NS17.2 SECOND LETTER FROM PRINCETON, Donald Koepp
NS17.3 LELDE GILMAN'S VIEW OF SCI-TECH-MED PUBLISHING IN COMING YEARS, Tony Stankus and Steven Rockey
NS17.4 ACRL JOURNAL COSTS IN ACADEMIC LIBRARIES DISCUSSION GROUP, October Ivins
NS17.5 REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ON JOURNAL CANCELLATION PROJECTS, Jim Thompson
NS17.6 LISTSERVER FOR SCIENCE CANCELLATIONS, David Stern
NS17.7 PUBLISHING AND PRICING PERIODICALS AT THE IEEE
NS17.8 FROM THE MAILBOX
NS17.9 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS, Chuck Hamaker
Marcia Tuttle, TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET.
Another issue of _ARL_ (No. 160, January 2, 1992) has arrived, and it contains several items of interest. The lead article by Ann Okerson is entitled "Faculty Respond to Serials Prices." Here are the first few sentences:
With serials prices projected to increase substantially, ARL libraries continue to respond with cancellations. According to a Quick-SPEC survey reported in ARL #159, planned cutbacks are at an all-time high level, and for three years in a row the ARL STATISTICS has documented an annual 1% decline in serial titles purchased by ARL university library members....
_ARL_ also reports (p. 2) faculty action taken at the University of Tennessee:
An October 1991 issue of CONTEXT, a newspaper distributed biweekly to all faculty of the University of Tennessee, contained an open letter from the Faculty Senate Library Committee. Addressed to UT Knoxville Vaculty, from Mary Lue Jolly, 1990-91 Faculty Chair, Senate Library Committee, the letter was titled: "What You Can Do About Skyrocketing Serial Prices." In the letter, Ms. Jolly reported that the Faculty Senate Library Committee recommended an active role for members of the academic community to control the costs and quality of scholarly publications. The following is excerpted from her letter as it appeared in CONTEXT.
It is time for scholars and academic administrators to voice their concerns and take steps to counteract these trends. On behalf of the Senate Library Committee, I offer these suggestions:
- Say "no" to serving on editorial boards or as reviewers for jouranls ... whose track records are the worst of all.
- Say "no" to starting new journals when others of good quality already exist in the field.
- Support only good quality publications.
- Resist opportunities to write articles in fragments ... refrain from submitting similar materials to more than one publication.
- Refuse to purchase and refuse to recommend library purchase of materials of questionable value.
- Educate members of your professional societies about the hidden danger in contracting with commercial publishers to publish society journals ... library subscription rates rise dramatically and quickly.
We had hoped to have commentary from a library and a subscription agent on Donald Koepp's second letter to Pergamon Press, but it has not arrived. We don't want to hold the letter any longer; commentary will be in the next issue.
NS17.2 SECOND LETTER FROM PRINCETON
Donald W. Koepp, University Librarian, Princeton University, One Washington Road, Princeton NJ 08544-2098.
Michael Boswood, Managing Director Pergamon Press Headington Hill Hall Oxford, OX3 0BW, UK Dear Mr. Boswood: I thank you for your letter of December 10. While I appreciate your restatement of why your invoice of September 1 involved an increase of almost 30% over the cost of the same journals last year, the fact remains that our cancellation decisions did not consider why the in- creases occurred. They reflected ONLY the consideration of whether or not the resulting price was one we were willing to pay. With respect to the particulars of the Princeton subscriptions men- tioned in your postscript, perhaps I can be helpful. As noted in my first letter, we did bring the cost for the journals on this invoice down to what they cost us last year plus the percentage increase we had in our acquisitions budget this year. Your invoice of September 1 included 73 titles with price increases of over 20%. The total invoice covered 130 titles. Twenty-one titles have been cancelled from that invoice. Another 149 Pergamon titles are handled for Princeton through subscription agencies. Because of the complications of our arrange- ments with these agencies, it was difficult to consider them fully at the same time we were considering the value of the titles listed in your September 1 invoice. Our bibliographers have been encouraged to look carefully at these other Pergamon subscriptions, and it is my estimate that approximately 20% of the 149 titles handled by subscrip- tion agencies will be cancelled over the next year or so. As a result of our inability effectively to consider our whole list at one time, we are changing certain practices in order to permit the maximum flexibility in the future. We find, for example, that we fre- quently make renewal commitments to subscription agents without having firm prices from them. We are told that many agencies, by the time we have firm prices, have already committed themselves to the publishers, thus making it impossible for us to cancel without financial loss to the agencies. We will discontinue this practice and require in the future firm prices before committing ourselves to the subscription agencies. We will also discontinue multi-year subscriptions, even though we realize such arrangements are to our financial advantage, because they also limit our flexibility. Again I thank you for your letter and I regret that your explanations do not change our posture with respect to your increases for 1992. Sincerely, Donald W. Koepp University Librarian Attachments cc: Association of Research Library Directors
NS17.3 LELDE GILMAN'S VIEW OF SCI-TECH-MED PUBLISHING IN COMING YEARS
Tony Stankus, Science Librarian, College of the Holy Cross, LIB_STAN@HLYCROSS.BITNET; Steven Rockey, Mathematics Librarian, Cornell University, firstname.lastname@example.org.
