NS20.2 LETTER TO FACULTY OF PURDUE UNIVERSITY, Emily Mobley
NS20.3 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS, Chuck Hamaker
Marcia Tuttle, TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET.
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NS20.2 LETTER TO FACULTY OF PURDUE UNIVERSITY
Emily Mobley, Dean of Libraries, Purdue University; email@example.com.
[Reprinted with permission of the author.]
January 22, 1992
The Faculty of Purdue University
Continuing increases in the costs of scholarly journal/serials subscriptions have caused great debate in many disciplines and certainly in library science literature. Unfortunately the search for solutions has caused tensions among publishers, librarians, faculty, and administrators. These increases are due to a complex set of events. Some of the reasons include: increased production costs due to the size of the scholarly output, postage, devaluation of the U.S. dollar, changes in pricing policies, more publication abroad, and the number of mergers and acquisitions among publishers. Regardless of the reasons, the cost of purchasing scholarly journals has well outpaced inflation for a number of years.
Research libraries throughout the nation have been grappling with the problem of serials inflation for years. Unfortunately the issue is still very much here, and while in some years the price increases ameliorate somewhat, the price trend is continually upward beyond normal inflation. The situation is exacerbated because these increases come during a period when higher education in general is faced with shrinking resources.
My purpose in writing you at this time is to make sure you are aware that the Purdue University Libraries are suffering the same increases in serials prices. Like other libraries, we have purchased fewer books, received additional funding, secured more resource sharing agreements with other libraries, decreased personnel, and used other creative approaches. Until now, we have avoided reductions in serials subscriptions. We find that we no longer can avoid this measure. Purdue has been extremely fortunate, because we are the only Big Ten institution which has not embarked on a serials reduction project in the last eight years. The more common occurrence in the Big Ten and other research libraries, both large and small, has been yearly reductions with accelerating amounts in the last two years. This academic year alone, reductions total well over $1 million in the Big Ten, even though Michigan, Ohio State and Purdue do not have reduction projects underway. Michigan State has cancelled serials every year since 1984. MIT, in reporting that faculty has selected over 1,000 titles for cancellation, states that this was the second major cancellation project in the last three years.
Purdue's serials expenditures doubled between 1986 and 1991, from $1.5 million to over $3 million annually. The Libraries closed out 6 of the last 7 years with deficits in the serials budget, even though extra monies were allocated at the beginning of a year and additional monies were received during the year. Some examples are -- in FY88, we received a 10% increase in the serials base budget, received another $223,000 during the year and still closed the year with a $351,000 deficit; in FY89 we received a 15% increase in the serials base budget, received another $175,000 during the year and still closed the year with a $189,000 deficit; and in FY91, the deficit was $186,000 even though there was a 7% increase in the base budget and additional monies were received during the year. This year, FY92, the base budget was not increased (nor was it reduced by the mandatory 2% applied to other budget units). Inflation is now estimated at an average of 11% although I have examples of 30-80% increases for some titles published by Pergamon. The University administration has made provisions to help cover the $530,000 projected deficit by June 1992. Early projections for FY93 suggest average price increases in the range of 10%. Without a reduction in serials expenditures, the deficit in June 1993 will approach $1,000,000 for that one year alone.
Clearly we have a serious problem on our hands. Many of you may feel that since overall library expenditures at Purdue place us at the bottom of Big Ten institutions, any attempt to reduce serials should be resisted. However, the situation is quite different if only serials expenditures are considered. Our current serials expenditures place Purdue just below the midpoint in the Big Ten. Additionally, the ratio of Purdue's expenditures for serials versus those for books and other materials is higher than any major library, including MIT. We have the highest ratio among Big Ten universities of undergraduate to graduate students (undergraduates typically use more books), yet our expenditures for books are only 21% of total materials expenditures, while expenditures for serials are 78%. The final 1% is spent on microforms, documents, audio-visual, and other miscellaneous materials.
An Ad Hoc Serials Committee, with faculty representatives from each School, was appointed late last summer by Vice President Donald R. Brown to make recommendations concerning the serials problem. The Committee met throughout the fall and came forward with recommendations which included a serials reduction project of $500,000 to take effect with 1993 subscriptions, a formula for reduction, and other recommendations for developing longer range solutions. The Committee felt that it was important that all faculty have an opportunity to participate, particularly if one's literature needs are served by a library other than one's primary library (e.g., Technology faculty outside of Aviation Technology do not have a School Library and are served by the Engineering, HSSE, or Krannert Libraries; Pharmacy faculty are heavy users of the Chemistry Library). With these recommendations in mind, a serials reduction has been planned by the Libraries.
