61.2 AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY PERIODICALS UPDATE, Arleen Somerville
61.3 FROM THE MAILBOX
David C. Taylor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Undergraduate Library, TAYLODC@UNC.BITNET.
Perhaps I am missing something here, but I don't see how retention by scholars of their copyright for their contributions to scholarly journals will help hold down the price of journals. The cost to libraries is not the reprint rights, but subscriptions. Scholarly authors still must give the right of first publication to the journals in order to have their papers published, and retaining copyright doesn't give them any say about how much publishers will charge for that publication.
The most likely change which the retention of copyright by authors will cause is that permission to copy will become much more expensive because it would have to be obtained from hundreds of thousands of authors, instead of hundreds of publishers. I don't think we can expect publishers to act as authors' agents in giving (or denying) permission to copy if it is a clerical task for which they receive no compensation.
The simplified way in which we are fond of expressing the publication dilemma may be responsible for this solution which doesn't solve anything. We like to say that it doesn't make sense that faculty members employed by universities to do research give away the results of their research to businessmen who package it and earn high profits selling it back to the universities. Stated this way, the obvious solution seems to be for faculty not to give the research away. This is the wrong solution because it is the wrong problem. Where we need to focus is the part where they sell it back.
We should not belittle the essential, creative, and expensive work that publishers do in selecting what is to be published and editing it to make it publishable.
By the nature of scholarly publishing, publishers hold the upper hand in relationships with authors. They can be choosy about what is published. In fact, the choosier they are, the more we applaud them. The more researchers they reward with publication, the more critical we are of publishers. Very few authors are in a powerful position to bargain with publishers over contract provisions.
We are not likely to get very far in cutting publishers' power by encouraging authors to make tougher bargains with them. The publishers have all the chips.
Our problem is that publishers are in the position of power not only in relationships with authors, but also in relationships with libraries. The first is natural, the second is because librarians have not exercized the power they have.
Libraries are the money cow that drives the whole system. Librarians have failed to recognize and use their power, because they are still living in a world that changed twenty years ago. That is when commercial publishers began to realize that libraries consitute a very inelastic market. No individual would tolerate price raises of 20% year after year, with an occasional raise of 50% or 75%. But libraries have.
We still imagine ourselves to be part of a scholarly information dissemination network, a kind of socialistic combination of efforts of scientists, publishers, libraries, and readers, dedicated to the advance of knowledge. That network still operates, but publishers discovered how much profit can be wrung from the system at our expense. (See Gary Byrd, ""An Economic 'Commons' Tragedy for Research Libraries," _College & Research Libraries_ May 1990, p. 184-95.)
Librarians have abdicated power and responsibility by viewing each journal as unique, and therefore as a monopoly, whose grip on our faculty makes us helpless. Publishers naturally would like us to think of them this way, but we can be sure that they don't. They know each journal is in competition with other journals in its field for authors and for subscribers. Once we adopt the same viewpoint as publishers, we can easily end the unnatural profitability of journals at libraries' expense by bringing the power of the marketplace to bear.
We need to buy our subscriptions based on the same value system any grocery shopper uses. What value do we receive for our money? That requires a way of deciding on value. If all libraries used the same system, our valuations would have enormous power.
It really should be simple. How much are journals used? There are two ways to count: how often are they cited, and how often do readers at individual libraries actually read them? These measures approximately equal journals' value in research and in teaching. Libraries can weight their own formulas depending upon the importance of these activities to them. Citation figures are available to us through ISI's database. Use by readers each library has to count for itself.
Not many libraries are organized in such a way that they can count uses of periodicals. That is the first thing libraries must change. Libraries spend too much money on serials to have so little knowledge of how they are used. It is simply a management problem.
I propose that libraries should, with public discussion, and the approval of faculty and university administrators, decide what percentage of the materials budget will be devoted to the purchase of locally-owned journals. If the percentage of funds devoted to subscriptions climbs above the agreed on figure, that is an automatic trigger for cancellations.
At the same time libraries should create the conditions which will enable them to know which journals have the best and worst value (that is, use/ cost ratio). It might require a consortium of libraries to define use and perhaps to purchase ISI citation information in the form useful to each library. Libraries also need to define how use will be counted, and get solid figures for actual use of their journals, especially the ones with low citation/cost ratios. With these moves, libraries would have the tools by which to respond immediately to budget cuts or subscription increases. They would already know which journals are least valuable, and could with short notice cancel whatever titles are needed to restore the serials/book balance to the ratio decided on.
