110.2 AN ELECTRONIC JOURNAL APPROACH, Edwin Beschler
110.3 PRICING POLICY FOR _USA TODAY_ MAGAZINE, Liz Linton and Sandy Gurshman
110.4 FROM THE MAILBOX
Bill Robnett, Vanderbilt University, ROBNETTB@ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu.
Ann Okerson convened the Association of Research Libraries Firm Prices Working Group meeting on Friday, 4 February, at the ALA Midwinter Confer- ence in Los Angeles. Okerson briefly described the history of this group whose intent was to communicate to STM publishers the importance of receiv- ing firm periodical prices in a timely fashion. A letter describing this was sent to the STM publishers after the ALA Midwinter meeting one year ago. Subscription agents observed the impact of the communication from July through September of 1993. Mary Beth Vanderpoorten (EBSCO), Dr. Knut Dorn (Harrassowitz), and John Cox (Blackwell's) spoke for their respective agencies. While slight increases in the number of publishers' prices being reported earlier did occur, the net result is positive and noticeable. Harrassowitz observed a three-to- four week difference in receiving firm prices compared to 1992. Black- well's, after sending letters and telephoning publishers, had received 9% of prices by the end of June, another 46.5% by the end of July, an addi- tional 31.5% by the end of August, 7% in September, and 6% by or after 30 October. It was pointed out that the largest STM publishers had never pre- sented a problem in terms of dates that vendors received their firm prices. Cox emphasized two issues that will always affect firm subscription prices: setting foreign prices in non-US currency and the inability to set prices by 1 September. For the former, the agent has traditionally taken the ex- change rate risk by establishing the rate on the day the order is received from the library or by guaranteeing an exchange rate for a specified period of time. Delays in the latter are unintentional, since some publishers who publish for societies or self-publishing societies cannot get society ap- proval for subsequent subscription year prices until late in the calendar year. There was speculation that the 1994 prices may have included hedges, due to pricing earlier in the year. John Cox indicated that there was some anec- dotal evidence of small increases to establish such hedges, due to the uncertainty inherent in setting prices earlier. Karen Hunter (Elsevier) said she had no sense of this for the STM group; she explained that Else- vier starts the pricing process in January and has established firm prices sometime in May. At that point the changes are due to exchange rates. Hun- ter went on to explain that Elsevier strived to moderate journal growth. To accommodate increased publishing in a "hot topic" journal, editors made reductions in other journals within an Elsevier publishing program. The vendor representatives and publisher representative reported other occurrences during the pricing/billing/renewal cycle. Due to title reviews and cancellation projects, more libraries are delaying their renewals. This in turn impacts the process of setting the subsequent year's prices, as the size of the subscription base is not known. Dr. Dorn reported that some cancellations came in very late, although many titles were reinstituted within a month. In part this is a result of faculty input relatively late in the process. Cox observed that for Blackwell's renewals came in at about the same rate for 1993 subscriptions. To maintain the momentum it was suggested that if the firm price require- ment is re-stated yearly, more publishers will respond. The appeal should be made for at least two or three more years to reinforce the importance. In concluding, the participants were reminded that ARL libraries are pur- chasing 95% of the serials they were five years ago. While 5% seems small, it is a significant decrease when expressed in dollars, and the same li- braries are purchasing only 75% of the monographs within the same time period. They are beginning to question seriously what is not being ac- quired.110.2 AN ELECTRONIC JOURNAL APPROACH
Edwin F. Beschler, Birkhaeuser Boston, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Birkhaeuser Boston has adopted an approach to electronic journal publishing that may be of interest to the library and scientific communities in gener- al. The experiment is limited at the time to one specific journal and will therefore be of immediate utility to only one scientific community, that of the mathematicians and engineers involved in control and systems theory. However, the model seems extendable to a variety of publications and is presented here as one of the many approaches that will surely characterize the future of electronic publishing. Beginning with Volume Four, 1994, the _Journal of Mathematical Systems, Estimation, and Control_ (JMSEC) begins its transition to a partially elec- tronic format. Specifically, after the transition is completed, each issue will carry a number of four-page, extended summaries of papers. The full papers, complete with figures, will be stored electronically in postscript files for retrieval by anonymous ftp. It is expected that each issue, now carrying approximately 7-8 full papers, will instead carry between 15-20 summaries. These summaries will have been refereed with the full paper and must meet the same rigorous standards of scientific validity and mathemat- ical integrity. For access to the complete paper, the ftp address, provided in the issues of the Journal, is required along with the article identification number, which is carried on the first page of the extended summary. These identifi- cation numbers will not be made generally available, e.g. in current aware- ness listings or as part of searchable bibliographic listings. It is only natural to expect that, for particularly popular papers, these numbers will be transmitted among colleagues. But the chain MUST begin with someone having seen the actual issue of the Journal and obtained the identification number. For the time being, copies of full electronic versions will be free of charge. A decision about charging for access to each paper will be made when we can determine if the Journal can be supported by subscriptions to the hard copy. This aspect of the experiment speaks directly to the ques- tion of how electronically delivered publications can be made affordable to the customer and commercially viable to the publisher. An underlying premise of this form of publication is that the content of the average journal paper is of interest to a larger number of people than those who require full detail. The amount of library space devoted to the archiving of papers for the "just in case" mode will be decreased. A sig- nificantly increased representation of research will be packed into fewer pages. Publication will be faster, since the date of publication will be the date of appearance of the Summary, and the backlog is expected to be small. We would welcome reactions as to whether people in the library community see this approach in as constructive a light as we do.110.3 PRICING POLICY FOR _USA TODAY_ MAGAZINE
Liz Linton, Sweet Briar College, MELINTON@alison.sbc.edu; Sandy Gurshman, Readmore, email@example.com.
