154.2 1997 BLACKWELL'S JOURNALS PRICING FORECAST, Rollo Turner
154.3 CANCELLATIONS AND PRICING DECISIONS, David Salt
154.4 1997 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE PROJECTIONS, Fred Friend
Chuck Hamaker, Louisiana State University, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our cancellation in 1993 was draconian. It was not popularly supported, but was an absolute necessity. We were over budget by close to half a million dollars. However, we do still have substantial in-house collections. Probably 8,500 current paid serial subscriptions support about 1,300 faculty 5,300 grad and 21,000 undergrads. We are not a no-serials collection...However, the economics of purchasing journals when what we actually use are a small percentage of the articles, just don't work anymore. Even in the most heavily requested journal from UnCover, _Sensors and Actuators_ part A (an Elsevier title) we ordered 100 articles in 1994-95, from about 4 years of the title. The subscription price for 1994 was $1,300 and thats what we paid for the hundred articles. The CAPITAL costs to supply that demand for that one title would be, I would guess, over $5,000. One of the real concerns I have in all this is that publishers haven't figured out yet that what they publish is for the most part only minimally of interest to only a few people (and often just one person) on even the largest of campuses, and that for even their electronic products to be viable, they are going to have to do marketing on a scale they have never had to face before. One indication of how little they understand this is the almost blanket refusal to permit abstracts their articles contain to be included in indexing services. Or, they want to charge for them. Those abstracts are the best selling tool they have for the individual article. Other than that, they have to wait for the commercial abstracting services to do the job of promoting THEIR literature. Or for some kind of tidal wave of citations in other articles. Strange.
In our most recent serials review, we asked faculty to consider whether they needed titles in-house exactly for the type of use you mention, and for things like color plates, etc. when assessing the need for hands-on subscriptions vs. access via TOC and document delivery. EVEN with those guidelines, and even after the large cut of 1993, we still came up with 300 titles in the sciences that we are currently subscribing too that ARE NOT NEEDED IN-HOUSE for individual faculty use. So, I have to conclude that a great deal of what we buy, we are buying for reasons other than the type of use you are describing. We are buying them (and have been buying them) for the "great collections" idea. Personally I do not believe LSU has ANY responsibility to act as an archive for Elsevier or Pergamon journals, no matter what the field. There ARE titles I DO worry about archival or collection building responsibilities, but those behemoths are not it. There are Elesevier and Pergamon and George Thieme, etc. titles that ARE critical to have in-house. From our experience, the browsing use can be considered and the model still works.
There are of course individual faculty who don't like not having that title they check once a year, easily at hand. And they don't care that the only use it gets in effect has a base cost of $3,500 or more.
Under the model we are adopting (slowly but surely) the LESS expensive titles make more sense to have in-house, while the more expensive the title the less likely it is that use will justify purchase. If enough libraries adopt this model, you might actually see a GROWTH in the number of serial titles and subscriptions in libraries. Think about it.
The large expensive titles have been squeezing out the less expensive titles, and now we have hard data showing that COST does not justify cutting those smaller titles, that buying the pieces we need is more reasonable than buying the whole thing. In my ideal world this would mean we could all start buying the other individual pieces (the books, maps, CD ROMS, etc.) that we know we need. Start collecting the foreign literatures many of us are neglecting, get back to the job of creating timeless collections, specialized services, identifying specifically what needs other than finding money for next year's serials increases, we can legitimately meet. Get back to some of the joy in librarianship!
LSU is still building great collections and in addition is providing, thanks to tools like UnCover, INCREASED access to the various literatures. Overall, I think we are doing a better job than when we had 12,000 paid subscriptions. With additional in-house availability of things like Lexis/Nexis, UMI's periodical database (via VISTA), the searching power of CD-ROM and front end mounted Wilson indexes, with things like _Science Citation Index_ on our LAN, I believe we are providing MORE in-depth access to MORE of the literatures our faculty and grad students are concerned about than has ever before been possible. We are actually helping publishers make their products MORE valuable, not less. Now if I could just figure out a way to make an ARL statistic out of that.....
154.2 1997 BLACKWELL'S JOURNALS PRICING FORECAST
Rollo Turner, Blackwell Periodicals, email@example.com.
The following figures show expected increases in journal pricing. It is based on publishers anticipation of how their basic costs will change over the next year, general economic conditions affecting the market and anticipated currency fluctuations. Blackwell's will revise these figures during the course of the year to provide increasingly accurate predictions for journal pricing.
UK EUROPE USA General Inflation 3.00% 2.00% 3.00% (inc. production costs)* Cancellations 3.00% 4.50% 3.50% Pagination increases 4.50% 6.00% 4.00% OVERALL 10.50% 12.50% 10.50% * Production costs include despatch and packaging. Most publishers seem to agree that production costs will rise by very little more than the cost of inflation and are unlikely to affect the overall price calculation significantly.
The majority of electronic journals are likely to be either free with the paper subscription or made available with the paper subscription at an additional fee, typically of the order of 10 to 20%. The number of electronic journals where access is priced independently of the paper subscriptions is expected to be small in 1997 but will grow thereafter.
Libraries in: Price rise USA 10.5 - 12.5 % UK 11.0 - 13.0% EUROPE 10.0 - 12.0% AUSTRALIA 10.5 - 12.5% CANADA 11.5 - 13.5%
154.3 CANCELLATIONS AND PRICING DECISIONS
David Salt, University of Saskatchewan, David.Salt@usask.ca.
Do the recurring references to publishers' including a factor to compensate for continuing cancellations in their pricing decisions strike others as being as ludicrous as they do me?
Statements to this effect have been included in prognostications on pricing for the last few years, without any comment as far as I can recall.
Can anyone enlighten me as to what tenet of orthodox economics the principle displayed here refers? As I recall, the usual response from producers to falling sales is to maintain or reduce the selling price, and attempt to make every effort to reduce their costs, or, perhaps better still from our point of view, to cease production.
Or is this yet one more illustration of the "Alice in Wonderland" world of scholarly communication?
154.4 1997 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE PROJECTIONS
Fred Friend, University College, London, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The contributions from Daniel Jones and Teri Harrison in NS 153 are very interesting and need to be read together. I agree with Daniel Jones that the story of journal price increases has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We have become acclimatized to the high price rises. Publishers who would not dream of paying 10% more to their suppliers think that they are being very reasonable in limiting their own price rises to 10%. Librarians who would not dream of building 10% more into their budgets year on year for staffing costs do so, albeit grudgingly, for journals. HOWEVER, the sign that this self-fulfilling prophecy is reaching its own apocalyptic moment lies in Teri Harrison's figures about the proportion of the 1997 increase due to cancellations. If 4.5% of a 10% price increase is due to cancellations, that will lead to further cancellations, and maybe the 4.5% will be 9% in 1998 and so on until - as I suspect we are close to - many journals are no longer viable. Is that a bad development for libraries? Where will our faculty members publish? Will electronic publication a la Los Alamos be an adequate substitute?
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