1.3 NASIG PREVIEW, Mary Elizabeth Clack

1.4 UKSG PREVIEW, Marcia Tuttle





Welcome to the first issue of the ALA/RTSD Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues. By way of introduction, let me reproduce the press release from the ALA Public Information Office:

     The Resources and Technical Services Division of the American Library Association
     has created the Subcommittee on Serials Pricing Issues to gather and disseminate
     statistics and other data on the rising costs of journals to libraries, perhaps the greatest
     concern among academic libraries today. The creation of this body is an effort to
     reduce duplication of effort among persons and institutions assessing and combatting
     the impact on their collections of unprecedented increases in the price of serials. The
     group is also charged with identifying trends in serials pricing and determining what
     additional data need to be gathered. The subcommittee acts as a clearinghouse for
     information about serials pricing: news, studies, questions, and other concerns.  

     Part of the Resources and Technical Services Division's Publisher/Vendor-Library
     Relations Committee, the subcommittee is composed of persons with experience in
     gathering statistics on serials prices and trends: Deana Astle (Clemson University, how
     to do pricing studies), Mary Elizabeth Clack (Harvard  College, price indexing), Jerry
     Curtis (The Faxon Company, publishing and currency exchange), Charles Hamaker
     (Louisiana State University, collection development), Robert Houbeck (University of
     Michigan), and Marcia Tuttle (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), chair.

     Collection and dissemination of information is by both electronic and paper formats.
     Electronic newsletters are being offered through ALANET, BITNET, and The Faxon
     Company's DATALINX. EBSCO customers will have access to the newsletter on
     EBSCONET. Persons wishing to receive either the electronic or the paper newsletter
     may send their user id or mailing address to the Chair. There is no ALA charge for the
     newsletter in either format.

     Communications about serials pricing issues may be sent to the subcommittee chair,
     Marcia Tuttle, in several ways: on ALANET  - "Tuttle"; on BITNET - 
     "Tuttle@UNC.BITNET"; on Faxon's DataLinx  - "Tuttle"; and by paper mail - Serials
     Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, C.B. #3938 Davis Library,
     Chapel Hill NC 27599-3938.
We have not tried to determine a frequency for the electronic edition of the newsletter, but intend to transmit while the news is still news. The paper edition is expected to go out about every two months as dated memos. While we will be happy to send the paper edition, BITNET is by far the easiest and least expensive for the editor, and we encourage you to use that system if possible.

Please feel free to use any information in this newsletter in your work. Contributors and the editor would appreciate credit.

Response to the press release, based on the brief mention in CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION and HOTLINE continues at the rate of 10 to 12 subscribers and inquiries each day. Many of you have sent news and questions, some of which are incorporated into this first issue. Please accept the committee's thanks and keep them coming! Our survival depends on your participation, as well as the continuing library need for serials pricing news.


Mary Elizabeth Clack

The Fourth Annual Conference of the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) will be held at the Claremont Colleges, Claremont, California, from June 3-6, 1989. The general sessions will include a keynote address by Gillian Page, Director of Pageant Publishing and co-author of JOURNAL PUBLISHING (London; Boston : Butterworth's, 1987) and four panels: (1) The Process of Scholarly Communication (two editors, an expert on the tenure process, and a library director), (2) CD-ROM (including a broker, a producer, and a user), (3) Serial Acquisitions (vendors and librarians discussing the country of origin vs the consolidated ordering approach), and (4) Journal Pricing Update (representatives of three groups discussing action plans). Eleven workshops will also be held on the following topics: The Future of Service Charges, Form vs Function in the Serials World, The Commercial Binding Contract, Serials Automation System Interface with Vendors, Cancellation Projects, Cataloging of Non-Print Material/The "Whys" of Title Changes, The Journal Bid Process, The Thor Power Tool Decision and Its Effect on Journal Inventories, The Process of Serials Automation, and Current Awareness as a Collection Management Tool. For more information, please contact: Mary Elizabeth Clack, Serial Records Librarian, Harvard College Library, Cambridge MA 02138, 617-495-2422, "CLACKMB" on DataLinx.