Librarians have a done a great deal of cussing and discussing of journal costs. So far, publishers have responded to criticisms from librarians with PR. What else could they be expected to do? We're whining from a position of weakness. Once publishers begin to get cancellations in immediate response to price increases, they will begin to respond differently, increasing the value of the journals, and accepting lower profits as the price of getting any profits at all.
This proposal doesn't solve the problem of spiralling serial costs, because scholarly publishing via the dissemination of printed journals is a system with far too much built-in waste to continue to function much longer. Our purpose should be not only to spend our institutional money wisely, but to restore the balance among libraries, publishers, and scholars. As equal partners, we will be in a much better position to insure that the coming transition to electronic publication with on-demand printing develops in a way that works to the benefit of society, not just to a powerful segment of society.
61.2 AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY PERIODICALS UPDATE
Arleen Somerville, University of Rochester Library, firstname.lastname@example.org.
During 1992 I have served as Associate Member of the ACS Publications Committee. It has been an educational experience. I have encouraged the Publications Division to communicate in more ways about its activities and factors that affect pricing decisions.
Below is an update from Robert H. Marks, Director of the ACS Publications Division. It addresses questions and concerns often mentioned in this newsletter. Reactions and observations can be sent to Mr. Marks at American Chemical Society, 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington DC 20036.
Expansion and Growth
The amazing evolution of the technology and research driving chemistry today is also driving the growing demand to expedite access to this information. As a leading chemical publisher since 1879, the ACS is positioned to meet this fundamental challenge -- to provide the highest quality research, to practitioners industry wide, at rates that are lower than commercial publishers'.
To this end, next year's page budget [for 23 ACS periodicals] totals nearly 104,500 pages, a 12% increase from 1992's. These additional pages should help accommodate the rapid increase of primary literature which documents and contributes to the wealth of advances and new subdisciplines.
As emerging disciplines evolve, single-source coverage in a new journal can be more accessible and cost-effective [for the subscriber] than acquiring the same information from a wide variety of more generally-focused periodicals. We have recent examples of this historically successful approach. In 1989 ACS launched _Chemistry of Materials_, followed by _Bioconjugate Chemistry_ the following year.
Another avenue for effectively consolidating information resources is copublication. Consider the _Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data_. Co-published since 1971 with AIP (the American Institute of Physics) for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, JPCRD ranks number 1 of 90 primary chemistry journals in ISI's most current impact-factor analysis. A more recent example is _Biotechnology Progress_. Co-published with AIChE (the American Institute of Chemical Engineers) since January 1990, the journal now addresses the specific and unique informational requirements of the high-growth bioprocess and biotechnology industries.
Expansion also means increased publication frequency and 1993 is no exception. Next year _The Journal of Physical Chemistry_ advances to weekly publication and _Chemistry of Materials_ to monthly.
Of course, whenever there's growth there is additional expenditure, too. Publishers will be required to finance the fast-approaching transition to an all electronic format while still producing print on paper journals. Scientific research is not complete until it has been published, and ACS must develop systems that take advantage of these up-and-coming technologies to facilitate this goal.
Periodical subscription prices will increase an average of 12%. This will cover additional costs that are associated with the 12% page-budget increase, while maintaining our commitment to publish cost-effective and timely research. Also factored into 1993 pricing is an anticipated 35% increase in nonprofit postage rates for domestic delivery.
Factors used to determine the price of individual journals include growth in the area(s) of coverage, the resulting increase in manuscript submissions, and particular enhancements, such as the increased use of color in which ACS, not the author, pays for most of the added cost. Due to advances in molecular modeling, color is becoming increasingly essential in interpreting 3-dimensional chemical information, a technique that offers widespread applications in drug development and other key areas.
Another '93 enhancement involves _The Journal of Organic Chemistry_. For the first time, the journal's nonmember subscription price will include all supplementary material on microfiche, thus ensuring library access to this important and substantial body of material -- an estimated equivalent of 16,000 journal pages! This consolidation should encourage shorter articles with more information published in microfiche form. A long-term advantage is reduced pressure on JOC's annual page budget, a significant cost-savings we can pass along.
