ISSN: 1046-3410 NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES NO 243 -- February 8, 2000 Editor: Marcia Tuttle CONTENTS 243.1 RESPONSE TO SCOTT PIEPENBURG ON _JOURNAL OF MAMMALOGY_, O.J. Reichman 243.2 JOURNAL ABUSE, Dana Roth and Robert Michaelson243.1 RESPONSE TO SCOTT PIEPENBURG ON _JOURNAL OF MAMMALOGY_
[Received November 1999]
The following is a response to Mr. Piepenburg's request (in Pricing Newsletter 237) for clarification of the statement included in the "_Journal of Mammalogy_ Subscription Rate to Increase" posting in the Pricing Newsletter, 235:
Due to continually increasing paper, labor, and postal costs in conjunction with the consistently low subscription price, the American Society of Mammalogists can no longer underwrite this subscription price and must bring the price in line with current market standards.
Mr. Piepenburg quoted my earlier posting and surmised:
Maybe I'm misreading this, but.... It sounds like how much it costs to produce, then calculating a reasonable profit was not the methodology used, but "what is everyone else charging" was looked at, then priced accordingly.
For clarification purposes, I wish to restate the reasons and methods used to determine the _Journal of Mammalogy_'s subscription rate increase.
When the American Society of Mammalogists determined it could no longer subsidize journal costs and a rate increase was deemed necessary, the society reviewed the costs of journal production and used those figures to determine a sufficient rate increase. Once the society found that the needed increase was markedly high, the society conducted a secondary review to verify that this rate would still be competitive in the scholarly journal market. In fact, further research indicated the _Journal of Mammalogy_ was still in the lower portion of similar journal price ranges.
However, I failed to properly explain this secondary review, making it unclear to Mr. Piepenburg and perhaps others. As the American Society of Mammalogists' President, I would like to assure subscribers that careful research of the costs of labor, postage, and production associated with publishing the Journal was the primary determinant for the rate increase. Only after we established the new price did we examine market prices to ensure journal competitiveness.
I agree with Mr. Piepenburg in that determining a subscription rate based solely upon the price the market will bear is unreasonable and unjust.
I greatly appreciate Mr. Piepenburg's comments and welcome the opportunity to clarify any other miscommunications.
Having addressed this concern, I would also like to thank Dana L. Roth of Caltech in Pasadena, California for this response to the original _Journal of Mammalogy_ posting:
Please do not feel you have to apologize for the large %% increase. You have been doing library budgets an enormous favor for many years, and I am sure I am speaking for others when I express my deep appreciation for your enlightened policies. If only this sense of fairness would rub off on commercial publishers...
Again, I appreciate all feedback from readers of the Pricing Newsletter and welcome other comments. It is our goal to facilitate the dissemination of mammalogy research in the most effective and efficient way possible. In order to meet this goal, we rely upon the cooperation of librarians and professionals around the world. I thank you for your continued assistance.
Please feel free to contact David Stadler, our Association Manager, with any additional questions: email@example.com, (800) 627-0629, ext. 215.
243.2 JOURNAL ABUSE
Dana Roth, Caltech, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Robert Michaelson, Northwestern University, email@example.com
[Received January 13, 2000]
It has been almost thirty years since Paul Bohannan made the simple plea, "Fest me no Schriften"(1). Written from the point of view of both a contributor and a potential recipient, Bohannan presented some excellent arguments against this, in his words, "distasteful practice."
First is the very strong sense of the inadequacy of a scholarly article as a statement of regard for a teacher or mentor with whom you are emotionally involved. Second is the very real sense that the honoree's lifework is worth so much more.
"A festschrift is a gold watch, with engraving on the back. It is a suitcase, of genuine elephant skin, perhaps, and with gold-plated fittings, but never the less a going-away present. I have long since got used to the fact that I will be going away. But I would prefer to go with my own luggage and not have to pack an extra book (that I cannot in all decency sell with the rest of my overcrowded library) which says to me, sitting there on the shelf, 'Is that all?'"
Thirty years ago, Festschriften were the "hardest of all books to peddle to publishers," because their sale was largely limited to major academic libraries. In the interim, however, commercial publishers have seized on the scholarly journal as the vehicle for their publication. This unseemly practice, coupled with the publication of conference proceedings, meeting abstracts, and bibliographies are a major factor in the inexorable rise in subscription costs for scholarly journals.
Thus, a seemingly innocent tribute to a distinguished scientist has helped exacerbate many libraries' ability to subscribe to the very journals that publish these 'tributes.' Wouldn't something like "Remembering HCB,"(2) an inexpensively reproduced collection of personal rememberances of H.C. Brown by his students and co- workers, be a much more satisfying tribute to a respected mentor??
Some very recent examples of the growing trend of journal abuse include:
SPECIAL ISSUE: DEDICATED TO PROFESSOR LASZLO NARKO ON THE OCCASION OF HIS 70TH BIRTHDAY. J. Organomet. Chem.; v. 586, no. 1, 1999. ($164)
VIBRATIONS AT SURFACES 9: PROCEEDINGS. Surf. Sci.; v. 427, 1999. ($350)
SWIFT HEAVY IONS IN MATERIALS ENGINEERING AND CHARACTERIZATION: PROCEEDINGS. Nucl. Instrum. Methods Phys. Res. B; v. B156, no.1-4, 1999. ($450)
SPECIAL ISSUE SECTION DEDICATED TO PETER DAY FRS ON THE OCCASION OF HIS 60TH BIRTHDAY. J. Solid State Chem.; v. 145, no. 2, 1999. ($175)
The most egregious example, however, is from Gordon & Breach who published a symposium on "The Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation" (held in 1994) in _Modern Geology_, v.22-23 (dated 1998 but published in 1999). ($2200 for about 1100 pages)
With all due respect to the scientists involved in these seemingly extraneous publications, and given the extremely high costs of commercially published journals, would it be unreasonable to request not only "Fest me no Schriften" but also to STOP using scholarly journals for the publication of conference papers, symposia abstracts and other non-peer reviewed material.
An example of an exemplary publisher is the American Chemical Society, which has shown that conference preprints and abstracts can be produced and sold for little more than the cost of reproduction (3).
1. Bohannan, Paul. "Fest Me No Schriften." _Science_ (Letters) 166(3907), 819. November 14, 1969.
2. Remembering HCB; Memoirs of colleagues and students of Herbert C. Brown as prepared for the symposium in his honor in West Lafayette, Indiana on May 5 and 6, 1978.
3. _Polymer Preprints_ (American Chemical Society. Division of Polymer Chemistry). Papers presented at the meeting. These bi- annual volumes currently offer about 2000 (8.5x11 inch) pages for an annual subscription cost of $100. The ACS divisions of Petroleum Chemistry, Fuel Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry and Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering also publish preprints of meeting papers or extended abstracts.
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, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Telephone: 919 929-3513. Editorial Board: Keith Courtney (Taylor and Francis), Fred Friend (University College London), Birdie MacLennan (University of Vermont), Michael Markwith (Swets Subscription Services), 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 JOIN- email@example.com 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), send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 two 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