Although the letter Donald W. Koepp wrote to Michael Boswood concerning Pergamon Press price increases for 1992 has appeared on several online discussion groups, I am reproducing it in the newsletter. There may be librarians who have not seen or heard of the letter. In addition, the newsletter's audience is broader than librarians, and it is likely that many of the academic subscribers, as well as some publishers and others may not have seen the letter. Further, I have received unsolicited two comments on the letter from librarians. These follow the letter. I will be happy to print other comments from readers.
NS14.2 LETTER TO PERGAMON
Donald W. Koepp, University Librarian, Princeton University Libraries, One Washington Road, Princeton NJ 08544-2098. Reproduced with permission.
Pergamon Press,br> Headington Hill Hall
Oxford OX3 0BW UK
Dear Mr. Boswood:
As a direct result of the astounding journal price increases for 1992 reflected in your invoice dated September 1, 1991, an unprecedented series of discussions occurred at Princeton University. In two academic departments, there was serious and extended consideration of cancellation of all Pergamon subscriptions. Those favoring such action eventually deferred to those who preferred a less radical course. In a later meeting involving faculty and library staff from the six major scientific and engineering departments there was consensus on another approach. It was agreed to cancel sufficient Pergamon journals so that the total cost of them in 1992 will be no more than the cost was in 1991 plus the percentage of inflationary increase in the allocations for each of these departments for this fiscal year. Consequently, you will find that almost one fourth of the journals in the September 1 invoice have been cancelled.
What should be of concern to you and other publishers is that this decision was taken in an institution the administration of which has made very concerted efforts to increase library acquisitions funds as the costs of publication have grown. Ours was not a decision taken because of absolute financial necessity. It reflected, rather, a considered view that there are certain very real limits to what should be paid for traditionally published scientific and technical journals and that, by this year's increases, you have exceeded those limits.
Donald W. Koepp
cc: Association of Research Library Directors
NS14.3 LIBRARIANS RESPOND TO KOEPP'S LETTER
Bruce Bennion, University of Southern California, BBENNION@USCVM.BITNET; and Tony Stankus, Holy Cross, LIB_STANKUS@HLYCROSS.
BRUCE BENNION: The so-called "Princeton Letter" which has appeared several times already among my e-mail messages, is a prime example of bashing the publisher with no apparent effort to grasp the whole picture. The prima facie evidence indicates that Pergamon is gouging, but academics, of all people, ought to do better than merely accept prima facie evidence. Is the burden of rebuttal now on Pergamon? Perhaps, but if we librarians are really in the knowledge transfer business -- which I firmly believe we are -- then we ought to apply our own scholarly talents to learning more about how that business works. We can forgive the scientists at Princeton for jumping to conclusions. Scientists are no more rational than anyone else when dealing with matters outside of science. We might well have expected the Princeton faculty's reaction. I have heard similar threats from west coast scientists, except no action was taken against any publisher then. I am not proposing that we jump willy nilly to the defense of beleaguered publishers. Surely they have the intellectual ability to defend themselves. Whether they choose to make a public defense or not -- based on sound research -- we of the library profession have an obligation to learn more about the transfer of scholarly knowledge before casting our puny little missiles at the publishers. I still say the problem of price increases is systemic and does not originate with the publishers. I'll cheerfully concede to anyone who proves me wrong. How about us trying a little harder to get to the bottom of it?
TONY STANKUS: What I see down the road is a continuation of the Eurojournal movement. Europeans, who have been pitching their best papers to US journals, will, I think redirect more and more of them to designated "Eurojounals," at least partly out of a growing sense of Euroconsciousness. The British have a hard time deciding whether to call themselves Europeans, and Pergamon always saw itself as a British-based international publisher, not as a "Europublisher." While the late Robert Maxwell was in fact a refugee from Central Europe and bought the predecessors of Pergamon Press from a consortium of hardpress publishers that were themselves as much Continental European as British, Maxwell was not a big fan of Continental Europe. He cast his fortunes largely on growth in the US and in the former British Commonwealth countries. In recent years, before the sale of Pergamon to Elsevier, he favored somewhat better pricing for US subscibers than was made available to Continental Europeans. (Note that I did not say he favored wonderfully favorable pricing for the US!) This lead to the misalignment of prices between the Continental Europeans (higher) and Americans (somewhat lower). This irked the EEC and I feel that the "New Pergamon" decided that it was time to cast its lot with the Continental Europeans, an understandable attitude given, its new owners and their need to recoup some of the purchase price anyway. For what it's worth, the US publishing scene will remain scientifically strong because, it has become clearer to me, the Japanese and other Pacific rim powers who had formerly had some secondary ties to Pergamon and other British publishers are ever more likely to increase their investment of manuscripts in US journals.
