109.2 PROJECT MUSE, Todd Kelley and Susan Lewis
109.3 REPORT OF THE ACRL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY SECTION'S PUBLISHER/VENDOR RELATIONS COMMITTEE, Eleanor Cook
109.4 RESPONSE TO STEPHEN COHN IN NEWSLETTER 103, Tony Ferguson and Sandra Whisler
EBSCO Press Release, dated February 17, 1994.
Birmingham, Ala. --Based on early economic indicators and historical data on publisher price increases, EBSCO predicts moderate price increases for 1995 subscriptions purchased with US dollars. For journals published in the United States, an 8-10 percent increase is expected (a slightly lower increase is expected for consumer-oriented titles). If orders were placed today and invoiced at current exchange rates, the cost of most journals published in European countries would show an increase of less than 10 percent. Estimated increase by type of conversion rate (fixed or variable) and country of origin are as follows:
European journals priced with fixed conversion rates or in US dollars: 6.5 - 8.5% Journals priced with variable rates published in: The Netherlands and Germany 6.5 - 8.5% The United Kingdom 8.2 - 10.2% Other European Countries 10.5 - 13.5%Again, these figures are based on the current US dollar exchange rates for the currencies of the given countries of origin. "Because European journal prices are based on the relative strength of the US dollar, those budgeting for 1995 subscriptions may wish to add 3-5 percent to the estimated price increases for these journals," said F. Dixon Brooke Jr., Vice President, EBSCO Subscription Services Division General Manager. "This would protect one's budget from a possible downturn in the US dollar's value between now and when fixed conversion rates are set, or between now and November, when most publishers are paid for 1995 subscriptions."
109.2 PROJECT MUSE: A NEW VENTURE IN ELECTRONIC SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION
Todd Kelley, Milton S. Eisenhower Library, firstname.lastname@example.org; Susan Lewis, Johns Hopkins Univ Press, email@example.com.
In one of the first joint ventures of its kind, the Johns Hopkins University Press, the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, and Homewood Academic Computing have joined forces to launch Project Muse, an initiative that enables networked electronic access to the Press's scholarly journals. This collaboration draws the Johns Hopkins University community together to move scholarly communication into the electronic age and develop an economic model that addresses rising costs and diminishing budgets.
The first phase of the project, completed in February 1994, is a freely accessible prototype consisting of current issues of _Configurations_, MLN (_Modern Language Notes_), and ELH (_English Literary History_). The fully formatted text of these journals is now available on the Internet via online access to the library's server (http://muse.mse.jhu.edu). Features include subject, title, and author indexes; instant hypertext links to tables of contents, endnotes and illustrations; Boolean searches of text and tables of contents; and voice and textual annotations. Several members of the scholarly community at Johns Hopkins have already used this resource, and one professor describes it as "an intelligent, incredibly easy system to use...an actual research tool."
The prototype is accessed through a networked hypermedia information retrieval system known as the World Wide Web (WWW). It can be viewed and searched using any of a number of freely available WWW readers, but runs optimally under the Mosaic reader developed by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Users of Mosaic can annotate text, record paths taken during online sessions, download text for printing, and create "hot lists" of frequently accessed documents. Mosaic readers are available for a variety of operating systems, including Unix, Mac, and Windows machines. Users of the prototype may send comments and suggestions with the online form provided in the prototype or via regular e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The short-range goals of Project Muse, which the prototype enables us to achieve, are the creation of an easy-to-use electronic-journal environment with searching and multimedia features that cannot be duplicated in print, and the collection of data on amounts and types of usage for an access and costing model. Long-range goals are to offer reasonably priced electronic journals to university libraries and to use online technology to make works of scholarship more widely available within individual university communities.
If funding for capital costs can be raised, the project team aims to mount about forty of the Press's journals in math, the humanities, and the social sciences. These issues will appear on a prepublication basis and will be available electronically a few weeks in advance of the printed version.
Beyond developing a prototype, Project Muse has enabled the university press, the library, and the computing center to engage in a meaningful dialogue about the current state of the scholarly communication process. We believe that this dialogue will not only influence the final appearance, price, and distribution method of the Press's online journals, but the shape of scholarly publishing in the information age.
109.3 REPORT OF THE ACRL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY SECTION'S PUBLISHER/VENDOR RELATIONS COMMITTEE, Saturday, February 4, 1994, ALA Midwinter
Eleanor Cook, Appalachian State University, email@example.com.
The meeting began, after introductions and housekeeping matters, with an announcement concerning a recent decision by the publishing group STBS (representing Gordon & Breach, Harwood, etc.). They have informed libraries that after February 1994 they will no longer accept orders handled by the Faxon Co., a major serial subscription vendor. Eleanor Cook, member of this committee, outlined the situation briefly and commented on information she had heard at the Faxon breakfast, which was held right before this meeting. After some inconclusive discussion, the committee decided to wait and see if a settlement is forthcoming. Depending on the outcome, we may at a later time make an official statement or write a letter expressing concern, but we will do nothing until more information can be gathered.
