41.1 RESPONSE TO HANNAH KING'S QUESTION , Philip Greene
41.2 SOME 1993 PRICE INCREASES , Bill Benson
41.3 STS PUBLISHER VENDOR RELATIONS COMMITTEE , Eleanor Cook
41.4 FROM THE MAILBOX
[The editor apologizes to both Phil Greene and Hannah King for the delay in publishing this reply. I received it on June 17, and it just got lost on my desk at home. Because it has been so long since Hannah asked the question, I am repeating it here. -Ed.]
>From Hannah King, SUNY HSC Library at Syracuse, KINGH@SNYSYRV1BITNET:
I wonder if Philip Greene (EBSCO) could be asked to reply to the following question:
"If the subscription agent obtains publisher discounts for bulk orders plus discounts for early payment plus pays in the currency of the country of origin thus avoiding exchange rate penalties, what relationship does the list price have to the price the agent pays?"
I wish vendors truly represented the interests of their primary customers, librarians and their patrons, and passed the savings made possible by bulk and early ordering on to us.
I am pleased to respond to Hannah King's question. First, it is important to remember that subscription agents are truly "in the middle" -- certainly, our primary mission is to provide the most responsive possible servicefor our clients -- libraries and their patrons. At the same time, we spend a great deal of time and effort developing appropriate procedures for working with publishers in order to maintain cost effective processing procedures.
Subscription agencies do not get publisher discounts for bulk orders as do book jobbers. In fact, an agency ordering a single subscription from a publisher will get the same discount (or no discount if that is the case) as an agency that orders several thousand subscriptions.
Bulk subscription prices are possible for individual _subscribers_ who order more than a one copy subscription to a title -- usually going to the same address. These bulk savings, when provided by publishers, are passed on to our clients.
Additional savings are passed on to the clients through membership and group subscription packages. Again, the availability of these programs is based on publisher policy.
In the very vast majority of cases, we do not receive publisher credits for "early payment" of subscriptions. Quite the contrary, publishers expect to be paid well in advance of the subscription start term. We do, however, provide our clients with prepayment credits where they are able to pay us early.
We do pay many publishers in their native currency. However, this is not without cost to the subscription agency who must establish many overseas bank accounts and maintain account balances. In addition, we must absorb communication costs, the expense of multiple language translations of communications and payment documents as well as the mechanisms to keep track of currency fluctuations.
So, paying non-USA publishers in their native currency does not result in savings for subscription agencies -- but rather, in improved service for our clients and improved cooperation from non-USA publishers.
The "list price" bears a great deal of relationship to the price the subscription agency pays for the subscription. The list price is developed by the publisher and is the price invoiced to the library client by the agency. Subscription agencies pay the publishers a "cost amount" which is usually very close to the publisher's rate.
Finally, Hannah King seems to feel that agencies should pass on all savings made possible by our efficient ordering procedures. Were we to do this, service charges would have increased substantially over the past several years. Instead, subscription agency service charges are probably the only aspect in the serials management chain which have decreased and are now at their lowest point in history. At the same time, we are providing additional services to augment some of the capabilities lost by our library clients through staff reductions, etc. We work hard to achieve operating savings sothat we can continue to provide the most responsive service at a fair price. Consider not just the service charge one pays your vendor -- consider the overall level of service the vendor provides.
41.2 SOME 1993 PRICE INCREASES
Bill Benson, Wright-Patterson AFB Library, BENSONWO@WL.WPAFB.AF. MIL
We just received our 1993 price list from the American Chemical Society. Below is our title list and a comparison of their prices for the past few years:
Title 1993 1992 1991 AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY. JOURNAL $1055 925 750 ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY 415 373 289 CHEMICAL AND ENGINEERING NEWS 110 105 95 CHEMICAL RESEARCH IN TOXICOLOGY 311 296 269 CHEMICAL REVIEWS 346 320 265 CHEMISTRY OF MATERIALS 375 340 299 CHEMTECH 370 365 325 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 444 395 329 INDUSTRIAL & ENGINEERING CHEMISTRY RESEARCH 567 512 413 INORGANIC CHEMISTRY 949 864 699 JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL AND ENGINEERING DATA 309 289 234 JOURNAL OF ORGANIC CHEMISTRY 785 670 518 JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL & CHEMICAL REFERENCE DATA 420 385 350 JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY 1140 998 799 MACROMOLECULES 920 809 665 TOTAL...............................................$8516 7646 6299
This equates to an 11.38% increase from 1992 to 1993. From 1991 to 1992 the increase was 21.38%. Perhaps all of our efforts are being heard. Thought some of you might be interested.
