ISSN: 1046-3410


                    NO 252 -- September 1, 2000
                        Editor: Marcia Tuttle
                      Guest Editor: James Mouw


  252.1 RESPONSE TO RICHARD MEYER'S PRICING MODEL (Issue No. 251), Fred Woodward
  252.2 RESPONSE TO JAMIE CAMERON (Item 249.6), Kathryn Toledano
        LIBRARIANS, Jane Holmquist
  252.4 RESPONSE TO SERIAL WAREHOUSING (No. 251.4), Jamie Cameron
  252.5 UNIT PRICES OF NEW JOURNALS, Richard Johnson
  252.6 REPLY TO PRICING OF PHYSCHEMCOMM (Issue No. 250), Mike Hannant
        for Robert Welham
        Ahmed Hindawi

Fred Woodward, Director, University Press of Kansas,

[Received June 29, 2000]

Dear Richard Meyer

I write to correct a misapprehension found in your pricing model explanation in Issue No. 251 of the NSPI (6/29/00). There you state that university presses make money for their "campuses." That's true only for a very few (e.g., Oxbridge, Chicago). The most recent financial statistics for the Association of American University Presses show that the 62 reporting members averaged in FY 1999 an annual operating loss of ca. $420,000 from their book sales before taking into account subsidy and grant income. As a group, the loss totaled ca. $26 million. I do not have journal-specific statistics for those that publish serials.

>From these figures, one can safely conclude that university presses as a rule do not make money for their universities and that they've "earned" the right to be called nonprofit scholarly publishers for reasons other than their affiliation with educational institutions.

Kathryn Toledano, MCB University Press,

[Received June 30, 2000]

In item 249.6, ("New Pricing Options by MCB University Press") Jamie Cameron of Institute of Mechanical Engineers referred to MCB's pricing option which guarantees price capping on journals and databases. In summary, libraries spending US$5,000 or more in 1999 who renewed 100% of the existing MCB journals or databases would have no price increase in 2000. If they commit to 100% renewal for 3-5 years the 1999 price would hold for that period. That offer is still available. Those libraries who spend US$5000+ and did not commit this year have the option to cap prices at the 2000 level if they renew 100% of their MCB titles into 2001. There is NO price adjustment to cover increased pagination or the addition of other content or product features, such as research registers, alerting services, access to further readings, reference linking, global server access, etc. On average, the pagination within MCB's journals has increased 3% in 2000. You'd expect us to say the response has been very encouraging -- and it has. If you'd like more information please contact: Michelle Kelly, Head of Academic Marketing Division

LIBRARIANS Jane Holmquist (As chair of PAM Division),

[Received June 26, 2000]

The Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics Division of the Special Libraries Association this year selected Professor Maurice Bruynooghe, Katholiek Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, to receive its most prestigious award. The P-A-M Award is periodically presented in recognition of a "significant contribution to either the literature of physics, mathematics or astronomy, or to honor work that demonstrably improves the exchange of information in physics, mathematics or astronomy and significantly benefits libraries and enhances the ability of librarians to provide service." Previous award winners have included:

The 2000 P-A-M Award recognizes Prof. Bruynooghe, his entire Editorial Board, and the Association for Logic Programming for recognizing the difficulty of increasing journal costs for both libraries and scholars, and for taking steps within their own scholarly community to effect positive change.

In November 1999, after sixteen months of unsuccessful negotiations with the publisher of the Journal of Logic Programming (JLP) to lower its price, the entire Editorial Board (fifty editors in total, led by Editor-in-Chief Professor Maurice Bruynooghe) collectively resigned and established a new journal, Theory and Practice of Logic Programming (TPLP), to be published by a university press. The subscription price will be reduced from $1047 (for JLP) to $300 (for TPLP) in 2001.

The Association for Logic Programming, acting in full cooperation with the former Editorial Board of the JLP, withdrew its support for this journal and adopted TPLP as the sole official journal of the Association. Further details about TPLP are available at

At a time when journal price increases have surpassed library budget increases, this action by the members of one scholarly community, the Association for Logic Programming, is both laudable and inspirational.

Jamie Cameron, Institution of Mechanical Engineers,

[Received July 6, 2000]

Certainly archiving is a serious problem and no one has come up with an answer. Arguably, even without the electronic revolution, we would have had a problem sooner or later as printed Journals grow at the rate at which research is expanding.

Traditionally, archiving has been done by the library function -- whether the Institution is local or national. I would suggest that is reflected in the economic model of Journal Publishing - there is a cost attached to it that traditionally hasn't been borne by the publisher, or at least only as far back as it was deemed to be a profitable exercise. Learned Society publishers obviously go back further, sometimes right to the beginning, as a question of pride, service to members etc.

