49.1 FROM THE EDITOR , Marcia Tuttle
49.2 LETTER FROM ELSEVIER SCIENCE PUBLISHERS TO JOURNAL EDITORS
49.3 ASSOCIATION OF RESEARCH LIBRARIES RESPONSE TO ELSEVIER AND PERGAMON LETTERS , Ann Okerson
49.4 US LIBRARIES MAY BE HARDER HIT THAN EXPECTED BY DOLLAR'S DECLINE, EBSCO Subscription Services
49.5 FROM THE MAILBOX
I am delighted to introduce two new members of the newsletter editorial board. Janet Fisher of MIT Press in Cambridge MA represents university and society presses and has joined the editorial board effective immediately. Danny Jones of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio adds the perspective of the medical librarian and will join the board in January.
A few weeks ago many editors of journals published by Elsevier Science Publishers and Pergamon Press took to their librarians copies of a letter they had received from their publisher. Those letters, nearly identical, along with a related letter to librarians that was inserted in the Pergamon 1993 price list, were discussed briefly on several electronic bulletin boards. The Elsevier letter is reproduced below, and following it, a response to the letters from ARL, whose data were used in the chart accompanying all three letters.
49.2 LETTER FROM ELSEVIER SCIENCE PUBLISHERS TO JOURNAL EDITORS
On Elsevier Science Publishers letterhead.
Amsterdam, 21 August 1992
Much has been written during the past few years about the growth in the scientific literature, the proliferation of new journals, the rising prices of established journals, and the inadequacy of library funds to cover these. The enclosed diagram graphically illustrates the general problem we all face. Since the mid-1970s, in real terms, library funding has clearly failed to keep up with the expanding investment in research and development, and the growth in the scientific literature which has resulted from this. We believe that the failure to relate library budgets to R & D funding should be examined by academic institutions concerned about journal prices, which are a symptom and not a cause, of the current problem.
As a leading publisher of international journals, Pergamon Press has to try to reconcile the demand to publish more and more papers, and the need of researchers to access those papers, with the inadequacy of library funds to match that growth. We do this in a number of ways. Most importantly, by ensuring careful quality control on individual papers published in our journals. You, as an Editor play the crucial role in this process, along with your editorial board and referees.
Elsevier's journals do, however, continue to attract a growing number of quality papers, and our average price increase in 1993 of 12% reflects this volume growth, as well as cost inflation. In a few cases, increases considerably exceed the average, where there has been a dramatic increase in the number of pages published in a particular journal. As you know, our annual page budgets are set after careful scrutiny of the increase in inflow of quality manuscrpts and acceptable publication times. While we are publishing more papers, we are starting up fewer new journals. We are aware of the concerns of the research community about the proliferation of journal titles in recent years. On the other hand, how could researchers do an effective job without access to quality papers on scientific progress in new fields?
In the USA and in countries with currencies linked to the US Dollar the decline in the value of the US dollar against all European currencies has a dramatic impact on the ultimate journal salesprice. This is obviously beyond the control of the publisher. Currently the dollar is about 20% lower than at the time we issued our 1992 price list in 1991. We do appreciate the problems caused by these fluctuating exchange rates and the cancellations which result from libraries purchasing fewer subscriptions are of major concern to us.
We appreciate that you, as an Editor of an Elsevier journal, may be asked questions by your colleagus about our prices. I hope that you will find the information I have provided here helpful in responding to these questions. Of course we, at Elsevier, will be more than willing to help you in any way we can to explain these issues in more detail to the relevant parties.
We hope that current economic constraints will not prevent authors and readers alike from having access to papers published in Elsevier journals. Meanwhile we are working towards certain electronic solutions for better service and a more efficient production system with the purpose to contribute to some of the aforementioned problems. We plan to tell you more about these subjects in our next communication to you.
In case you need further clarifications on the mentioned issues, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Drs. A. Jongejan Publisher Mathematics, Computer Science & Cognitive Science Department
[There is an accompanying chart that cannot be reproduced on e-mail, showing growth lines of 1) Average ARL library expenditures, 1976-1990; 2) US Academic R & D expenditures, same time period. Constant 1982 dollars. The ARL expenditures go up by 1.2 in that time; the R & D by about 2.1.]
49.3 ASSOCIATION OF RESEARCH LIBRARIES RESPONSE TO ELSEVIER AND PERGAMON LETTERS TO THEIR EDITORS Ann L. Okerson, Association of Research Libraries, firstname.lastname@example.org. Used with permission of ARL.
14 September 1992
To: ARL Directors
For your information, we are attaching copies of recent letters from Elsevier and Pergamon to editorial board members and librarians. These letters have used ARL data in an inaccurate manner. To provide an accurate interpretation, we attach an analysis done for ARL by Kendon Stubbs (University of Virginia). Please feel free to share the analysis with faculty and staff.
