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American Physical Society Announces a Price Decrease for 2005!

:: Proving that the unthinkable is still possible, the American Physical Society (APS), in a letter to "The Library Community", has announced it will decrease prices for all tiers of its journals:

The Council of the APS has established journal prices for 2005 and APS will be DECREASING PRICES for all tiers. The publications of the APS include Physical Review A-E (PRA-E), Physical Review Letters (PRL), Physical Review Online Archive (PROLA), and Reviews of Modern Physics (RMP). PROLA, with journal content back to 1893, will continue to be available at no cost to subscribers of the APS packages (PR-All and APS-All) and at a very modest cost to those subscribing to portions of the package. In keeping with the Society's goal of moving towards a pricing structure, which reflects the diversity amongst its subscribers, the larger decreases will be for the smaller institutions, as follows:

Tier 1 institutions prices will decrease 3.0% (35% of all subscriptions)
Tiers 2 and 3 institutions prices will decrease 1.0% (54% of subscriptions)
Tiers 4 and 5 institutions prices will decrease 0.5% (11% of subscriptions)

The price decreases are in the presence of continued growth in journal size and in manuscript submissions. They reflect a long and intense development of new technology both by the Society and its vendors as well as persistent attention to cost control by all of the staff. They also represent the Society's commitment to returning the advantages of technology to the community. The same percentage price decrease will apply to print-plus-online and online only. APS sees the new technology as an exciting challenge to end the period of unsustainable price increases.

A full list of institutional prices for 2005 is available, as is an explanation of the five tiers of pricing. The APS is to be applauded for taking this initiative. Now that the bar has been set, will another publisher raise it higher? Will the sun go nova this weekend? Stay tuned.


Dear Colleagues,

I want to personally and publicly thank the American Physical Society for their recent decision to lower subscription prices for the 2005 year. Given the budget constraints that my libraries are facing this year, this is, indeed, welcomed news. Their rationale is well articulated, and their efforts at cost containment are well appreciated.

Furthermore, I want to thank the leadership of APS for engaging the library community in numerous ways. We librarians are certainly aware that this engagement is not practiced by all publishers. It is heartening to see such positive librarian-publisher interactions.

Since many of us publicize the cost of subscriptions to our patrons, and even focus on increasing patron awareness of the most expensive titles, we may also consider increasing patron awareness that not all publishers engage in such high percentage increases each year.

Finally, as we continue strategic planning for PAM, perhaps we should consider creating a title price resource, where we compile, annually, a list of titles in our fields and the cost of ubscribing to those titles. I am sure that many of you, like myself, already do something akin to this on the local level. If we used a spreadsheet for the PAM work, our collective endeavors could save time and effort on the local level, as well as provide data for policy making, programming, etc. on the Division level. Naturally, there will be issues to work out like which currency to use, electronic vs. print costs, etc, but this could be worked out by establishing a new "Serials Committee."



Michael R. Leach
Kummel Library of Geological Sciences and Physics Research Library
Harvard University
24 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Kummel: 617-495-2029 (voice); 617-495-4711 (fax)
Physics: 617-495-2878 (voice); 617-495-0416 (fax)
mrleach AT fas.harvard.edu or
leach AT eps.harvard.edu or
leach AT physics.harvard.edu

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