151.2 _RADIATION RESEARCH_: ONE JOURNAL'S EXPERIENCE WITH TRYING TO CONTROL COSTS WHILE MAINTAINING QUALITY, R.J.M. Fry and Martha Edington
From Alan D. Hogan, University of Toledo, FAC0024@UOFT01.UTOLEDO.EDU:
Two correspondents commented on the archival nature of journals issued on CD-ROM. CD-ROM's are anti-archival. They are known to delaminate, become easily unreadable with scratches, and are dependent upon a technology which is advancing rapidly and likely to render current disks unusable in a decade or so.
From Dan Lester, Boise State University, ALILESTE@idbsu.idbsu.edu:
No one seems to have caught one possible use of the CDROMs. They can be circulated. I'm assuming that almost no libraries circulate copies of bound journals. Patrons get to drop their dimes or copycards into machines and get copies. Now they can take the CDROM home, or to a lab, and read and/or print what they want.
I'm well aware of the argument that lots of people don't have CDROM drives. True enough, but rapidly changing. The vast majority of computers being sold this month have CDROM drives, and that can only increase until it is an absolute minimum for a PC. Also, many of the journals with the CDROMs are technical and/or scientific, and those journal users are among the most likely to have access to the technology.
What amazes me is that some publishers aren't charging extra, as the CDROM make copying or "stealing" much simpler and less expensive.
From Michael Slade, Michael_Slade@wb.xerox.com:
I've found the recent comments about CD-ROM versions of journals to be both amusing and scary.
[I am very, very, much on the sidelines on this issue. I have a very, very, very, long range and actually invisible relationship with a scientific journal that has had a constantly improving CD-ROM version out for several years now.]
The comments are amusing because the librarians who have commented don't seem to have a clue about electronic journals that are rapidly evolving and starting to replace their hardcopy equivalents.
All of this is going on as the publishers feel they are being forced into going electronic -- whether on-line or distributed (i.e. CD-ROM) -- before their hardcopy subscriptions disappear! I have heard that regardless of price changes, the journals are seeing subscription renewals from libraries decreasing at a rate of 3-9% per year!
At the same time the publishers don't have a good business case for making a profit from their new electronic enterprises!
Scary for all the above reasons - the librarians (at least those who have commented so far) don't seem to have really looked into the quality of the CD-ROM products while the publishers are knocking themselves out to figure out what their current and future subscribers want in an electronic product!
I would have thought that people on the serials distribution list would have been more hep to what is happening but that doesn't seem to be true!
From my perspective (on the sidelines as I am currently involved in the development of inkjet printer drivers) I would think that people on this distribution list would be intimately involved in, and knowledgeable about, the changeover from hardcopy to electronic journals.
151.2 _RADIATION RESEARCH_: ONE JOURNAL'S EXPERIENCE WITH TRYING TO CONTROL COSTS WHILE MAINTAINING QUALITY
R. J. M. Fry, Editor-in-Chief; Martha Edington, Managing Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As the editors of a small-circulation journal that is owned by a scientific society, we read with interest the article by Philip Barnett on the pricing policy of the American Institute of Physics (148.3). We would like to share our own experiences in trying to control costs and increases in subscription rates while trying to maintain quality and meet the needs of our readers.
_Radiation Research_, which is published monthly, is owned by the Radiation Research Society, a non-profit organization. In 1993, the Society made the decision to move to a new publisher, a decision that was not made lightly. The reasons for the move included the need to have more control over both publication costs and subscription rates. The choice of Kluge Carden Jennings (KCJ) of Charlottesville, VA, a newcomer in the field of scientific publishing, was made because of both the attractiveness of their financial proposal -- a monthly fee for publication services plus production costs, with annual adjustments tied to the rate of inflation -- and their impressive knowledge and use of the ever-changing technologies in both print and electronic publication. One of the Society's first actions after making the decision to move was to keep subscription rates for 1994 the same as those for 1993. The same decision was made for 1995.
For 1996, it has been necessary to increase the rates by approximately 5% to $588 for institutions in the U.S. and Canada and $680 for institutions in other countries. Postal rates increased in 1995, and the cost of paper has risen as well and is likely to continue to do so throughout 1996. New institutional subscribers can also purchase a complete set of 1995 issues for $365 and $420, respectively.
One of the great advantages of working with KCJ is that we receive monthly statements which itemize the costs of publication. We work closely with the staff at KCJ to find ways to reduce costs and are able to make changes quickly once we are in agreement about what needs to be done. We are committed to keeping costs down and to passing on those savings to our subscribers.
We have also seen a significant improvement in the time to publication with KCJ. Authors, subscribers and readers have all benefited from the improvement. Because we transfer papers between the journal office and KCJ electronically, we are able to add papers which are timely and important up to the time the journal goes on press. In addition, most subscribers receive the journal within the first week of each month, and the staff at KCJ conduct a follow-up delivery accuracy check every month to ensure that timely delivery occurs. All requests for replacement copies and any problems with subscriptions are handled promptly, pleasantly and efficiently.
With KCJ, we are exploring the many new opportunities for transmitting information electronically to find ways to serve both authors and readers better. We now post the tables of contents of each issue to several mailing lists and newsgroups; mini-abstracts have been added at the request of some of the recipients. We considered producing the journal on CD-ROM, but found that, while the Society's members thought it was a great idea, most librarians echoed the sentiments Marcia Tuttle expressed in a previous newsletter (149.1) and were not interested. We looked carefully at the many ways in which we could design a Web site, and we and KCJ have established a site that includes the journal's tables of contents with mini-abstracts, information about meetings, opportunities to communicate with the journal office by e-mail, and an ever-growing number of links to databases, information on funding resources and graduate programs, and other sites of interest to those in the radiation sciences. No full-text articles will be posted at this time. The decision has been made to allow free access to the site (http://www.kcj.com/radres/).
Small-circulation journals are an easy target for cancellation when librarians are faced with even a 10% increase in the cost of a multi-part journal that costs several thousand dollars per year. By their very nature, their constituency is smaller, and they may fail the test of "importance" if figures for circulation or short-term audits of use are the basis for making decisions about renewing subscriptions. However, they fill an important need for both authors and readers.
We feel (albeit with some bias) that _Radiation Research_ is a good value for both libraries and readers. All our efforts to reduce costs and control subscription rates are balanced by the realization that content is important as well. We take great care to ensure that the papers that are published are as good as possible through both peer review and communication with authors after papers are accepted to improve the clarity and accuracy of the data presented, and to set priorities so that good papers can be published without delay, even if our annual costs are increased because of the number of pages we publish.
If we are to make the right decisions for the future, we need the help of our subscribers. We welcome any comments or suggestions either through this newsletter or by e-mail (email@example.com) or fax (423 576-4149).
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 University 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 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 (Louisiana 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 Newsletter is available on the Internet, Blackwell's CONNECT, and Readmore's ROSS. EBSCO customers may receive the Newsletter in paper format.
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