Thursday, January 22, 2004

the latest article about the Reed Elsevier problem 

From the Wall Street Journal: Reed Elsevier Feels Resistance To Web Pricing

I found this paragraph really interesting:

"Reed declines to discuss negotiations with individual universities. But it says some complaints about its bundled service are unfair. "It's like having a yearly magazine subscription, not liking the October issue and then saying, 'We want a refund,' " says Elsevier Science spokesman Eric Merkel-Sobotta."

I think this comparison is a little off. Granted, I don't currently manage a budget or actively purchase serials, but my understanding of the bundling process is a bit different than this man's. I don't think not wanting an entire title is really all that similar to talking about one issue of a title. Especially when you're talking about a comparison of thousands of dollars!

While ultimately, bundling electronic serials titles into packages does make the life of the individual library a bit easier in some ways, we should still be allowed a choice, especially if it better serves the purposes of our patrons. This is part of a disturbing trend that I've noticed in society at large over the past few years: the customer is not always right, and isn't even allowed a say in the situation without being called unreasonable, glared at, or generally patronized. With "unbundling", the company still makes money, and the library saves some money. What about this doesn't sound reasonable?

link seen at Resource Shelf

In the world of Open Access this week 

**A new issue of Open Access Now

**Presentations from the ALA Midwinter 2004: SPARC/ACRL Forum

**ALA, SPARC, ARL, AAHL, ACRL, and MLA ask Elias Zerhouni, the Director of the National Institute of Health, to support open access publishing. From the letter, "It is our belief that a growing knowledge economy depends as much, if not more, on the knowledge distribution power of the system as on its knowledge production power. Hence, it is essential to provide cost-effective access to and dissemination of scientific information in support of research and its economic and social applications. But the subscription-based journal model currently prevalent no longer maximizes access to research material. Nor is it economically sustainable."

seen at Resource Shelf

Monday, January 19, 2004

Two interesting articles from the latest D-Lib Magazine 

Library Periodical Expenses, Roger C. Schonfeld, et. al.

"What are the implications of the transition to electronic periodicals on non-subscription library expenditures, such as those required to select, accession, catalog, and provide ongoing access and services? New data on staff activities and costs were collected from eleven US academic libraries, and a life-cycle analysis was utilized to study the longer-term cost implications of the transition. We find that, on a per-title basis, the non-subscription costs of the electronic format are consistently and substantially lower than those of the print format. We conclude by considering the implications of the transition to electronic formats—and the consequent favorable cost differentials—on long-term preservation."

The Cost per Article Reading of Open Access Articles, Jonas Holmström.

"The measure for calculating cost per reading (CPR) of journal articles is reviewed, and a way to adapt this measure to articles in open access journals is proposed. The traditional subscription based publishing model is compared with the open access model, and similarities are identified and used when calculating CPR for the two different types of publishing. Challenges with interpreting statistics are discussed as well as the difficulty of estimating the number of readings from the number of downloaded articles. Finally, the potential use and implications of the CPR measure for open access publishers and institutions are discussed."

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