The purchase of multiple electronic versions of print journals impacts all divisions of an academic library. Collection Development must find the money to pay for several electronic subscriptions at a time when print serial cancellations are common. Technical Services must catalog duplicate electronic journals, sometimes in separate records. Public Services is responsible for explaining how to access any electronic journal and why one version might be more useful than another. Although some libraries may actively choose to subscribe to more than one version, it is often the case that this duplication is the inadvertent result of title overlap between aggregators. Use of other models to distribute electronic journals could avoid this confusion and expense.
This essay discusses as a case study the benefits and costs of maintaining multiple electronic versions of Science. It is now possible for a library to pay for four different electronic versions of Science. Different electronic versions are available from Ovid, UMI's Proquest Direct, WilsonWeb and finally, the official version available directly from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the publisher of Science. Libraries could save time and get more value for their electronic journal subscription budget if the publishers of electronic journals and the producers of databases would work together to link to each other's resources rather than producing several electronic versions of print titles.
There are good reasons to have more than one electronic version of Science. Those available through full text databases such as UMI's Proquest Direct can be useful because they are part of a certain universe of information. It is very convenient to search a topic and have many different full text resources linked to the results with citations from other publications indexed by the database. Since Science is such an important and widely read journal, it is properly included in these general interest databases. However, the content available through these databases is not the same as the definitive electronic editions and this leads to a variety of problems. The official online edition of Science, Science Online, is only available from the AAAS.
When there are articles that are in Science Online but not in the print version, general full text databases do not contain them. Science Online does. It is also more timely, each issue available the day it is published, which is important with a weekly scientific publication of this stature.
While many librarians are aware of the difference between the two versions, it is difficult to explain to patrons and sometimes even more difficult for patrons to figure out themselves. Many libraries subscribe to several versions of other popular journals and magazines, such as the New York Times and the Lancet. This problem is likely to increase as more publishers produce their own electronic versions of their print journals.
Theoretically, the library catalog reflects the variety of versions of an electronic journal available. Cornell has invested cataloging time and effort into putting all the journals available in Proquest Direct into its library catalog. This investment may not be possible for every full text database or for every library. It means librarians and patrons have to guess which database has which journal or create and update title lists, a time consuming activity. Science Online, because of its content difference from the print journal Science, already requires its own catalog record. Even under the best conditions, figuring out which versions of an electronic journal are held by a library may not be easy.
From a collection development perspective, duplicate versions become increasingly difficult to justify. When libraries are canceling unique print subscriptions, it may seem illogical to subscribe to more than one electronic version. While it's easy to justify a library's having access to Science Online as well as Proquest Direct despite the high cost, it may be at the expense of a more specialized journal. While few would dispute the necessity of publishers trying to maintain a static revenue stream, in the case of Science it is at the library's expense. Many people in a university paid for Science when it was print only. Also, because Science Online provides no archival access, the library must maintain a print version. The total cost of Science is very high.
For the moment, libraries will probably continue to subscribe to such databases as Proquest precisely because they provide full text journals not otherwise available. However, this feature of full text databases will be less important as more electronic journals become available individually from the publishers. A cooperative or open linking arrangement or standard would benefit publishers, database vendors, librarians and patrons of academic libraries. It would ensure a more powerful and flexible resource from database vendors, resulting in a potentially cheaper product, accessible to more libraries who would already have subscribed to full text journals. There would be one version of an electronic journal, accessible from several angles. This cooperative linking arrangement would simplify matters for library patrons, reduce cataloging time and expense, add value to electronic journals, and help justify their sometimes exorbitant prices.
It might work on this model: each aggregator or database that wishes to provide full text could link to the official electronic version of each journal. The database producer could either control the library's subscription to the full text journal (e.g., systems offered by journal vendors), or merely link to the articles and the library would be responsible for subscribing to the journal. Database vendors would no longer have to scan journals themselves or purchase the data from the publishers, but could concentrate on indexing more journals or creating databases with more features.
Currently database vendors perform a service that publishers are not interested in or prepared to do, by scanning journals. In the future, more publishers will produce electronic rather than print journals and will not need database vendors to do this work. If database vendors continue to scan journals for publishers, they can still utilize an open linking standard. While advertising competitors' products on their systems may seem illogical, integrating other electronic journals into the product would be a welcome feature for most libraries. Academic electronic journal subscriptions are expensive, and it is important for libraries to maximize their budgets. Libraries need products that take advantage of the investments they have already made in electronic journals, not products that require them to spend more money on duplicate subscriptions.