From Liz Linton: Recently I came across a pricing policy at the Society for the Advancement of Education that caused/is causing me some distress. Our library has been renewing for three years ahead when we can get a discount on a title. Look- ing over last year's invoice I was shocked to see that the library paid $555.00 to renew _USA Today_ magazine until 1996. I called the publisher who "explained" that they are a non-profit organization and that they "sub- sidize" subscriptions that come direct, charging $79.95 for institutions, but $199.00 per year for subscriptions that come through jobbers. Then she told me that they really do not encourage libraries to subscribe directly (I'll bet!). Of course they also have the convenient no-cancel policy so I have no avenue to recover the $315.15 that we were overcharged. I'd like to hear readers' opinion on this -- is this ethical? Is it widely known? In these tight-budget times I'd think the Society for the Advance- ment of Education might quake in their boots to have a nation of irate librarians decend on them! From Sandy Gurshman: I have verified their policy, which is not new. Apparently, the "regular" price is $199, but, if a library calls them and pleads poverty, they will offer this special price of $79 to enable the library to continue the sub- scription. I have not been able to get a cogent explanation of why this $79 could not be paid through a subscription agent, except that "it's their policy." They did reiterate that they preferred subscriptions through agen- cies and were not trying to solicit direct subscriptions. The dissonance between their pricing policy and this expressed preference for agency or- ders appears not to be of concern; they feel they are offering libraries "a choice." Of course, Readmore regrets any publisher policy that forces a library to choose between efficiency in acquisitions and price of a product. However, we are bound to recognize that publishers control their policies and pro- cedures. [Faxon's verbal comments were virtually the same as Sandy's. -ed.]110.4 FROM THE MAILBOX
The mailbox is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Dana Roth, Caltech, DZRLIB@ROMEO.CALTECH.EDU: I'd like to give a little different spin to Elliott Lieb's comments (in no. 107) about MRL (Math Res Lett). While the price is low, the individual/li- brary differential is largely explained by "there are no page charges." Page charges help to spread out the cost of publication more fairly and are the mark of a responsible publisher. ----- From Daniel Jones, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, JONES@uthscsa.edu: After seeing the projections (in no. 109) for 1995 (which are not modest, in my opinion) I thought it might be interesting to report our experience with 1994 increases. We are a medium size academic health science library serving schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, allied health sciences and biomedical sciences. With 1693 subscriptions billed so far this year, ex- cluding reference serials, our average prices increased as follows: Domestic journals - 1993 average price: $180 Domestic journals - 1994 average price: $195 An increase of 8.3% Foreign journals - 1993 average price: $684.50 Foreign journals - 1994 average price: $702.40 An increase of 2.6% This information is based on 1123 domestic and 570 foreign (mostly UK and continental Europe) journals. For the total list of titles we calculate an average 1994 price of $365. We're awaiting the annual published reports to see how our experience com- pares with them.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Statements of fact and opinion appearing in the _Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues_ are made on the responsibility of the authors alone, and do not imply the endorsement of the editor, the editorial board, or the Uni- versity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Readers of the NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES are encouraged to share the information in the newsletter by electronic or paper methods. We would appreciate credit if you quote from the newsletter. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES (ISSN: 1046-3410) is published by the editor through the Office of Information Technology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as news is available. Editor: Marcia Tuttle, Internet: email@example.com; Paper mail: Serials Department, CB #3938 Davis Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill NC 27515-8890; Telephone: 919 962-1067; FAX: 919 962-4450. Editorial Board: Deana Astle (Clemson University), Jerry Curtis (Springer Verlag New York), Janet Fisher (MIT Press), Fred Friend (University College, London), Charles Hamaker (Louisiana State University), Daniel Jones (University of Texas Health Science Center), James Mouw (University of Chicago), and Heather Steele (Blackwell's Periodicals Division). The Newsletter is avail- able on the Internet, Blackwell's CONNECT, and Readmore's ROSS. EBSCO cus- tomers may receive the Newsletter in paper format. To subscribe to the newsletter send a message to LISTSERV@GIBBS.OIT.UNC.EDU saying SUBSCRIBE PRICES [YOUR NAME]. Be sure to send that message to the listserver and not to Prices. You must include your name. To unsubscribe (no name required in message), you must send the message from the e-mail address by which you are subscribed. If you have problems, please contact the editor. Back issues of the Newsletter are available electronically. To get a list of available issues send a message to LISTSERV@GIBBS.OIT.UNC.EDU saying INDEX PRICES. To retrieve a specific issue, the message should read: GET PRICES PRICES.xx (where "xx" is the number of the issue). +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++