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Re: Elsevier's Approach to Pricing

I find myself forced to respond to this posting.  From our experience with
PEAK and now ScienceDirect I definitely agree our patrons are using a
wider range of titles than in the days of only print.  This is all to the
good as we couldn't possibly subscribe to every journal our patrons might

Why then did we just get hit with a policy which makes this new wide
access a travesty?  One of the problems withPEAK as well as the electronic
collections of some other publishers was the requirement for individual
registration.  From my experience in two different libraries, I can vouch
for the fact that every roadblock thrown up means a group of users who
turn away. It seems like Elsevier was making their ScienceDirect access as
easy as possible for users.  Well yesterday we found out that each and
every Vanderbilt user must set up individual registration to be able to
use SD titles for which we have no print subscription.  BOY IS THIS A STEP
BACKWARDS.  It could very well be that the positive feedback I have been
hearing from faculty here will hit a sudden brick wall when they next try
to access that journal title that was becoming a new favorite.

Kitty Porter
Stevenson Science & Engineering Library
419 21st Avenue South
Vanderbilt University
Nashville TN 37240
Phone: 615-343-7106
Fax:   615-343-7249
Email: porter@library.vanderbilt.edu


> As many of you know, many positive changes have been made to Elsevier
> Science policies (including pricing policies) in the last few months.  In
> addition, the positive feedback we have received from our ScienceDirect
> customers has been very promising in terms of validating our goal to
> enhance the dissemination of scientific information.
> In view of our increased efforts to focus on our customers' needs, we are
> troubled by the recent comments made in the liblicense-l forum.  Several
> of the comments lead us to believe that there is a basic misunderstanding
> of our policies.  Simply put, the perception voiced by a few individuals
> is not the reality.
> Though it is extremely difficult to address these concerns in this type of
> forum, we would like to set the record straight on a few items.
> 1. Elsevier Science recognizes that each institution is unique.
> 2. Pricing alternatives do exist for the delivery of electronic content
> through the SD platform.  These alternatives are based on such
> considerations as each institution's service level goals, user needs
> (including programs of study), and funding for electronic resources.
> 3. With the goal of helping institutions find a solution to the problem of
> limited (rationed) availability of scientific information, we provide for
> the possibility (not the force feeding) of access to our entire database
> of over 1,100 journals, if that option is desired by a customer.
> 4. Combined print and electronic information delivery is available for
> only a small increase in cost over the price of print and is based on the
> customer's existing print collection.  Electronic-only subscriptions are
> available for less than the cost of the print subscription.
> 5. ScienceDirect customers with access to the entire Elsevier Science
> journal collection report that the usage of titles previously unsubscribed
> to account for a surprisingly large proportion of the total usage of
> Elsevier material.  This indicates quite clearly that the availability of
> additional material is a significant value to our customers.  Contrary to
> comments made in this forum, there is no requirement that a customer
> accept this particular option.
> 6. Elsevier Science is actively pursuing the enhancement of our electronic
> products and platforms and expects that in the future there will be
> targeted products available to meet the specific needs of different types
> of libraries and user communities.
> At this time it is important that we learn from the feedback of librarians
> and researchers who, based on their experiences with ScienceDirect, are
> beginning to identify a new set of requirements for the second generation
> of electronic services.  As a result, we expect new products and
> accompanying new pricing options to emerge. The business model of today
> must be viewed as transitional in nature.
> Neil Posner
> Vice President - Pricing
> Elsevier Science
> n.posner@elsevier.com <mailto:k.hunter@elsevier.com>