NS14.4 UPDATE ON 1992 JOURNAL PRICES
Blackwell's Periodicals Division and The Faxon Company
Blackwell's has distributed a sheet showing the following categories of price increases. They do not include a currency exchange factor. 1991 prices in parentheses.
Percentage Price Increases for 1992 TOP 30 UK PUBLISHERS UK OVERSEAS USA $ USA L 13.51% (16.06%) 12.82% (13.72%) 14.31% (18.01%) 9.82% (10.05%) Ranging From: 1.68% - 35.99% 0.94% - 35.43% 6.96% - 35.43% 0.94% - 18.00% (5.75% - 37.36%) (3.46% - 34.33%) (3.46% - 45.66%) (6.45% - 22.00%) TOP 5 EUROPEAN PUBLISHERS OVERSEAS 11.11% (9.64%) Ranging From: 8.64% - 14.27% (4.00% - 13.01%) TOP 23 US PUBLISHERS USA OVERSEAS 12.61% (13.17%) 12.13% (13.68%) Ranging From: 0% - 36.49% 0% - 30.11% (5.30% - 32.06%) (5.30% - 29.30%)Faxon distributed this Client Communication Update dated 20 November 1991 to academic libraries:
Since March 1991, Faxon has been providing regular forecasts of price increases for 1992 subscriptions based upon publisher surveys and the performance of the US dollar. We updated these based on publisher prices received through September and can now provide a further update based on prices received through the end of October.
Based upon current information, we believe that our early projections still largely hit close. At 11.3 percent, price increases for US titles are running slightly higher than our original estimate of 8.5 to 10.5 percent. As we projected earlier in the year, the stronger US dollar has diminished significantly the impact of price increases for titles published in most of Europe. In fact, we can now forecast that US dollar prices for continental European titles in 1992 will average 0.6 percent less than 1991 prices.
One major exception to our original projections was caused by a decision at Pergamon to eliminate preferential pricing for US libraries in 1992, as they continue moving toward a single worldwide pricing structure. Their 18 percent price increase, combined with unexpected increases from other British publishers, has created an unusually high average of 14.3 percent for UK titles this year.
Latest publisher prices received through 31 October 1991 indicate that US libraries will see the following price changes for 1992 subscriptions.
Projected Changes in Serials Costs: 1991 to 1992 UK Serials 14.3% Increase European Serials (excluding UK serials) 0.6% Decrease US Serials 11.3% Increase Based upon a typical academic serials collection of 65 percent US titles, 15 percent UK titles, and 20 percent European titles, the average overall serials budget increase should be approximately 9 percent.
NS14.5 SEMINAR ON NEGOTIATING SERIAL SERVICES AND
N. Bernard "Buzzy" Basch, Basch Associates, Chicago IL.
Basch Associates has scheduled a presentation of its seminar "Negotiating Services and Fees with Subscription Agencies" for January 23, 1992, immediately prior to the midwinter meeting of ALA in San Antonio.
The seminar, which has received positive reviews in SERIALS REVIEW (Winter 1990) and the ALCTS NEWSLETTER (Vol. 2, no. 7), is designed to alert serials librarians and library managers to the opportunities to improve service and negotiate ongoing savings with subscription agencies and other serial suppliers. The seminar provides practical techniques for identifying areas for negotiation, negotiating, monitoring vendor service quality and pricing, and addressing shortfalls in vendor performance.
