138.2 RESPONSE TO "HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS," Sandy Thatcher
138.3 RESPONSE TO HANNAH KING, Peter Graham
138.4 RESPONSE TO ANDREW ODLYZKO, Peter Graham
138.5 THE SUBSCRIPTION AGENT'S PERSPECTIVE ON SERIALS PRICES, John Merriman
Laura Ralstin, EBSCO Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
EBSCO has released updated projections for 1996 serials prices and included projections for libraries in several countries. Projecting increases is still difficult at this time of year as many yet-undetermined factors will affect journal prices, including: page increases, volume expansion, sub- scription cancellations, basic inflation, and currency exchange rates in effect at the time prices are set or publishers are paid for 1996 subscrip- tions. EBSCO continually communicates with major publishers regarding projected price increases, and updated projections will be provided later in the year when publishers have enough information regarding these factors to make their own projections for 1996 subscription prices. At this time EBSCO is projecting a base increase of 10 - 11 percent for 1996 journal subscription prices. Projected increases for libraries and organizations invoiced in various currencies are listed below. For U.S. journals, projections are based on estimated subscription price increases and the relative value of the customer billing currency (footnote 1) com- pared to the U.S. dollar. For European journals, projections are based on estimated subscription price increases and the relative value of the cus- tomer billing currency compared to that of a European currency composite (footnote 2). Ranges shown are for European journals published outside the corresponding country for each billing currency (e.g., the projected in- crease for customers invoiced in pounds does not apply to U.K. journals). *Price Increase Factors* Two factors which will have a key effect on some journal prices this year include significant increases in the cost of white, non-recycled paper and U.S. postage rates. These factors are in addition to page number and volume expansion, cancellations, basic inflation, etc. Ultimate price increases will also depend on the value of the currency in which subscribers are invoiced as compared to the currency in which journals are priced when publishers are paid for 1996 subscriptions. *Conservative budgeting* As always, EBSCO recommends all customers add 3 to 5 percent to the esti- mated price increases for all journals to protect their budgets from a weakening of the currency in which they are invoiced between now and when subscription rates are set or publishers are paid. *More information available* Journal cost history by library type (e.g., academic, academic medical, corporate, special, law school, law firm, public and hospital) for the years 1991-1995, along with updated price projections, will be available in the upcoming publication _Serial Price Projections: 1996_, published by EBSCO. PROJECTED PRICE INCREASES BY CUSTOMER BILLING CURRENCY Customer Projected Projected Billing Increase for Increase for Currency U.S. Journals European Journals ______________________________________________________________ Australian dollar 13.5 - 15.5% 17.5 - 19.5% British pound 8.5 - 10.5% 13.5 - 15.5% Canadian dollar 11.5 - 13.5% 15.5 - 17.5% Dutch guilder 0 - 2.5% 7.0 - 8.0% French franc 2.5 - 4.5% 9.0 - 11.0% German mark 0 - 2.5% 7.0 - 8.0% Italian lira 15.5 - 17.5% 21.5 - 25.5% Japanese yen .5 - <1.5% 5.5 - 7.5% New Zealand dollar 5.5 - 8.5% 11.0 - 13.0% South African rand 11.5 - 12.5% 16.5 - 18.5% Spanish peseta 8.5 - 10.5% 14.5 - 16.5% Turkish lira 14.5 - 16.5% 16.5 - 18.5% U.S. dollar 10.0 - 11.0% 13.0 - 15.0%*(3) 20.0 - 22.0%*(4) (Footnote 1) Late-March currency exchange rates were used for these projec- tions. (Footnote 2) The European currency composite is the average value of the British pound, French franc, German mark, Dutch guilder and Swiss franc. (Footnote 3) For European journals priced in country of origin currency. (Footnote 4) For European journals priced in U.S. dollars or with fixed conversion rates -- this rate is most applicable to U.S. libraries, as most major European publishers now set prices in U.S. dollars for U.S. customers instead of pricing in native currencies. These rates are generally set in mid to late summer. One component of U.S. dollar rates is the strength of the U.S. dollar as compared to publishers' native currencies at the time these rates are set, so it is difficult to predict the eventual price of such journals this early in the year. Journals priced with variable rates will be affected by the strength of the U.S. dollar in early fall when publishers are paid for these journals.138.2 RESPONSE TO "HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS"
Sandy Thatcher, Penn State University Press, SGT3@PSUVM.PSU.EDU.
