Blackwell Ltd and Swets & Zeitlinger BV announce an agreement of their formal intention to combine Swets Subscription Service and Blackwell's Information Services, the two subscription agency services.
Subject to the completion of satisfactory arrangements currently under discussion, the creation of the new organisation will be concluded later this year. The integration of the services and systems will be undertaken over the next 24 months. The Head Office of the joint venture will be located in The Netherlands.
Swets and Blackwell's are two of the leading global subscription agents and information service companies, providing innovative services in the area of print and electronic publications to many thousands of libraries and scholars around the world.
Journals publishing and distribution are undergoing fundamental changes as a result of the impact of the Internet and electronic networks. The merger agreement is a result of a recognition by the two companies that their combined skills and expertise will place the new organisation in a unique position to meet the evolving needs of customers and publishers in the new millennium. Both companies have a long history of serving libraries worldwide and strong track records in developing services that assist customers in the challenges that have faced them in recent years. The joint venture will result therefore in a company with a leading global position in the area of information and subscription services and one strongly equipped as a major partner both for libraries and publishers.
It is also recognised that their business philosophies have a strong similarity, placing a high regard on personal and responsive service combined with an innovative approach to meeting library needs. Both companies employ staff who are highly experienced and professional, ensuring that the customer service capabilities of the new organisation will be second to none. Staff of both companies have been informed of the development and will be consulted regularly throughout the transition period.
Swets and Blackwell's individually have leading positions in a number of different geographic markets. The merger of the two companies will allow the new organisation to bring an extended range of services to libraries all round the world. The sharing of experience and resources in service and product development, and the expertise in responding to new purchasing trends such as library consortia, will result in significant benefits for the companies' customers.
Pieter Rustenburg, Chairman of the Board of Swets & Zeitlinger BV, stated "We are delighted with the prospect of being able to work with Blackwell's in future as a partner rather than as a competitor. Over the years we have held Blackwell's in the highest regard, aware of the very significant reputation and tradition they have in the library community. The opportunity now for our two companies to bring together the unique strengths and services of our organisations for the good of our customers is very exciting."
He continued: "The reputation of both our companies has been built on excellent customer service delivered by dedicated and professional staff. Employee satisfaction drives customer satisfaction. That philosophy will be high on our agenda for the new partnership, where we shall continue to aim for the highest calibre of staff. Our intention is to retain as many existing people as possible in current or similar roles."
Anthony Thompson, Group Chief Executive of Blackwell Ltd, said: "The combination of Swets Subscription Services and Blackwell's Information Services is a logical strategic move. Swets has an excellent reputation and we are pleased to be joining forces with such a quality company to deliver the best service for our customers.
"It is important to recognise that this business operates on wafer thin margins and that the cost of doing business via electronic as well as paper journal subscriptions has grown rapidly in the last 2-3 years. To have a sustainable business size and scale are becoming increasingly important. In a competitive global market we have now brought the necessary resources together to meet the growing needs of our customers worldwide."
He continued: "Our key focus now is to ensure that all staff affected by this announcement are treated with respect and fairness during what will inevitably be a period of uncertainty and change. I am confident that the transition will be properly managed and will therefore be successful. Ultimately what will really make the difference is the quality and calibre of staff that will form the new organisation. I am confident that together Blackwell's and Swets will be an unbeatable market leader."
For the time being, it will be 'business as usual.' The two companies will continue to provide services to their respective customers and all renewals of subscriptions for 2000 (for customers and to publishers) will be undertaken separately by Swets and Blackwell's. Customers should continue to liaise with their existing contacts at the companies. The integration of systems and services will be phased in during 2000 and 2001 to ensure an efficient transition to the new arrangements. Customers and publishers will be kept informed of developments.
For further information please contact:
Blackwell's Information Services
+44 1 865 262 556
Bart de Gans
Swets & Zeitlinger BV
228.2 ELSEVIER PRICING POLICY WELCOMED
Fred Friend, Director Scholarly Communication, University College London, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Elsevier press release on their journal pricing policy is to be welcomed. We shall have to see how far below 10% the price increases prove to be -- 7.5% for 2000 is still above general inflation in all the countries in which Elsevier publish -- but at least this statement is a recognition that the old double-figure price rises cannot continue. On the currency exchange situation, Elsevier are at last starting to use their international position to overcome the effect of poor exchange rates. I cannot resist reminding "Newsletter" readers of issue no. 144, dated September 1995, in which there were several responses from librarians in different countries to a previous Elsevier letter on this problem. This was part of my comment then:
The challenge I would put down to Elsevier and to the other big companies is to think how they can make their international position work for us rather than against us. For example, why does any journal have to be published in one country alone? Why cannot virtually the same text be published by different branches of the same company and priced in the currency which gives the most favourable exchange rate in the country of purchase? I am sure that it is not as simple as that but only the bankers gain from the present situation. Some lateral thinking, please, publishers!
Nearly four years on there has been some re-thinking of the exchange rate problem, if not some lateral thinking, and that is to be welcomed.
228.3 PUBLIC-PRIVATE COLLABORATION DEVELOPS BIOONE
Press Release dated June 21, 1999 from Association of Research Libraries
Public-Private Collaboration Develops BioOne, Providing Online, Full-text Access to Aggregated Database of Bioscience Research Journals
Web-based Forum Provides Unique, Cost-Effective Access to Cross-Linked Scientific Publications Previously Available Only in Print
Washington, DC - A public-private collaboration of five organizations, including the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), the Big 12 Plus Libraries Consortium, the University of Kansas and Allen Press, announced today the development of BioOne. BioOne is an electronic aggregation of the full texts of dozens of leading research journals in the biological, ecological and environmental sciences.
BioOne will provide Internet access, for the first time, to a common database of leading journals in their fields -- at prices and under usage terms sensitive to the interests of both society publishers and institutional subscribers. The project will be launched with a broad selection of the journals and bulletins published by the 55 AIBS member societies. Back issues are expected to be included. Additional publishers and journals will be added over time. Ultimately, the BioOne aggregation could include nearly 200 science titles, including those from non-AIBS members.
Despite their significance in their respective fields, few of the AIBS-affiliated journals are currently available electronically. Online access to an aggregated database of these publications represents a major advancement in information dissemination for critical fields of scholarship and research. The Internet delivery system will provide state-of-the-art functionality based on an archival SGML database and will offer cross-journal searches and inter-journal linking from references.
"Without BioOne, few of these publications would have the opportunity to meet the electronic marketplace's demands while maintaining independence in today's fast-changing environment," said Rick Johnson, SPARC Enterprise Director. "BioOne allows a group of undercapitalized scientific societies a low-risk means of moving decisively into electronic dissemination of research, while expanding their service to science."
"The Big 12 Plus believes that scholarly societies can help provide high-impact, lower cost alternatives to commercially published journals, and BioOne is the kind of solution research libraries are looking for," said Adrian Alexander, Executive Director of the Big 12 Plus Libraries Consortium.
"The University of Kansas' role as a center for learning and scholarship translates into our active technical support for and commitment to BioOne," said Marilu Goodyear, Vice Chancellor for Information Services at the University of Kansas. Robert Kidd, Director of Development at Allen Press, noted that "BioOne is a natural extension of Allen Press' close work with scientific societies, and we are committed to helping these journals stay viable and competitive on the Web."
BioOne is scheduled for beta release in early 2001 and expects to be operational soon thereafter. Its financing model will enable libraries and societies to fashion a mutually beneficial relationship in which customers have an opportunity to influence service features and moderate the pricing of information resources.
Each of the collaborating organizations has been deeply involved in various aspects of the scientific communications process. AIBS, publisher of the journal BioScience, is a federation of scientific societies that facilitates the exchange and dissemination of scientific information among its members and with the public at large. SPARC is a coalition of libraries that promotes and facilitates expanded competition in the scientific journals market. The Big 12 Plus Libraries Consortium represents 23 major research libraries with common objectives related to scholarly communications. The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university committed to research as a means of mutually reinforcing the scholarly inquiry underlying and informing the educational experience. Allen Press is one of the nation's leading producers of scientific, academic and medical journals and has been providing its clients with SGML-based Web delivery of journals since 1997.
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 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).
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