval, and EDI.
The new ANSI/NISO Z39.56 standard for the Serial Item and Contribution Identifier (SICI) provides the rules for the creation of a string. The string, (expressed as a Code 128 barcode) is known as the SISAC Symbol. Schwartz explained both the ANSI/NISO standard and the derived SISAC Symbol, and how both can be used in the serials community. The final draft of the ANSI/NISO standard had just been written as of 1 April 1991 and was to be presented to NISO for promulgation in 1991.
Kluwer was the first to implement SISAC, followed by Elsevier, Pergamon, The Royal Chemical Society, Taylor and Francis, and Wiley.
Potential uses for SICI (i.e. the SISAC symbol) would be to facilitate the exchange of machine-readable data among all parties in the serials community. Ordering, claiming, check-in, interlibrary loan, and other processes would be expedited, perhaps even tracking usage and apportioning royalties. It can foster EDI in the serials field.
--Hazel Woodward (UKSG); Gerard van Marle, Dutch Library Association "REPORT ON THE EUROPEAN SERIALS CONFERENCE"
Woodward noted that UKSG had helped organize the conference, held in The Netherlands, inspired partly by the increased European membership of UKSG, and UKSG's past role in encouraging other groups such as NASIG, the Chinese, Australian, and South African groups. Ideas discussed included whether to push for other national groups, or regional groups with a larger federation. Levels of co-operation between agents, librarians, and publishers, the serials market in the future, trade considerations etc., were part of the deliberations. The Scandinavians and the Dutch were keen on the idea of setting up national groups.
The second European conference will be in Holland in Sept. 1992.
Gerard van Marle, president of the Dutch Library Association, described the particulars that led to founding The Dutch Serials Group. The international scope of the group is signified by its official English-language name, which is NOT a translation. Membership is made up of those whose daily work is in serials.
--Tony Read, Book Development Council, "SERIALS AND THE THIRD WORLD"
The decline in the third world started with rising oil prices in the 1970s. There is little sign of recovery even now. Education was typically the heaviest expense in national budgets, and libraries were the first to suffer. Secondary, primary, and public libraries have all been badly hit. They tend to cancel book orders before journals, except for textbooks. In higher education deterioration of the remaining collections has occurred. Razor-bladed articles, and stolen books can scarcely be replaced.
Librarians were suddenly cut off from book trade information. Collection development is basically frozen at 1980. Budgets do not keep pace with deterioration of the collections. Widely accepted now is the need for support for acquisitions budgets by a wide range of aid agencies and some governments. There are perhaps 150 private aid agencies, such as the Gulbenkian, Rockefeller, Ford, Dag Hammarskjkold, and Toyota Foundations. Some are large, some are small, but all are very idiosyncratic. It is expensive and time-consuming to gather the market information needed.
--Elaine K. Rast, Northeastern Illinois University, "KEY ISSUES IN NORTH AMERICA"
Elaine represented NASIG as an Executive Board member and wowed the audience with quotations from T.S. Eliot and other literary notables and with general eloquence and clarity. They liked the concept of "technostress."
Key issues facing serials librarians in North America today revolve around CHANGE. These issues probably are not much different from those which face our colleagues in the U.K. We must cope with an overload of information, reduced budgets but increased costs, preservation challenges, space problems, library education, and new technology. The rate of progress during the 1980s will seem routine when compared to the rapidity with which technology will evolve in the 1990s. These dynamic changes will make it needful to assist staff to deal with "technostress," to maintain, or even increase service and access, and to me unrealistic user expectations. All of this will occur in an environment of shrinking budgets. The key to meeting these challenges will be found in the ability to encourage library staff to discover their personal strengths, to capitalize on them, to approach strategies in a positive and realistic manner, and to promote ourselves and our institutions. "Our ability to survive as we enter the 21st century centers around another single word: adaptability."
--Dianne Man, University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), "THE SERIALS COLLECTION AS A REFLECTION OF SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CHANGE"
Man was the first South African speaker to appear at UKSG. She worked in the field of personnel before becoming a personnel librarian, then a periodicals librarian, and is now head of Technical Services at the University of the Witwatersrand.
The last ten years in South Africa have been a time of profound change. The system of government has been a great part of the process. A tricameral government was set up, for Whites, Coloreds, and Indians. (Blacks were excluded). The situation of "small country, but a big government" is clearly seen in the large number of government publications produced, a cataloger's nightmare. For instance, THREE Departments of Education, etc. And now there are ten "homelands" to be considered.
