234.1 ACADEMIC LIBRARIES IN THE NETHERLANDS ACCEPT PRICE INCREASES
Press release from UKB, dated August 3, 1999. Submitted by Sanford G. Thatcher, Director, Penn State University Press, email@example.com
The academic libraries in the Netherlands, associated in UKB (all University Libraries, the Royal Library, and the library of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) have decided to adopt a common policy with regard to publishers who in their view announce unreasonable price increases for scholarly journals. They will adopt a joint standpoint towards price increases announced by publishers and advise member libraries with respect to the continuation of subscriptions. They will endeavour to stimulate development of a similar policy in other countries, where many library associations (so-called consortia) exist which are confronted by the same problems.
The academic libraries hope and expect that they will be supported by the scientific community, which will fare just as poorly from cut-backs in the information supply in libraries. There is every reason to expect such support, since the scientific community cooperates free of charge in the production of many scholarly journals.
Libraries all over the world have for years been confronted with very large price increases of scientific publications, particularly scholarly journals. This is because the supply of scientific information is controlled by the publishers, who are increasingly concentrating business in large multinational companies. The scholarly journal has in recent decades become the most important medium for scientists throughout the world. As a result of price increases, however, libraries are having to cancel more and more subscriptions, since their budgets are not rising sufficiently. Hence their very task is being threatened. This is not in the interests of the development of science or of the scientific information supply: larger publishing houses are pushing the smaller ones out of the market and the supply of information to scientists dependent on libraries is becoming poorer. The supply of digital information (e.g. electronic journals) is also suffering on the same account: libraries are unable to pay the price.
The main lines of action of libraries are to be:
The setting up of a platform from which the individual libraries can get advice on the continuation or cancellation of journals from given publishers and from which activities of individual libraries can be coordinated. This platform can also act as a partner for consultation with publishers who want to attune their policy to the possibilities and needs of their customers. The libraries are not set on confrontation with the publishers, who in the opinion of libraries fulfil an important role in the dissemination of scientific knowledge.
The broadcasting of their viewpoint and their policy to fellow institutions in other countries, in the hope that they will take similar steps with regard to their relations with publishers.
The broadcasting and explanation of their policy to individual scientists and their professional societies and groups. In this way scientists may be persuaded not to cooperate on publications of publishers whose price policy is not in the interests of science.
In order to initiate and coordinate these activities the secretariat of UKB will be reinforced. The measures announced will take effect as from the next renewal period; continuation of subscriptions for the year 2000 must be decided on by 1st October.
More information (and a more extensive text on the policy and position of Dutch (academic) libraries) is available from:
C/o Library of the University of Amsterdam
Tel. (++ 31 20) 525.2308
Dutch and English versions of the UKB Policy Statement are available via Internet: URL: http://www.uba.uva.nl/nl/projecten/ts- prijzen-ukb/beleidsnotitie.html; URL: http://www.uba.uva.nl/en/projects/journals-pricing-ukb/policy.html
Contact person for UKB is N. Verhagen, librarian of the University of Amsterdam.
234.2 ELECTRONIC JOURNALS: A SELECTED RESOURCE GUIDE: NOW UPDATED
Katharina Klemperer, on behalf of Harrassowitz, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Electronic Journals; A Selected Resource Guide" has just been revised and updated on the HARRASSOWITZ website. This guide is an overview and summary of issues relating to electronic journals, covering such topics as the history of e-journals, technical standards, legal and business issues, scholarly publishing issues, preservation, and archiving. Each section of the Guide consists of an introductory discussion and a selected, annotated bibliography of resources, most of which are available on the WWW. In addition, there are pointers for maintaining current awareness in this area.
The revised version includes 28 new sites and articles, and a new section called "The Cutting Edge."
HARRASSOWITZ is committed to maintaining this resource guide, and relevant new resources and discussion topics will be added regularly.
The resource guide can be viewed at
234.3 LICENSINGMODELS.COM: MODEL STANDARD LICENSES FOR ACADEMIC,
PUBLIC AND CORPORATE LIBRARIES
John Cox, John Cox Associates, John.E.Cox@btinternet.com
A suite of generic standard licenses for electronic journals is now available on a new web site: www.licensingmodels.com
What makes these model licenses different is that they have been sponsored by and developed in close cooperation with five major subscription agents: Blackwell, Dawson, EBSCO, Harrassowitz and Swets. Each of these companies has traditionally sought to rationalize and ease the process of ordering journals. They provide bibliographic and management services to libraries, and an effective distribution channel for 20,000 publishers world-wide who publish for the library market. The negotiation and management of licenses for electronic information is a natural expansion of this long-established activity.
There are four model licenses, for single academic institutions, for academic consortia, for public libraries, and for corporate, government and other research libraries. They are international in application and are the result of consultation in which librarians, publishers and subscription agents have been actively involved. Their development has been undertaken by John Cox Associates, an international publishing consultancy specializing in licensing and content management.
The process of developing licenses is evolutionary. The starting point was the UK's PA/JISC model license, the first to be developed jointly by publishers and librarians, from the Publishers Association and the Joint Information Systems Committee of the Higher Education Funding Councils. It was a vital source of format, concepts and model provisions. The US Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources from the American Library Association et al, and the Statements of Current Perspectives from the International Coalition of Library Consortia were both important sources of ideas, as were the LIBLICENSE web site and many publishers' individual licenses already in the public arena.
These licenses are in the public domain. They are intended to help publishers, subscription agents and libraries to create agreements that express what they have negotiated. They do not prescribe the outcome of those negotiations, but are designed to account for the varying needs of different types of customer, and the requirements and policies of different publishers. They contain a range of variables, so that the clause appropriate to each situation can be selected in compiling the license. They are clearly written, flexible and succinct.
234.4 THE BUSINESS OF BUSINESS?
John Peters, Vice President, MCB University Press Ltd, Bradford, England, email@example.com
James Tobin at Wisconsin (issue 233) is spot-on. Businesses can't be sustainable long-term through profit maximisation strategies. We need profits to do other stuff, just like we need air to breathe, but our function as human beings isn't just to breathe, and our function as businesses isn't just to make our shareholders wealthy. If we neglect a wider view, we won't sustain.
Publishers in the serials business are often acculturated into a year on year worldview, because we are in year-on-year subscription/renewal business. We have to learn to see longer-term. David Goodman from Princeton (issue 233) is right in saying "Most often, though, the (price) increase reflects the declining number of subscriptions." In the kind of niche areas MCB publishes some of its stuff in, it's a serious problem for us, which I think we (and others) will be able to better address through looking at databases and aggregated customer holdings rather than individual title-by-title accounting.
The answer isn't as simple as -- hey, guys, cut your prices! If we don't make profits we can't breathe. Then the "nice, reasonable people" Frederick Friend refers to won't have jobs any more, and we won't be producing anything other than advertising-dependent sponsored research. In my own company, located in a very socially-deprived area of a not-wealthy city, big downsizing would leave a big hole in the local community. The compromise of editorial and author independence to advertiser and sponsor needs would give us cheap journals but wouldn't do a lot for the scholarly research community.
We are, like the rest of the industry, wrestling seriously with the questions of the costs and appropriate prices of scholarly information, which like any intangible service is way harder to justify than paying for a tangible service. We can understand the costs and value of a garage bill more easily than the costs and value of an article, and the associated infrastructures behind and around it...all of which is a long way of saying -- these are difficult problems; dialogue about them is good; I enjoyed the discussions and hope to learn from and participate in future ones.
234.5 RESPONSE TO CAMERON 233.6
Albert Henderson, Editor, Publishing Research Quarterly, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamie Cameron asks how "the average university contributes less than one percent of the science and technology literature in terms of numbers of articles?" He also asks what is SCIENCE & ENGINEERING INDICATORS?
The latter is the biennial statistical data compilation and analysis done by the National Science Board, which runs the National Science Foundation. The latest volume is dated 1998. Before 1987 the title was SCIENCE INDICATORS ...
S&EI data show that U.S. authors contribute about 1/3 of the world literature; U.S. academic authors contribute about 1/4. If there are 125 research universities (according to the Carnegie Classification), then the average contribution must be "less than one percent." QED
Cameron is right when he suggests that grey literature is not reflected in these figures. It is a good criticism, particularly if one is interested in applied science and technology. The data source for S&EI is Science Citation Index, CHI Research, Science Indicators database, and unpublished tabulations of the National Science Foundation. I believe these data are samples selected to cull the most highly cited peer review articles and authors. It may well be that applied science activity tracks basic science, but I personally doubt it. On the other hand, as international trans-disciplinary publishing data go, this seems to me be the best available source. The question does not affect my estimate of the contribution of the average research university.
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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