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We've been asked to share this posting more widely throughout the
library community.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2002 08:00:43 -0400
>From the American Chemical Society

Dear ICOLC Members:

This message is an attempt to clarify our rationale for the pricing of the
ACS Journal Archives and issues that have risen surrounding access to this

We understand and respect the concerns of the library community.  We have
worked with ICOLC members since 1998, the year we introduced the ACS Web
Editions.  ICOLC assisted us in the formulation of an Archives policy in
1999 and we continue to have an open dialog with you.  We have undertaken
a very careful and thorough analysis of the issues surrounding how we
provide access to the ACS Journal Archives.  This matter has been reviewed
across several levels of ACS governance including the ACS Governing Board
for Publishing and the ACS Editors.

We have explored several models for Archives pricing over the past three
years including: a one-time purchase of the content, a price increase
fold-in, and an annual fee.  There are significant and complex
implications related to all of these approaches.  Our goal was to have
something simple, easy to understand, and not eternally binding.

The ACS felt that it was important to put a definition around the terms of
a current subscription for both short and long term reasons.  This was
important in order to:

* recognize the need to clearly and simply communicate to our customers
via our Web interface who has access to what content.

* recognize the technical complexities of tracking historical purchases in
perpetuity (who started when and subscribed to what).

* remain flexible and not limit ourselves to the ways in which backfile
will evolve as a product (you can now link from SciFinder to full-text
going back to 1907) as technology advances.  We don't want to come back to
you in ten years and say, "well, the format is no longer PDF or HTML and
we need more of a financial commitment."

* adopt an approach that is not only manageable today, but also in the

* ensure and preserve access now and for future generations of

We also wanted to provide customers with a choice over whether to purchase
the Archives or not, while at the same time presenting all customers a
realistic opportunity to purchase the entire corpus of content at a fair
price.  At $1,500 to $4,500 per site for the entire catalogue, many
customers have told us this price is reasonable.  For our consortial
customers we have built in discounts for access that bring these per site
charges down significantly.

ACS Journals are the most heavily used and most widely cited journals in
chemistry.  Our subscription prices are substantially less than the
competition.  Independent studies suggest that non-ACS chemistry journals
cost as much as eleven times more than ACS journals on a cost-per-use

In June, Bob Bovenschulte met with Beverley French of the California
Digital Library to address the issue of perpetual access.  The meeting was
extremely productive as it helped raise our awareness about maintaining
access back to 1996.

We are committed to ensuring access to any electronic content subscribed
to which falls outside of the current subscription(1996-1998 and each
subsequent 6th year as it drops off the 5 year ACS Web Edition current
subscription) upon request in a format consistent with the ACS Archive
policy.  Our policy states that we will offer a one-time provision of a
PDF version in the form of a CDROM (or FTP transfer) or the option to
maintain access to any materials that were accessible through our servers
for a reasonable fee.

In addition, ACS Publications is firmly committed to the long-term
preservation of its content.  In April we finalized a complete revision of
our technical infrastructure to accomplish this goal.  The ACS content
back to Volume 1: Issue 1 resides on multiple servers in distinct
locations and a plan for disaster recovery has been in place for over
three years.  This initiative is an ongoing one requiring future planning
as well as additonal expenditure.

Response to the Archives from chemists has been overwhelmingly positive.
A chemist writes: "Having journal articles instantly available from the
very beginning of many journals hasn't only saved me trips to library, but
has fundamentally effected the way I do research--Many don't realize the
immense value of older scientific articles, but understanding the
development of a topic pays untold dividends."

There is no perfect solution to this matter.  We believe that the real
answer lies in the continued evolution and experimentation with approaches
in an effort to strike a balance between the respective needs of all
parties.  We believe the ACS has demonstrated a committment to that effect
over the short history of our offering the ACS Web Editions.

We look forward to continuing this partnership and to working with you in
the future.


Dean J. Smith
Assistant Director, Sales
American Chemical Society
phone: 202-872-8063
fax: 202-872-6005