144.2 SOUTH AFRICAN RESPONSE TO ELSEVIER LETTER TO LIBRARIANS, Dianne Man
144.3 CANADIAN RESPONSE TO ELSEVIER LETTER TO LIBRARIANS, Brenda Hurst
144.4 BRITISH RESPONSE TO ELSEVIER LETTER TO LIBRARIANS, Fred Friend
144.5 US RESPONSE TO ELSEVIER LETTER TO LIBRARIANS, Jim Mouw
144.6 CHAIRMAN OF MCB UNIVERSITY PRESS RESPONDS TO BARBARA VIA, Dr. Keith Howard
144.7 THE PROBLEM WITH ENDOCRINE, Aline Soules and Siegfried Ruschin
Daniel H. Jones, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, firstname.lastname@example.org
While we don't have all 1996 prices we do have them for some of our titles and the increases are alarming. The following is a comparison of 1995 and 1996 prices for journals of major European publishers received by the Bris- coe Library of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Anton- io. I think it shows that using a publisher's announced "average price in- crease" and vendors' price projections have their limitations. I would say this is a medium size academic health science library, but our budget probably will not be able to absorb this level of increase, and even at this late date I am preparing for a substantial cancellation project. I am particularly disturbed that most of these European publishers set their prices in US dollars, rather than the currency of the publication, and with the strengthening of the dollar they will probably realize a windfall on their 1996 subscriptions. Publisher # titles $1995 $1996 % increase Elsevier (US) 24 30,359 35,332 16.3% Elsevier (Netherlands) 32 73,247 91,610 25.0% Elsevier (Ireland) 26 28,035 36,315 29.5% Elsevier/Pergamon (UK) 53 57,417 68,705 19.6% Karger (Basel) 36 21,003 24,900 18.5% Kluwer (Netherlands) 16 9248 11263 21.7% Munksgaard (Denmark) 29 10,332 12,284 18.8% Oxford Univ Pr (UK) 20 8,290 8,900 7.3% Scandinavian Univ Pr (Sweden) 14 3,376 3,883 15.0% Springer-Verlag (Berlin) 35 44,345 55,155 24.3% TOTAL: 285 285,652 348,347 21.9%
144.2 SOUTH AFRICAN RESPONSE TO ELSEVIER LETTER TO LIBRARIANS
Dianne Leong Man, University of the Witwatersrand, email@example.com.
Mr. Herman Spruijt's letter should more appropriately have been headed "Letter to US Librarians," because there was certainly nothing in it for librarians in other parts of the world - nothing financially, but plenty in anger and frustration. While I sympathise with the US librarians, there are many countries that experience such currency fluctuations on an ongoing basis. We have never to my knowledge received any consideration from pub- lishers such as Elsevier, nor did we expect to do so as Elsevier is after all an international company and could not be expected to consider its customers on an individual, ethnic, racial, geographic or national basis. Yet here we have Elsevier meting out differential (dare I say preferen- tial?) treatment to US libraries with a special 5% discount. Here at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa our price in- crease for the Elsevier titles quoted in Mr. Spruit's letter was 22% for 1995, and is expected to be 17% for 1996. As far as currency fluctuations go, the South African Rand has depreciated by 33% against the Dutch Guilder over the past five years. I am sure that other countries have similar hor- ror stories. On 12 September I sent an e-mail message to Mr. Spruijt asking him to show evenhandedness and fair play towards ALL Elsevier customers by extending the special discount to them, but have not yet received a response. Maybe Mr. Spruijt feels the rest of us do not matter as much? Or maybe he is still thinking about it ...
144.3 CANADIAN RESPONSE TO ELSEVIER LETTER TO LIBRARIANS
Brenda Hurst, Director, Information Resource Management, CISTI, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have seen very large increases not only with Elsevier but also Gordon & Breach and Springer Verlag. In fact Springer has been the most dramatic with increases up to 40% over last year. These three publishers are signifi- cant to us in Canada as they all publish internationally but insist on Canadians paying their U.S. dollar price. I have mentioned this at numerous conferences. It doesn't please Canadians to be considered as part of the United States, as desirable as that may seem to many. Think what this does to us though. We have a double whammy with a change from a Dutch guilder or British pound or German mark to United States dol- lar and then a change from our very weak Canadian dollar into U.S. curren- cy. Do other non U.S. countries have to pay U.S. dollar prices? Because I have not yet seen invoices from other publishers including U.S. ones, it is difficult to single out any publisher. However I have predicted a disastrous year and I do not now know how we will survive or what strate- gies we will adopt in the future.
144.4 BRITISH RESPONSE TO ELSEVIER LETTER TO LIBRARIANS
Fred Friend, University College London, email@example.com.
