I was very interested in Andrew Shroyer's description (NSPI 188.2) of the process he and his colleagues went through at the University of West Florida to determine what psychology journals might be available on the Web. His findings are very similar to my investigation on the feasibility of replacing print biomedical serials with electronic. Too many hospital administrators have cavalierly cut the library's budget or eliminated the library entirely on the theory that "it's all free on the Internet." This attitude is also pervasive in corporations and in academe. William Miller's excellent article, "The Troubling Myths About On-Line Information," in the August 1, 1997 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education ("Point of View" on the back cover) describes the problems this presents for librarians.
In March 1997, I gave a presentation at the Georgia Health Sciences Library Association on the issues involved in replacing print biomedical journals with electronic formats. To prepare for the presentation, I examined the Web sites for 75 serial titles I consider to be essential for a hospital library. I used a variety of well-recognized core lists as well as EBSCO's "Top 100" biomedical titles list as the selection criteria for my sample.
Of these 75 sample titles, only five had complete text on the Web. Hospitals & Health Networks had full text for free with no restrictions. At the time of my original study, Annals of Thoracic Surgery was on the Web in full text as trial, but as of August 1997, there is no mention of a trial period, and full text is completely accessible with no registration or subscription required. Cancer required a print subscription in order to access the electronic, although the free trial period, registration required, has been extended to August 31, 1997. HealthSTAR (the online equivalent of Hospital and Health Administration Index) is now available for searching at no charge on the National Library of Medicine's Grateful Med website. CINAHL (the online equivalent of Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) is of course available electronically, but certainly not for free! I included these two indexes on my list as serials, although they are not "journals" by definition.
Of the other titles, 22 had Tables of Contents (TOCS) and abstracts for about the past year. Eleven of these had selected full text (usually, the main article or two in each issue). Ten had TOCs only, and 31 have no content at all -- just information on subscribing to the print subscription. Many non-librarians in the health care field believe that if a journal has a Web site that means the complete full text is up for free. Upon thorough investigation at individual websites, which few librarians have the time to pursue, we can see that this is not the case.
I've also researched titles indexed in Index Medicus(TM) and found that out of 3,141 current titles indexed, 80 titles have full text electronic editions. Of those titles, 64 require a print subscription in order to have access to the online version, and only three are available exclusively online. Matching the electronic edition to the print title is particularly difficult. In most cases the electronic editions have discrete International Standard Serial Numbers (ISSN) from the print, and it is the print that indexing and abstracting services index. In some cases, the online and print editions are not identical in content. Journal of Molecular Biology is one of the more interesting because its online "mate" does not have the same title (JMB Online) much less the same ISSN.
I did not include full text journals available through aggregated packages in my research, as these packages do not allow subscriptions to individual titles. For some aggregated packages there may also be a critical time delay between the print issue and the availability of the electronic version.
In my opinion, part of the reason medicine is moving more slowly with electronic publishing than some other fields is that 1) the issue of peer review in medicine is extremely critical (faulty and/or poor research in this area can mean the difference in life and death) and 2) medical publishing is dominated (at almost 75 percent in my sample) by commercial publishers who have not quite figured out how to preserve their revenue streams in the electronic arena.
Online journals are rapidly changing how libraries, publishers, and vendors do business, but for medical libraries in 1997, it is not yet feasible to replace print journal subscriptions with electronic. Electronic journals will indeed provide ready, universal access. By eliminating the need for many individual print subscriptions, electronic journals may be most cost effective for the subscribing organization as a whole. But it does not appear that electronic journals will save libraries any money in the long run.
189.2 FUNDAMENTALS OF ACQUISITIONS TELECONFERENCE
Ann O'Neill, University of South Carolina, email@example.com
This is a call for facilitators and viewing site information.
The 1998 Fundamentals of Acquisitions Institute, sponsored by the Acquisitions Section of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) and the College of Library and Information Science, University of South Carolina, will be offered as a six-hour satellite teleconference on March 13, 1998. The teleconference will cover the basics of acquiring books and serials for all types of libraries.
The Planning Committee seeks volunteers to serve as discussion facilitators at the viewing sites during the teleconference.
The committee also needs information to help in the selection of downlink/viewing sites for the institute.
Please refer to the FOA homepage at http://www.libsci.sc.edu (click on FOA Teleconference) or http://www.ala.org/alcts/now/foa.html for further details about the Institute, volunteering to be a facilitator, and viewing site and downlink requirements.
189.3 WHICH ARE THE MOST EXPENSIVE SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS?
Albert Henderson, Publishing Research Quarterly, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Fisher asks WHICH ARE THE MOST EXPENSIVE SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS? quoting a letter to academic faculty written by Peter Brueggeman, Library Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
The short answer is that the most expensive scientific journals are the ones that we should have read. Western Reserve dean Jesse Shera had an example of a Soviet math paper that could have saved $250,000 if U.S. researchers had been aware of it.
I read through the USCD library web site with considerable interest, finding that it goes far beyond the rhetorical question above. It confirms much of Rob Kirby's (184.4) complaints about UC Berkeley focused on the math library. One gets the impression that the quality of UC libraries generally is sinking into the sea. The issue is really budgets and whether the productivity of research has anything to do with financial support of library collections. Will the administration listen to the faculty or will they keep balancing their books on the backs of libraries and library users? Will Federal sponsorship of research ultimately distrust research proposals that originate in universities that have cannibalized their library resources?
I missed from the various projections of e-journals the high costs of storage. Wooden shelves won't work. Charles Lowry and Denise Troll (Serials Librarian 28:143-169) indicate that digital storage and access will cost 16 times as much as print over a 10 year period. Then there are the costs of obsolescence and of shifting of paper/printing costs from the publishers to the library or the user.
The user (and user's sponsor) represents a huge gap in the equation of cost. Government studies summarized by King, McDonald and Roderer (Scientific Journals in the United States, 1981) indicated that two thirds of the costs of the journal system was borne by the reader. Subscription expenditures by libraries ran around five percent. The long-term trend of inconveniencing and shifting costs to readers can only hurt the productivity of research. The other part of what's missing is an explanation of why the library share of university expenditures dwindles; where does the library money go?
I would think that the UC administration owes its faculty and library staff an explanation of how they allocate resources to the library and to other cost centers.
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 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 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
UNC-Chapel Hill the url is: http://www.lib.unc.edu/prices/. At Grenoble the url is: http://www-mathdoc.ujf-grenoble.fr/NSPI/NSPI.html.