From Arly Allen:
John Cox, a man whose wisdom and erudition I greatly respect, made a statement in newsletter 163 which is challenging: "Journals are, and always have been, published primarily for library usage." I realize that John is accurately representing the situation for commercial publishers. But I wonder if there is not a different attitude among society publishers.
I do not have at hand the first issue of the _Transactions of the Royal Philosophical Society_ (1666). But as I recall, the editor, Henry Oldenberg, spoke of creating it due to the desirability of providing for a more regular method of communication among the members of the Society. I have been told, by those more learned than I, that prior to the creation of the _Transactions_ (the oldest continuously published journal in the world), it was the custom of the Secretaries of the Society either to read aloud papers received or to copy and circulate them as hand-written correspondence to the members. Since in 1666 the members were widely scattered (due to the return of the Black Death and the Great Fire of London 1665-1666) and since correspondence came from many parts of the world, the task had become rather difficult for Oldenberg. Hence the resort to type and printing.
John is certainly correct that libraries have been a main source of revenue for journal publishers in recent times. However, I believe many society publishers would argue that the library market is not the primary reason for publishing. Their primary reason for publishing remains, as it was for Oldenberg, to communicate with their members. While many society publishers do receive substantial income from the libraries, for others, the income is marginal. The real value of the library for society publishers is to serve as a recognized archive for the journal.
Now, of course, things are changing. Progressive libraries seem to be turning their mission from ownership to access. They do not wish to own the journals, they simply wish to have access to them. In such a situation the archiving function may devolve on the publishers.
As this attitude becomes more widespread, libraries may become irrelevant to society publishers. If societies take over the archiving function, and if they continue to send their publications directly to their members, it may happen that the society becomes the only source for the information they produce. The only function the library would serve for the society publisher would be as a pointer to the society as a source of information.
Or, to look at it from another angle, librarians may become the competitors of society publishers. Librarians may find their role becoming that of a secondary document delivery provider. They may become resellers of content from the journals in competition with the original publisher.
We do not yet know enough to understand the consequences of the radical change that is affecting our industry. What works for the commercial publishers may not work for the society publishers. And while the former may find their reason for being, in the libraries, the latter may find that libraries, in this new era, threaten their very existence. Just recently, for example, one very astute society publisher was heard to say that he may not ever sell electronic versions of his publications to libraries.
Certainly we are at an interesting point when some publishers will only
sell their journals to libraries and not to individuals and others only
sell to individuals and not to libraries. At any rate, it makes us
realize that journal publishers are not all alike. And I wonder too, if
John didn't get it backwards. Journals were first created for individual
readers and later for libraries.
From Jamie Cameron:
It is getting much more difficult to generalise on these issues, from the point of view of behaviour, economics and technology. All areas are behaving more and more differently -- subjects, institutions, ages of end users, refereed journals, review journals, secondary services, etc., etc. Journals exist essentially for two reasons; first, as you say, academics and authors to get credit, assessment, etc.; second, information -- access to recorded results of research and development.
Currently the bulk of revenue for journal publishers still comes from institutions, though access to this material by individual/end users is growing much faster proportionately. Does anyone have any figures on this? Most publishers are very much aware of the increased access, and the big problem is to make it profitable, particularly in view of the significant investment required, from the point of view of both cash costs and overheads, in this new area. Again it is very difficult to generalise how "value" is perceived -- different parts of the market value different products differently. So there is a fair amount of sucking to do!
166.2 FROM THE MAILBOX
The mailbox is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Laurent Guillope, Universite de Nantes, email@example.com- nantes.fr:
Thanks for your nice quotation in the last NSPI Issue. Although it has not been checked systematically, the http logs show some active consultation (through altavista, lycos,...) of various issues of the NSPI: its contributions deserve great interest. It is a strong encouragement (if necessary...) to the continuation of your editorial work: long life to NSPI!
However, there is a slight misinformation: I am working at the University of Nantes (professor in the Math Department), but the server is in Grenoble: it is maintained by the MathDoc Cell (in fact Monique Marchand) which is hosted by the University of Grenoble (the Cell has support also by the Ministry of Research and the CNRS). Despite the distance (about 600km), I am working for the MathDoc Cell (half-time as vice-director). See the server www-mathdoc for more information on aims, staff, realizations of this Cell if you want (mainly in french of course!).
So, it would be good to correct in the disclaimer of the next issues.
[This has been done. -mt]
From Peter Graham, Rutgers University, firstname.lastname@example.org:
Marcia, the French version of the nspi archiving is vastly preferable! I intend to use it instead of the Sunsite, especially since when going there I find missing issues: so far 1994 102-106 return not available, 100, 101 don't seem to be listed anywhere. You're probably aware of all this.
One thing that's impressive is to see the range of what you've done for 7 years -- it goes by fast, no?
[Yes, Peter, I'm aware of all this! No. 20 is also missing. To update, we are slowly replacing the ascii versions of each issue with one marked up in html. It's the middle years that are still in ascii.
The years have gone by fast. Original members of the editorial board
will remember that we thought the newsletter's life (and the serials
pricing crisis) would be so short that we decided not to number the
issues - and not to get an ISSN. After about six months, Julia Blixrud
at NSDP "invited" us to apply for the ISSN! -mt]
From Janet Fisher, MIT Press, email@example.com:
How are librarians reacting to some of the new pricing models for electronic versions of print products? Are some particularly good? Are some particularly bad? How are librarians reacting to the efforts by some to make all-or-nothing deals? What effect are these products having on collections decisions around print? Does money for these products come out of the serials budget, or somewhere else?
Seems like we could get a lively discussion about this going...
From David Fisher, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, David_Fisher@UCSDLIBRARY.ucsd.edu:
Peter Brueggeman, the Library Director at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, has created a web site to publicize to the SIO Library community his experience with spiraling journal costs. You're invited to check it out. Comments are welcome.
From Rob Barnard, Swets Subscription Service, firstname.lastname@example.org:
In the same way as last year Swets is checking the publishers prices for 1997. The latest edition of our Serials Price Increase report on the increases of 1997 prices over 1996 is now on our home page:
From Al Henderson, Editor, PUBLISHING RESEARCH QUARTERLY, email@example.com:
The final report on Elsevier's TULIP is published with many valuable observations worth study. There is little about prices but some interesting analyses of library costs. Check with Elsevier for a copy of the 368 page report or look it up on their web site.
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 Academic Technology and Networking 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: 919 962-8047; 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.
To subscribe to the newsletter send a message to LISTPROC@UNC.EDU saying SUBSCRIBE PRICES [YOUR NAME]. Be sure to send that message to the listserver and not to Prices. You must include your name. To unsubscribe (no name required in message), you must send the message from the e-mail address by which you are subscribed. If you have problems, please contact the editor.
Back issues of the Newsletter are archived on 2 World Wide Web sites. At
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