The seminar is conducted by N. Bernard "Buzzy" Basch, a twenty-year veteran of the subscription agency business and co-author of BUYING SERIALS (Neal-Schuman, 1990). Basch draws on his extensive knowledge of subscription agency operations to detail vendor revenues, costs, business practices, and service charges; and combines this insight with his knowledge of serial publishers and library acquisitions procedures to highlight areas in which negotiation can yield pricing and/or service benefits for libraries.
Registration for the full-day seminar is $295.00. For further information contact Buzzy Basch, Basch Associates, 860 North Lake Shore Drive, Suite 7J, Chicago IL 60611; Phone: 312 787-6885 FAX: 312 943-0025.
NS14.6 ELECTRONIC JOURNALS AND INFORMATION ACCESS
Birdie MacLennan, University of Vermont; BMACLENN@UVMVM.BITNET.
In issue NS 12, Dan Lester solicits comments regarding Douglas Greenberg's October 23 article on the back cover (p. A48) of the CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, "Information Access: Our Elitist System Must Be Reformed."
While Greenberg's article raises a number of large, complex, and valid points, he does the library community a disservice in writing that, "part of the problem with developing better tools and expanding access is money, but part of it also has been the unwillingness or inability... of scholars, administrators, librarians, and publishers to work cooperatively." How many cooperative and/or joint projects (let alone ILL services) does one need to cite to overcome a perception of librarians as singular and/or individualistic?!
As a follow-up to the Greenberg article, I would recommend an article in the October issue of OCLC MICRO (vol. 7, no. 5). Beginning on p. 31, Joe Ryan and Charles McClure, of the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, discuss "The Role of Public Libraries in the Use of NREN" -- a research-in-progress report that begins to look at ways in which public libraries can position themselves to access and utilize developing electronic networking capabilities. As Ryan and McClure point out, "The difficult questions regarding network use and applications may have less to do with technologies and more to do with how organizations... choose to define themselves." While this article may not address all the points raised in the Greenberg article, it does indicate that there is a growing amount of concern in making this relatively new medium of electronic communications available to the public sector.
Greenberg asks, "Do we need electronic journals?" With shrinking budgets, rising inflation, subscription cancellations, and increased demand for information, I don't see how libraries can afford NOT to look for alternatives to traditional print sources. E-journals ostensibly are beginning to offer an increasingly viable alternative in answer to a need. As we move toward the 21st century, I'd be willing to hope that electronic resources will not just be for the "fortunate few" (as Greenberg suggests), but for the greater public, as well.
NS14.7 SYMPOSIUM ON NETWORK-BASED ELECTRONIC
RESOURCES: PACS REVIEW 2:2
Charles W. Bailey, Jr., University of Houston, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volume 2, Number 2 (1991) ISSN 1048-6542
Editor-In-Chief: Charles W. Bailey, Jr.
University of Houston
Back issues are also stored at LISTSERV@UHUPVM1. To obtain a list of all available files, send the following message to LISTSERV@UHUPVM1: INDEX PACS-L. The name of each issue's table of contents file begins with the word "CONTENTS."
Note that all of the above e-mail addresses are on BITNET. The list server also has an Internet address: LISTSERV@UHUPVM1.UH.EDU
Symposium on the Role of Network-Based Electronic Resources in Scholarly Communication and Research
Charles W. Bailey, Jr. and Dana Rooks, eds. (pp. 4-60)
To retrieve this file: GET BAILEY1 PRV2N2 F=MAIL
Ralph Alberico, William Britten, Craig Summerhill, and Erwin Welsch answer five questions about network-based electronic resources:
QUESTION 1: What role should librarians play in providing intellectual access to network-based electronic resources? Should librarians mount a collective, nationwide effort or should they primarily focus their efforts on meeting local user needs?
QUESTION 2: Considering the dynamic nature of the network information environment, what are the most promising technological strategies for facilitating access to network- based electronic resources? Catalog records in national bibliographic utilities and local online catalogs? Specialized resource directory databases, which would be available on the network? Microcomputer-based front-ends, possibly utilizing hypermedia or expert system technologies?
