140.2 BLACKWELL'S 1996 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE SURVEY, Heather Steele
140.3 RESPONSE TO JOHN MERRIMAN AND HANNAH KING IN NO. 138 & 139, Albert Prior
140.4 ECONOMICS OF SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING, Andrew Odlyzko,
140.5 TAMING THE SERIALS JUNGLE WITH THE ISSN, James Mouw 140.1 FROM THE EDITOR
Marcia Tuttle, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to welcome Mike Markwith, CEO of the North American office of Swets & Zeitlinger, as a new member of the newsletter's editorial board. Until now we have had only one subscription agent on the board, so vendors have been underrepresented. With his long experience as a subscription agent and his very active professional life, Mike has been a frequent contributor to and a constant supporter of the newsletter, He is already proving to be a valuable addition to the editorial board. Also, I want to tell you about two new ways to access back issues of the newsletter. The folks in my library's reference department have agreed to archive the newsletter on their web site. We consider this resource to be the official archive of the _Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues_. The entire file of (so far) 177 issues may be located by telnetting to library.unc.edu. Log in as library, then choose UNC Internet Library, then Electronic Journals. In addition, all issues from No. 110 (March 17, 1994) are available at this url: http://www.lib.unc.edu/prices/prices.html If you do that, you can also see my home page, which so far has only an unusual picture of me.140.2 BLACKWELL'S 1996 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE SURVEY
Heather Steele, Blackwell's Periodicals Services, email@example.com.
[Received May 10, 1995. -ed.] Alan Smith, Director of Blackwell's Periodicals Division, has just arranged a survey of the major British, Continental European and US publishers and based on it makes the following estimates for 1996 price increases. The publishers were contacted in late April and early May for current informa- tion on their pricing plans for 1996. Based on this, our latest forecasts below are shown in the publisher's local currency. Please note that in- creases in paper costs, postage and pagination have been taken into ac- count. NORTH AMERICAN LIBRARIES British Publishers 10 - 10.5 % American Publishers 10% Continental European Publishers 10 - 11% Many British/European Publishers price in US dollars for the American mar- ket. Because of the current exchange situation, you should allow an extra 7-8% for their journals. We predict an overall increase of 13.5-14.5% which will vary on the mix of your collection. Canadian libraries should make allowances for exchange difference between the Canadian and US dollars. BRITISH LIBRARIES British Publishers 10 - 10.5% American Publishers 10% Continental European Publishers 10 - 11% Sterling has weakened by 9% against the major European currencies since last September, but is 4% better against the US dollar so exchange varian- ces will have some impact. Overall we predict an increase of 9.5 - 10.5% for British Libraries which may vary depending on the mix of your collec- tion.140.3 RESPONSE TO JOHN MERRIMAN AND HANNAH KING IN NO. 138 & 139
Albert Prior, Swets Subscription Services, Lisse, The Netherlands.
[Received May 1, 1995. -ed.] ------------------------------------------------------------------------- I would like to comment on the contributions by John Merriman and Hannah King on the position of subscription agents. Agents have generally probably been reluctant to draw librarians into the debate between themselves and publishers about discounts. After all, it can be argued that it is up to agents and their suppliers to sort out such problems between themselves. Agents recognise that libraries certainly do not owe them a living. They exist simply because they offer a practical service to acquisitions librar- ians. However, agents welcome any opportunity provided for librarians to confirm to publishers the value of subscription agents in the acquisition process. As without them, libraries would face increased staff and adminis- tration costs in dealing direct with publishers. Increased staff costs could result in decreased materials budgets, ie serials purchases, if there is a finite amount to an overall library budget. The contribution of the subscription agent at least makes the acquisition process as efficient as possible. Reduction in publishers discounts, which is the problem raised by John Merriman, leads either to weakening of the services the agent is able to provide or to increased service charges to libraries which the agent is forced to apply in order to regain the margin that is needed (a margin which for all agents is low). The latter is attractive to neither libraries nor publishers. With regard to document delivery, I can only speak for Swets, but it has been our policy to explore current awareness and document delivery services as a reflection of the trends in this direction occuring amongst our custo- mers (the move towards access rather than holdings), and the need to be in a position of providing such (hopefully income-generating) services if annual subscriptions to printed journals decline, as anticipated by some. Any agent failing to consider such alternative services, in an industry where electronic capabilities may transform it totally, is lacking any forward planning in its company. In the case of Swets, our emphasis has been on current awareness rather than document delivery and such services have been channeled through the library community, our traditional business partners, rather then bypassing them as we recognise the continuing role to be played by libraries in im- plementing and managing electronic and article based services on university campuses.140.4 ECONOMICS OF SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING
Andrew Odlyzko, AT&T Bell Laboratories, firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Received April 29, 1995. -ed.] A repeated question that has been raised in this forum is whether authors can be persuaded to behave so as to reduce costs of journals, say by steer- ing their works to inexpensive publications. Unfortunately there is little evidence that this will happen. Altruism is not a powerful motive, and there are few ways to make it more attractive. The perverse economic in- centives that operate in scholarly publishing are illustrated well by the following bit of history, extracted from an email message from Paul Gins- parg (email@example.com), the creator of the preprint server that has revolutionized information dissemination in many subfields of physics and other disciplines. ******* quoted from a message from Paul Ginsparg ********** i need to provide a small amount of background. in the late 70's, the elsevier journal nuclear physics b took over [from Physical Review D] as the "journal of choice" in this field [particle physics and field theo- ry] by having no page charges (no matter that their subscription charges to libraries were many times larger than the aps journals [such as Phys- ical Review D], that was an indirect cost that researchers never saw). all the larger more active groups (harvard, princeton, ...) decided across the board they would not pay any page charges (under the guise of fairness: since there wasn't enough on the grant to cover every member of a large group of students, postdocs, junior and senior faculty), so contributions from the most active groups went instead to nucl phys b. the belated response from the american physical society in the mid '80s was to eliminate page charges as well, but just for phys rev c and d [phys rev c covers nuclear physics, and is in competition with the else- vier journal nuclear physics a], and by the early 90's patriotic ameri- cans began resubmitting to the aps journals. but now, times are evidently getting tighter -- library subscriptions are not increasing, and the aps comes right out and explains that its publishing activities are used to subsidize its other activities (lobby- ing efforts, educational outreach, ...). so more or less in defiance of its editors, the financial wing decides to reinstitute page charges and increase them across the board ... for further edifying info, see http://xxx.lanl.gov/blurb/pg14Oct94.html ********* end of quote ********* Note that the physicists in this story behaved in a perfectly rational way. The money they saved by not paying page charges was money they could use for support of graduate students, etc. They did not have to use their grants to pay for the increase in library costs associated with the shift from an inexpensive journal to a much pricier one. Furthermore, even if they had to pay for that cost, they would have come out ahead; the increase in the costs of just their own library associated with an individual deci- sion to publish in _Nuclear Physics B_ instead of the less expensive _Phys- ical Review D_ (could such a small change have been quantified) would have been much smaller than the savings on page charges. Most of the extra cost would have been absorbed by other institutions. To make this argument more explicit, consider two journals, H (high priced) and L (low priced). Suppose that each one has 1,000 library subscriptions and no individual ones. L is a very lean operation, and it costs them $3,000 to publish each article. They collect $1,000 of that $3,000 from authors through page charges, and the other $2,000 from subscribers, so that each library in effect pays $2 for each article that appears in L. On the other hand, H collects $7,000 in revenue per article, all from sub- scriptions, which comes to $7 per article for each library. (It does not matter much whether the extra cost of H is due to profits, higher quality, or inefficiency.) >From the standpoint of society as a whole, or of any individual library, it would be desirable to steer all authors towards publishing in L, as that would save a total of $4,000. However, look at this situation from the standpoint of the author. If she publishes in L, she loses $1,000 that could be spent on graduate students, conferences, etc. If she publishes in H, she gets to keep that money. She does not get charged for the extra cost to any library, at least not right away. Eventually the overhead rates on her contract might go up to pay for the higher library spending at her institution. However, this effect is delayed and is very weak. Even if we had accounting mechanisms that would provide instantaneous feedback (which we manifestly do not, with journal prices set over a year in advance and totally insensitive to minor changes caused by individual authors deciding where to publish), our hypothetical author would surely only get charged for the extra $5 that she causes her library to spend ($7 for publication in H as opposed to $2 in L), and not for the costs to all the other 999 libraries. She would still save $995 ($1000 - $5) of her grant money. Is it any wonder if she chooses to publish in H?140.5 TAMING THE SERIALS JUNGLE WITH THE ISSN: A WEB PAGE PRODUCED BY THE CENTRE INTERNATIONAL DE L'ISSN.