TONY STANKUS: Lelde Gilman's commentary sounds extreme but, in fact, is very close to the truth. At least three points in Gilman"s argument match the results of a paper of mine that dealt with identifying the top 5 journals in each of ten major life science specialties, and how the list has changed over the span of 1979-1989.
Gilman's first point, that the number of significant publishers is small, almost monopolistic, is borne out. There is not a single new, for-profit competitor that cracked the top fifty. All the new journals were produced by old-line publishers. Indeed, Elsevier, through its acquisition of Pergamon, is more than ever the dominant for-profit publisher. Second place goes to Springer, and Springer's real strength lies in the physical sciences. Is there any not-for-profit press making waves? It all depends on whether you consider Oxford University Press a not-for-profit outfit.
This repeated chorus of European publishers bears out Gilman's second claim: that an increasingly united Europe is going to lead world sci-tech publishing. This may not be so unless it can wrest the Pacific Rim from the American not-for-profit society publishers. Fortunately, American society journals are still the journals of first choice for the most rapidly growing segment of world science journal buying and manuscript submitting: Asia.
Gilman's third point, that the US is surely slipping, is not quite as convincing, if only because we have to assume a certain perfect behavior on the part of the Europeans in order for them to pull ahead decisively. First we have to assume that they don't spend a lot of time and money buying junk journals from Eastern Europe. Second, we have to assume that they'll be heartless enough to start kicking out all those Third World papers that even now water down the genuine "Euroscience." Even now the typical Elsevier journal in the life sciences has about twice as much of it as its US competition. I do not make this point out of racism. I make it out of the observation that good scientists can come from anywhere but sustained good science comes from the developed world.
In summary, Gilman's piece sounds extreme, but it turns out to be much more likely than we'd like to admit. There may be more time and less finality than Gilman says, but not much!
STEVEN ROCKEY: The posting "Price Wars," by Lelde Gilmen had one phrase that worried me. When we think of "The Best Journals" we need to include an evaluation of the cost effectiveness. The comparison can not be one to one or from a ranked list in order of intellectual content or the price. A very good but very expensive journal has to be compared to the total "value" of several less expensive journals. There are also many cases where a very expensive journal may be very cost effective (better than less expensive journals) if you look at price per page and/or price per 1000 characters. The decisions will never be neat and scientific. Part of what makes journals attractive to the best authors and editors is widespread exposure. If we all try to cancel the least cost effective journals in time the best authors and editors may drift to other journals. In the interim we may not be getting what some would consider "The Best Journals."
NS17.4 ACRL JOURNAL COSTS IN ACADEMIC LIBRARIES DISCUSSION GROUP
October Ivins, Louisiana State University, NOTORI@LSUVM.BITNET.
Two speakers will share a macro and a micro view of the impact of rising journal costs as an introduction to discussion.
ANN OKERSON, Association of Research Libraries, will give an overview of 1992 cancellation projects, preview highlights from the annual statistics to be released in February, and update responses by ARL.
TOM LEONHARDT, University of the Pacific, will discuss actions taken at his library in response to rising costs.
