It has been two months to the day since Newsletter 186 appeared, but I haven't been wasting my time! As promised, I did retire from my serials position at UNC-Chapel Hill on July 1, so I am doing the newsletter from home (as I did before we got personal computers at the library, way back in the beginning!). To work successfully from home, of course I had to get a new computer. Then, I had to change Internet service providers. Finally, things are working pretty well and I can send out some of the backlogged messages about serials pricing. And no, the closets are not all clean and none of the windows has been washed...
187.2 THREE-TIERED JOURNAL COST MODEL
David Stern, Yale University, firstname.lastname@example.org
[Received July 11, 1997.]
As part of a broader discussion at a recent Special Libraries Association "Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics Division Vendor Update" session, I presented a three-tiered journal cost model. It attempts to provide a price model that accomplishes two objectives:
(1) preserving some stable base for quality journal publications during this transition period from paper to electronic delivery, and
(2) providing a system for fiscal accountability through purchasing customized packages of scientific [non-trade] products in relation to identified (and over time further refined) local and/or consortial needs.
I have briefly discussed this model with a number of publishers, including Elsevier, Academic Press, Springer ... most think it might be worth considering, assuming we can create the required Permissions, Validation, and Tracking software.
I would be interested in further thoughts about this model from readers.
One possible approach for creating a fiscally accountable annual electronic journal-pricing model might include the following three-tiered approach:
(1) subscriptions for unlimited access to a selection of often-used journal titles,
(2) flat-fee purchasing of a pre-selected number of articles from a previously identified list of less frequently used journal titles [with the ability to add additional blocks of accesses when necessary], and
(3) transactional (commercial pay-per-view) delivery for infrequently used journals.
This approach provides some degree of security for publishers of high quality material, provides accountability for purchasing [and supporting] only the best of lesser-used materials, and provides little subsidizing of [locally] unnecessary or lower quality information.
This approach could also be used by consortia of both users (i.e. subject-based collectors) and producers (i.e. subject clusters of primary material publishers) for coordinated purchasing packages.
The required validation and tracking mechanisms could be built into either the individual full-text servers or the federated gateways (e.g., Blackwell Periodicals' NAVIGATOR) as we work toward developing the new Open Standards seamless information search and retrieval systems.
187.3 WHICH ARE THE MOST EXPENSIVE SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS?
David Fisher, University of California, San Diego, email@example.com
[Received July 21, 1997.]
The Library Director at Scripps Institution of Oceanography sent the following
letter to his constituents at the institution. With his permission I'm
submitting this letter for appreciation and comment by a broader audience. He's
identified the issues with clarity and brilliance and posed some challenging
questions. I'm hoping his ideas will promote some publisher response.
From: Peter Brueggeman, SIO Library Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Regarding: Which are the most expensive scientific journals?
People regularly ask me which are the most expensive scientific journals at SIO Library. One measure of journal value is cost per page: library subscription cost divided by the number of pages published in one year. Simple comparison of cost alone is insufficient since a $1000 journal may publish four times as many pages as a $500 journal and thus be a "better" value.
For example, Tetrahedron cost SIO Library $7,474 for 1996 and its cost-per-page is $0.49. Journal of Comparative Physiology. Sensory, Neural, & Behavioral Physiology cost SIO Library $3,636 for 1996 and its cost-per-page is $2.13. An order of magnitude difference: the more expensive journal is the "better" value.
Of course if less notable research is published inexpensively, then it isn't really a "better" value, is it? To see the disparity of cost among scientific journals costing SIO Library over $500/year (journals costing less are too numerous), see
The cost per page for SIO Library's journals over $500 ranges from $0.03/page to $7.68/page. Generally, society and university publishers have a lower cost per page than commercial publishers do. Why do scientific journals range in cost so widely? Several factors affect institutional (library) subscription rates including total number of subscribers, additional revenue received from author page charges and personal subscriptions, quality of paper, the number and quality of illustrations, strength of dollar if title is published outside US, operational overhead, presence of translated articles, and profit margin. Even so, such a large range in cost per page leads one to wonder: What is a reasonable price to charge for a scientific journal and when does it become unreasonable?