My personal view is that national libraries should play a significant role here. As you may know we are developing in the UK a system for the voluntary deposit at the Copyright Libraries of electronically published material. At the moment it covers material published in an electronic form only, deals specifically with off-line and as I say is voluntary. I have no doubt it will lead eventually to something more formal and will include online somehow.

Finally, as far as the situation is concerned where a Library ceases to subscribe to an Electronic Journal, my personal view is that the print subscription model should in principle apply -- that is to say that the Library should not be deprived of access to earlier issues to which it has subscribed. However, the supplying of historic electronic issues does have a cost attached to it, whoever undertakes the task.

No solutions I am afraid but perhaps another angle on the problem.

Richard Johnson, Enterprise Director, SPARC,

[Received July 6, 2000]

A couple of recent contributions (249.5 and 250.3) examined the unit prices of new journals that set out to offer alternatives to long- established high-priced titles. Price comparison is the kind of consumer behavior we need more of, and I would refer readers to a list of some valuable pricing studies on the SPARC/ACRL/ARL "Create Change" web site at <>.

However, when looking at the unit prices of recently launched alternative titles, one needs to take into account the time it takes for any journal to build up a pipeline of authors and articles. It is not fair to compare the unit price of a new journal with a competitor that has spent decades getting established. Over a period of several years it is normal for the size of a new journal to build substantially. Provided the journal's price does not move upward in tandem with the volume gains, the unit price will drop over time.

Take ACS's Organic Letters, for example. The business plan for Organic Letters calls for a sharp increase in published pages during the first six years of publication with small increases in subscription prices. ACS set a goal of ultimately building Organic Letters to an annual size that works out to be 65-70 percent of the size of Tetrahedron Letters, the principle competitor, while keeping the price to about one-quarter. This equates to a sharply declining unit price (price per article and price per page) for Organic Letters subscribers. Although the ACS title is barely a year old, there is good reason to believe it will deliver on this promise. In 1999 Organic Letters published 75 percent more pages than called for in the business plan, and it now appears the number of pages published in 2000 will be 55 percent ahead of plan. That is a remarkable achievement, in my view. But I suppose it shouldn't be surprising given ACS's track record of publishing top-quality journals that are reasonably priced and heavily used. Apparently authors are beginning to make the switch.

A facet of SPARC's program to enhance competition is to give new entrants an opportunity to challenge established publications. The cost of sustaining a publication during the five years or so it can take to reach breakeven is a sizable entry barrier. By helping bring subscribers to the new title, SPARC provides both readers (to help attract authors) and revenue (to reduce losses). This gives our publisher partners needed breathing room so they can build prestige and create an author base -- which ultimately drives down unit costs.

While that process does not happen over night, the Organic Letters trajectory is good cause for optimism. It also is a good sign that, while the price of Tetrahedron Letters rose about 15 percent annually between 1996 and 1998, the increase has been less than 6 percent per year since Organic Letters development began.

Mike Hannant for Robert Welham, Director, Publishing, Royal Society of Chemistry,

[Received July 10, 2000]

PhysChemComm was launched in October 1998. Its remit was to pioneer a different way of publishing chemistry by providing a journal with no printed form but which would make use of web enhancements to improve significantly the efficiency of communication of research results. Its times to publication would also be much less than those of a print journal. At the same time we intended that our normal refereeing standards would be fully maintained.

Those aims were achieved. The journal has published several extremely innovative articles using all the possibilities available in the web environment. The times to publication (Submission to Publication) in 1999 were, on average, 38 days -- well below those of traditional journals.

As Mr Kaemper points out, the journal has been less successful in reducing the unit price of an article. Our price for 2000 was based upon an estimated flow of articles that has not been achieved. That flow is increasing but we had already recognised that to yield appropriate unit prices of articles for 2001 we would lower the subscription price for that year, and that we shall do. There will also be reduced price individual subscriptions available in 2001. These new prices are in line with the price/article that we intend to maintain as the journal expands.

I hope this makes our position clear. We over-estimated the rate of take-up and priced accordingly. Now we have a pattern of usage established we can budget and price more realistically. The effect of this, and other pricing decisions recently taken, means that a subscriber in 2001 to our main journals package (which includes our e-only journals and both print and electronic versions of the others) will in the United States pay less than in 2000 and elsewhere only 0.91% above this year's price.

Ahmed Hindawi, Director, Hindawi Publishing Corporation,

Hindawi Publishing Corporation announces that the per-page subscription rate for its mathematical journal, Internationl Journal of Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences (IJMMS), ISSN 0161-1712, is to remain at its current level of about USD 0.12.

In 2000, the International Journal of Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences has been published in 24 issues in 2 volumes. The library subscription rate for year 2000 was USD 220. In 2001, Hindawi Publishing Corporation will publish 48 issues in 4 volumes of IJMMS with a subscription rate of USD 440.

For more information, please visit Hindawi Publishing Corporation web site or the _International Journal of Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences_ web site

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, Email:; 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).

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