February 26, 2007

ICIS Returns August 2006 Archived Chemical Prices To The Web (Open Access) and Launches ICIS Students Site

.: Those who follow this humble blog are aware that I have been on a mission of sorts regarding ICIS and its publication, Chemical Market Reporter (CMR), which became ICIS Chemical Business Americas (ICBA) in September 2006. My rants posts included rants coverage about the removal of weekly chemical prices from the print edition of CMR in 2005, and then the sudden and unannounced end of CMR during the first week of September 2006, and the appearance a week later of its replacement, ICBA, complete with 80% of the chemical prices permanently removed from its weekly listing. I last reported that I had received a very positive response to my rants concerns from Penny Wilson, the ICIS Global Editorial Director, who reaffirmed ICIS's commitment to its student readers. Subsquent to Penny's first response, she forwarded a number of suggestions for what ICIS could provide on its website to be of use to students. These included:

1. Create a holding tank for company price announcements. In this way students will get a lot more than from the slimmed down list currently offered on the ICBA site. The latter is provided by ICIS pricing and updated regularly, but it is not enough for students themselves. The prices we offered on the old CMR site were a big attraction to students, even though they were out of date and very rarely updated by CMR which didn't have the resources to do so.

2. Create a kind of "my space" for student blogs and forums - it will be global and allow students to swap information and discussions, tips and anything else they'd like to swap across many oceans, or just locally. It needs to be self-governed in some way. Undoubtedly it would provide us with good fodder to follow in our own content, as well as helping us take the temperature of students' needs/wants/thoughts etc.....

3. Create a holding tank for interesting student papers so they can be shared and aired. Academic papers could also be accommondated. A kind of "think-tank" environment.

4. Create a space for employers to market their companies to the next generation of employees - no job ads of course, but they could talk about the career development and post grad training opportunities they offer.

5. Create a space/holding tank for press releases. This would allow students to keep up with the news of the day (however biased) and also help them get a handle on vital industry information.

Over the past few months, Penny, her ICIS colleague Sue Royse, and I have been in touch a few times, and last week, Sue called from London to advise that the first iteration of the new ICIS Students site is up and running:
Welcome to the first phase of our service to students. We intend to develop this area into an entire Knowledge Zone, with information designed to help students with their studies and to equip tutors with some teaching tools. We hope it will turn into a space in which students and academics worldwide can communicate and discuss issues with each other, and showcase their best work to the wider world, not least potential employers.
Included in the new site is the last set of full chemical prices from the last issue of CMR, dated 28 August 2006, which at the very least can provide students with pricing information that for the next while is not necessarily that outdated. Additionally, Penny is soliciting feedback on how to make the site more useful and robust, so PLEASE send her your comments and ideas.

So kudos to Penny Wilson, Sue Royse, and the ICIS staff for not simply giving my concerns lip-service, but actually walking the walk. Penny and Sue plan to consult with a number of chemisty and chemical/materials engineering librarians and faculty in the coming months, to improve the site and make it as useful to students as possible. What's refreshing to me is that this is a rare example of a publisher - a trade publisher no less! - responding sincerely and to the needs of a very small percentage of their readership - students, who are their future customers.

January 18, 2007

IEEE Signs Archiving Agreement With Portico

.: From an recent e-mail:

Dear Colleagues,

IEEE signs archiving agreement with Portico

Portico is pleased to announce the signing of an agreement with IEEE to preserve the organization’s periodicals and conference proceedings. The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for the advancement of technology. The international association produces nearly one-third of the world's literature in the fields of electrical and electronics engineering and computer science, as well as develops more than 900 active industry standards. IEEE serves engineers, scientists and other professionals in 160 countries and has more than 365,000 members worldwide.

Through this agreement with Portico, IEEE has committed 137 periodicals ( journals, transactions, magazines, newsletters ) and 163 conference proceedings for long term preservation, thus ensuring its publications will be available to future generations of scholars, practitioners, researchers and students.

In addition to supplying content, IEEE has agreed to make an annual financial contribution to Portico.

With the inclusion of IEEE publications, over 6,000 titles have now been entrusted to the Portico archive. The complete list of journal titles is available at and a list of participating publishers is available at

Continue reading "IEEE Signs Archiving Agreement With Portico" »

November 20, 2006

Wiley and Blackwell - Commentary by Dana Roth

I always hope for the best but it has been my experience that many of Wiley's policies and pricing decisions appear to be detrimental to libraries. The recent article by the Bergstrom & Bergstrom, while discussing commercial publishers in general, very aptly describes what seems to be Wiley's business model ...

"Over the past decade, scientific publishing has shifted from a paper-based distribution system to one largely built upon electronic access to journal articles. Despite this shift, the basic patterns of journal pricing have remained largely unchanged. The large commercial publishers charge dramatically higher prices to institutions than do professional societies and university presses. These price differences do not reflect differences in quality as measured by citation rate."

Two of the best examples of this are:

Inorganica Chimica Acta (Elsevier) has a 2005 price per page of $1.88 ($8633/4588), an ISI Impact Factor of 1.61 and a p/p/IF of 1.17. Inorganic Chemistry (ACS) has a 2005 price per page of $0.26 ($2604/9977), an ISI Impact Factor of 3.85 and a p/p/IF of 0.07.

Thus, Inorganica Chimica Acta is 7 times more expensive per page ($1.88/$0.26) and is nearly 17 times (1.17/0.07) less cost-effective than Inorganic Chemistry.

