ISSN: 1046-3410 NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES NO 249 -- June 16, 2000 Editor: Marcia Tuttle Guest Editor: James Mouw CONTENTS 249.1 FROM THE GUEST EDITOR, James Mouw 249.2 SCRIPPS INSTITUTION OF OCEANOGRAPHY STUDY, Peter Brueggman 249.3 ELECTRONIC ARCHIVING, Dana Roth 249.4 HARRASSOWITZ ELECTRONIC JOURNALS GUIDE, Kathy Klemperer 249.5 PRICING OF CHEMISTRY JOURNALS, Kristina Kurz 249.6 RESPONSE TO NO. 247.2 (NEW PRICING OPTIONS BY MCB UNIVERVISY PRESS, Scott Wicks), Jamie Cameron249.1 FROM THE GUEST EDITOR
This issue of the Newsletter contains articles submitted through early May. I have a couple more recent submissions for next issue and then the pipeline will be cleared. Keep those cards and letters coming.
249.2 SCRIPPS INSTITUTION OF OCEANOGRAPHY STUDY
Peter Brueggman, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library, email@example.com
[Received March 21, 2000]
The timeliness of ejournals versus print may be informative when considering ejournal pricing. Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library staff did a study on ejournal timeliness last year that may be of interest; we found that, in general, an ejournal issue number is available to our users ahead of our receipt of the corresponding print issue number either by days or by weeks or by one or more issue numbers -- 84% of the print journal issues we received fit this statement. The study is in press in a conference proceedings and a preprint is available at http://scilib.ucsd.edu/sio/guide/prices/z-iamslic.html
249.3 ELECTRONIC ARCHIVING
Dana Roth, Caltech, firstname.lastname@example.org
[Received April 14, 2000]
"Elsevier Science announces a commitment to electronic archiving." [in perpetuity, no less] This stunning headline in the Autumn 1999 (no.18) issue of Elsevier Science Information comes on the heels of what I, and several others, thought we heard an Elsevier representative state at the Minneapolis SLA Annual Conference -- namely, that "there is no economic model for long-term storage of electronic journals."
A careful reading of Elsevier's apparent about face yields no cost estimates, but instead reveals a proposed escape hatch: "...in the unlikely event that Elsevier Science (or ScienceDirect itself) should be unable to meet this responsibility, the archive will be turned over to one or more depositories chosen jointly by the publisher and an independent board of library advisors." It is unlikely that this service would be offered free of charge; and given the cost of J-STOR, it would have a significant, detrimental impact on library budgets.
A further complication involves copyright: "Only the copyright holder gives permission for the creation of duplicate or derivative works. Thus, the copyright holder establishes all rights of online access because such access creates a derivative work. The combination of these controls puts all copyright holders in a completely new position; i.e., they become the de facto 'archivists in perpetuity.' This is very likely an unintended consequence of copyright applied to the digital medium and publishers have been searching for a business model or a way to make money for the effort ever since."(1)
Isn't it about time for some straight-talk about long-term electronic storage? Electronic storage media have limited physical lifetimes, and the drop off in the use of older literature by scientists and engineers is significant. Together, these two facts suggest that we are facing an intractable "business" problem.
The recent news of the recovery of the Archimedes Palimpsest(2) and subsequent discussion(3) strongly suggest that "print on paper" is an absolutely necessary safeguard for today's electronic journals. In this regard, I am extremely uncomfortable with any publisher's promise of "in perpetuity," which appears more likely to be a promise to allow subscribers to pay "in perpetuity" for access to archival material. Currently, archival material is easily available through ILL, at minimal cost and generally without copyright clearance fees.
A more sensible approach might be for publishers to designate (at the least) a reasonable number of libraries in North America and Europe (e.g., CISTI, Linda Hall, University of California, BLLD, Hannover, etc.) as depository libraries for print copies of their electronic journals. These archival copies should be supplied at no cost to the depository libraries in exchange for guaranteed storage and retrieval when electronic storage is no longer economically viable.
With some degree of assurance in their future ability to obtain copies of articles that are no longer available electronically through normal ILL channels, many libraries would have the confidence to relinquish print copies in favor of electronic access.
1.Douglas, K., "Digital Archiving in the Context of Cultural Change," Serials Review (submitted).
2a. Gray, J., "Sale of the Century," Math. Intelligencer 21(3),12- 15(1999).
2b. Cannon, W.J., "Archimedes Unbound," Am. Sci. 87(4),316- 318(1999).
