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Re: SPARC and ACS (other views)

I have received a number of comments on and off the list about my note. 

I apparently did not make sufficiently clear that there is another option
in ACS ejournal pricing, besides the individual rates that I commented on:

> "Subscription Option B, Web Editions with all current subscriptions"
> allows institutions agreeing to retain their current print
> subscription to obtain an organization-wide Web edition license.
> Beginning in 2000, the fee for this license is only an additional 15%
> (reduced from 25% > in 1999) of the rates for ACS print journals in a
> library's collection that are selected to be received as Web editions,
> Larger organizations can include multiple locations...

In other words, if you retain all your print, you can add ejournal
versions at a reasonable price. Many academic institutions, including
Princeton, participate in this. The cut in rate from 25% for 15% means, I
am told, that even with the increase in journal prices we will be spending
less for the ACS titles than last year.

This is certainly good, but I don't consider this perfect, since for some
titles a library might eventually prefer to get only electronic. I also
dislike in principle as anti competitive any plan that guarantees a
publisher's revenue--but it certainly makes more sense for a typical
institution to do this for ACS than for any commercial publisher I can
think of.

Richard K Johnson of ARL made the following comment, which I quote:

> SPARC exists first and foremost to spur competition in the 
> marketplace in order to drive down prices and encourage alternatives. 
> The most important point about our relationship with ACS is that the 
> market now has an alternative to Tetrahedron Letters that is more 
> than $6000 less expensive and is of outstanding quality. Taking all 
> factors into consideration, ACS is an effective partner, able to 
> deliver value and quality, ready to talk about their policies, 
> engaged in trying to evolve with fast-changing and segmented market 
> needs. And they bring to our partnership well deserved prestige among 
> chemists that ensures authors and readers will embrace the journals 
> that result from our efforts.

Unless this publication is sufficiently successful to drive out
Tetrahedron Letters, several have mentioned that this means that chemistry
research libraries will be paying the $2400 for Organic Letters as well as
the $8850 for the commercial title. I note, though, that the increase in
the Elsevier title from 1999 to 2000 was only 3%, while the average
increase for that publisher was 7.5%.

David Goodman