64.2 CLARE JENKINS WAS NOT AN AUTHOR! Clare Jenkins
64.3 FURTHER COMMENT ON THE STUDY, Fred Friend
64.4 DISPUTING THE FINDINGS OF A REPORT ON LIBRARIES, Jennifer Cargill
64.1 COMMENTS ON REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL FOR SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS (THE "FISC STUDY").
Kenneth W. Ford, Executive Director, American Institute of Physics, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Harry Lustig, Treasurer, American Physical Society, email@example.com.
We wish to comment on certain aspects of the report "The Cost Effectiveness of Science Journals" by the Advisory Panel for Scientific Publications, which was published in the Fall 1992 issue of the _Publishing Research Quarterly_. The report includes an extended footnote (note 42) criticizing a variety of other studies of the costs of scientific journals, including studies by Professor Henry Barschall that were published by the American Institute of Physics and The American Physical Society.
We understand that there is a question as to whether all members of the Advisory Panel were in fact involved in the preparation of the report. Since the authorship seems to be in some doubt, it is worth noting that the claims in the report bear a striking resemblance to various claims raised against Barschall, AIP, and APS in litigation brought by Gordon & Breach Science Publishers, Inc. in several European countries. The Barschall study [_Physics Today_, July 1988, page 56] showed that the Gordon & Breach offerings included in the survey were more expensive on a cost-per-thousand- character basis by nearly a factor of two than those of any of the other 23 major publishers and more expensive by nearly a factor of forty than those of the least expensive publisher. Gordon & Breach has sought to discredit the Barschall survey -- and similar surveys reaching similar results in other fields of science -- by raising claims exactly like those presented in the footnote.
The evidence suggests that the similarity of the claims is no accident. Although the report includes no acknowledgement of the origins of the work, a press release relating to the formation of the Advisory Panel stated that "[t]he panel was conceived and proposed... by Gordon & Breach Science Publishers, Inc." [press release by Klepper Associates, 6 March 1990, reproduced in the _Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues_ No. 19, 19 March 1990]. Moreover, The _Chronicle of Higher Education_ reported some time ago [21 February 1990, page A8] that a Gordon & Breach representative had acknowledged that "Gordon & Breach will provide financing for the project."
The report argues that surveys of the costs of journals are employed by scientific societies to serve the societies' interests and to disparage the offerings of commercial publishers. Some might view it as singularly hypocritical for the report to challenge the motives behind other studies. In any event, any such attack on the Barschall work is entirely misguided. The Barschall study was not conceived, prepared, or executed at the request of our organizations, AIP and APS. It applied procedures for the conduct of such studies that have been endorsed by independent librarians. In fact, similar studies have been conducted by librarians and published in journals issued by commercial publishers.
The report cites a letter from Christopher Schneider that was published in the Chronicle [3 January 1990, page B4] in support of its argument as to the existence of errors in the Barschall work. The report fails to point out that Schneider is a Gordon & Breach employee. It also fails to acknowledge that we have rebutted these claims of error [_Chronicle of Higher Education_, 24 January 1990, page B3]. Suffice it to say, the claims simply cannot withstand scrutiny.
There is much evidence that Gordon & Breach is seeking to prevent librarians from obtaining relevant information about journal prices. It is our view that this publisher seeks to further its commercial interests through efforts to suppress and censor such information. The report should perhaps be viewed with a full awareness of the interests of the sponsor.
64.2 CLARE JENKINS WAS NOT AN AUTHOR!
Clare Jenkins, University of Greenwich, London; submitted by Ann Okerson, Association of Research Libraries, firstname.lastname@example.org and used with permission.