A good example of this strategy is the PubMed system available from the National Institutes of Health. Here we see a great example of an integrated digital library for a specific subject. The database producer has provided links to the full text of journals from different providers. Currently, the journals linked to PubMed are published or distributed by Academic Press and High Wire Press. While Ovid, UMI, and Wilson accomplish this within their own databases and systems, they do not yet link to outside resources. It is also not yet possible to link from an Ovid database to a UMI journal, or vice versa. An open linking system would make it possible to link to any electronic journal from any database regardless of publisher.
The current distribution methods of electronic journals need to give way to more orderly and rational processes. Producing duplicate, but mostly identical versions of electronic journals may currently be the easiest way for database companies to provide content, but it is also too expensive for both the vendor and the purchaser to sustain. It also may backfire on the publisher of the journal. As in the case of Science, the publisher may decide to produce its own electronic edition of a journal and need to justify why librarians should purchase it when they already have bought a subscription through a full-text database. Purchasing duplicate subscriptions to electronic journals is a waste of a library's catalogers' time and of budgetary funds. Finally, explaining all the different versions and how to get them to patrons is time consuming and confusing. If an open linking standard were developed, patrons could access electronic journals both from databases and directly on a title basis, and the two interfaces would require no extra payments or work from library staff. An open standard would enable publishers, vendors, and libraries to take advantage of financial and technological investments in electronic journals to create user-friendly products for patrons.
222.2 LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES AND SPARC
Jennifer Cargill, Dean of Libraries, LSU, email@example.com
The Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues has run some exchanges between Stephen Bensman from LSU and others concerning SPARC. Mr. Bensman does not speak for LSU and does not work in collection development at LSU.
LSU Libraries joined SPARC as a founding member and LSU has been supportive of SPARC and its efforts. We applaud the efforts of Rick Johnson and others as we all seek new avenues for scholarly communication. It is critical for the research community -- both the libraries and the researchers -- to continue to work on this issue.
Louisiana and LSU are both in the midst of many opportunities and education is receiving positive attention. We are pleased for LSU Libraries to be a part of the opportunities to address scholarly publication issues with which we are all wrestling.
222.3 RESEARCH STUDY OF LEARNED JOURNAL AUTHORS
Press release from The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT AUTHORS WANT: the ALPSP research study on the motivations and concerns of contributors to learned journals
The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers has recently carried out a large-scale survey of contributors to learned journals. The aim was to discover what motivated researchers to publish in journals, and how they decided where to publish, as well as their concerns about the current system, and what changes they wanted or expected to see in the future.
With the help of many publishers, questionnaires were sent to approximately 11,500 contributors to learned journals published in the UK, the USA and elsewhere. The titles were selected to give a comprehensive spread of subjects, and the recipients were chosen to give a representative worldwide geographical coverage. With a response rate of nearly 30%, the results provide a substantial body of evidence of what the authors of research articles really think and want.
Authors are continuing to publish in learned journals primarily to communicate their findings and advance their careers. Direct financial reward is not an important issue. Their main aim is to reach the widest possible audience, with the quality of peer review and the impact factor of the journal the main factors of importance in achieving their overall publishing objectives. In deciding where to submit their work, the perceived reputation of the journal, its impact factor, subject area, international reach and coverage by abstracting and indexing services are extremely important.
Offprints continue to be the main way in which authors disseminate their findings after publication, though 84% also claim to announce their results at conferences pre-publication.
Copyright does not appear to be an area of major concern at the moment, though a significant number of authors think that copyright should be retained by the author rather than being relinquished to the publisher. Around 30% of authors express dissatisfaction with the peer review system, primarily because of the delays incurred in the process. Publication delays in general are a source of concern, especially because of the anxiety that someone else will publish the work first.
More than half of authors agree that the purpose of scholarly publishing is changing and increased electronic publishing activities are looked forward to in the future by a large body of authors.
Publication: May 1999
ALPSP members: First copy L50/A350/$100, second and subsequent copies L25/A325/$50, inclusive of postage and packing
Non-members: First copy L100/A3100/$200, second and subsequent copies L75/A375/$150, inclusive of postage and packing
Orders to: John Morris, South House, The Street, Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3UU, UK
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 Networks at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as news is available. Editor: Marcia Tuttle, Internet: email@example.com; Telephone: 919 929-3513; Fax: 919 960-0847. Editorial Board: Keith Courtney (Taylor and Francis Ltd), Fred Friend (University College, London), Birdie MacLennan (University of Vermont), Michael Markwith (Swets Subscription Services, Inc.), James Mouw (University of Chicago), Heather Steele (Blackwell's Periodicals Division), David Stern (Yale University), and Scott Wicks (Cornell University).
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.