Next we launched a free-for-all, agenda-hopping discussion which is typical for this group. One of the great benefits of this meeting is it gives players from every corner of the sci-tech arena a chance to meet together to compare notes, catch up with trends, and hear what is on the minds of our colleagues. For many of us, this meeting sets the tone for our ALA conference experience. It is a warm-up session, of sorts.
In discussing uses for the Internet, one publisher representative observed that some scholarly journal editors are still resistant to the electronic milieu. Another observed that small businesses and publishers face economic barriers to joining the electronic frontier, though this is changing.
John Tagler, Elsevier, reported on some of their recent efforts. The TULIP project continues. A big concern is the amount of band-width needed for text. Other Elsevier enhancement services include a table of contents awareness service called "Contents Alert" for certain scientific publications. For widely circulating publications, the print format is still most practical. Concern was expressed about HOW publishers will be allowed to use the Internet. While the potential for advertising is certainly there, will it ever be allowed or welcomed? Publishers are perplexed by mixed signals on this front and asked the librarians in the room to comment.
Ann Schaffner talked about research she is conducting on how electronic journals are evolving and how that relates to traditional methods by which scholars use journal literature. She mentioned two trends that have developed: plain-text electronic journals, and locally-mounted experimental journals that have sophisticated interfaces. She mentioned two of the experimental projects -- "RightPages" from Bell Labs, and the Core Project from Cornell University. Several others were mentioned by other people at the meeting -- the _Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science_, and the Institute of Physics projects. There was quite a bit of information about different initiatives, and it would be impossible to mention them all here.
The talk about electronic journals led easily to the next topic, thinking about a PVRC "Virtual Meeting in the Year 2001." Teleconferencing, while in its infancy, has taken off at many institutions and there is great potential for collaborating with cable TV or other media. How will libraries tap into this technology? Will squabbles about where to hold ALA become a thing of the past? Will we be able to hold committee meetings by e-mail and televideo? It was observed that the travel costs for these conference meetings have become prohibitive. On the other hand, a representative from a publisher noted that her company has been teleconferencing for some time now but that it is still very expensive.
The group considered the increases we are seeing in copyright and licensing fees. Publisher representatives stressed the importance of maintaining the integrity of documents. The question was asked; how will libraries pay for electronic journals in the future?
Next we discussed searching and indexing designs. Librarians want both simple and sophisticated options. Often these needs are in conflict and have vastly different implications for the user population and the pricing structure of a given product.
This led us back to the point that the method by which researchers find their way through scholarly literature has never been linear; therefore, new formats must be able to accommodate both present habits of pursuit and possible new patterns of inquiry.
The meeting generated thought-provoking challenges for us. We all realize that we are on the brink of some major shifts, yet we appreciate what has come before. It was a satisfying exchange of ideas, and we have some significant possibilities for further discussion. We welcome anyone interested in these issues to come join us in future dialogue!
109.4 RESPONSE TO STEPHEN COHN IN NEWSLETTER 103
Tony Ferguson, Columbia University, firstname.lastname@example.org; Sandra Whisler, Univ of California Press, email@example.com.
From Tony Ferguson:
While Stephen Cohn made numerous arguments in defense of Duke's _International Mathematics Research Notices_ pricing policy, I don't think his verbiage changed much: IMRN is published by Duke; it did twig off of an existing journal; we are now asked to pay more than we did in the past; the library rate is excessive compared to the individual rate; and the fact that it is produced electronically doesn't seem to have made much difference in how it was priced. I continue to suspect his motives when he appeals to our charitable instincts to buy from universities rather than commercial publishers. Given his argument in support of high prices doesn't differ from theirs, I find his behavior puzzling. My suggestion to Duke is to lower the price. Change it to $200 and find out if this new electronic medium is capable of expanding readership and don't price it with a print mentality. If it doesn't work, go back to presenting the information as in the past and don't charge libraries more money for the same thing because we should "buy university" or because here at last is a quality electronic journal. Columbia's faculty has composed their own letter to IMRN indicating why they were not recommending a new subscription: they questioned the need for another electronic bulletin board, why an electronic tool should be so expensive, and they also questioned the need for rapid dissemination of announcements. They referred to an article entitled "Roadkill on the Information Superhighway," and suggested that math would not be well served by this new innovation. Some of their concerns are identical to my own. I do not deny the need for the rapid dissemination of information. I question the cost that we are being asked to assume.
From Sandra Whisler:
Steve: Your response in NSPI was terrific -- it should be saved as one of the classic documents as we move into the New Age, to be archived and retrieved in all historical compilations of the paradigm shift for a hundred years. Unfortunately, given the extent to which publishers have been labeled willy-nilly as the villains, and thus the extent to which our realities and our concerns (and, dare I add, the value-added which we bring to scholarly publishing) are often excluded from the dialogue, this probably won't happen.
I really appreciate all the work Marcia does to make the NSPI an open forum where our voices can be heard. I often resolve to respond to issues more often, so that university press/non-profit scholarly publisher perspectives are presented more often. But as you know all too well, the press of work and lack of time means that we all do less than we should.
You will probably catch some flack for this, so I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your piece -- your arguments were sound and true and your ire was valid and authentic. I know it's especially hard to be tarred with that "nasty profit-grubbing publisher" brush when you've spent so much time and energy working for dialogue with the library community.
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