QUESTION 3: What kind of support services should libraries provide to their users to help them utilize network-based electronic resources? Special workstations in the library? Bibliographic instruction? User documentation? Mediated access?
QUESTION 4: Should libraries "collect," provide access to, and preserve network-based electronic resources? If so, what types of information (e.g., computer conference logs and electronic serials) should be collected? How should access to these locally housed electronic materials be provided? What types of barriers do you see that will hinder libraries in their attempts to accomplish this goal?
QUESTION 5: As one response to the deepening crisis in the cost of library materials, colleges and universities could become publishers of network-based electronic journals, index and abstract databases, and scholarly electronic books. Should they do this? If so, what role should libraries play in this effort?
Public-Access Provocations: An Informal Column
I Like It Like That
Walt Crawford (pp. 61-64)
To retrieve this file: GET CRAWFORD PRV2N2 F=MAIL
Walt Crawford examines the question of how online catalogs can help users find more items "like that one."
You Say You Want an Evolution
Charles W. Bailey, Jr. (pp. 65-66)
To retrieve this file: GET BAILEY2 PRV2N2 F=MAIL
The Editor-in-Chief discusses changes in the distribution format of the PACS Review.
The Public-Access Computer Systems Review is Copyright (C) 1991 by the University Libraries, University of Houston. All Rights Reserved.
Copying is permitted for noncommercial use by computer conferences, individual scholars, and libraries. Libraries are authorized to add the journal to their collection, in electronic or printed form, at no charge. This message must appear on all copied material. All commercial use requires permission.
NS14.8 JOURNAL PRICING CRISIS AS SYSTEMIC PROBLEM:
CAN YOU HELP?
Bruce Bennion, University of Southern California Libraries BBENNION@USCVM.BITNET or BBENNION@VM.USC.EDU.
Regarding my comments about publisher bashing in an earlier issue [NS 10], as yet no one has stepped forward with a zest to look into the journal pricing crisis as a systemic problem. ("Systemic" meaning that it arises from causes that are fundamental in the structure of our formal sci-tech communication system, as opposed to the simple consequence of publisher avarice. I have a strong conviction that it is the former rather than the latter and therefore am reluctant to place much blame on the publishers.) Evidently, library school faculty and doctoral students have weightier matters to research, such as "job satisfaction among Welsh science fiction catalogers," "library and information services to the Inuit of Thule," "the life and times of Samuel Swett Green," and the like. As for us soldiers in the trenches, it's safe to guess that most of us are busy enough with just the basic services while trying to hold on to as many journals as possible.
Maybe it's only a crazy notion anyway -- that the serials pricing crisis might have causes more fundamental than publisher greed. Or maybe it's just not politically correct to suggest that there may be any other causes. Ragging on publishers is easier than doing the research to find out, and probably more fun, too.
Anyone out there who shares my view? Even if you don't, I'd like to hear from you. I am about to undertake some preliminary investigations myself, and, not being a serials librarian, I could use some good advice on where to find certain data. (I am a sci-tech reference and online services librarian.) In order to test my hypothesis, I need the circulation figures for many journals -- those from societies as well as those from commercial publishers, and non-US as well as US journals. Ulrichs sometimes gives circ. figures for US journals, but I'll need more than that. Perhaps many journal publishers are secretive about circ. data. If so, too bad. Seems to me that it is in their best interests to release such information. A few of my colleagues here at USC have made some suggestions. I would like to have a few more. Your assistance could save a lot of the time and effort that I would have to spend in looking for the data myself. Thanks in advance.
NS14.9 ALCTS TO INTRODUCE RESOLUTION OPPOSING TAX ON
ALA Press Release
Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) President Arnold Hirshon said legislation in California and Pennsylvania that requires libraries to pay sales tax on periodical subscriptions is "a deplorable situation" that threatens free access to information for all citizens.
ALCTS, a division of the American Library Association (ALA) and the largest association in the United States concerned with library collections, is developing a policy resolution opposing such policies. It will be introduced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, January 24-30, 1992 in San Antonio.