Censorship has been an area of heavy government activity. The Publications Act of 1974 focused largely on obscenity, but the Internal Security Act of 1982 dealt more with books, Communists, race relations, banned persons, and banned organizations. Newspapers could be suspended. (Books and newspapers had to be seen first before banning, which meant the monographs could be acquired, but newspapers could be stopped.) "The locked cupboards have been emptied by half, now," mostly pornography is left in them. A dilemma for librarians was whether they were custodians, the state's agents, or victims. The problem now is how to fill in the gaps of the 1950s and 1960s.
Suspensions and boycotts have played a major role. The University of the Witwatersrand has about 19,500 students, and has long been a center for student activists. If non-Black student protestors were to be seen on worldwide television, they were usually from "Wits." There has been much tear gas in the libraries. As an English-language institution, the university has been an object of distrust from the government. World boycotts of South Africa were felt at the University. It was difficult to attend conferences even though the university letterhead said, "we do not support racism." In 1986 the Scandinavians cut off the library exchange program, which was a shock to the library. There was pressure on serials suppliers, especially in the United States. Checks were returned, publishers would not call. One note of humor: although UMI refused to supply theses, they kept sending the blurbs.
Trade unions have become a phenomenon affecting the serials picture in the R.S.A. Before 1979 Black workers had no rights to negotiate. Now there are powerful Black trade unions, which produce many serials worth collecting. One such is Izwilethu, containing news, cultural data, and politics. Back issues are hard to get, and the publication patterns are irregular.
The New South Africa began in 1989 with de Klerk and with the 1990 release of Nelson Mandela. For this period, History in the Making is an important serial source, which prints current documents and speeches. New Ground began in Sept. 1990 and deals with environmental concerns, particularly from a Black point of view.
Aid and funds from anti-apartheid groups are dwindling now. Attention seems to be diverted to Eastern Europe, judging by the headlines.
SERIALS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
--Robert Imberley, Institute for Scientific Information, "ISI ON JANET, ON DISC AND ON THE SHELF: END-USER SEARCHING OF BIBLIOGRAPHIC DATABASES IN DIFFERENT MEDIA."
The ISI indexes are known for being up to date, and for their ease of use. The capability for browsing contents pages is so easy that no instructional materials are available or needed for this aspect. The current contents are available on diskette, for pc or Mac, intended for end-users. They are also available through BRS, Dialog, etc.
OPAC availability at the University of Bath presently allows 100 simultaneous users, and will be tripled. The question might be asked, if this service is offered on an OPAC, where does JANET's or the library's responsibility end or begin? (JANET in the U.K. is similar to BITNET and the INTERNET in the U.S.). Password control is necessary for copyright reasons, as well as for access control. Who should issue the passwords? What is the cost?
--Tony McSean, British Medical Association, "CD-ROM AND BEYOND"
The speaker began with an apologia, to "excuse any lapses into hyperbole." He got complaints about his Nov. 1990 article from readers who mistakenly thought he was ATTACKING cd-rom. Two questions were 1) Is cd-rom a transient medium? 2) Does it matter? Answers: 1) Yes 2) No. Cd-rom disks will last five or ten years. Replacements will be a mixture of things. The future will bring flash chips, which don't lose data when turned off. 16 mb available. Will replace floppies and maybe eventually hard disks. "Coming Real Soon Now": Voice systems; Pen systems; Multi-media; LANs & WANs; Knowledge-based systems (formerly expert systems); BIG displays (referring to disk size); Chip technology (exponential gains expected); Data broadcasting (for updates of databases); Magnetic storage; Better purchasing.
--Cliff McNight, Loughborough University of Technology, "THE ELECTRONIC JOURNAL: A USER'S VIEW"
BLEND (Birmingham and Loughborough Electronic Network Development) was an early attempt at doing all publishing aspects online: origination, submission to editor, refereeing, editing, archiving. Some articles passed on to paper journals. It was a success. A new wrinkle was that the reader could add comments (but not change original text) and the author could then respond to the comments. It was ugly to look at, and hard to move through. Defaulted to full ASCII text.
The Hypertext Journal Database. One can get an article from the US via e-mail, add comments, then by the time of printing all parties have moved on to something else. Most problems are psychological in nature:
1. Difficulty in reading full text from screens (but the low quality is getting better).
2. Illustrations and halftones, etc.
3. Navigation problems (if eight screens are open)
4. Copyright (or is it really a problem?)
Postmodern Culture from North Carolina State University is refereed, available free, and not strictly a computer journal. A subscriber receives contents pages, then sends to a fileserver for any desired issue. "It is eclectic, to say the least."
Questions of copyright in electronic journals are not clear, may be problematic. If no publisher is needed and an author handles everything her/himself, then everything becomes vanity publication.
