NS25.2 FACULTY MEMBER RESPONDS TO NEW SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL LAUNCHING, Kimberly Parker
NS25.3 CLARIFICATION OF PERGAMON/PRINCETON CORRESPONDENCE, Donald Koepp
NS25.4 PETERSON'S STUDY OF ECONOMICS JOURNAL PRICES, Richard Meyer
NS25.5 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS, Chuck Hamaker
Marcia Tuttle, TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET.
A lot of editorial material for the newsletter was waiting when I got home from the UK Serials Group meeting, plus matters I was given or picked up there. In the interest of shorter newsletters, we will have several issues coming out very close together. I estimate that I have material for three more issues RIGHT NOW! Thanks, and keep it coming.
NS25.2 FACULTY MEMBER RESPONDS TO NEW SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL LAUNCHING
Kimberly Parker, Yale University Chemistry Library, email@example.com.
I recently had a conversation with one of my junior faculty members (Kurt Zilm, Yale Chemistry Department) regarding a new journal that Elsevier is about to publish: _Solid State Magnetic Resonance_. His comment was that when he first heard about this intention, he sent a letter to Elsevier saying that he didn't think this field needed another journal, and that if they published it, he would refuse to cite it, submit papers, or buy it. He just received notice of its first issue, and though he still feels strongly, he let me know that he may have to cite papers from the journal. I asked him if he would mind my quoting him, and received the following response:
Kim - ....I have attended three different conferences where members of the editorial board have been allowed to address the participants to encourage them to submit papers to the new journal. Each time I have stood up to air my views that we should only support journals owned by professional societies, as this is the only way we can hope to keep journal costs within reason and can prevent the spread of superfluous publications. I have also allowed that I don't intend to publish in or to quote materials from these new journals and have encouraged my colleagues to follow suit. Two out of the three times other academics also stood up to support my views.
Unfortunately, I find my community fairly evenly split on this particular journal. While most agree with my views in general, many of my colleagues believe this particular journal is needed. I suppose it would have never been started by the publishers otherwise. They always do a market study before launching a journal and usually have a fairly large editorial board signed up at the beginning to use in advertising their product. When a publisher offers cheap publication costs, faculty compensation or secretarial salaries for journal editors, etc. many academics have a hard time saying no. While I still don't intend to publish in these new journals, I probably will not be able to avoid quoting literature from them.
Maybe science librarians need to take an even more active role in lobbying their clients to keep journal costs down? Publishing a list of the instititutional subscription rates for our journals along with guidelines of what the librarians think are reasonable costs might help. The librarians could also enlist the aid of professional societies such as the ACS and APS in dealing with this issue if they aren't already.
Please feel free to quote my views in any of your discussions if they can be of any help. - Kurt
I guess we can feel good that our message is getting across. Now it may be up to us not to drop the ball.
NS25.3 CLARIFICATION OF PERGAMON/PRINCETON CORRESPONDENCE
Donald Koepp, Princeton University Library, Princeton NJ.
I would like to clarify the Pergamon/Princeton correspondence regarding the cost to Princeton of the 130 journals invoiced to Princeton on September 1, 1991.
Our intention in analysing the invoice was to identify the increased cost to Princeton of those 130 journals over the cost of the year before. That increase was 32 percent. Fifty-four of those journals had in 1990 been renewed on a two year basis. For those journals we, in calculating our 1991 cost, used one half of the amount paid in 1990. Pergamon has recalculated these costs and believes that the increase would have been 19 percent had we used what the 54 journals would have cost had we not had two year subscriptions. That may be so. However, it was not our purpose to determine what our cost increase would have been. We were interested in and our correspondence is focused on what our cost increase actually was.
NS25.4 PETERSON'S STUDY OF ECONOMICS JOURNAL PRICES
Richard W Meyer, Trinity University, RMEYER@TRINITY.EDU.
For the first time I have ever seen it, a statistical analysis has been applied to a group of periodicals that is appropriate to revealing the real(!) determinants of price. I direct your attention to H. Craig Peterson's "The economics of economics journals: a statistical analysis of pricing practices by publishers," C&RL 53/2:176-181 (March 1992). In contrast to most studies, Peterson has used the most reliable statistical technique available for prediction of journal price. His model clearly indicates with evidence that can only be refuted scientifically, that publishers establish prices on the basis of factors other than cost. No other study I have seen really does this. His analysis is powerful and very helpful. It is the kind of analysis that I would like to have done for our entire collection, but haven't due to lack of time. A concerted effort to extend the analysis across all disciplines by some element of the profession would serve us all well.
Furthermore, one of the things that Peterson doesn't mention is that the analysis can be extended to reveal the outliers. That is, regression analysis is capable of predicting a price for each journal individually. That predicted price can then be compared with the actual price to reveal the journals that are statistically significantly over (or under) priced. This is a powerful model for collection development. Unfortunately, his study is limited to a small segment of titles. Anybody game to extend it?
NS25.5 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS
Chuck Hamaker, Louisiana State University, NOTCAH@LSUVM.BITNET.
