156.2 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS, Chuck Hamaker
156.3 FROM THE MAILBOX
Marcia Tuttle, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, email@example.com.
I need your advice! Lately I have been inundated with messages, announcements, press releases from publishers announcing their new electronic products: journals (or electronic versions of established print journals), new Web sites, new projects that make available many electronic journals from one or several publishers, and innovative partnerships in electronic publishing. If I used it all, I could probably send you a new issue every few days -- if I didn't have a full-time job.
However, much of this information is available elsewhere, such as on NEWJOUR (to subscribe, send a message saying "subscribe newjour" to firstname.lastname@example.org) or VPIEJ-L (tosubscribe, send a message to email@example.com saying subscribe vpiej-l [your name]). Those who need to know are likely already aware of these efforts. And, strictly speaking, such information falls outside the scope of this publication.
So, let's have another survey. I want this newsletter to give you the news you want. If it matters to you, please send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org, answering the following questions. If you want to just number them and say "yes" or "no," that's fine. If you just want to send a paragraph telling what you prefer, that's fine too. In a week or so I'll compile the results and let you know what the newsletter's policy will be.
Should the pricing newsletter include the following announcements? 1. New electronic journals 2. New electronic format for existing print journals 3. New World Wide Web sites containing full-text journals 4. Publishers'/vendors' multi-title online products 5. Partnerships among publishers/libraries/ universities/vendors offering more than one publisher's electronic journals 6. Enhancements to existing electronic products 7. Occasional special issues composed entirely of these announcements and press releases Thank you!
156.2 MODELS FOR THE FUTURE JOURNAL
Chuck Hamaker, Louisiana State University,email@example.com.
I've been doing a lot of listening and thinking lately about where we are going in this electronic environment. Where are academic, scholarly scientific journals headed, the titles that depend on institutional subscriptions for their existence and profitability? What is exciting about the present is that there is a lot of experimentation going on, developments and products that I learn about daily. But they seem to me to come down to three basic approaches. Others may have thought more, or are more involved in the experiments that are going on. And I hope that they will take the time to write and tell us what they see. But for whatever it might be worth, here's what I see for now.
Although some libraries or institutions or consortia still want to "own" or hold something, it doesn't make much sense for 108 ARL libraries plus all the specialized libraries to each and every one make the investment needed to maintain locally the 3,000 to 5,000 (or some portion) of the key journals. We don't need to reinvent the wheel in every academic or research library environment. But some will. Those with large resource bases will take it on. But even for them, possesing the digital or image base does not mean ownership in the traditional sense. More likely licensing agreements will determine the parameters of use. Who can use the stuff, who can access it, who can print it out or download it, how or under what circumstances it can be transmitted. Smaller journals may be able to take different paths, but for the institutional purpose, the future seems to be something other than the outright purchase of the paqt, without control, other than that mandated by physical location, over access to the information. The question is whether the institution will license a small slice or a large slice. What is the package?
Some publishers are pushing for package deals. Take it all, restrict it all by agreed upon guidelines. In this arrangement, even more so than with the subscriptions we live with now, the competition of USE that the marketplace has not permitted to be factored in, may mean the weak and useless continue to survive, while draining resources. But in ANY such package there SHOULD be mechanisms to measure use, to assess value beyond the theoretical concept of "goodness." Large publishers, I suspect, will try to arrange deals that protect the useless when they negotiate packages, will argue that the "value" of the product cannot be measured by use. Wherever institutions go with this argument, they will simply recreate the inefficiencies of the paper system, and should be prepared to pay very high prices that continue to escalate over time.
Another model that I see developing is selected packages, covering not necessarily a single publisher or group of publishers, but a gathering of titles, which in this environment necessarily means a grouping of "like" items. Wholesalers will develop in this model, bundling products for particular markets, much as UMI and EBSCO have done with their electronic products. The similarity may be subject based, or discipline based, or intended user based.And some middlemen may just develop gatekeeping and or storage and indexing functions.
Both of the above models DEMAND institutional support. Individuals will not have the resources for them.
With experience, even the negotiated deals may be forced to deal with individual and locational use patterns. But the package approach is primarily aimed at avoiding metering, just controlling access to the target audience, though some "barrier" fee may be needed to limit printing costs, time spent online, etc.
The third model seems to me to be based on unique value of either the individual pieces or individual titles. On the title basis, it will still probably be institutionally supported. But on the piece level it may well NOT be. And prices in the piece market will have to be kept reasonable, for individual access. Individuals may be metered by time spent (like online database searchs are now) or by actual use of individual segments. To make this market work, a lot more needs to be done in researching individual use and search patterns. Intuitive front ends, teasers, or enough information to get the "buy." A real entrepenurial approach will be needed. And this assumes of course that "controls" of some sort will be developed. Reed Elsevier has a company right now working on that aspect (see Folio's agreements with CCC). But even on the title level, because costs that are now associated with printing and mailing and claiming and paper marketing schemes should drop significantly, the INDIVIDUAL market COULD be reclaimed. With costs of CD's down around nothing for second copies, target markets for specialist titles, perhaps even bundled on a CD, could be developed. And costs for online transmittals are even lower.
I don't believe the package schemes will work for specialized journals. But specialized information packages crossing "traditional" publishing outputs could well be the wave of the future, as industries working in narrow fields need information in their specialities concentrated into efficient bundles. This is not, at the moment, what the traditonal specialized journal does.
Institutions will see the use levels, will not continue buying blind as we do in the paper environment. Expect content to get richer, not leaner, if packages are going to survive.
But the re-packagers and re-distributors could have a field day. They add nothing to the cost of the producer. And distribute FOR the producer at less than the cost of paper and print and mailing. We may see products develop that never have a "primary" distribution system, that are in fact created to cater to the middleman systems.
I am not suggesting in all this that all paper will disappear. For many, many titles, paper will still be the most economical means to distribute. But the high-cost items of today will be forced to migrate to survive.
So, what do you think? Let me know.
A new report that is a must read for anyone trying to understand online journals is "A Survey of STM Online Journals 1990-95: The Calm Before the Storm" by Steve Hitchcock, Leslie Carr and Wendy Hall of the Multimedia Research Group, University of Southhampton. It is located on the web, with links to the over one hundred scholarly journals it discusses, at http://journals.ecs.soton.ac.uk/survey/survey.html It is a valuable beginning point for thinking about the future.
156.3 FROM THE MAILBOX
The mailbox is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Dana Roth, Caltech, email@example.com:
In regards the 1997 subscription cost estimates, have the commercial publishers considered instituting author page charges as a means of minimizing the increases?
From Albert Henderson, _Publishing Research Quarterly_, firstname.lastname@example.org:
"The Economics of professional journal prices," by Michael A. Stoller et al in 57,1 of C&RL will be a great disappointment to anyone looking for reliable information. The authors ignore the central issue of circulation as well as the landmark studies by Donald W. King, Bernard Fry and Herbert S. White. I have written at length to the editors to express my concerns.
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