41.3 STS PUBLISHER/VENDOR RELATIONS COMMITTEE (PVRC): WHAT IS IT? WHAT DOES IT DO?
Eleanor Cook, Appalachian State University, COOKEI@APPSTATE.BITNET.
This committee is part of the Science and Technology Section of ACRL. The origins of the committee are modest. The committee originally was called the "Publisher Relations Committee," and had no published charge in the ALA Handbook. Last year the name and charge were revised. The Publisher/Vendor Relations Committee now "serves as a channel for exchanging information between science and technology publishers and vendors, and science and technology librarians." The committee used to provide a list of sci-tech publishers exhibiting at ALA to distribute to STS members. This effort has been discontinued; since so many publishers handle sci/tech materials these days, such a list is overwhelming!
Instead, the committee is now putting its efforts into reaching sci-tech publishers directly, by inviting their representatives to its meeting at ALA. At both Midwinter and Summer meetings this year, publisher and vendor representatives outnumbered librarians.
The conversations continue to grow in richness and meaning. At the first couple of meetings I attended it was not really clear what we wanted to talk about. Did we want to hear "advertisements" from publishers about their products? Did we want to give feedback to publishers about their products? Did we want to tell publishers about sci-tech products not on the market that we'd like to see published? Did we want to talk about trends in the delivery, pricing, and packaging of sci-tech publications? Well, yes to all of the above.
First, we had to get past "publisher bashing." As a serials librarian trained in the NASIG School of "Publishers and Vendors: Our Trading Partners, Not Enemies," I was dismayed when science librarians unwittingly fell into raw complaining and harping about prices. This behavior continues to dissipate as we mature as a group. We encourage publisher and vendor reprsentatives to enter into lively, productive discussions with us on topics of mutual concern.
The publishers are eager to tell us about their products and projects, AND to hear about our concerns. The following topics were discussed at the ALA Summer Conference in San Francisco:
Alternative ways for librarians to get involved in working with publishers and vendors;
Update of the TULIP Project sponsored by Elsevier;
Further discussion on the arrival and future of electronic journals;
Future viability and survival of science monographs given continuing serials price escalations;
Electronic monograph publishing projects;
Problems with some publishers' marketing techniques;
The need for publishers to pre-test products (and the potential for this committee to be used as a focus/advisory group);
Licensing agreements and copyright issues;
Society vs. commercial publishing
Amazing as it seems, we did cover all these topics in a meaningful fashion within the two hours we are allotted!
The STS Publisher/Vendor Relations Committee traditionally meets at ALA on Saturday, 9:30-11:30 am. Publishers and vendors handling sci-tech publications and others interested in these topics are invited to attend.
41.4 FROM THE MAILBOX
The Mailbox is: TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET or Marcia_Tuttle@unc.edu.
>From Joan Hill, National Research Council of Canada, Joan.Hill@NRC.CA:
I wanted to respond to Dana Roth's comment regarding the publishing of conference proceedings in journals. The National Research Council of Canada does publish some conference proceedings in our regular journal issues, but all of these are referreed papers and must pass the same sort of scrutiny as a regularly submitted manuscript. I realize this is not the case with all proceedings publications and that we, as publishers, need to be more explicit (perhaps a footnote to the title would do the trick).
>From Fred J. Friend, University College London, firstname.lastname@example.org:
Thank you very much for circulating the text of the AAP statement on document delivery and Cindy Goldstein's comments on the text. Copyright law does vary to some extent from country to country but this question of the conditions under which electronic document delivery can take place is going to be a big question for us all. How can we co-operate in reaching a consensus with the publishers on this question? What forum are US librarians using to talk to the publishers? Can we join in? It is in the publishers' interests to have a dialogue on this question because I do agree that universities will take more publication into their own hands if the publishers are too demanding. Moves in that direction have already started on this side of the Atlantic.
>From Janet Fisher, Journals Manager MIT Press, FISHER@mitvma.mit.edu:
MIT Press and Leonardo, the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology are pleased to announce an agreement transferring publication of the Society's journal _Leonardo_ (ISSN 0024-094X) to MIT Press beginning with Volume 26, Number 1, 1993. The journal was founded in 1968 and Volumes 1-25 were published by Pergamon Press. All back issues will be available from MIT Press.
