In the last issue of the newsletter, an editorial bemoaned the practice of a number of publishers of providing subscribers a compact disc of the previous year's volume. The editor asked to be convinced that there is some value in this service. Here are the responses that have arrived since that issue.
>From Scott Wicks, Cornell University, email@example.com:
Cornell has decided to toss the freebies and notate on the renewal invoice that WE DO NOT WISH TO RECEIVE, FOR AN ADDITIONAL-YET-BUILT-IN- CHARGE, THE CD EDITIONS....-----
>From Elliott Lieb, Princeton University, lieb@math.Princeton.EDU:
You wrote: Again, I ask, Why? Convince me, please, that these discs have some value.-----
Here is something one can do with them. Send them to institutions in India or Vietnam or lots of other places that can't afford journals. This assumes they can afford readers, which is not exactly a trivial assumption.
>From Fred Friend, University College, London, firstname.lastname@example.org:
I hesitate to disagree with the Editor of the Newsletter (I may get thrown off the Editorial Board!) but I must say that I regard the supply of a CD-ROM as part of the subscription as being a good development. It gives our users a choice of format (paper or CD) in which to read the journal if we decide to keep both, and it gives the librarian a choice as to which should be the archive copy if only one can be kept. Because they take up less shelf-space it could be that the CD will be preferred as the archival copy. I agree that it would be better if the CD contained more than one year, and no doubt they will in due course. We shall have to make arrangements to re-copy CD's every 5 years or so, but that is part of the general problem of conserving electronic publications. As CD's are so cheap to produce I hope that they are not adding much to the subscription price. Finally I welcome the publishers' initiative in this respect because even if CD-ROM does not prove to be the best archival medium, at least the publishers are showing a willingness to experiment and find out the best way forward through experience.-----
>From Alain Henon, formerly University of California Press, email@example.com:
I fully concur in your anti-CD-ROM argument. I think a lot of (possibly naive) publishers and (probably naive) librarians have been trapped into using CD-ROMs as archival media without really understanding what they are really useful for. In effect, these people are using CD-ROMs as if they were microfilm rolls. And they ignore the fact that all the material included could simply be made accessible (for a fee if need be) on the net. It turns out that CD-ROMs are not very good for text storage (retrieving text over the net is just as easy, if not easier: you can do it on the beach, you do not need to have a CD-ROM drive, or an extra one if you are already using the first one for another disk, you do not need to catalog it, store it somewhere, etc.). It's not clear that CD-ROMs will be good for storing images either: it is getting easier by the day to do that over the net too. The argument that people do not have access to the net gets weaker by the minute. This weekend's newspaper talked about cheap machines ($500 or less) to be used strictly for "surfing" the net.-----
So what good are CD-ROMs? Well, right now, they are really good at providing people with interactive multimedia stuff: the Voyager Company kind of things. And guess what? That's just the next generation of what we used to call books! How long that will last is anyone's guess. I wouldn't buy stock in a CD-ROM drive manufacturer.
>From Peter Graham, Rutgers University Libraries, firstname.lastname@example.org:
I think the quick answer on the CD-ROMs arriving unasked is to make ad hoc decisions about them, and -- pace your offhand comment -- read the publisher information and invoices carefully, refusing to subscribe to or pay for the CDs when they are billed or proposed. Publishers are looking for a market; if it isn't there, they won't waste their time. Rhetoric doesn't count.
150.2 HISTORY OF EUROPEAN IDEAS, VOLUMES 22-23 (1996) ISSN
Brian Cox, Director of Journals Business, Elsevier Science, Ltd., Oxford, England
With regard to the copy of the press release from MIT Press which was published in_Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues No 148. I understand that MIT Press plan to publish a journal next year, The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, edited by Ezra and Sascha Talmor who are past editors of our journal, History of European Ideas. This in no way affects the future publication of History of European Ideas and to avoid any confusion I would like to confirm that Elsevier Science Ltd will continue to publish this journal as it has always done and that the first issues of the 1996 volumes are already in production.
Our journal is now edited by Professor John Burrow of Oxford University supported by an international editorial board.
Publishing details and subscription rates of our journal are given in our 1996 subscription price list. If I can provide any further information I would be glad to do so.
150.3 SETAC PRESS TO PUBLISH ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY AND
Diana S. Freeman, email@example.com.
The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) has established SETAC Press with the initial focus on publication of its international scientific journal, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ET&C).
ET&C has been published by Pergamon Press (now Elsevier Science Publishers) since its inception as a quarterly in 1982, going monthly in 1986. Founding Editor-in-Chief Professor C. H. (Herb) Ward, former Chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering at Rice University and currently Director of the Energy and Environmental Systems Institute, continues in that position. The move to society publication was made to ensure more flexibility in areas such as institutional pricing, advertising, special issues, distribution, and print volume. Going counter to recent trends in publishing, SETAC Press has lowered the institutional price to $525 for 1996 (2300+ pages) and, with anticipated income from advertising, hopes to continue publishing ET&C without substantial increases in the near future.
Through peer-reviewed research papers, short communications, and review articles, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry reports concepts and the results of experimental and analytical studies in the areas of environmental chemistry, environmental toxicology and hazard/risk assessment. Interdisciplinary in scope, the journal includes integrative studies involving components of classical toxicology; physiology; biology; microbiology; organic, environmental and analytical chemistry; anatomy; genetics; environmental engineering; geology; ecology; soil, water and atmospheric sciences; and economics. The first issue of each year is the Annual Review Issue, which focusses on a specific topic of concern to environmental professionals. Topics for future reviews include ecological risk assessment and tropical ecotoxicology.
Current subscribers have been notified of the change in publisher and price. Lapsed subscribers can receive a special price break for 1996 if renewals are received before the end of 1995. For subscription information please contact SETAC Press, 1010 N. 12th Avenue, Pensacola, Florida 32501-3370; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel. 904-469-1500; Fax 904-469-9778.
150.4 FROM THE MAILBOX
The mailbox is: email@example.com.
>From Peter Graham, Rutgers University Libraries (firstname.lastname@example.org):
In re 148.3, the AIP article by the consultant Philip Barnett, he says:-----
"Odlyzko also quotes a message from Paul Ginsparg who chides physics publishers that use their publishing activities to 'subsidize' their other activities. Subsidy is not a word that applies to the AIP. Since the AIP has basically no other source of income besides its journal sales, it needs this income to provide its services which are necessary to the physics community."It seems to me that Barnett is exactly defining subsidy here, rather than denying it. Perhaps he could be more explicit: but it seems to me that he is saying exactly what Ginsparg said, that the income from the journal is being used to "provide its services." Why is this not subsidy? This is not a small point, as Ginsparg's concern is well founded.
>From Steve Hitchcock, University of Southampton (S.Hitchcock@ecs.soton.ac.uk)
Many thanks for including our piece about the Open Journal project in the newsletter. It has been brought to my attention that at the very end of the item a costing figure for the UK eLib project has become garbled in the transmission. A figure which began as 15 million pounds sterling somehow appeared as L315 million. I don't suppose many people will believe the latter figure, but just in case there is any confusion, is this something you could discreetly correct in your next issue?
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