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Re: Recent Pricing/Licensing Terms for Society Publications

Somewhat of the same situation as with Limnology and Oceanography occurred
with the American Society for Microbiology. They also had a similar
restriction, and we and most institutions did not accept online access on
those terms. Many of those librarians who had editors of their various
journals on campus made a point of informing them about the situation.
The editors of scholarly journals are usually very much concerned with
getting as wide a distribution as possible. I do not think most members of
a society join only to get their journal.

After a year of this, they changed to normal subscription terms, and have
followed this up for 2002 with a combination offer for the electronic
versions of all their journals at a very favorable rate.

Not having a medical school, we had not previously received their more
clinical titles, though we did have some requests for them. As a result of
their enlightened policies, which are now a model for other societies, our
campus now receives them all.

On the other hand, the Ecological Society of American has pricing
analogous of American journal of botany, and we do not receive their
electronic versions

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

On Sat, 12 Jan 2002, Elsa Althen wrote:

> Hello.  I'm compelled to share my recent concerns about new electronic
> access restrictions or pricing policies on the part of scientific
> societies.
> It strikes me that many society publishers are entering the world of
> electronic publishing later than their commercial counterparts.  Society
> publishers tend to have much bigger personal subcription bases than do
> commercial publishers.  These factors seem to be producing some odd and
> problematic policies vis-a-vis pricing and licensing.
> At our library we subscribe to the journal "Limnology and Oceanography",
> published by ASLO (American Society of Limnology & Oceanography).  I was
> excited to hear that beginning in 2002 ASLO is offering an electronic
> version of their journal.  Even better, was the news that the online
> version was $15.00 cheaper than the print (print only=$365, online
> only=$350 and print+online=$445).  However, I soon learned that one
> condition of their institutional license is that electronic access is
> limited to one physical building.  On a campus such as ours at UW-Madison
> we couldn't agree to this kind of restriction because our users are
> scattered in offices, labs and libraries across an extensive campus.
> I wrote a letter to ASLO's web editor, Paul Kemp, inquiring about this
> restriction.  He replied with a thoughtful letter that conveys the
> society's anxiousness about not losing too large a portion of their
> personal subscriber base.  (I've taken the liberty of attaching Mr. Kemp's
> response in an attachment for those interested in reading it.)
> Even more recently, I learned that the Botanical Society of America (BSA)
> which publishes the American Jounral of Botany (AJB) has set institutional
> subscriptions for 2002 at $895 for print + electronic.  (Print only is
> $295, Online only is $600 and print+electronic is $895).  Seeing that last
> year a $205 institutional print subscription included free trial access to
> the electronic, this year it will cost institutions 436% more for the same
> access!  Again, I believe the impetus for this kind of pricing is fear of
> losing too many personal subcriptions on campuses where the library has
> licensed electronic access.
> I wanted to bring these examples of two scientific societies whose recent
> institutional pricing and/or access policies are detrimental to libraries'
> ability to serve their users.  I have sympathy for the dilemna in which
> society publishers now find themselves.  On the other hand, such recent
> policy decisions (about access restricted to one physical building, or
> exorbitant price increases) beg for more input and feedback from
> librarians.
> --
> Elsa Althen
> Head, Biology Library
> General Library System
> University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries.