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

I agree with Rick that we cannot judge how to evaluate a publisher's offer
without a knowledge of the industry, just as a publisher cannot hope to
offer an acceptable offer to a library without some knowledge of library
financial affairs. From the discussions on this list, for example, I hove
learned much about not just the economic status of publishing, but the
economic concerns of other libraries than my own.

Knowing this does not solve all problems, though. In my field (and
presumably elsewhere) there are publication projects whose products as
currently produced cannot possibly be sold to enough buyers to make them
sound economic propositions. I've thought so for many years; from what
I've learned, I am now thoughly convinced.

There are also sound proposals that libraries reject out of unreasonable
fears of the future. There are many library proposals that publishers
unreasonably fear. The concern of the publishers of Nature and similar
magazines about the loss of print subscriptions is one of these. Harold
Varmus repeatedly said, there was room for one print publication and one
only: Nature. I think there's room for a few more.

As for the others, I see a bright future for scientific publishers if they
stop trying to sell economically unfeasible journals. I am prepared to
promise any scientific publisher that if they will eliminate or combine
the least valuable of their journals, I will spend the savings on
books--their books, if they publish good ones.

David Goodman, Princeton University Biology Library				
dgoodman@princeton.edu            609-258-3235


On Mon, 25 Sep 2000, Rick Anderson wrote:

> > 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
> rickand@unr.edu