I have every sympathy for US librarians faced with the 23.9% increase in price announced by Elsevier Science. However this increase is justified I can imagine that (justifiably) it will lead to an angry response and more cancellations. This situation does not help anybody: users, librarians or publishers. I know we have debated before how to overcome our vulnerability to exchange rate fluctuation. (I say "our" because of course UK libraries have been hit in previous years when sterling has been low.) For the facul- ty members who publish and who read, the fact that they work in an interna- tional environment is an advantage in their research, but when it comes to buying publications the international environment seems to work against us. The challenge I would put down to Elsevier and to the other big companies is to think how they can make their international position work for us rather than against us. For example why does any journal have to be pub- lished in one country alone? Why cannot virtually the same text be pub- lished by different branches of the same company and priced in the currency which gives the most favourable exchange rate in the country of purchase? I am sure it is not as simple as that but only the bankers gain from the present situation. Some lateral thinking, please, publishers!
144.5 US RESPONSE TO ELSEVIER LETTER TO LIBRARIANS
Jim Mouw, University of Chicago, firstname.lastname@example.org.
>From Publishers Weekly, August 21, 1995 REED REPORTS STRONG RESULTS I quote: Reed Elsevier announced a strong set of interim results for the six months to June 1995, with pretax profit up 18% to L370 million [that's pounds]. Aren't hurting yet, are they??
144.6 CHAIRMAN OF MCB UNIVERSITY PRESS RESPONDS TO BARBARA VIA
Dr. Keith Howard, Chairman, MCB University Press, forwarded by Ania Kaminska, email@example.com.
I was interested to see Barbara Via's comment in Issue 143 of NOSPI con- cerning MCB's acquisition of the journals _The Bottom Line_ and _Collection Building_. It is gratifying to find evidence that a change of publisher for a particular journal is noticed by our new customers as it shows that the messages we send concerning the future improvements in the title are actu- ally received. Ms Via need not be concerned that this acquisition will lead inevitably to price levels similar to those of our journals _Library Review_ and _Library Management_. These are mature, fully-refereed, international journals which have been developed and improved over many years and now carry a host of features such as integral CD-ROM archives covering the last seven years of publication with full text available on disc to allow for maximum exploita- tion of the articles which the journals contain. They also include access to dedicated Internet Conferences which serve as a practical introduction to the realities of this new communication medium. _Collection Building_ and _The Bottom Line_ in contrast are young, regional titles which will need considerable development and investment over the coming years to maximise their potential. Price levels for those journals will be consistent with the progress we make in introducing valuable new features to them. For 1995 the prices of these two journals will be $89 and $99 respectively. Evidence of MCB's pricing strategy with regard to titles it has acquired in North America can be found in titles such as _The Total Quality Review_ where considerable improvement in both content and presentation have been achieved at modest price levels. Thank you for this opportunity to put forward MCB's position with regard to these two journals which I hope our many librarian subscribers in North America will continue to enjoy for a considerable period of time.
144.7 THE PROBLEM WITH ENDOCRINE
Aline Soules, Kresge Business Administration Library, University of Michigan Business School, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Siegfried Ruschin, email@example.com.
>From Aline Soules:
It's very interesting to see an old ploy used in a new sphere. This is basically "vanity" publishing as it has long existed in the creative writ- ing world, poetry in particular. In that case, the publisher places an ad in a reputable journal such as _Writer's Digest_ or _Poets & Writers_ that there is a contest or a search for new, original poetry. After the submis- sion has been "accepted" (and, of course, none is rejected), the author is informed and offered "congratulations." If the author then wishes a copy of the book to share with friends, etc., the author can submit $40 or $90 or whatever to have a copy of the book. New authors are frequently suckered in by this, but only for a short while. In the poetry world, rejection is a constant and new writers often fall for this. Needless to say, if the auth- or does not submit the $ amount, the poem never appears. This sounds like a very similar situation. Would this faculty member's work have been accepted through a journal that did not operate in this manner? Probably not. Is this a form of vanity publishing? I expect so. A hard lesson in these competitive days of publish or perish. And while there certainly need to be explorations of new paradigms for publishing, I doubt this method should be one of them. As for what Librarians do, if I knew a journal was operating in that man- ner, I would NEVER subscribe.
>From Siegfried Ruschin, who describes himself as "A retired librarian whose curiosity in publishers' ancient ploys and librarians' peculiar reactions has only slightly dimmed":
Jeanette Buckingham's outcry of wounded sensibility (142.2) must have evoked sad nostalgia in older readers of this newsletter. I can well sym- pathize with her outrage at what she sees almost as attempted blackmail, but what the publisher may consider legitimate and effective marketing. Her recent experience may be an unusual and extreme example. But how did we come to the present juncture, if not for the early unawareness and partly self-inflicted powerlessness of librarians, while some publishers quickly and accurately recognized that true leverage was to be found in the per- ceived self-interest of university faculty? Approaches have usually not been as crude as in this case; but more subtle ones have long proven effec- tive and successful, from our point of view distressingly so.
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