For some time I have thought of faculty as both the problem and the solution. Their tenure system explodes existing journals and spawns new journals. Many faculty are unaware of what libraries pay for journals. Most faculty think of electronic journals as inexpensive if not free. Ken Rouse is right on the money. Researchers and scholars who are the creators and consumers of information are going to have to take responsibility for the publishing process. I suspect that the change will not be proactive, but reactive. When publishers do to electronic what they have done to print journals, we will have an enraged and engaged faculty. After reading Ken's article, I believe that will happen sooner than I originally thought.
179.2 PRICING BY NON-PROFIT PUBLISHERS
Cass Glodek, Karmanos Cancer Institute, email@example.com
Ken Rouse's article in No. 177 is most perceptive and timely. He is to be commended for the fine analysis and far looking conclusions brought forward. As he aptly implies, we indeed are approaching a critical juncture in the serials crisis.
As an observation -- even at the cost of increasing, regrettably, the foreboding which the incessant price spiral creates -- it is my perception that the non-profit publishers after all these years of holding the price line may be set on finally following in the footsteps of the commercial publishers. Note the nearly 22% increase in the price of the Journal of Biological Chemistry for the 1997 subscription year and the even more drastic price increases from Annual Reviews.
It is not entirely dumbfounding to witness this happening however, when we consider that non-profit publishers have been quietly watching for many years the windfall gains that their counterparts so successfully obtain. Why not also share in this largesse and look to support one's association's objectives in this time of budgetary constraint. Given that such is in the cards, we might well expect to experience additional challenges to our already seriously compromised serials budgets. In the final run, it is my feeling that this matter will only be properly addressed in a national forum. It may be time to consider asking our Congressional representatives to look to examine the degree to which the industry is exercising monopolistic advantages in its pricing of scholarly publications.
179.3 THE SERIALS CRISIS, 1998 INSTALLMENT
Carol Hutchins, New York University, firstname.lastname@example.org edu
[Reprinted, with permission, from PAMnet.]
Last year my library committee and I conducted a rather thorough review of our entire list, in close to a zero-based method. The idea to proceed in this way came from a mathematician on the committee. He said, "Carol, you know all journals decline eventually from their initial quality." Another pithy quote from him, "The journals have become like old furniture."
We asked all faculty to list for us what each considered "the essential journals." Second question: what journals do we not have, that you would like to see? Third question: what journals are you aware of which have changed in quality in recent years?
There weren't many remarks on the last question, but there were some useful comments.
We developed a list of essential journals. Faculty did not take the opportunity to pump up the list. Then the committee and I added to the essentials list, ones that we personally felt should be considered "keepers." Then we had a VERY long list of proposed cancellations, asking people to tell us which to save from the axe.
We did not start with any dollar quota for cancellation. This process worked well. It was surprising to me how well.
The keyword to faculty was "restructure our list." We were able to add titles that people had been asking for, and they weren't asking for expensive ones.
I am not getting the level of financial support that this collection routinely enjoyed through the 1970s and 1980s. The way the budget is structured for me, I don't really have the complicated politics which can accompany main library administrative decisions. The Courant Institute (mathematicians & computer science people themselves) supplies the Courant Library's budget for books/journals. They have asked for extra support for the library from the university, but I know it is not the Institute's top priority in their overall request. Please notice this feature in relation to Ken Rouse's points in his Back to the Future section (Serials Prices Newsletter no. 177).
I will cancel more journals because I want to buy books that grad students obviously need. On the books front, I'm just setting aside (or trashing) most approval slips from Kluwer and from Marcel Dekker where these items are >$100. These titles are just not worth the price that's being charged.
On the matter of the IDEAL and Elsevier "deals." They don't sound like great deals to me. I don't like the idea of being stuck with supporting faltering startup journals from either of these outfits. Take for example, Applied and Computational Harmonic Analysis from AP. We have someone on its editorial board here, and he readily admitted that it had turned into more of a "wavelet" journal than he would've liked. It has a direct competitor for manuscripts in the form of a new journal with Fourier Analysis in its title. As my faculty member said, "There isn't room for two journals in this field."
Why should we be signing onto arrangements that further insulate publishers from "market" pressure? That word is in quotes because we all should realize we don't have a real market situation here.
179.4 ASTRONOMERS FIGHT FOR ELECTRONIC ACCESS
Ellen Bouton, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, email@example.com; Sarah Stevens-Rayburn, Space Telescope Science Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org; Uta Grothkopf, European Southern Observatory, email@example.com; Cathy Van Atta, National Optical Astronomy Observatories, firstname.lastname@example.org
[Reprinted, with permission, from PAMnet.]
It is with growing concern that we have followed the dialog on PAMnet and elsewhere about libraries considering and signing on to package-deal electronic journal access for Academic and Elsevier journals. As librarians in independent (non-university) astronomical research institutions, there are two issues raised by these access options that we would like to address: pricing options and interlibrary loan restrictions.