Hirshon said there is grave concern that such actions must be reversed and that this not become a national trend. He said although states have begun to engage in this practice to compensate for decreased revenue collections, the net result is antithetical to the ALA right to know message.
"There is no question that the right of all citizens will be greatly threatened by the continued or expanded practice of state legislatures and governors to approve any measure that taxes citizens for information and that results in less available information," Hirshon explained.
For more information, contact Arnold Hirshon, President, ALCTS, Wright State University, Library, Dayton OH 45435. Telephone: 513 873-2380 or FAX: 513 873-2356. Internet: AHIRSHON@DESIRE.WRIGHT.EDU.
NS14.10 FROM THE MAILBOX
The mailbox is: TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET.
>From R.V. Schnucker, Managing Editor, and Paula Presley, Production Editor, SIXTEENTH CENTURY JOURNAL (AD15%NEMOMUS.bitnet@VTVM2.CC.VT. EDU). Oops! You missed us in your list of journals using the SISAC barcode. In 1986 we participated in the SISAC test when SISAC code was being developed. We have used it every single quarterly issue since then -- on the front cover.
Not only does Sixteenth Century Journal use the barcode as a convenience for libraries, we also do the following:
At any rate, we're proud of our use of the barcode for the past 5 years.
>From Bill Benson, Wright Laboratory Technical Library, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio (DataLinx: FL2802):
You may have missed this. The American Scoiety for Metals (ASM) will no longer give a membership discount to libraries for their journals such as METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS (A & B) and INTERNATIONAL MATERIALS REVIEWS. A library membership will still get you ADVANCED MATERIALS AND PROCESSES, ASM NEWS, and a discount on books, however. I am a big believer in using memberships to save costs if we don't have to buy a lot of unwanted journals. This membership was saving the library almost $1000 a year.
NOTE: According to the Faxon database, INTERNATIONAL MATERIALS REVIEWS appears to now be solely published by the Institute of Metals.
Charles Bailey, University of Houston (LIB3@UHUPVM1.BITNET) says, "Thought you would be interested in the news about the PACS REVIEW," and sent the following from PUBLIC-ACCESS COMPUTER SYSTEMS NEWS, vol. 2, no. 10 (November 11, 1991):
THE PACS REVIEW STARTS PEER REVIEW
The Public-Access Computer Systems Review, an electronic journal on BITNET, announces a new section of the journal, Refereed Articles. Articles in this section will be peer reviewed by Editorial Board staff. Authors now have the option of submitting a paper to either the Refereed Articles section or the Communications section (papers for this section are selected by the Editor-in-Chief and the Associate Editor, Communications).
For further information, contact Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Editor- in-Chief, The Public-Access Computer Systems Review, University Libraries, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-2091, (713) 749-4241, or BITNET: LIB3@UHUPVM1.
>From Joe Halpern, HALPERN@ALMADEN.BITNET:
For what it's worth, I'm not a librarian, but a researcher in computer science. I'm getting more and more concerned about the high cost of journals (especially those published by for-profit publishers). Up to now, I had never considered journal cost as a criterion for deciding where to publish. I am now thinking that I should take it seriously. In general, I don't think that marketplace competition works the same way in the academic publishing world as it does outside it. We (the scientific community) are not particularly sensitive to pricing issues (or, at least, we haven't been up to now). I think the general feeling has been that a topnotch library should carry all reasonable journals in a field. Unfortunately, given the proliferation of new journals (there was a period about a year ago where it felt like practically every month I was asked to be on the editorial board of yet another journal), this has become far too unreasonable. It seems to me that the solution (at least, in part) is to try to convince leading researchers to submit to a relatively few journals in an area, and determine what journals should be on the list in part by pricing. This is a way that market pressure could be brought to bear on publishers. Do you know if anything like this has been tried? Another way might be to start more online journals (something I think is a great idea anyway). I am working on that with a few other people, but all of us have so many other commitments that it becomes hard to give it the attention it deserves.
I've really found your newsletter an eyeopener in terms of some of the issues involved. Thanks for editing it.
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.