The serials reduction project will begin the first week of February. Each library has a target figure to meet based on the formula developed by the Committee. The formula "taxes" a library according to its overall serials expenditures and the amount of its expenditures for titles duplicated in other libraries. The timetable for the serials reduction project is as follows:
2/1-3/15 Librarians will work with their library committees and other interested faculty to prioritize titles. 3/15-3/30 Draft cancellation lists ready for all librarians to review. 4/1-4/15 List of all cancellation recommendations will be available in each library for faculty review. 4/15-4/30 Deadline for faculty comments 5/1-5/15 Libraries Serials Review Committee will do final review and negotiate any difficult decisions remaining. 5/15-6/30 Serials acquisitions will verify accuracy and begin process of cancellation. 7/1 Project completion.If you wish to have a voice in this project for those titles which are not held in your primary library (e.g., your School or Departmental Library), please contact the librarian listed on the attached page. If you use only your primary library, you need to do nothing further, as your desires should be made known via the process set up by your library. The tear-sheet on the attached page may be used for your convenience. Please send it directly to the librarian listed.
Serials reduction is never a pleasant task. Many hard decisions must be made and the work is frankly labor-intensive and thankless. However, we have reached the end of our ability to absorb the continually escalating prices. And again, I must iterate that even after this major cancellation, we still project a significant budget deficit.
Thanks in advance for your understanding and participation. The university administration has been extremely supportive through these many years of deficits. The problem has reached such dimensions that there is no alternate recourse. Of course, if you wish to discuss this with me, or communicate otherwise about the state of affairs, please don't hesitate to contact me. My extension is 4-2900.
Emily R. Mobley
Dean of Libraries
NS20.3 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS
Chuck Hamaker, Louisiana State University, NOTCAH@LAUVM.BITNET.
On March 5th and 6th there will be a meeting of the International Group of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM for short) in Amsterdam. The agenda is Document Delivery and Electronic Storage. This is may be the single largest concern facing publishers, probably even more threatening than serials cancellations, at the moment. Right now they don't know how to respond to requests from FAXON and CARL and, even more than those two, many of the largest corporate libraries, for the right to scan and store texts electronically.
Thinking goes something like this. Because you can do more with the digitized text than you can with the printed text (and more than with the bitmapped page which is being used in ADONIS and Elsevier's TULIP project, because it costs less to send than the bitmapped page), you should pay more for copyright fees for having the right to scan and send electronic text.
We don't have it right now, but if a SISAC standard were evolved for article level identifiers, ordering articles could be automated to the point where no human hands are needed once the article is in "your" database. The fear is of course that the commercial services will make a killing off of this format. Storage needs for digitized text are considerably less than bitmapped pages, and instead of slowing down the networks, digitized text even with current phone systems, would move smoothly along. Digitized text is also much more indexable than bitmapped text, so holders of digitized text could develop in-context indexing (cutting out other players in the field).
That, from my perspective is a reactionary approach. It is fearful not only of income stream, but of textual "integrity." So why shouldn't I as a librarian applaud publishers for this approach? Because they are missing the obvious. Libraries have a much different approach in the electronic world than commercial entities. First, let's talk about preservation. Because long term access to text is the primary responsibility for libraries, we are as committed to protecting the text from change as any publisher. Wouldn't it make just as much sense for publishers to establish, in cooperation with libraries, primary text banks at different nodes in the electronic network, read-only nodes, where the individual could purchase the text (in digitized form, please, bitmapped is just asking for high-priced destruction of the system)? And could always go to get the "Original" when she needed it?? With libraries and their institutions as guardians of the sacred text, there is a built-in institutional guarantee of that. And as for charging on what I often call a pay-per-peek basis, this mechanism with guaranteed access to a stable text, could actually result in a regular and predictable income flow for the publisher.
I'm sure there are libraries out in libraryland right now who would be delighted to establish such electronic archives with individual publishers and would be willing to work to establish access and charging systems. Several library-related consortia, I would guess, would also be interested in some real pilot projects that weren't intended to bankrupt computer systems. What's the alternative? Let me suggest the worst case scenario. Only large and well funded corporate libraries "buy" electronic rights. What happens to Professor X or Ms. Jones who wants a text in electronic format? The simplest case is the same as we have seen in the video industry. The cost for individual scanners drops to humane levels and the individual buys his own for his own use. The copyright arguments are similar to those used in the case of VCR's. Instead of time-shifting, which is the rationale for taping on-air programs, we have the much simpler rationale of format-shifting, which lets the individual run his own indexing, cut-and- paste, and archival operation on his personal desktop. Without a readily available "official" and inexpensive electronic format, then comes the publisher's worst nightmare. The text gets kicked up on a phone line to Dr. Smith on the other side of the world. And from there who knows where it goes or in what form.
But with readily accessible, reasonably priced, "official" electronic archive nodes, the nightmare scenario doesn't have to exist. My guess is that most publishers will have to have the nightmare before they come out of their reactionary dreams.
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+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 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. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++