In keeping with the concern of both parties to control costs, the journal's institutional subscription rate will decrease from its 1992 rate of $370 to a 1993 rate of $320. MIT Press and Leonardo/ISAST will work together to control price increases and pass on further reductions if possible.
>From Dorothy Kanter, University of Wisconsin Center of Health Sciences Library, DKANTER@WISCMACC.BITNET:
The AMA is requiring anyone/library to sign a licensing agreement before they will ship the 33d ed. of the _AMA Directory_. The following is the agreement:
Licensee and its employees, agent (and patrons if Licensee is a Library) may use DOP within Licensee's facilities. Licensee may not copy, make derivative works, release, sell or lease any DOP information or otherwise authorize use of or use DOP information in any database or to create a database or compile any mailing list or directory.....If Licensee is a Library, Licensee agrees that DOP shall be designated as reference texts only and Licensee will not circulate DOP; and that DOP shall not leave the Licensee's facilities or be part of any interlibrary loan program....
>From Timothy C. Judkins, UT Southwestern Medical Center, JUDKINS@UTSW. BITNET:
In addition to the costs of doing business described by Buzzy Basch, I have heard from two subscription vendors that the publishers, Elsevier and Pergammon, have announced reductions in the discounts offered to the subscription vendors effective August 1, 1992. The reduction is across the board for all the different Elsevier publishing groups. This directly affects the cost of doing business by subscription vendors. The decrease in the discount offered the vendor means reduced income and reduced income equates to squeezed profits for the vendors.
At the same time, the Elsevier prices will be set this month. With an expected 12% announced increase in subscription costs, and the current weakness of the dollar, Elsevier sees a cumulative increase of from 28-30% for their titles for 1993. Marcia Tuttle's comments in NS 36 point us to 20% increase due to the announced price increases and the weakness of the dollar. If this increases to 28-30%, libraries in general, and sci-tech and biomedical libraries, in particular, will experience increases that will continue to fuel the recent trend of cancellation of titles.
As Marcia stated, cancellations will continue to affect future announced increases for 1994, 1995, etc. The question of access to the learned information of today and the future is as important as ownership of this information. Ownership is in jeopardy due to the continuous increases in cost that can not be borne by libraries' sources of funds. Continued cancellation will reduce the access to titles through traditional interlibrary loanhaving to be replaced with document delivery from more expensive services or the publishers.
With the reduction in serials vendors' discounts, the price squeeze now has another tightening that could be passed on to the library. As we negotiate with the vendor, we must be aware of this change in the way serials vendors do business.
>From Paul Kobulnicky, University of Pittsburgh, KNICKY@vms.cis.pitt.edu:
I was interested to read the letter from Sandra Whisler, the Editor of _Romance Philology_. It raised an issue that those of us who are interested in scholarly communications have been avidly discussing and that is the changing relationships between research libraries and University sponsored publications. These publications represent one of the purest forms of scholarly publishing because they tend to be published by scholars and sold directly to scholars with the only concerns being the quality of the intellectual content and the covering of costs. All too often, these publications come with a necessary subsidy from the sponsoring (thus the word) institution. Such sponsorships usually take the form of a staff member's salary and institutional overhead for the editorial offices. Since budget cuts in the larger institutions are now forcing the cancellation of many historical subsidies, these publications are in danger and it is now time for research libraries to step forward and assist these publications in remaining viable.
At the University of Pittsburgh, the University Library System has recently taken over the subsidy of the journal _Ethnology_. Another academic unit was forced to remove the original subsidy due to budget cutbacks. We now subsidize the journal, annually, from our acquisitions budget. Our reason for doing so was twofold. We appreciated the editorial policy of this journal that kept prices low to encourage individual scholars to subscribe and to maintain the large number of subscriptions by individuals and institutions in less developed nations. That IS scholarly communications. Had we not stepped in when we did, prices would have risen significantly and would have jeopardized that subscription pattern. Secondly, we get copies of the journal to use in our own exchange programs supporting our numerous area studies programs.
We are now looking at other publications affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh to see if there are similar collaborative opportunities. (I must point out that this does not, for us, include the very fine University of Pittsburgh Press which is in the good hands of Fred Hetzel and therefore good fiscal health and with whom we have wonderful relations.) I do believe that Research Libraries need to develop substantive partnerships with their institution's publications and our partnership with _Ethnology_ seems to me to be a good way to begin.