NS38.2 ELSEVIER VISIT ON NCSU CAMPUS, Orion Pozo
NS38.3 THE COMPETITIVE STATUS OF US UNIVERSITY PRESES, Tony Stankus
NS38.4 FROM THE MAILBOX
Marcia Tuttle, TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET.
Please don't send messages to PRICES-L@UNCVX1.
That's what I was going to say. But things have changed! The newsletter mailing list is now on a different computer and finally on real LISTSERV software. I have gotten just as angry as the rest of you during the past two weeks when we were the victims of mail loops. Now, my postmaster tells me, NO MORE LOOPS. He says it's impossible. I certainly hope so!
One advantage of the new system is that people are able to subscribe and unsubscribe themselves by sending the appropriate message to LISTSERV@GIBBS.OIT.UNC.EDU. If anyone should inadvertently send the message to PRICES-L (at the new computer) instead, it'll just come to me and I'll send it back to you. At the same time we're changing computers, we're cleaning up the mailing list. Several of you who subscribed some time ago received your first issue with NS 37. It has been suggested to me that Internet id's work better than BITNET id's, so you may want to consider that.
We have not yet archived the back issues, but that will happen shortly. You should be able to request any issue(s) you want. Along those lines, several subscribers have informed me that they missed NS 25-35. Please let me know if you also missed these issues, and I will send them to you without waiting for the archive.
There will be a number of issues coming up very quickly. I have several long documents to distribute, including a report from NASIG, the AAP document on copyright and interlibrary loan (courtesy of Cindy Goldstein), and the results of the questionnaire I sent to subscribers in February.
NS38.2 ELSEVIER VISIT ON NCSU CAMPUS
Orion Pozo, North Carolina State University, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enclosed please find a copy of a letter that I sent to Drs. Eefke Smit of Elsevier Science Publishers that discusses an article published in the _Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues_ (NS28 -- May 9, 1992) entitled: "Elsevier Visit on NCSU Campus". Drs. Smit has asked me to ask you to publish this letter in the Newsletter. Please send her a copy of the issue that contains my letter.
July 8, 1992 Drs. Eefke Smit, Publishing Editor Engineering and Technology Department Elsevier Science Publishers B. V. P.O. Box 1991 1000 BZ Amsterdam The Netherlands Dear Drs. Smit; The item that appeared in the NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES (NS 28 -- May 9, 1992) entitled "Elsevier Visit on NCSU Campus" is text that I wrote as the first draft of a summary of our meeting. In your letter of May 13 you state that: The report contains some factual errors. Professor Richard H. Bernhard was not offered an editorial position to our journal, nor was it the reason of my visit. My purpose of the visit to Professor Bernhard was to discuss the editorial policy for THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PRODUCTION ECONOMICS and to explain its present position in the market. Additionally, I should stress that I gave a more differentiated picture of the cost structure of international journals, in which international marketing is only one of the many elements. I also mentioned that we do share the concerns on library budgets and therefore concentrate on quality. I had no knowledge that my rough draft was going to be published, and reading your letter of May 13 was the first time that I heard that it had been published. I shared your surprise at seeing this report in print. After discussions with Dr. Bernhard and John Abbott, I had revised the text to more accurately portray the situation. This text was intended for my files and for those involved in the meeting in some way. I never intended it for publication in either the draft or finished form. I hope that this explanation and restatement of the concerns you mention in your letter of May 13 is acceptable. If you would like, I will submit this letter to the NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES. Sincerely, Orion Pozo Collection Manager
NS38.3 THE COMPETITIVE STATUS OF US UNIVERSITY PRESSES
Tony Stankus, Science Librarian, Holy Cross, LIB_STANKUS@HLYCROSS.
The forthright candor of Sandra Whisler, Director of the Journals Division of the University of California Press, in explaining the need for a very substantial price increase for its leading title, ROMANCE PHILOLOGY, is very commendable. Even though she is speaking of a humanities title, she provides those of us who are sci-tech-med serialists with some lessons in the weaknesses of the university press journal, which if they could be corrected might well help the sci-tech-med fields, university scholars, and library serials budgets.
University presses have lost a great many of the more subsidized or more profitable collateral activities that they once enjoyed. It was not at all uncommon for universities to publish state-subsidized technical or farm bulletins that were once highly valued for their content to the local constituency. The university-based intellectual or alumni journal still survives, but largely as an adjunct to fundraising for the school (rather than a specific source of revenue for the school's press in particular). University presses have dropped out of the textbook and collateral readings market. It was not unusual many years ago for the university to have first dibs on texts or compilations of reprints for large enrollment courses. These days when several thousand students might be taking the same course, this sort of revenue might look good to a university press that is happy when a typical title is lucky to sell a single thousand copies. Universities once had a virtual monopoly on journals which translated or reviewed foreign scientific developments, largely because so many university faculty in America were imported from Europe. (Now most of Europe writes in English and the remaining foreign language literature is purchased at very dear prices from a handful of for-profit houses.) University presses have lost control of some of the more currently desirable departmental publications that have a strong potential for financial success (journals from prominent business schools, hi-tech or leading edge science or biotechnology) because those schools or divisions have been allowed to cut their own deals with for-profit firms, depriving the university press as a whole of revenues to offset some of their less profitable titles that are remanants of areas of past scientific or cultural interest (museum bulletins, astronomical notices, individual hospital journals).