--Chris Beckett, Blackwell's Periodicals Division, "STANDARDS: WHO NEEDS STANDARDS? DATA TRANSFER WITHIN THE SERIALS INDUSTRY"
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is automated computer-to-computer exchange of structured business documents between an enterprise and its vendors, customers, and other trading partners. (It is NOT online, NOT e-mail). Standards are not as important when human intelligence is involved, but for computer-based EDI there must be very specific standards. There is an average 5 percent error rate in human re-keying of data. EDI interchanges for ordering, paying invoices, etc. would be much faster and should result in fewer errors.
There are national standards, such as TRADCOM and X-12, and the international UN/EDIFACT. SISAC has recently recommended X-12 as the standard, which is currently the most-used standard in the US, but Beckett suspects it will eventually migrate to EDIFACT. The Joint Serials Committee is working on the problem, and consists of Blackwell's, Dawson, EBSCO, Elsevier, Faxon, Kluwer, Pergamon, Readmore, The Royal Chemical Society, and Swets.
NS2.5 FROM THE MAILBOX
The Mailbox is: TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET.
On the Elsevier purchase of Pergamon, from Paul Metz of Virginia Tech (PMETZ@VTVM1.BITNET):
With Elsevier's acquisition of Pergamon, I think the time has come for a corporate name linking all the European cabal of overpriced scientific journals. I suggest the term "Axis Powers." When I mentioned this to someone they said, oh, but aren't some of them French. Vichy French, to be sure....When I shared my comment about Pergamon Elsevier et al with a colleague, he thought I had said Access Powers. So to elaborate the joke, if that's what it is, we will have the Axis Powers versus the Access Powers!
On electronic library newsletters, from Harry Llull (HLLULL@UNMB. BITNET):
Just this year we instituted a Centennial Science and Engineering Library Newsletter which includes our new books list. The newsletter is available in both paper and electronic formats. It goes to all chairs and liaisons in science and engineering and to any other faculty who request it. We do have a number of subscribers to the electronic format. The newsletter is stored on the CSEL microvax, HAL, for all staff to read in the General Library at the University of New Mexico.
In terms of a strictly inhouse library newsletter, we communicate all of our meeting minutes, announcements, agendas, etc. through HAL to all staff at CSEL including student assistants. Because of this, we have not identified a need for an internal newsletter. At the beginning of next year when we send out a call to our faculty for subscribers to our CSEL Newsletter, we will request an evaluation of it from our current subscribers. So far, the unsolicited responses we have had have been positive.
>From Fred Friend, University College London (UCYL@UCL.AC.UK):
In the report on price rises in 1991 and 1992 I noticed the following statement: "Libraries outside the United States generally experienced smaller price increases because they benefitted from the weaker US dollar." In the context of US publications that is true, but UK libraries have been hit badly this year by the harmonisation of prices within the European Community. Needless to say publishers have not "harmonised" downwards to the lowest price but upwards, a process which has not created much harmony between publishers and librarians! I am told that prices to UK libraries of UK journals have risen by an average of 18 percent. Overall, even allowing for the weaker dollar, the cost of a typical mix of titles has risen to UK libraries by 8-9 percent, which is several percentage points above our budget increases. So please do not think everything is rosy in the library garden on this side of the Atlantic.
>From Deborah H. Broadwater, Vanderbilt Medical Library (BROADWHD@ VUCTRVAX.BITNET):
What's going on? Earlier predictions had us fearing price increases averaging 16 - 18 percent for our 1992 subscriptions. Now one vendor is predicting a 3.5 percent average base price increase for non-USA titles in 1992. Do you have any other information regarding journal price increases for 1992? It would be wonderful if we could expect only a 3.5 percent increase but it is quite a difference.
>From Dorrie Senghas, University of Vermont Medical Library (DSENGHAS@UVMVM.BITNET):
I've been watching for some discussion of how other libraries will handle the cost of the Science Citation Index Cumulation (1985-1989). The first letter I got from ISI with "The Offer You Cannot Refuse" made me a prepub offer of $33,000. When I followed up on this I found that with trade-ins I could bring the price down to $30,000 with a three-year payment plan. While this is appreciated I'm afraid that a medium size medical library with a book acquisition budget of about $75,000 simply cannot pay this kind of money. There's some irony here since my impression is that ISI has always expressed concern about the high cost of scientific journal subscriptions.