Four years ago it would have been denounced as heresy to suggest academic and research libraries could pay less than list price for many of their most expensive titles. But with the emphasis publishers like Pergamon have put on their titles being handled at ZERO percent service charge to libraries, a change in philosophy has been apparent for some time with several subscription agents. By now, the stories of 0 percent and even discounted charges on large competitively bid lists are making the rounds, and Buzzy Basch's programs have raised awareness of some of the options available. Less well known are the efforts of foreign companies in this arena. They are unusual because many libraries are getting DISCOUNTS from list with ordering levels well within the range of medium size academic and research libraries. I have information (thanks to October Ivins, Tina Feick and Jane Maddox) from three European companies LSU does business with, and I would like to share that with you. For HARRASSOWITZ titles we received a DISCOUNT of 3.57 percent for 1992 and from SWETS a DISCOUNT of 2.55 percent. Those are DISCOUNTS -- NOT service charges.
Harrassowitz and B.H. Blackwell's have published the details of most of their offers in their company literature. Their offers are open to all libraries meeting fairly minimal criteria.
B.H. Blackwell's periodicals division has two advertised programs. Their standard service charge is 4 percent. However, many factors may lower charges below that level, such as a large volume of business with certain publishers and business with other Blackwell companies including Readmore. The most common option is their "Overseas Subscription" program. Although the maximum service charge is 4 percent, payment by April 17 will reduce that to .5 percent; by June 17 to 1 precent; by July 17 to 1.5 percent; by August 17 to 2 percent and by September 17 to 2.5 precent. Rates on their "EUROPLAN" are even more generous. By "placing all your British and European Subscriptions" with Blackwell, the base service charge is 2 percent. But prepayment by April 30 reduces it to -2.5 percent; by May 31 to -1.5 percent; by June 30 to -1 percent; by July 31 to -1 percent. Prepayment under their Europlan package before July 31 results in a DISCOUNT from list. Prepayment by August 31 provides a 0 percent service charge.
OTTO HARRASSOWITZ of Germany has a special catalog of 2,500 titles from 26 publishers. In 1989 there were 9 publishers on the list and in 1993 there will be at least 32. They will supply any of the 2,500 titles at a 0 percent service charge.
Prepayment for the "estimated annual expenditures for journal subscriptions and/or standing orders" creates an "extension of credit ranges." For accounts under 100,000 DM, payment prior to June 1 results in an extension of credit of 4 percent of the payment. For accounts over 100,000 DM, it means a credit of 5 percent; prior to July 31, 3 percent for under 100,000 DM and 4 percent for over 100,000 DM. From August 1 to September 30, 2 percent credit under 100,000 DM and 3 percent over 100,000 DM. From October 1 to October 30, 1 percent credit under 100,000 DM and 2 percent over 100,000 DM.
Although their maximum service charge is 3.85 percent, our service charge, because of the number of 0 percent titles we have, is well below that, and as I noted above, we actually achieved a significant discount from list with prepayments.
A third European vendor with a prepayment program is SWETS SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES. Our total account with them is approximately $93,000. For 1992, our "handling charge" was .95 percent and we received a discount of 3.5 percent for early payment of the 1992 "One-Line Invoice." We were credited $3,283 for that payment and thus received a DISCOUNT of 2.55 percent on these titles.
Many vendors have prepayment programs, and as you can see from Blackwell's, and particularly from Harrassowitz, some payment dates are fairly late in the year. No matter when a library pays its annual invoices, it should ask about credit for early payments. Some programs have fairly complete public documentation and are explained in detail in printed information from the company. Others have to be negotiated. Ask and you shall receive.
There are two very different philosophies with regards to placing subscriptions with vendors. One calls for consolidation of all titles with a single source; the other stresses variety of vendors, often through sourcing by country or continent of origin. Both approaches necessitate staying abreast of the marketplace and aware of incentive and service charge variables. Even smaller libraries can benefit from many of these programs. Certainly the Blackwell's and Harrassowitz programs are well within the reach of many small to medium size academic libraries. Some programs are offered to all who meet the basic criteria, others may take careful attention by the library to match the best deal with local circumstances.
One approach to figuring actual service charge was recently explained by Marcia Tuttle, who noted that she deducted any 0 percent service charge titles from the list she was analyzing and calculated the service charge on the rest of the titles. The results can be astounding! But they may also be a truer indication of what libraries are actually paying for handling charges.
Another variable that too often gets short-shrift or mistaken action is the list price. Though many agents like us to believe they all have the same list price, it just ain't so. In the arena of European titles, knowing what exchange rate the agent is using for major countries or publishers is critical. For US titles a difference in comparable list price may signal a quote that is based on last year's prices. At least one library asked for actual invoices, rather than "quotes," as quotes often have problems. In my experience, library directors, when they get involved, sometimes think that lower "prices" on a quote mean they should switch vendors. Oh, if it were that simple. It takes a great deal of care to find out when "lower" prices are really lower or just a result of a quote based on non-current prices. CAVEAT EMPTOR.
PERGAMON. Is Pergamon Jinxed or what??? Another company that didn't get the US list price right for Pergamon for 1992 was EBSCO. They input the new 1992 Pound Sterling prices from Pergamon and had those prices right. But they did not update last year's exchange rate in calculating the dollar price for customer billings. The error was caught before orders or payments were issued to Pergamon, but after customers were billed. EBSCO customers received letters explaining the error. Normally they only issue Credit Memos in the regular billing cycle but did a rush computer program to adjust the prices and get credit memos out as quickly as possible, rather than waiting for the normal billing cycle. This is old news to EBSCO customers, but I thought other readers would be interested.