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RE: Nature Journals: User Name and Password (Super ID Access)

On one level Rick is right. I do believe worrying about profit and loss of
a publisher aren't the business librarians are in.

However Nature, as a brand name is exactly the wrong kind of publisher to
be afraid of true site licensing for institutions. Nature is more than a
publication, it's an institution.

Just because Time and Newsweek are online doesn't mean they don't sell
individual issues and subscriptions.

Nature and Science are the Time and Newsweek (well maybe the Atlantic
Monthly??) of the scientific world. I listened to AAAS' editors discuss
their fears of widespread online access two years ago at a SSP Top
Management Roundtable in New York. They were talking to small
organizations who published journals as part of their membership support.
Talk about fearful! But in fact many organizations have made the "switch"
very successfully. ACM is the great example of course, but there are many
others. All Nature and Science are doing is showing that they have lost
touch with the real needs of the people who should be reading these
publications. (and aren't at the moment, think undergrads, and many grad
students who are about to the point of if it isn't online it doesn't
exist). That is the audience Nature and Science are in the process of
losing, and if that doesn't keep their editors up night worrying, then
maybe they need to get into a different business!

Chuck Hamaker 
UNC Charlotte (shouting loud enough Rick??)

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Anderson [mailto:rickand@unr.edu]
Sent: Monday, September 25, 2000 5:44 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: RE: Nature Journals: User Name and Password (Super ID Access)

> Surely, profit -- or loss -- of a publisher should not be the concern of a
> librarian or subscriber <...>

Chuck Hamaker yells at me when I say stuff like this in a public forum,
but I can't resist: Actually, I think it's very much in the best interest
of libraries to help ensure that publishers and vendors stay profitable.  
When libraries act with only their short-term economic interests in view
(by, say, forming consortia for the specific purpose of driving prices as
low as possible) they find that (surprise!) small and medium-sized vendors
are driven out of the marketplace, leaving only very large, deep-pocketed
firms -- witness the recent consolidation among academic booksellers.  
Then we complain about vendor mergers.  Personally, I really wish YBP and
Academic had been more profitable; then maybe they'd still be independent
entities in the marketplace, helping us keep Blackwell's and B&T honest.

The best interests of libraries and their users are not well served by a
blindness to basic economic principles.  (I'm not saying, of course, that
we should never negotiate prices; we have to spend wisely.  But the blind
and headlong pursuit of discount can have unintended consequences.)

Rick Anderson
Electronic Resources/Serials Coordinator
The University Libraries
University of Nevada, Reno
1664 No. Virginia St.
Reno, NV  89557
PH  (775) 784-6500 x273
FX  (775) 784-1328