>From Jim Mouw, University of Chicago (firstname.lastname@example.org):
The latest issue of Serials (the journal of the United Kingdom Serials Group) contains the proceedings of the 1st European Serials Conference. Among those papers is "Pricing for Europe: A Librarian's View," by Ulrich Montag of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Germany. In discussing general pricing issues he notes that in 1976 the institutional price for Tetrahedron Letters (yes, the journal we all love to hate!) was DM662.50, or US$250, while the personal rate was DM159.00 (US$60). This makes the institutional rate about four times as much as the personal rate. In 1990 his library paid DM5,600.00, which was 16 times the personal rate of DM348.00. In a classic example of understatement, he goes on to say: "Though publishers always tell librarians that they do not understand the economics of journal publishing, we dare say that this policy of differential pricing fails to work to the benefit of libraries."
NS2.6 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS
Chuck Hamaker, Louisiana State University, NOTCAH@LSUVM.BITNET.
It has been almost two months since "Hamaker's Haymakers" last appeared in the Newsletter and much has changed in the serials world. The biggest change is the fact that the number one and number three scientific publishers have merged into the super one publisher. From work done at LSU by October Ivins, it appears that the new super publisher commands over 40 percent of the serial budget at many ARL and ACRL institutions. If expenditures for CIS (Congressional Information Service), Greenwood, Praeger and Bergin and Garvey are considered, then the total dollar amount of our budgets supporting the E-P combination could be well over the 40 percent level locally. By any standard I am aware of, that makes the new combination a monopoly level concern for the rest of the scholarly publishing community. A community that has tried very hard to ignore the impact of the giants in the business on the smaller companies. It suggests that not all publishers can have the same concerns because scale not only magnifies, it distorts priorities.
Researchers who have never heard of Elsevier are going to be hurt by the continuing and I predict accelerating drain on traditional library resources that ultimately provide the mainstay of support for humanities, liberal arts and social science publication. If 1,000 copies was the standard scholarly print run for the 70s and 500 the standard for the 80s, the 90s according to printing trade literature can already produce economical runs of 250 copies. That level used to be called a limited edition!
But the battle of the nineties will not be in such areas. If Elsevier-Pergamon dominates the traditional journal it cannot be permitted to dominate the electronic era. Too much is at stake. There is a growing voice within the electronic networks that mirrors much of what the newsletter and pamphlet literature meant for previous centuries: a voice to communicate and to think jointly in a new medium. Something quite different from the Orwellian group think is developing on the networks that in its infancy bears perhaps the greatest challenge to the primacy of the journal, and that is peers discussing problems they face together. The primary scholarly journal, thanks to these evolving networks, is rapidly becoming the last resort, not the first, for scientific and cultural advances. That is, by the time an idea is pushed through the big journals, the development has already been seen, evaluated and assimilated through other media. Without access to those other media, in fact, the primary journal runs the risk of becoming not only passe, but just plain 18th century, with instant rejoinder. As a result, major issues that will be faced in the next few years such as the form copyright (or "copyleft") should take in the electronic media, will not be debated so much as reported in the print journal. The results of the debate and consensus development going on right now in forums such as the HUMANIST bulletin board will be old hat when they hit print. The liveliness of debate thus is shifting from print as podium. The immediacy of the clash of ideas which the journal often heralded is passing from print to the electronic form.
In the midst of momentous developments in the serial world, however, a more modest voice deserves to be heard, and that concerns the fate and importance of the book in our libraries. A recent longitudinal circulation study at LSU suggests that the old 20 percent of the collection provides 80 percent of the circulation adage has it wrong. In data from fall of 1987 to May of 1991, LSU's data show 43 percent of the physical items in the total collection circulated. This astounding number suggests volume count and diversity are primary to successful libraries. I believe analysis will demonstrate that we do not buy books nobody uses, as is commonly believed, we collect for cyclical (4-7) year use and relatively short term use. This longitudinal approach provides evidence on patterns that are obscured by the normal "snapshot" approach to circulation studies. It suggests the academic distance we sometimes feel over the question of whether anyone uses what we buy is mistaken. And the large battle over how much money serials will absorb before we find a way to bring balance back into our purchasing patterns is more than academic; it concerns the very health of the scholarly enterprise. Evidence of the vitality of circulation in academic and research libraries is as germane to the debate of the future of scholarly information as data on the price of journals.
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 by the editor as news is available. Editor: Marcia Tuttle, BITNET: TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET; Faxon's DataLinx: TUTTLE; 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. Editorial Board: Deana Astle (Clemson University), Jerry Curtis (Springer Verlag New York), Charles Hamaker (Louisiana State University), James Mouw (University of Chicago), and Heather Steele (Blackwell's Periodicals Division). The Newsletter is available on BITNET, 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.