This analysis is part of SIO Library's larger analysis on the crisis in scientific journal publishing; see
Electronic journals promise no relief since their financial model encompasses annual price increases similar to those of print journals. Scientific journal publishing is ingrained with an annual price increase structure that is not provided for library collections at UCSD.
187.4 ELECTRONIC JOURNALS: THE VIEW FROM GERMANY
Monika Cremer, Universitat Goettingen, email@example.com
[Received June 26, 1997.]
I followed the discussion in your newsletter during the past months and see the same problems, which we have with the same publishers in Germany. I know that a library consortium in Northrhine-Westfalia plans/discusses a solution with Elsevier and the conditions look like those that Ken Rouse explained. How can libraries freeze standing orders for such a long period? In Germany this normally is not possible, due to the diminishing budgets. We will certainly have long discussions with publishers, if they do not change their mind. When we may find some day a solution, there rests another question. The library will receive the actual volume as online version and make this available to its patrons. Why should the library continue to have besides this each item during the year still in paper form? Apart from interlibrary lending this is not necessary. It could be sufficient to have the bound paper volume at the end of the year from the publisher. All the time administration needs for the single items could be saved, postage and handling, too. Could you discuss this question in your newsletter? Thank you so much!
187.5 A CAPITAL IDEA: ELECTRONIC SERIALS FROM ACQUISITION TO ACCESS
Beverley Geer, Trinity University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Following on the highly successful program, "At Issue: Dimensions of Seriality in an Electronic World," recently presented at the American Library Association conference, the ALCTS Serials Section is proud to announce the following institute:
Presented by the Serials Section of
The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services
a division of the American Library Association
Cosponsored by PALINET and The CAPCON Library Network
The institute is designed for librarians from all types and sizes of libraries with an interest in electronic serials and a desire to learn how to balance the practical concerns of implementation with the blue-sky on the horizon. Specialized small group discussions will focus on acquisitions/collection development, cataloging/standards, and access/training.
Mary Beth Clack, Serial Records Team Leader, Staff Development Officer, Harvard College Library
Denise M. Davis, Reference Collection Specialist, Howard County (MD) Library
Laura Farwell, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Erik Jul, Manager, Market Analysis & Special Projects, OCLC
Ronald L. Larsen, Assistant Director, Information Technology Office, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
James Neal, Director, Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University
Pamela Simpson, Serials & Electronic Resources Cataloging Librarian, Pennsylvania State University
Dan Tonkery, President & Chief Operating Officer, Subscription Group, Dawson Information Services Group
Beth Weston, Serials Librarian, Gelman Library, George Washington University
Fees and Registration
Registration fees are $195 for ALCTS personal members, PALINET and CAPCON members, $245 for ALA personal members, and $295 for non-ALA members. Registrations will be accepted in order of receipt for up to the maximum of 100 people, and must be received, faxed, or telephoned by September 11, 1997.
ATTENTION PALINET MEMBERS ONLY: To take advantage of the special $195 rate, you must register directly with PALINET and charge the fee to your PALINET account.
CAPCON members must register directly with ALCTS and will not use their deposit account. Cancellations will be accepted only until September 11, 1997 (subject to a $25 processing fee). Refunds will be processed after October 1, 1997. ALCTS reserves the right to cancel the institute if there is insufficient registration or for other reasons. Neither ALA nor any of its divisions is responsible for cancellation charges assessed by airlines or travel agencies, or other losses incurred due to cancellation of the institute.
A complete brochure and registration form are available on the ALCTS gopher at gopher://gopher.ala.org or http://www.ala.org/alcts.html. Or call Yvonne McLean at 800-545-2433, extension 5032.
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: 215 Flemington Road, Chapel Hill NC 27514- 5637; Telephone: 919 929-3513. 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 Subscription Services), 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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