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Re: Preferred pricing model for journals

Ian Winship sends the following message:

From: Ian Winship <ian.winship@unn.ac.uk>
To: "'ALPSP'" <sec-gen@alpsp.org.uk>, LIS-serials <lis-serials@mailbase.ac.uk>,
        Liblicense <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Subject: RE: Preferred pricing model for journals
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 09:59:47 -0000

David Summers wrote:

> In answer to the question, "but what do you really really want?"... 

> 1.	separate pricing by individual title and format.  
> 2.	sufficient differential between electronic and print 
> pricing to offer clear incentives to transfer format, even allowing for
> VAT 
> factor (where applicable).
> 3.	if we absolutely must have packages of titles, they 
> should be bundled by subject - not publisher - and should permit
> cancellations 
> of hard-copy.

I'm not sure this is a consensus view. Packages by publisher can be useful
depending on the deal. For some of us these can be good value for money,
maybe reinstating titles previously cancelled. Remember not all
universities devolve budgets to departments. Perhaps we need to be offered
a choice, so we can take what suits our particular needs. There are also
issues about how these are made available to users - packages may be
easier to deliver.
Most importantly we do need inflation-free pricing - for print and
electronic journals. If I am being cynical I make a comparison:

In academic journal publishing there is a cycle: journal prices go up well
above normal retail price increases; libraries cancel titles because
budgets don't increase sufficiently if at all; publishers increase prices
to maintain income.

In the commercial world in general if income falls, suppliers reduce
prices to generate sales.

Why the difference? Forget the argument about journals adding more content
and so costing more - in the real world there is also the concept of
designing to a price the market will like. Journal publishing is driven by
meeting the need for academics to publish, but selling the product to a
third party - libraries - who have no say about the content and features
of the product. There's some contradictions here.

Ian Winship
Information Services, University of Northumbria at Newcastle  
City Campus Library, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK

e-mail: ian.winship@unn.ac.uk                
phone:  0191 227 4150      fax: 0191 227 4563