I wonder if there isn't a more basic level of analysis that accounts for the publishers' attitudes Chuck Hamaker describes in NSPI 136.5? Isn't this "confidence...in the necessity of their product,...common to all STM pub- lishers" simply a function of the political power that scientists wield in universities? Don't they usually get their way just because they bring in more grant money to pay universities' operating costs than any other group does? Isn't this the reason that subscriptions to STM journals have been continued at the expense of libraries buying monographs in the humanities, for example? How many scientists, I often wonder, are really aware that their pursuit of ever more outlets for their publications, at increasing expense, are wrecking the system of scholarly communication for their col- leagues in the liberal arts? Is there anything that any of us can do about this situation other than help educate scientists about the consequences of their behavior? Hannah King, in her reply (137.6), suggests that publishing information about subscription bases and copyright fees might produce some benefit in that scientists won't want to be published in journals that don't get wide- ly circulated and, hence, frequently cited. I'm not sure there is a direct correlation to be made between size of circulation and frequency of cita- tion. Does anyone know of any study that substantiates this correlation? My guess would be that, no matter what the level of circulation, if the journal carries enough prestige, having an article published in it would count heavily in promotion and tenure. I'd be interested in learning more about the use of the _Science Citation Index_ for decisions about tenure and promotion. Has any article been written about this? If an article ap- peared in a less prestigious journal but was very frequently cited, does the frequency tend to outweigh the degree of the journal's prestige in such decisions?138.3 RESPONSE TO HANNAH KING
Peter Graham, Rutgers University, email@example.com.
Hannah King at SUNY Syracuse health says: "If they need to be cited, they better begin to check with librarians about subscription bases and copyright fees. Librarians might want to publish this kind of information on a regular basis along with ISI rankings and usage statistics." This is a very interesting idea. How available is such information? Or, could an enterprising librarian compose a table (in a discipline, say) of major titles and subscription bases? How easy is this to get hold of? I should think that, as HK says, this would be very useful. How do we do it?138.4 RESPONSE TO ANDREW ODLYZKO
Peter Graham, Rutgers University, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrew Odlyzko says, in 137.4: "A better way to proceed would be to ask each department something along the lines: `Would you be willing to cancel most of the journals in your field if this would give you three additional postdocs?' That would force the scholars to really evaluate the value of their journal subscriptions and whether they can be replaced by preprint servers." In effect this has happened, and faculty have made the choice, and they have said yes -- cancel the journals. Kendon Stubbs, at the University of Virginia, has produced ARL statistical analyses for several years on costs of materials and library budgets. His figures show that the library share of university expenditures over the past two decades have steadily gone down (whether you look at E&G or I&R). The shift has been, broadly, in favor of faculty salaries. Thus my point. However, faculty haven't been asked their views, and don't know they've been making this decision. Odlyzko's comparison to free chauffering is well taken; if I were told it were free I'd say yes, but in twenty years if I found out my mortgage was worthless because it had been pawned for the car, I'd be mad.138.5 THE SUBSCRIPTION AGENT'S PERSPECTIVE ON SERIALS PRICES
John Merriman, Secretary, Association of Subscription Agents; Thames Gardens, Charlbury, Oxford OX7 3QH England; FAX: (01608) 810058.
The Association of Subscription Agents is the body which represents the common interests of most of the major agents in the world. We believe the role of subscription agents is very much to the advantage of both librarians and publishers, and that it is now time for librarians to be aware of some of the problems that we face -- in particular, financial. Discounts given to subscription agents by publishers have been falling consistently for seven years now. The level of discount granted to agents is the single most important factor determining agents' prices to librar- ies. There are increasing numbers of publishers who either allow us no trade discount whatsoever, or who are reducing their trade terms to an unrealis- tic percentage. In few other industries do producers expect distributors to work for little or nothing. For librarians already struggling with the increased costs of journals, there will be further charges to face. As trade margins are eroded agents must pass on their costs to libraries, thus adding to the price of jour- nals. Librarians should not delude themselves: publishers who reduce or abolish trade discounts are not cutting prices. The continued commercial viability of agents is essential to maintain the freedom of choice that librarians require. We are aware of the concerns librarians have about publishers' price in- creases every year. The discount issue also has a major effect on the pric- es librarians pay agents and the levels of service they receive from their agents. They too will need to address the issues we are raising. The posi- tion is now very serious for all our members and we would welcome your professional comments and views.
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