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Re: Journal/Publisher 2010 price freeze info on MLA website

"a journal's usage and its importance to the library customers 
and collection?" is ultimately the determining factor, but the 
argument is not quite so simple.

In institutions like mine, cancellations during good times (i.e. 
when funds are available) tend only to happen if circumstances 
change and a journal is clearly no longer being used and is no 
longer relevant. Inertia may save such titles from cancellation 
in the short term; eventually they go.

However when a library simply cannot afford to renew all it's 
subscriptions all sorts of factors have to be weighted and 
considered. "Usage" and "importance" are not exactly synonymous. 
Price will be one such factor and for me price restraint would 
add some weight to a decision to keep a subscription.  Such 
publishers are the sort of people we would prefer to be doing 
business with.

The reverse is that high priced journals that are also going to 
get even pricier are exposed to a bit more scrutiny, suspicion 
and serious consideration of alternative solutions.

Publisher packages and deals complicate matters further, but the 
final outcome is dictated by the funds available and hundreds of 
separate and perhaps conflicting judgements.  Among which for any 
one particular title the price or a price freeze may or may not 
be the deciding factor.

So freezing prices won't protect journals from cancellation, but 
could well make a difference where the decision is between titles 
of "similar usage and importance to the library customers"; 
however that is reckoned.  Nonetheless given a finite pool of 
money, freezing prices will surely maximise the number of 
subscriptions maintained across the industry.  That may not 
advantage any particular publisher or shareholder, but seems a 
good outcome overall for publishing and its clients.

Neil Renison - Librarian (Acquisitions Services)
Eddie Koiki Mabo Library
James Cook University
Townsville QLD 4811 Australia
Email: Neil.Renison@jcu.edu.au
Phone: (07) 4781 5073    Fax: (07) 4781 5886


Nawin Gupta wrote:

> It is gratifying to see that a number of publishers are 
> foregoing price increases for the upcoming year.  Anecdotal 
> evidence to date is that many of the libraries, if not most, 
> are expecting budget cuts of around 10% or more. Sadly, despite 
> the noble gestures of some, chances are that librarians would 
> still need to cut some subscriptions.
> If I may ask a question of librarians on this list:
> Would a journal that did not increase its subscription price 
> likely to be spared in your decision to cut?  Or, are the 
> decisions likely to be based primarily on a journal's usage and 
> its importance to the library "customers" and collection?
> Nawin Gupta
> www.nawingupta.com