James Mouw, University of Chicago, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technical information: URL = http://www.well.com:80/www/issnic/. This reviewer accessed the WWW page using Netscape version 1.0. A recent addition to the rapidly increasing array of Web pages is this introduction to the ISSN. The page is technically solid, all the links provided actually lead to functioning pages, and the response time is very fast. The quick response time is most likely due in large part to an almost total lack of images, even in places where they would be welcome additions. The page is bilingual, with most information given in English and French. The page also provides links to information contained on other pages, in- cluding the Australian ISSN home page which is apparently the only other operational web site devoted to the ISSN (http://www.nla.gov.au/1/services/ ISSN.html). A link is provided to the Switzerland page, but this is not operational as of 5/25/95 (http://www.snl.ch/issnch.html). There is also an item for standards information that links the user to information contained on the Faxon home page (http://www.faxon.com). The first item on the main menu is a list of "New or amended items," allow- ing the frequent user an opportunity to quickly scan for recently added or updated information. A scan of this page in late April indicated that the ISSN page would be updated frequently, since the "new or amended items" list showed at least 10 updates in the previous month. However, a recheck in late May indicates that there were no subsequent updates during the next month. The next item serves as an introduction to the ISSN, and provides a wide variety of information, from basic explanations like "What are serial pub- lications" to "ISSN related standards" to a list of "uses for the ISSN" and a list of serial title word abbreviations. The bulk of the rest of the page is devoted to information about the ISSN network - maps and lists of the National Centres (with many of the listings including e-mail addresses), a list of the products of the ISSN Interna- tional Centre, and the latest statistics of the ISSN register. I applaud the Centre international de l'ISSN for designing this Web page and for making it available, but I find it somewhat disappointing at this point. Many of the items on the page seem to be little more than an online representation of readily available printed products rather than new pres- entations taking advantage of the capabilities of the WWW, and it is not organized in a fashion that highlights answers to frequently asked ques- tions. For example: I approached the page with the ISSN related question I am asked most frequently, which is "How do I get an ISSN for my publica- tion?" If the answer is on the web page, I couldn't locate it. The closest I can come is the vague statement that "Each user of the ISSN, each serial publisher, has the possibility of asking for the assignment of ISSN to publications which have not yet been registered by the network, by contact- ing to the National Centre concerned or the ISSN International Centre." Even this is buried two or three screens into the page. I would like to see this information clearly labeled on the first screen of the page, as it indeed is on the Australian ISSN page which includes a category on its first screen clearly labeled "How to Obtain and Use an ISSN." Selecting this option brings up basic information and then offers a link to an elec- tronic application form. After much digging I did find that for the US, this information is available on the Library of Congress Gopher at gopher://marvel.loc.gov:70/11/services/publishers/issn, but this link is only found under the US listing on the directory of ISSN agencies screen. It is unfortunate that basic information of this type is not prominently highlighted on the ISSN home page. Another frequent question is "Is the ISSN really unique?" Again, that question seems to be answered obliquely in the "genealogical tree of ISSN records," but not directly in the text. Finally, I mentioned earlier that the page is almost totally lacking in graphics, the main exception being a series of maps showing the countries with ISSN agencies. While the lack of images certainly speeds up the trans- mission time, it leaves this user feeling that something is missing. A few well-placed images would certainly liven up what is now a very dull presen- tation of factual information. For example, the section that provides a genealogical tree of ISSN records would provide a great opportunity for true graphics, including scanned copies of the covers of each iteration of the publication used for the example, but this was not done. Instead, the user is presented with a crude line drawing. The WWW offers superb oppor- tunities for the imaginative presentation of data, I hope that future im- provements to the ISSN home page will take advantage of those opportuni- ties.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 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), Christian Boissonnas (Cornell University), Jerry Curtis (Springer Verlag New York), Janet Fisher (MIT Press), Fred Friend (University College, London), Charles Hamaker (Louisi- ana State University), Daniel Jones (University of Texas Health Science Center), Michael Markwith (Swets North America), James Mouw (University of Chicago), and Heather Steele (Blackwell's Periodicals Division). The News- letter is available on the Internet, Blackwell's CONNECT, and Readmore's ROSS. EBSCO customers may receive the Newsletter in paper format. To subscribe to the newsletter send a message to LISTSERV@UNC.EDU saying SUBSCRIBE PRICES [YOUR NAME]. Be sure to send that message to the listserv- er 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 archived on the UNC-Chapel Hill World Wide Web site. For a complete file, telnet to: library.unc.edu; login as library; choose UNC Internet Library; choose Electronic Journals. For issues since March 1994, the url is: http://www.lib.unc.edu/prices/prices.html. Issues are also archived on the listserver. To get a list of available issues send a message to LISTSERV@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). +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++