The University of Greenwich Library Services Administration Riverside House Beresford Street Woolwich London SE18 6BU October 27, 1992 Ms. Ann Okerson Association of Research Libraries 1527 New Hampshire Avenue, NW Washington, DC USA 20036 Dear Ann: I was somewhat distressed to hear from Fred Friend of University College, London, that an article appears in the recent issue of _Publishing Research Quarterly_ with my name as one of the authors -- an article to which I had no input and with which I am in no way associated. To add insult to injury, I understand that I am described as Librarian of the University of Southhampton -- a position I have never claimed to hold! I was approached some time ago by the people setting up the Advisory Panel for Scientific Publications, asking if I would be interested in participating in the work they were doing. Although I expressed a tentative interest at the very early stage of their plans, I contacted them after receiving the first set of papers, saying that I would be unable to join them after all. I have attended none of the meetings they have held and have not contributed in any way to the published outcome of their discussions. Could I ask you to let me know the best way that I can make known to the ARL community the fact that I disclaim any association with the article in question. Perhaps it would be possible for you to arrange publicaton of the first section of this letter in one of ARL's own publications. I shall, of course, be writing separately to both _Publishing Research Quarterly_ and to the Advisory Panel for Scientific Publications expressing my concern at what has happened and asking that they also take steps to set the record straight. Yours sincerely, Clare Jenkins Central Services Librarian
Addendum from Ann Okerson: Clare Jenkins' letter just missed a deadline of ARL: A BIMONTHLY NEWSLETER OF RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES AND ACTIONS but it is reported in the issue that is on the verge of printing and mailout. It has been circulated through the ARL Scholarly Communications Committee. Additionally, in a letter dated 30 November, Ms. Jenkins notes further:
Dear Ann: ...I am quite happy for you to post on the Serial Prices electronic newsletter, a copy of my earlier letter disclaiming any involvement with the recent publication in _Publishing Research Quarterly_. I have now contacted the Advisory Panel and have made clear to them my views on the matter. There were obviously several misunderstandings, arising from an unfortunate breakdown in communications, but I very much hope this can now be considered the end of the affair as far as I am concerned. With best wishes, Clare Jenkins Central Services Librarian The University of Greenwich
64.3 FURTHER COMMENT ON THE STUDY
Fred Friend, University College London, email@example.com; submitted by Ann Okerson and used with permission.
The Library University College London Gower Street London WC1E 6BT Ann Okerson Director, Office of Scientific & Academic Publishing Association of Research Libraries 1527 New Hampshire Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036 USA Dear Ann: PUBLISHING RESEARCH QUARTERLY I have seen the article entitled "The cost effectiveness of science journals" in Volume 8 number 3 of _Publishing Research Quarterly_. The article is so biased and so full of misconceptions that I find it difficult to believe that _Publishing Research Quarterly_ is a refereed journal; I thought that the whole basis of the refereeing process was that work of poor quality was eliminated. I cannot comment on this article paragraph by paragraph, but the author or authors obviously have no understanding of the way academic libraries operate, at least in the UK. In the "Recommendations" section, for example, do they really think that there is a "lack of involvement by the science community in library funding and management?" The Chairman of my Library Committee is a physicist with an international reputation! And all the financial data quoted comes from libraries. If only publishers were equally open about their costs. I have tried asking publishers about their profit margins, for example, but to no avail. This article would have been less one-sided if hard factual information could have been included from publishers as well, but maybe such information would not have supported the case made by the authors of the article. Yours sincerely, Fred Friend Librarian University College London
64.4 DISPUTING THE FINDINGS OF A REPORT ON LIBRARIES
Jennifer Cargill, Dean of Libraries, Louisiana State University, firstname.lastname@example.org. This letter first appeared in the _Chronicle of Higher Education, November 25, 1992, page B6. Reprinted with permission of the author.
Being a long-time reader of _The Chronicle of Higher Education_, I was somewhat surprised by the "Footnotes" piece (October 21) calling attention to a report published in the fall issue of _Publishing Research Quarterly_ and mentioning allegations concerning Louisiana State University.
Both _The Chronicle_ (February 21, 1990, p. A8) and _Science_ (April 20, 1990, p. 298) have reported a connection between the Foundation for International Scientific Cooperation (under whose auspices this report was prepared) and Gordon & Breach, a publisher whose pricing practices have been under scrutiny. _The Chronicle_ indicates that the report in _Publishing Research Quarterly_ was "prepared by the Foundation for International Scientific Cooperation," yet a note on the actual report clearly states: "The views expressed in this report are not necessarily the views of FISC ... the panel, or the individual members thereof." Then whose views are they? Who does accept responsibility?
LSU subscribes to _Publishing Research Quarterly_, thus I have read the full report in the fall issue. Two "institutes" are referred to in the "Footnotes" notice as well as in the _Publishing Research Quarterly_ report. The "institutes" are highlighted as allegedly representing examples of fiscal irresponsibility. LSU is a multi-institutional, multicampus system. One of the institutes to which the report refers relies on the LSU Medical Center Libraries for its library support and does not fall under the administration of the main campus of LSU at all and, thus, is not under the same budgetary support as the LSU libraries' funding to which the report refers and for which the report presents data. The other institute mentioned in _The Chronicle_ and in _Publishing Research Quarterly_ only came on line this fiscal year.
Further, the reader of the _Publishing Research Quarterly_ report and _The Chronicle_ note is led to the conclusion that the university itself has been fiscally irresponsible, when in fact the libraries' budget is a result of several factors, among which are inqdequate funding levels for higher education in Louisiana and the condition of the state's economy....
_The Chronicle_ should have mentioned the previous link of the FISC with publisher support and should have reviewed the conclusions represented in the published report, checking the alleged facts with the associations and individuals named in the report.
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