ACS Package Plan Savings
As was the case this year, libraries that purchase one-year subscriptions to all 25 ACS periodicals [_Chemistry & Industry_ can be acquired separately] will again save a full 15% off the total combined subscription price. The ACS package plan is available on printed, microfilm, and microfiche subscriptions and can save libraries hundreds of dollars on their periodicals collections. [Can be purchased directly through ACS or through your subscription agent.]
Well, we've already addressed some tried-and-true as well as new approaches that ACS will utilize to bring state-of-the-art research and development to current and future chemical scientists.
Of course, in some ways, the more things change the more they stay the same. Look at the 1937 ACS National Charter. In essence it says that our primary purpose is to foster the advancement of all of chemistry in its many disciplines, to promote research in chemical science and industry, and to increase and disseminate chemical knowledge of the highest standards and to the farthest-reaching degree.
61.3 FROM THE MAILBOX
The mailbox is: email@example.com.
>From Joanna Mitchell - Olson Library, FAJW@NMUMUS.bitnet:
Another journal moves from society to commercial publisher.
Based on a memo from our vendor, Faxon, dated Oct. 21, 1992, it appears that the QUARTERLY REVIEW OF ECONOMICS AND FINANCE is to be published by JAI Press, Inc. beginning 1993 at the rate of $150.00 for US subscribers and $175.00 for foreign locations. This was formerly published by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the Midwest Economics Association at the consistent rate of $36.00 per year.
>From Fred J. Friend, University College London, ucylfjf@UCL.AC.UK:
My reaction is that we should oppose Pergamon PLUS, although we must be careful about the presentational aspect (we do not want to be accused of not helping the developing world).
In relation to the developing countries Pergamon PLUS reminds me of the donation of powdered baby milk to mothers in Africa. The Pergamon proposal would have the same effect in getting libraries locked into buying Pergamon products, whereas they might be better off not buying them at all.
In relation to us I would rather Pergamon spent the Pergamon Plus money on reducing subscriptions generally. Also presumably this scheme will cost staff time at Pergamon to implement, so we might find prices going up as a result of Pergamon PLUS! That would be disastrous.
>From Yvonne Wulff, University of Michigan Library, Yvonne.Wulff@um.cc.umich.edu
The editor of a humanities journal is interested in data which shows before and after sales information on journal titles which become available on CDROM. Does a CDROM "edition" reduce subscriptions to the paper copy? Does it lead to increased subscriptions?
I have not been able to find anything which reports a study and draws conclusions from real data. Lots of opinion but.... Does anyone know of such a study?
>From Chris Schneider, Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, Inc., P.O. Box 786 Cooper Station, New York NY 10276:
Responding to Deana Astle's "Gotch'a!" analysis of our journal _Phosphorous, Sulfur, Silicon and the Related Elements_: Pricing Data "Tag". September 14, No. 48.
For 1992 volumes (64-73) we billed at $580 per volume in August of 1991. It was not until March 1992 where we further adjusted our Dollar price (all other currencies remained the same) to $660 per volme. I'm sure all readers are aware of the downward trend of the Dollar this past year; therefore I will not add to the many currency graphs and tables already published in this newsletter.
We notified all agents in January '92 that the prices on our August '91 invoices were good until March '92. For all unpaid invoices in March we adjusted these invoices to the new rate. Most of our subscribers pay before, or at the start, of the subscription year. I am sorry if your library paid so late. "Gotch'a back!"
If I had more space I could clarify our options for academic libraries - Subscribers Incentive Plan, and the Photocopy License Fee. With the former, and without the latter, your library could have realized savings up to approximately 25%.
Finally, I would like to make a suggestion not only to you, but to others who undertake similar analyses: Wouldn't it make a little more sense to simply first call the publisher when you have questions about their price? This would save time for both of us and save many errors and misinterpretations. Today is November 9th as I conclude with this letter. Who's "It" now?
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. To get a list of available issues send a message to LISTSERV@GIBBS.OIT.UNC.EDU saying INDEX PRICES. To retrieve a specific issue, the message should read: GET PRICES PRICES.xx (where "xx" is the number of the issue). To subscribe to the newsletter, send a message to LISTSERV@GIBBS.OIT.UNC.EDU saying SUBSCRIBE PRICES [YOUR NAME]. Be sure to send that message to the listserver and not to Prices. 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.