During the month of August, managers at Pergamon Press (Oxford, England) and Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. (Amsterdam) sent almost identical letters to editorial board members of their journals, and Pergamon Press accompanied its new price list with a letter to librarians. As an explanation for libraries' perceptions of high journal prices, the publishers offer that "library funding has clearly failed to keep up with the expanding investment in research and development, and the growth in the scientific literature which has resulted from this." They posit journal prices as a "symptom, not a cause," of the more serious problem of failure to relate US library budgets to US academic R & D expenditures. The publishers' letters also imply a direct quantitative correspondence between R & D expenditures and the number of scientific papers published.
A two-line graph accompanies the letter. On a 1976 base and with calculations in constant dollars, it shows two trends: US Academic R & D Expenditures (from National Science Foundation data) and Average ARL Library Expenditures (from ARL Statistics). According to the publishers' charts, R & D expenditures have grown nearly twice as rapidly as average ARL library expenditures.
According to Stubbs' statistical analysis, ARL data show a serials expenditures picture diametrically opposite to that suggested by Elsevier and Pergamon. The data for ARL expenditures break down into discrete subsets such as personnel, books & serials, and other operating expenditures. Stubbs' findings:
Since the mid-1970s, in real terms, serials funding in ARL libraries has kept up with the expanding investment in research and development. Tracking the 90 ARL libraries that have reported expenditure data in all years from 1976 through 1991 illustrates that serials expenditures correlate with US academic R & D expenditures at 99%.
Contrary to what the letter implies, the same NSF data used by the publishers suggest that actual article output lags well behind both R & D expenditure increase rates AND serials expenditure rates.
The Elsevier organization owns Pergamon Press and the two publishers both separately and in combination are the world's largest producers of scientific/technical/medical journals. Their mailing is assumed to have been sent to a list of thousands. We regret this use of ARL data and a lost opportunity to work together to accurately portray the state of research library budgets. The ARL Statistics do reflect an overall downward trend of resources available to research libraries, compared to R&D. However, expenditures for serials have kept pace, with a correspondingly negative impact on other lines.
49.4 US LIBRARIES MAY BE HARDER HIT THAN EXPECTED BY DOLLAR'S DECLINE
Press release from EBSCO Subscription Services, Birmingham AL.
The continuing decline of the US dollar promises to further erode the buying power of US libraries subscribing to a large number of European journals. Since late October 1991 when publishers were paid for 1992 starts, the dollar has sagged approximately 16 percent against a breadbasket of major European currencies (British pound, French franc, German mark, Dutch guilder and Swiss franc). This cost to US libraries is compounded by the approximate 12 percent increase in journal costs European publishers announced earlier this year.
"Unfortunately, the dollar shows no signs of recovery in the near future. Therefore EBSCO advises US libraries to prepare for *at least* a 28 percent increase in subscription prices for European journals (12 percent due to price increases, approximately 16 percent due to the current value of the dollar)," said F. Dixon Brooke, Jr., Vice President and EBSCO Subscription Services Division General Manager.
Some European publishers have set fixed conversion rates for 1993 subscriptions. For journals from these publishers the value of the dollar is no longer a factor. However, other European publishers do not set fixed rates. In this case, the final selling price is based on the time of invoice and the prevailing exchange rate at that time.
US publications will cost approximately 10 percent more due to price increases. European libraries subscribing to US publications should experience virtually no inflation since the strength of almost all major European currencies will effectively offset the 10 percent inflation in US journals prices.
Released: September 1992
49.5 FROM THE MAILBOX The mailbox is: email@example.com, or Marcia_Tuttle@unc.edu.
>From Brenda Hurst, Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI), BHURST@NRCNET.NRC.CA:
I haven't read any recent comments about "Current Clinical Trials" and I wondered if others had experienced problems with the journal. I do understand that this is a new venture but I must confess at times a worrying one. We had to purchase special equipment to use the journal, form a special committee to decide where to access it, but my more serious concern is the online charges for OCLC. The original advertising clearly stated that there would be no online charges but we were told emphatically by OCLC that we required a "separate" account to access the journal. I also appreciate that the charges are not large but online charges can easily be raised and if we want the journal there is nowhere else to go for it. We will never know in advance the cost of the subscription.
The NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES (ISSN: 1046-3410) is published by the editor through the Office of Information Technology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as news is available. Editor: Marcia Tuttle, Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org; Paper mail: Serials Department, CB #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), Janet Fisher (MIT Press), Charles Hamaker (Louisiana State University), James Mouw (University of Chicago), and Heather Steele (Blackwell's Periodicals Division). The Newsletter is available on the Internet and Blackwell's CONNECT. EBSCO and Readmore Academic customers may receive the Newsletter in paper format from these companies. Back issues of the Newsletter are available electronically free of charge through electronic mail from the editor. To subscribe to the newsletter, send a message to LISTSERV@GIBBS.OIT.UNC.EDU saying SUBSCRIBE PRICES-L [YOUR NAME]. Be sure to send that message to the listserver and not to Prices-l. You must include your name. To unsubscribe (no name required in message), you must send the message from the e-mail address by which you are subscribed. If you have problems, please contact the editor.