WHEN: Monday, January 27, 11:30 - 12:30
WHERE: Marriott Rivercenter Salon A
Please contact chair October Ivins, Lousiana State University Libraries, NOTORI@LSUVM.BITNET or (504) 388-4364 for more information.
NS17.5 REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ON JOURNAL CANCELLATION PROJECTS
Jim Thompson, University of California-Riverside, THOMPSON@UCRVMS.BITNET.
In preparing for an upcoming seminar, I would appreciate hearing from Newsletter readers about:
- journal cancellation projects they are or recently have undertaken, with estimates of dollars and number of titles cut;
- particularly aggravating titles or publishers -- aggravating because of high prices, rapid inflation, misleading communication, questionable practices, etc.
- reactions of faculty members to the journal cost problem.
I will keep responses as anonymous as you wish and will not attribute events to particular institutions.
Send messages to me privately (not to the Newsletter) at: Thompson@ UCRVMS.Bitnet or Thompson@UCRAC1.UCR.edu.
NS17.6 LISTSERVER FOR SCIENCE CANCELLATIONS
David Stern, University of Illinois, STERN@UIUCVMD.BITNET.
In order to track the cancellations in Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics journals over the past three years the P-A-M Division of SLA (Special Libraries Association) is attempting to create a listserver that will contain a file of those schools/institutions that have cancelled subscriptions in these areas. This list will be available viaanonymous ftp. More details will be available as the project develops. If any schools/organizations wish to contribute data to this listing feel free to contact:
David Stern Physics/Astronomy Library University of Illinois 204 Loomis Lab 1110 West Green Street Urbana, IL 61801 BITNET: STERN@UIUCVMD INTERNET: STERN@VMD.CSO.UIUC.EDU phone: 217/333-2101
NS17.7 PUBLISHING AND PRICING PERIODICALS AT THE IEEE: AN INTERVIEW WITH DON CRAWLEY.
Submitted by Phyllis Hall, IEEE, [Excerpted from IEEE PUBLICATIONS BULLETIN, vol. 21, no. 4 (1991). Don Crawley is IEEE Associate General Manager, Programs.]
Ten years ago the IEEE published 47 journals, transactions, letters, and magazines. The IEEE just announced that it will publish two new periodicals in 1992, raising its total to 77 ....
PUBLICATIONS BULLETIN: Why is the IEEE publishing more periodicals?
DON CRAWLEY: The reason for this "explosion" in the number of IEEE periodicals ... is the rapid, sometimes very rapid, emergence of new technologies. The primary goal of the IEEE is to disseminate key information in the fields of electrical, electronics, and computer engineering. As technologies in these fields develop and multiply, the IEEE can provide forums for the discussion of these new technologies in ways that other publishers cannot. These forums may be journals with the latest research, letters providing communication, or magazines focusing on applications.
PB: Who actually makes the decision to publish a new periodical?
DC: The IEEE is a non-profit organization made up of over 330,000 members from 145 countries. These members are the strength of the IEEE. They suggest and determine what we publish through the Governing Boards of the various societies which are organized by areas of inteest. The interests of IEEE members are diverse: from computers to telecommunications, from electron devices to power systems. The IEEE is decentralized and member-driven and proud of it. The Governing Boards of the 37 societies which comprise the IEEE decide to publish new periodicals as technologies emerge and develop. Then the new periodicals are reviewed by the Publications Board and approved by the Executive Committee of the IEEE. Once approved, they are priced and published.
PB: In 1992 the IEEE raised its journal prices more than it has in previous years. Why?
DC: The answer to that is very simple, and there are three points I'd like to make. The first is reflected in your question itself. The IEEE HASN'T raised periodical prices much over the past decade. In fact, our price increases were less than the increases in production costs, paper, printing, and postage. We may be a non-profit organization, but we live in the same economic world as everyone else. Because of our modest price increases in the past, we had to raise prices by a little more in 1992 to maintain our financial fitness.
PB: And the second point?
