NS30.2 TRENDS JOURNALS SURFACE AGAIN, Joanna Wagar
NS30.3 A CONSORTIUM FOR NETWORK PUBLICATION OF REFEREED RESEARCH JOURNALS, Larry Hurtado
Dan Tonkery, Readmore Subscription Services, Tonkery@readmore.com.
The topic of vendor service charges has been around for several years and I was delighted to see that the topic has appeared on the Aqueduct Action Agenda. From our experience most serials librarians are more interested in the bibliographic aspects of serials than the business side. There is often confusion about the service charge and many of the libraries that we visit are still not clear on what and how the service charge is applied. As a general rule the US agents sell at the publisher's list price and then add a service charge based on the agreement with the library.
Often there is no formal agreement with the library as the library has been using the agent for 20 plus years. In this case the agent applies the current pricing structure to the account. Over time the agent's rates and policies change and the library will see a slow change.
Frequently under the old style of operating, there is no contract or formal agreement and often the players are all different. The agent staff has changed, the sales person is gone, or the library staff is in different positions. Usually no one is around who remembers the full details of the original sales presentation. While no one wants to go through the formal bidding process, it is still a good idea to have a letter of agreement in place and to monitor the terms and conditions. Have a fixed period of time that the agreement covers. Here are some questions on the service charge that should be answered:
1. What is the annual service charge? 2. What is the service charge for single orders, or is there a minimum order? Some agents charge a penalty for single orders. 3. What is the service charge for the supplemental invoices? Will the library accept multiple invoices or charges on the same title? One Correction In Billing per title per year is enough. 4. What am I charged for missing issues that have to be purchased? Is there a penalty or different service charge? 5. Does the vendor charge a penalty for difficult publishers? Some agents charge extra for GPO or Neodata. 6. When does the agent increase the service charge? Some vendors have the computer calculate the service charge and a target margin is maintained. Any change in mix of titles or decreases in publisher discount will result in an automatic service charge increase. 7. Does the agent offer maximum service charge on a specific item? On expensive titles some agents have a maximum rate of $35 or $45 per title. 8. Check out the service charge on credits. Does the agent return the service charge on the credits?
All of the above issues can be incorporated into a basic service agreement. Too often the agents and librarians have been operating on a good faith relationship and over time we all lose sight of the original agreement. It is good business to have a clear understanding in writing of the requirements and have the service charges documentated.
Where else can you authorize the purchase of several hundred thousand dollars of a product that is paid for in full before it is produced and you are purchasing on terms which are really undefined?
It is to both parties' advantage to have a clear idea of the terms and conditions by which we are going to be measured. The Aqueduct Action Agenda is a positive step forward.
NS30.2 ELSEVIER 'TRENDS' SURFACES AGAIN
Joanna Wagar, Northern Michigan University, FAJW@NMUMUS.BITNET.
March 13, 1992----------
Miss M. Vixet, Subscription Supervisor Elsevier Science Publishers Ltd. Crown House, Linton Road Barking, Essex, IG11 8JU, England Dear Miss Vixet: I am writing to request a clear statement of Elsevier's policy regarding subscription rates for the Elsevier Trends Journals. >From 1984 to 1990 Olson Library subscribed to the Personal Edition of _Im- munology Today_ through our vendor, Faxon. The subscription lapsed in 1991 when Faxon announced that the Library must order direct from Elsevier. After our second request, we received from Elsevier an invoice for $353.00 (US) for the Library Edition Vol. 12. Olson Library has no need for the superfluous annual hardbound compendium which is part of the Library Edition subscription. We have subscribed to the Personal edition for seven years because we bind our own journals in their original form. This Library refuses to subscribe to the Library Edition and pay for a hardbound volume that we will discard. If it is now Elsevier's policy to refuse to supply Personal Edition subscriptions to libraries, I wish to protest Elsevier's refusal to renew according to long established practice. I would urge that the Personal Edition be supplied or that a separate rate be established for libraries that excludes the annual compendium. I look forward to receiving your reply. Sincerely Joanna Wagar Collection Development Librarian
Excerpts from letter to Joanna Wagar from J. Kumar Patel, General Manager Marketing Services, Elsevier Science Publishers, Ltd., Barking, England.
....From time to time we receive queries arising from the two editions we supply and the method of supply. It is hoped that the following points addressed will clarify our policy with regard to the supply of the personal edition of Trends Journals.
The purpose of the Trends Journals is to keep the international scientific community abreast of the latest developments in their specific fields. In order to do so, Elsevier invests significantly by providing expanded editorial support with large in-house editorial teams, international communication and travel as well as production enhancements such as colour illustrations and rapid turn-around time in manuscript processing and production. Compared to a standard scientific journal, the Trends Journals are extremely costly to produce.
Our pricing strategy has been to keep the institutional/library subscription price comparable with the current price levels for other quality monthly scientific publications.
