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Re: Congratulations to AAAS (and a few others)

As John Cox points out, I may have oversimplified, because what we really
need is both the flexibility and the standardization. I feel the need for
the flexibiity particular strongly at this time of year because of the
very short time frame for making renewal decisions.  I suppose what I
would be glad to accept is all subscriptions starting in Jan, but with the
right to cancel and get a proportional refund. I cannot help wondering if
the refusal of publishers to do this is a desire to take advantage of
library inefficiency and mistakes--and there are usually quite a lot of
them to take advantage of.

John Cox wrote:
> David Goodman is unfair on scholarly journal publishers who operate
> subscription period geared to the calendar year.  The January 1 start date
> is traditional in journal publishing simply because that is what the
> academic library community has required since journals became a
> significant communications medium for research in the 40s and 50s.  The
> system of volume/issue/calendar year is all of a piece.  And libraries
> want complete volumes, don't they?
> In fact, most periodical publishers - popular magazines, trade and
> technical magazines, and journals with a significant individual customer
> base - all operate on an 'any time start' basis.  Scholarly journals
> don't, simply because libraries want the calendar year.
> Just to emphasise the point, I remember that, during my days in the early
> 1990s as head of Blackwell's subscription agency, periodicals with any
> time starts caused great problems for libraries.  They were a significant
> part of our customer service activity.
> If librarians require change to an any time start pattern, publishers will
> provide it - though it cannot happen overnight because most journal
> publishers' subscription management systems are geared to the calendar
> year. But I suspect David is in a minority.
> John Cox
David Goodman 
Biology Librarian, and
Co-Chair, Electronic Journals Task Force
Princeton University Library 
dgoodman@princeton.edu         http://www.princeton.edu/~biolib/
phone: 609-258-3235            fax: 609-258-2627