Marcia Tuttle

The United Kingdom Serials Group will hold its 12th Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting on April 10-13, 1989, at the University of Birmingham. The program includes papaers on Serials Communications - The Future, Statistical Sources for Journal Prices, Budget Preparation and Presentation - Academic Libraries, Budget Preparation and Presentation - Special Libraries, Time Management, Motivation, Performance Indicators, Education and Training for the Book and Information World, Thoughts on the Standardisation of Information on Journal Covers, and Accessing News. Workshops include: CD-ROM, Allocation of Resources, Management Information: Collection and Use, Serials Automation: Learning from Experience, Serials Cataloguing: Current Problems and Ideas Exchange, and Journal Sales and Marketing. In addition, visits have been arranged to libraries and other places of interest. Closing date for applications is March 23, 1989. For further information and a booking form, please write or call Marcia Tuttle.

At ALA Midwinter, the task force (known as EALS) sponsored an open forum on the factors involved in pricing serials. There was also a business meeting, that began with some discussion of the previous day's open forum at which Charles Ellis (John Wiley), Fred Spilhouse (American Geophysical Union), and Gordon Graham (Butterworth) spoke about the factors involved in pricing journals. Some felt the forum had been very helpful; others felt the publishers could have been more candid and the task force members' questions more insightful.

For the open forum planned for Dallas ALA in June, Wedgeworth will invite university administrators and representatives of scholarly societies. This is a change from his original plan to hear from librarians at that time.

The group heard reports on other meetings and projects that are dealing ith its assigned topic: the Society or cholarly Publishing seminar on "The Future of the Scholarly Journal" in Chapel Hill in October; the NASIG annual conference and its statement of purpose (an organization for all participants in the process of dissemination of information through serials); the Association of Research Libraries study of the cost of journals for the past fifteen years (the same report as was given in several other groups, but a fascinating, detailed report). There were also brief reports from the Canadian Library Association, the Medical Library Association, and the American Association of Law Libraries.

The chair appointed a subgroup of the task force to address "problem publishers," those identified in the ARL study, probably in New York. He had hoped to see the chief executives of these publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair, but the RTSD Board does not look with favor upon his requests for funds. It was suggested that Wedgeworth address the annual general meeting of the STM (Scientific-Technical-Medical) Group, which gathers immediately before the Frankfurt Book Fair. The subgroup consists of Wedgeworth, Thomas, and Arenales, with Carey as consultant. They will work up a plan, questions, etc., before the next meeting (and may have met with these people before June).

Wedgeworth feels that it is time for an "ADONIS"-type project in North America.

Wedgeworth sees the task force report being ready by Annual Conference 1990. He asked each member what he/she thought the report should be. Comments included "well-written," "summary for wide distribution; full report for limited distribution." I asked for clarification of the purpose of the task force, because it seemed to me that we weren't doing anything different from a number of other groups, such as ARL and the PVLR Subcommittee on Serials Pricing Issues. Why duplicate their work? But the task force's purpose is to analyze, evaluate, act as a catalyst, offer alternatives, and educate. We need to identify our audience for the report, and we will include a bibliography.>p>


Katina Strauch

[Last Fall Katina Strauch sent questionnaires to registrants for her November 1988, conference on "Issues in Book and Serials Acquisitions: Questioning Assumptions." Three questionnaires were used, one for librarians, one for publishers, and one for vendors. Katina has summarized the results (which were compiled by Corrie Marsh and Bill Raggio) for this newsletter as well as for her own newsletter, AGAINST THE GRAIN, NEWS FOR PARTICIPANTS IN THE CHARLESTON CONFERENCE, issue no. 1, March 1989, soon to be mailed to 1988 conference attendees.]

The Library Peer Data questionnaires at the Charleston Conference 1988 were returned by 86% [104] of the recipients. A) The large majority of the responding libraries had materials budgets over one million dollars, though other significant categories had budgets between $50,000 and $999,000. B) For 1989/90, 72% predicted an increase in the materials budget with 27% predicting a static budget. C) Regarding percentage of the (1988/89) materials budget spent on various categories of materials (monographs, periodicals, memberships, database services, audiovisual, binding), the most significant number of libraries spent the majority of their materials budgets on periodicals and magazines (50-74%). D) Apparently, the percentage differential between serials and books can keep growing since 70% of the respondents stated that they do not have a cap on their materials budget. E) Eighty-six percent of the respondents have cancelled serials in the last three years and 55% plan to continue (or start) cancelling serials. Total number of serials cancelled was largely between zero and fifty. F) Few (especially large) libraries seemed to be able to rank journals from most expensive to least expensive because of the time required to do so.