In addition, we offer a generous discount to individual scientists. This is done to attract enough individuals in order to be of interest to advertisers. The economics are such that the personal editions are a spin-off with the extra costs being borne by the advertisers. In fact, without institutional subscribers, there would not be a Trends series.
It is always difficult to assess the price of any product. We feel that because of the advertising, the individual researcher gets a quality product at a very low price, with institutions paying the normal price for a quality scientific periodical.
Libraries taking Personal Editions
During the early years of Trends publication, some libraries subscribed to the personal edition, partly because they preferred to bind the monthly issues rather than receive the bound compendium at year-end. While it was always our intention for libraries to pay the institutional rate, this was not strictly enforced. During the past couple of years, we have sought to implement a consistent policy with regard to qualifications for library and personal edition subscriptions. In order to do so, starting with 1991 subscriptions, we asked all subscription agents to offer only the library edition; the personal edition is available to individuals who order directly from the publisher and prepay with personal funds.
Combining economic reality and our wish to be of service to our institutional subscribers, some time ago we advised an arrangement whereby extra subscriptions, at the discounted personal price, will be accepted as long as at least one full-price institutional subscription for the same title is taken at the same "send-to-address."
**Institutions may place orders for extra copies at the discounted (personal) price via agents, as long as at least one institutional subscription for the same title at full price is taken at the same "send-to-address." These personal subscription orders will only be accepted if they mention the subscriber's number of the institutional subscription.**
Bound Compendium Volumes
As explained in the above discussion on price difference, the variation in price between the personal and library editions involves more than the cost of producing the compendium volume and index. We are always prepared to consider alternative subscription packages, but as yet we are unconvinced that it would be in the financial interest of an institution to not receive a compendium. The local binding costs are invariably inflated by the need to replace missing and damaged copies. All of our studies show that we can provide a cheaper service overall....
NS30.3 A CONSORTIUM FOR NETWORK PUBLICATION OF REFEREED RESEARCH JOURNALS
Larry W. Hurtado, University of Manitoba, hurtado@ccu.UManitoba.CA. (submitted by Stevan Harnad)
First Advance Notice May 1992
The University of Manitoba has received funding commitments to organize and hold an international conference to promote the establishment of a consortium of universities and learned societies to sponsor computer network publication of refereed journals. The consortium would be a non-profit publishing cooperative intended to make use of the Internet as an important medium for the publication of scholarly research in any discipline. Since the summer of 1991, an ad hoc group at the University of Manitoba has been developing the idea of the conference and the proposed consortium, and has been working on funding proposals since the Autumn of 1991. The conference is now tentatively slated for the Autumn of 1993 and will be held at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. We hope to enlist the interest and cooperation of major research universities and learned societies across North America and elsewhere.
Over the next year or so, we will be communicating the vision behind the conference and consortium to the academic community. This is the first advance notice, and we plan to provide updates with more specific information on the conference details as plans for it develop.
As an analogy of sorts for the proposed consortium, in the traditional publishing of books and paper journals, Scholars Press (Atlanta, Georgia) is a unique example of such a cooperative, operating under several major US learned societies (e.g., American Academy of Religion, Society of Biblical Literature, American Philological Society), with a number of universities in the US and Canada as sponsors of particular publication projects such as major monograph series. It is an example of groups in the academic community taking collective responsibility to see that worthy scholarship gets published, without commercial considerations determining the question.
The Internet is the major new medium for dissemination of research, and it is vital that the scholarly community, through its major institutions of universities and learned societies, become acquainted with the enormous potential of the Internet for scholarship. Commercial companies are already devoting attention to developing computer network publication projects. It is imperative that the scholarly community not leave this major medium to be developed solely by commercial interests.
The basic aims are 1) to make academic merit the sole consideration in the publication of journal-type research, 2) to advance the idea that the academic community should have a hand in determining what gets published and how it is disseminated, 3) to provide a major outlet of research publication that is not subject to the severe economic constraints of traditional paper-journal publishing (soaring costs in some commercially attractive fields, very limited journal outlets for less commercially attractive fields), 4) to make collective and considered use of the scholarly advantages of network publication (e.g., savings in production costs, speedup in publication and dissemination process), 5) to provide an effective and low-cost means for universities and learned societies to play a greater role as disseminators of research information and not only as producers and consumers of research information.
Our initial objective at this point is to inform as many in the scholarly community as possible of the conference and the consortium proposal, and to solicit interest in these plans. Please contact us for more information, and to be kept informed on the progress in our planning. We also sincerely invite you to offer your ideas on things to be included in the conference, key people to inform and possibly invite to the conference, and any other matters relevant to the conference and consortium proposal.
For more information, and to express your interests in the conference and consortium, contact the convenor of the University of Manitoba ad hoc Committee on Electronic Journals, Professor Larry W. Hurtado, Institute for the Humanities, 108 Isbister Bldg., University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2. Phone: (204) 474-9114. FAX (204) 275-5781. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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