We are dismayed by the discriminatory pricing of Academic's IDEAL system, which is available only to large university libraries or consortia; the smaller independent institutions have no access to the reduced rates or the electronic versions. Academic states that a consortium should be large enough that the members collectively are subscribing to all AP journals. All of our libraries subscribe to Icarus, and some of us may also have several more Academic titles, but none of us has more than 4 titles. We cannot help but be reminded of the recent American Booksellers Association suit against several large commercial publishers charging unfair preferential pricing agreements between the publishers and large bookstore chains.
A further limitation of IDEAL is that, with the exception of two of the 175 Academic journals, Journal of Molecular Biology and Genomics, there is no access to the full text of any Academic journals outside of IDEAL. This means that even if we were allowed or could afford to sign up with IDEAL, we would have to support 171 journals of marginal or no interest, including assorted faltering or startup titles, in order to gain access to just a few. At the moment, we have little demand for the electronic versions of Icarus or the other few Academic journals to which we subscribe, none of which would be considered among the major core journals in our collections, but as researchers become more accustomed to electronic access of other journals demand might increase. If we do not have electronic access to the journals, however, we believe the end result will be to further marginalize Academic journals within our user community. It is also interesting to note that despite the fact that it is an official American Astronomical Society (AAS) publication, neither abstracts nor full text of Icarus are available through the Astrophysics Data System (ADS). Only 50% of the members of the AAS work at universities, which means a very significent number of them are at independent institutions who cannot access the electronic versions. If Icarus, for example, should go totally electronic but isn't available to our institutions and other independent observatories, who will want to publish in it? Perhaps the journal isn't important enough to Academic's bottom line, and they will not worry about its death.
The second concern we would like to address is limitation in licensing agreements on rights granted under copyright law and CONTU guidelines. License agreements frequently prohibit all interlibrary lending of digital materials, and we are worried at the frequency with which libraries are signing away their lending rights in these agreements.
At least in the US, interlibrary lending is routine, is expressly permitted under section 108 of the 1976 Copyright Act, and publishers have been generally satisfied that libraries comply with both the Copyright Act and the guidelines of the National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU). Interlibrary loan is an intrinsic part of library work, allowing librarians, following strict legal regulations and processes, to obtain materials for their patrons and to provide materials for patrons at other libraries. Existing interlibrary loan practices have not been a threat to publishers, and we see no reason to believe that libraries would act any differently or that publishers would suffer when electronic versions of journals are used for interlibrary loan. Libraries have been faithfully adhering to copyright law for many years and we believe it is unlikely that they will suddenly cease to do so. To suggest otherwise is to impugn the integrity of a profession that has always understood clearly the symbiotic nature of the publisher/library relationship.
A further concern is that specifically negotiated digital licenses with a publisher may in actuality mean that libraries are signing away any protection under the fair use provisions of the US Copyright Act or under the Berne Convention.
The registration form for the electronic Astrophysical Journal and Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series contains the type of specific provision allowing interlibrary loan that we believe publishers should incorporate into their license agreements:
Institutions may use hard or electronic copies derived directly or indirectly from the electronic edition of the publications for the purpose of inter-library loan with the same limitations that apply to paper copies for that purpose made from the print edition of the journals. Specifically, copies must be made in compliance with Section 108 of the Copyright Act of the U.S. and with guidelines developed by the National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU Guidelines), the text of which is available as part of U.S. Copyright Office Circular 21.
The Institutional User Agreement for the online versions of another publisher's journals, in its section of Prohibitions on Certain Uses, unfortunately prohibits interlibrary loan by stating that
Systematic downloading, service bureau redistribution services, printing for fee-for-service purposes and/or the making of print or electronic copies for transmission to non-subscribers or non-subscribing institutions (such as in interlibrary loan) are prohibited.
However, some of us, when reviewing the agreement, added a statement to that clause so that it now reads "...transmission to non-subscribers or non-subscribing institutions (such as in interlibrary loan) are prohibited except in accordance with current US Copyright laws and CONTU guidelines." The publisher has in all cases granted access to the electronic journals upon receipt of the modified licenses, so we must assume that they have accepted the agreements as modified.
If publishers are unwilling to allow such modification of their license agreements, particularly when dealing with large library systems and consortia, we can envision a future in which the larger libraries are unable to participate in interlibrary loan, and the only source for filling traditional ILL requests will be the smaller, specialized libraries at independent institutions -- libraries which have either negotiated a modified license agreement or do not have access to the electronic versions of journals. Such a scenario has disturbing implications for the ability of librarians to provide their users with research materials not held in the local library. Interlibrary cooperation will be thrown into chaos: librarians will be burdened with having to know the specifics of each title/publisher's license before filling a request for an in-house user or a requesting library. Ultimately, researchers will be the victims, and quality service, not to say quality science, could easily become a relic of the pre-electronic age. The dream that the internet would provide equal access for all researchers will turn into the nightmare of limited access, of service available only to those who fit into a narrowly defined consortial box, and of publishers rather than scientists and librarians controlling access to information.
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.
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The Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues (ISSN: 1046-3410) is published by the editor through Academic and Networking Technology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as news is available. Editor: Marcia Tuttle, Internet: email@example.com; 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), Isabel Czech (Institute for Scientific Information), 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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