The Vendor Peer Data questionnaires were returned by 59% [10] of the recipients. Seventy percent of the respondents were book wholesaler/jobbers.

A) Fifty percent of the vendors do not maintain statistics on publisher error rates, but forty percent do. B) A trend by publishers toward requiring or encouraging direct orders from libraries was noted by 64% of the vendors. C) Ninety percent of the vendors said that shipping and freight costs had increased over the last three years. Seventy-eight percent of the vendors admit that they have passed on this publishers' cost increase to libraries. D) To the question "Do you believe that publishers' discounts are changing?" 100% of the respondents replied "yes," and 78% state that there is a "downward trend." E) Interesting enough, especially for librarians who have always heard about the "ideal order mix," there was very little unity as to what vendors as a group perceived as this mix.

The Publisher Peer Data questions were returned by 80% [12] of the recipients.

A) The majority of the responding publishers work through library wholesalers, though percentages vary. B) The primary method for promoting library sales was "direct mail." C) Seventy percent of the publishers responding have experienced increased subscription cancellations from library customers. D) Eighty-nine percent of the publishers state that they have refereed publications. E) An even number replied yes and no (36%) to the question of whether they compensate editorial board members financially. F) To the question "How closely do you monitor the citation rates of your journals," sixty-seven percent responded "somewhat" and 22% responded "very closely." G) Interestingly, the number of items published did not seem to have dropped off significantly from 1986-1988.

[Katina states that responses could be collated many ways; this is a very brief summary. For a copy of the data or to discuss the results, Katina is at College of Charleston Library, Charleston SC 29424, 803-792-8020, "Strauch" on DataLinx.]


October Ivins now writes a regular column on serials prices in SERIALS REVIEW. The latest one just arrived and reports on three relevant meetings: the Society for Scholarly Publishing Annual Conference in June 1988, the SSP Seminar on the Future of the Scholarly Journal in October 1988, and the "Charleston Conference" in November 1988. In addition, a section named "Reflections on the Role of Vendors, Publisher Discounts, Service Charge Assessment, and Market Changes" updates these matters of great concern to librarians. Tuttle and Ivins are interchangeably mentor and disciple, thus the editor recommends this column highly.

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY has a recent article on our topic. In the January 13, 1989 issue (vol. 235, no. 2), on pages 68-70, "The Serials Pricing Controversy" interviews publishers, vendors, and librarians -- too many of them to mention.


"NEW AAP LIBRARY ACQUISITIONS SURVEY REPORTS THAT LIBRARIANS MAKE THE PURCHASING DECISIONS. Librarians continue to play the key role in the decision- making process as it pertains to acquisition of materials, and they do so in an environment where there is increased pressure on library budgets and collections. This is among the findings in the second Library Acquisitions Survey conducted on behalf of the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers. Like the first survey, conducted in 1985, the most recent study investigates the various factors involved in the selection and purchase of books, journals, series and non-print material in seven different subject disciplines. The more recent survey, however, developed a separate questionnaire for the corporate library sector in order to more effectively research the distinct acquisitions patterns of this group....The survey is available for $99 (AAP members) and $165 (non-member) plus tax where applicable. Please contact the PSP office at 212-689-8920 for an order form." -- PSP BULLETIN 3:1 (Winter 1989):3.


Betty Nirnberger at Penn State University Library, budget analyst for the Acquisitions Department, is currently working on budget projections for fiscal year 1989/90, and asks: Do you have any information of projected prices for next year? Perhaps geographic or publisher breakdown? Her BITNET address is: BLN@PSULIAS.BITNET, but I'm sure more of us would like the answer to that!

Bob Schnucker, Book Review Editor of THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY JOURNAL says: "On the basis of my conversations with other humanities journal editors, there is an ill defined gut feeling that as he libraries attempt to solve their (our) journals cost problem, the science folk will win out and the cuts will be made in the Humanities and Social Science areas. Such cuts could have profound changes on the number of journals now in existence as well as to their format." Any response??