There are ways that the university press scene could be strengthened so that its journal segment could offer viable, less expensive titles. Some of these are implied by Ms. Whisler, others are my own observations:
A. The university should have first bid on any publishing project that has any chance of financial viability, including some of those mentioned above. Individual faculty and whole departments who derive their principal sustenance from the institution should aid that university's press arm.
B. That any deals for publishing a journal emanating from a university that somehow got past the university press at first should be made for limited times only. In the past the university might subsidize a struggling journal for its first perilous five years only to lose it in its coming to financial maturity to a for-profit press. Let the process be reversed from time to time. We have seen in this very newsletter what can happen when a not- for-profit agency retakes control of its own well-established journal: prices can decline dramatically.
C. Faculty who are involved in university press editing have to be seriously rewarded for this participation. Tenure, promotion, and compensation language should be firmly written into their contracts in such a way that this activity is not a nuisance but a serious part of their evaluation and prestige. Royalties are not out of the question for those who succeed beyond expectation. For-profit firms certainly pay their editors well enough, even as those editors collect university salaries.
D. Libraries have to be willing to pay the moderately greater prices for the improvements in the university journal that may come, realizing that even when they appear to be a high percentage of an earlier price, they remain a bargain in terms of their for-profit competition.
E. The field of university press management must recruit more full-time professionals in the cash-rich fields of business, science, technology, and medicine. The dollar amounts of virtually any of these fields dwarf those in the humanities and social sciences which seem to be the mainstay of most university press emphases today. (Exceptions are U.Chicago, and naturally enough MIT and Rockefeller U. Presses.)
NS38.4 FROM THE MAILBOX
The mailbox is: TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET or Marcia_Tuttle@unc.edu.
>From John O. Christensen, Brigham Young University, LIBJOC@VM.BYU.EDU:
I have been doing some further research since my chemistry journal cost study. I have compared the cost of journals in chemistry, music, history, political science, and psychology in dollars per million characters and grouped them by commercial and non-profit publishers. One interesting result has been found. The costs of journals published by non-profit organizations have been very similar among the five subjects I compared over the last ten years. The 1990 costs varied from a low for political science at $25.56 per million characters to a high for psychology at $33.33 per million characters. Music was $29.17 per million characters. Chemistry was $29.85 per million characters. History was $28.87 per million characters.
>From Dana Roth, Cal Tech, DZRLIB@CITROMEO.BITNET:
Has anyone else noticed the enormous number of conference proceedings now being published in issues of a wide variety of science and engineering journals? In fairness to journal subscribers, who presumably are contracting for referred journal articles, publishers should relegate conference proceedings to a supplementary status (i.e. _Nuclear Physics B Proceedings Supplements_) that would be billed separately and subject to cancellation independent of the journal subscription. What would be the appropriate group to deal with this issue? I personally feel that the current situation is a gross abuse of the subscriber-publisher relationship, and is beginning to play a significant role in the continuing journal crisis.
>From Dana Roth, Cal Tech, DZRLIB@CITROMEO.BITNET:
Your readers may be interested in the recent item in "Dollar Watch" (_Library Issues_, January 1992), which refers to the confusion in percentage increases or decreases in the buying power of the US$ vs. world currencies. In this regard, the following examples may be instructive. A change in the exchange rate from 3.2 DM/$ to 1.6 DM/$ means that you will only be able to purchase half as much (i.e. 50% less) material from Germany. If, however, you continue to subscribe to the same DM amount of materials at the 1.6 DM/$ rate that you did when the rate was 3.2 DM/$, you will have to increase your budget by a factor of 2 (or 100%). This is more evident if you use $/DM rates (i.e. 3.2 DM/$ = 31 cents/DM and 1.6 DM/$ = 62.5 cents/DM. I dislike raising the specter of a conspiracy, but I think the use of DM/$ rates and their corresponding percentages (instead of $/DM rates) has been a conscious attempt by the US Government to mislead the general public about the seriousness of exchange rate fluctuations. In this regard, Dollar Watch's realization, in 1992, that "confusion on this point may lead to significant miscalculations" is years overdue.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 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; Internet: Marcia_Tuttle@unc.edu; 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/Internet and Blackwell's CONNECT. EBSCO and Readmore customers may receive the Newsletter in paper format from these companies. Back issues of the Newsletter are available free of charge through electronic mail from the editor. To contribute to the newsletter, send a message to the editor. To subscribe to or unsubscribe from the newsletter, send a message to LISTSERV@GIBBS.OIT.UNC.EDU: SUBSCRIBE (or UNSUBSCRIBE) PRICES-L [YOUR NAME].