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Re: Science Online model and Princeton


We're not expecting to lose many individual print subscriptions due to
institutional site-wide access, and we're not priced in a way that would
even come close to replacing that revenue if we were to start losing
members. Our pricing reflects no expectation of member losses -- you
couldn't afford it -- but we ARE expecting to lose some institutional
subscriptions to print Science, though I quite agree that no one will
likely drop their last 'archive' copy. The price of Science Online does
reflect some of that expected loss -- librarians told us firmly two years
ago that they don't want their online access tied to print (as a
requirement, so we didn't). Can't have it both ways. Still, the main price
driver is the expected small market (of buyers) for Science Online itself,
and the need to cover a substantial fixed cost base with that small

We're not trying to 'annihilate' your or anyone else's budget. We are
trying to make sure that Science can continue to be produced in the future
in whatever media are best suited to the various audiences we serve.
Science in print is currently price at about half the market rate for
similar journals. It has been so for years. I have stated publicly that we
are not married to this pricing, but it does represent in our CURRENT
judgment, both a fair and reasonable price for the value offered.

Obviously, we live in the marketplace, and your fond desire for our
revenues to suffer could of course come true. But I fail to see how that
much helps anybody, including libraries. I might add that there is a fair
(or rather, unfair) amount of hypocrisy in the library community
complaining loudly about certain high priced second and third tier
journals, then turning around and tying online pricing to print pricing!
Don't any of you folks realize that this strategy rewards the highest
priced journals that you are complaining about? And punishes the journals
which have traditionally kept prices BELOW market?

I'll try to explain our thinking as long as you or anybody else cares to
listen. But I don't think approaching us with ill wishes and accusations
is going to be a very productive process.


______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Science Online model and Princeton
Author:  Carole Richter <Carole.J.Richter.8@nd.edu> at Internet
Date:    12/3/98 10:37 PM

Mike Spinella wrote:
>It would be impossible to duplicate in print the ready access and research 
>usefulness of Science Online. Nevertheless, if you were to try to 
>duplicate only the accessibility, you would quickly recognize that Science 
>Online's site-wide subscription prices are far less expensive than either 
>the print or the workstation model, on a per user basis.


Well, I can't resist replying online to this explanation of Science Online 
pricing. I would be the first to acknowledge added value of electronic 
formats: access at the desktop, enhanced search capabilities, etc. etc. We 
pay substantially more for access to electronic versions of index/abstract 
services because they offer the identical content (including backfile) 
together with the benefits you mention.

It's difficult to see how print revenues are threatened, because even 
faculty personal subscribers like to have their own back issues easily 
available. We could never replace print copies of Science Online with the 
electronic version because, as you indicate, it is not archived.

Beyond that, it is ridiculous to compare site cost to that of per-user 
print or every individual workstation on campus-- when has anyone ever 
suggested that each fte should have a personal library-purchased copy of 
any magazine, journal or index? That's what concurrent use is all about. I 
think (and hope) that your revenue stream for electronic Science Online 
will be seriously constricted until the time that the cost bears a 
resemblance to added value. Until then, we can give sincere thanks to 
publishers who are making some effort to add electronic access without 
annihilating our budgets.

Carole Richter
Electronic Resourcees Coordinator
University of Notre Dame Libraries