3. Roth, D.L., and Michaelson, R., "Recovered Palimpsests," Math. Intelligencer 22(1),5 (2000).
249.4 ELECTRONIC JOURNALS: A SELECTED RESOURCE GUIDE
Kathy Klemperer, Otto Harrassowitz, email@example.com
[Received May 10, 2000]
A revised edition of "Electronic Journals: A Selected Resource Guide," brought to you by Harrassowitz, Booksellers and Subscription Agents, is now available at http://www.harrassowitz.de/ms/ejresguide.html This guide is an overview and summary of resources on issues relating to electronic journals, covering such topics as technical standards, legal and business issues, scholarly publishing issues, preservation and archiving, and cutting-edge topics such as reference linking and pre-print servers.
The revised version contains 52 new references to sites and articles, and a new section called "Usage studies of electronic journals." The section on pre-print servers is greatly expanded.
Harrassowitz is committed to maintaining this resource guide, and relevant new resources and discussion topics will be added regularly.
249.5 PRICING OF CHEMISTRY JOURNALS -- A COMPARISON OF JOURNALS
PUBLISHED BY NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS AND COMMERCIAL PUBLISHERS Kristina Kurz, Managing Editor of Synthesis and Synlett, Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org
[Received May 22, 2000]
The continuing increase of journal prices over the past ten years has led to a situation where libraries don't see an alternative to cancellation of subscriptions in order to maintain their budget. This can of course not be a satisfactory solution for the researchers at these institutions whose work depends on the immediate access to the information they need. They are facing a situation where fewer journal titles appear on the library shelves while their institutions have to spend more and more money on the library budget. Eventually alternatives to overpriced journals start to appear on the market, supported by not-for-profit organizations like SPARC (for more information see http://www.arl.org/sparc/index.html ). I think this initiative is great, and reasonably priced journals should be supported in order to keep scientific publications affordable for everyone. Organic Letters published by the American Chemical Society has been the first journal to be launched with the support of SPARC. The goal was to offer a reasonably priced alternative to the very expensive Tetrahedron Letters (Elsevier Science) and indeed, if you compare the prices, Organic Letters only costs 1/4 of the subscription price of Tetrahedron Letters. But this price comparison just shows part of the truth.
I have undertaken a price survey of chemistry journals and found some interesting results, which I would like to share with newsletter readers.
I have looked at 13 chemistry journals and compared the price per page for institutional subscriptions (for information on the titles included in this study, see end of this article). Looking at page prices is the only fair way in my eyes to compare the costs since the titles in this survey publish between 2,000 and 15,000 pages per year. The page sizes are approximately the same for all journals except for the Elsevier Science publications, which are significantly smaller. These differences have not been taken into account. I think it is not problematic in this case since a correction for page size would only strengthen the conclusions from this study.
The journals have been divided into two groups. Group One consists of titles published by commercial publishers. These journals cost between $US 0.22 and $US 0.91 per page, an average of $US 0.49 per page. Group Two covers journals from not-for-profit publishers and, not surprisingly, the average costs are 25% lower ($US 0.36), ranging between $US 0.15 and $US 0.54 per page.
Commercial publisher: average $US 0.49 Not-for profit publisher: average $US 0.36
So how does Organic Letters compare to these data? Organic Letters is positioned at the upper range of prices for journals from not- for-profit publishers with $US 0.54 per page and it is 3.6 times more expensive than Journal of Organic Chemistry, published by the same publisher (ACS). In fact, it is even more expensive than the average of the journals from commercial publishers ($US 0.49 per page). How do Thieme's journals compare to that? Synthesis costs $US 0.31 per page and Synlett costs only $US 0.22 per page. These prices are truly comparable to journals from not-for-profit publishers (average $US 0.36 per page). These data show that it is indeed possible to publish excellent scientific journals (Synthesis and Synlett are among the top ten organic chemistry journals in the ISI impact factor ranking for years) without charging outrageous prices.
In this heated discussion about journal prices, I have to ask the question: Do existing journals which serve the chemical community for many years with reliable, high quality publication for a fair price get the recognition they deserve?
I would be more than happy to further discuss this study with you. The complete data and graphic representation of the results are available as an Excel file. Please contact me at email@example.com
249.6 RESPONSE TO NO.247.2 NEW PRICING OPTIONS BY MCB UNIVERSITY
PRESS, Scott Wicks) Jamie Cameron, Director, Publication, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, firstname.lastname@example.org
[Received March 27, 2000]
I was interested to see this piece, which describes a slight variation on a business model which is quite widely used. I would like to ask how this arrangement deals with any increases in the amount of material published in the journals covered by the arrangement, whether by larger issues or increased frequency.
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: email@example.com; 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- firstname.lastname@example.org Be sure to send that message to the listserver and not to Prices. To unsubscribe, send a message saying "unsubscribe prices" to email@example.com 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