DC: Our library subscribers should keep in mind that, even with our 1992 price increases, the IEEE is still probably the lowest-priced major journal publisher in the WORLD today. Librarians do not have to take my word for it. They can check for themselves. Compare IEEE periodicals with those in the same fields from other journal publishers. On a cost-per-page basis, the IEEE journal will undoubtedly be the least expensive .... Our journals are ... often less than half the price of those put out by commercial publishers. So, when librarians look at the rate of increase in IEEE periodical prices in 1992, they should keep in mind the larger picture as well: IEEE JOURNALS STILL COST LESS.
PB: And the final point?
DC: The IEEE is a non-profit organization. Our income does not go to the bottom line of a corporation, nor is it distributed to shareholders. Our income goes back into the IEEE. And it is this income that keeps us financially stable, enables us to support our membership, allows us to expand our publishing activities, and improves the dissemination of our technical information. We want to be partners with librarians everywhere. Our mission is to make cutting-edge information on electronics and computing available around the world at a reasonable price. I hope the library community will understand this....
NS17.8 FROM THE MAILBOX
The mailbox is: TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET.
>From Brian Cox, Director of Journals Business, Pergamon Press, Headington Hill Hall, Oxford OX3 0BW, UK:
SOLID STATE ELECTRONICS With reference to the recent correspondence in NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES, NS 15 (ISSN: 1046-3410) Monday December 16, 1991, I confirm that the combined subscription rate for 1992 is: SOLID STATE ELECTRONICS (including APPLIED SUPERCONDUCTIVITY) (1992) 24 ISSUES Subscription Rate L690.00 but these two journals may be ordered separately as follows:- APPLIED SUPERCONDUCTIVITY Volume 1 (1992) 12 issues ISSN: 0964-1807 Subscription Rate L345.00 SOLID STATE ELECTRONICS Volume 35 (1992) 12 issues ISSN: 0038-1101 Subscription Rate L448.00 Subscribers who wish to continue to subscribe to SOLID STATE ELECTRONICS separately may of course continue to do so.
[As reported in the last newsletter, Pergamon's conversion rate has gone from 1.61 to 1.8. -ed.]
>From Michael Boswood, Managing Director, Pergamon Press, Oxford:
I must take issue with the attitude reflected in Hamaker's Hay- makers about the Koepp letter. Chuck can shoot his mouth off to his heart's content so long as he casts himself as a lonely voice of dissent. What Mr. Koepp is talking about is a certain way of responding to continued increases in serial prices. His action will have consequences. What both I as a publisher and Chuck Hamaker as a librarian have to do is to examine the mechanism Mr. Koepp has chosen. In doing so we will probably have different points of view (although not always quite as different as some may suppose). What is not helpful either to publishers or librarians, is to talk about this being the first real shot in the 'serial wars' when what we are really talking about are changes in the market, brought about by the continued increase in the volume of scien- tific information worthy of publication according to the peer review process and the levelling of library budgets. Publishers do not own or control either of these elements. We are less in- fluential than Chuck chooses to think. But we are involved and we have to respond. For years there has been a call for candid dia- logue between publishers and librarians, not least from Chuck Hamaker. To associate that call with the opening of hostilities is silly.
NS17.9 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS
Chuck Hamaker, Louisiana State University, NOTCAH@LSUVM.BITNET.
I stand by my statement. I consider Princeton's actions a significant step in what has been until now a complete rout of library budgets. Princeton cut the gordian knot cleanly and clearly and sounded a clarion call. It may be unfair to single Pergamon out. But it had to begin somewhere. I hope libraries apply the same principle to the pricing behavior of other publishers. I don't know any other approach that has a prayer of working. Michael Boswood understands more clearly than many publishers and most librarians just what the stakes are. Many research libraries are giving up the dream of international based collections with hardly a whimper. Boswood does not want to give up his dream of international publishing with Pergamon and Elsevier as significant players on the stage of world science. To maintan it he must guarantee access for scientists to their peers. The major tools to that end have been increasing journal size and insuring investor profitability while maintaining publishing standards. Koepp's letter and methodology may well signal the end of his dream just as uncontrollable price increases have forced the end of the dream for many research collections. I don't blame him for sounding peeved.
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, 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), Charles Hamaker (Louisiana State University), James Mouw (University of Chicago), and Heather Steele (Blackwell's Periodicals Division). The Newsletter is available on BITNET. 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.