Biopolymers/Peptide Science (Wiley) has a 2005 price/page of $3.70 ($6995/1893), an ISI Impact Factor of 2.55 and a p/p/IF of 1.45. Biomacromolecules (ACS) has a 2005 price/page of $0.26 ($905/3485), an ISI Impact Factor of 3.62 and a p/p/IF of 0.07.

Thus, Biopolymers/Peptide Science is 14 times more expensive per page ($3.70/$0.26) and is nearly 21 times (1.45/.07) less cost-effective than Biomacromolecules.

Henry Barschall (Physics Today, July 1998, p.56) defined the ratio of the price/printed character to the frequency with which articles in the journal are cited as the best indicator of a journal's cost-effectiveness. I have modified this slightly to the more easily determined ratio of the price/page to the ISI Impact Factor. Thus, in the examples above, the smaller the ratio the greater the journal's cost-effectiveness.

I think you will agree that these disparities can not continue indefinitely. It is sad but true that many of the very expensive journals are in a death spiral of cancellations, and are only surviving because of a few institutional subscriptions. Their excessive subscription cost not only penalizes the remaining subscribing libraries, which could be using these funds for other publications or services, but also insures that these articles will be largely unavailable to their target audience.

Wiley to Acquire Blackwell Publishing (Holdings) Ltd.

.: From the press release:

Hoboken, N.J. and Oxford U.K., November 17, 2006— John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE:JWa) (NYSE:JWb) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the outstanding shares of Blackwell Publishing (Holdings) Ltd., one of the world's foremost academic and professional publishers. The purchase price of £572 million will be financed with a combination of debt and cash. The transaction will be implemented through a U.K. Scheme of Arrangement. Wiley has received irrevocable commitments from the principal shareholders of Blackwell Publishing to sell their shares to Wiley. The companies anticipate that the transaction will close early in 2007.

Based in Oxford, Blackwell Publishing's revenue in 2005 was approximately £210 million, or $380 million, which is about the same as Wiley's global Scientific, Technical and Medical (STM) business. Blackwell's publishing programs include journals, books and online content in the sciences, technology, medicine, the social sciences and humanities. Blackwell Ltd., the book library service and retailing business, is a separate entity and is not part of the acquisition.

Continue reading "Wiley to Acquire Blackwell Publishing (Holdings) Ltd." »

September 15, 2006

Joseph Chang, Editor of ICIS Chemical Business Americas, Responds To Concerns About Chemical Price Information in ICBA

.: In response to my criticisms and concerns about the changes to Chemical Market Reporter, and the sudden albeit temporary disappearance of its web site (with the chemical prices!) during the first week of classes, Mr Joseph Chang, editor of ICIS Chemical Business Americas has written the following letter, which is printed here in its entirety, and without comment from me. I had a friendly and productive discussion with Joe on the phone earlier this week, and offered him the chance to respond here if he wished to do so. I really appreciate that he took the time to do so, and note that he is receptive to our concerns. Thank you, Joe.

Letter from Joseph Chang, the Editor of ICIS Chemical Business Americas

I want to offer my sincerest apologies for the great inconvenience the revision of our online price pages has caused. We truly value the academic community and our educational subscribers and we are eager to continue a fruitful dialogue.

Let me explain the rationale behind the changes in our pricing section: Over the years, our magazine has shifted towards more news and analysis, and although prices are an important aspect of our product, they are our editors’ primary focus. As a result, many of the entries in the pricing section had not been updated for years, making them irrelevant or worse.

To correct the problem, we significantly narrowed the list of chemicals in the pricing section to those we can update on a regular basis. The entries that currently appear consist of 95 chemical prices: 28 commodity chemicals and 67 oils, fats and waxes. These are the prices we are comfortable posting, because we can ensure that they are relatively up-to-date.

We would rather put up a limited price list that is meaningful than a large price list that is suspect. That said, I understand that you would have been better served by some advance notice of the changes we planned, and I regret our failure to provide it.

As Randy Reichardt correctly observes, the students you teach are the future of our industry. We fully recognize this and aim to better serve you needs and interests.

I sincerely hope you and your students find value in our publication ICIS Chemical Business Americas, even with the narrowed—but more accurate--chemical pricing section. We also offer important news, as well as analysis and insights on major trends in the global chemical industry. As you guide your students onto their future paths, I can only hope that they make our publication a key part of their journey.

I welcome any of your comments and questions. Please feel free to contact me at 212-791-4224, or

Joseph Chang, Editor, ICIS Chemical Business Americas

September 11, 2006

ICIS Chemical Business Americas Replaces Chemical Market Reporter - ICIS Disregards Its Educational Customers

.: I.: I don't know where to begin this time. I'm trying hard to contain my anger. Last week I reported that ICIS brought down the Chemical Market Reporter site, virtually at the same time I was teaching a class of 155 chemical engineering students on, among other things, how to search CMR to find current chemical prices, a major component of one of their assignments. What I didn't realize was that ICIS had brought down the CMR site, and was redesigning it to become ICIS Chemical Business Americas. After learning about this the day after my instruction, the professor and I scrambled to get an explanation to all 155 students; we sent them a note advising that the new site would be up today (Monday 11 Sept 2006). I had hopes that the new site would at the very least return access to the full list of chemical prices. This did not happen.

Instead, in yet another example of a trade publisher's apparent disregard of its educational subscribers (which would include thousands of students studying to become engineers and needing access to these prices for their design courses), ICIS no longer is reporting most of the prices it previously reported on a weekly basis, with the following explanation:

These are chemical price indications based on pricing information obtained from market participants. Posted prices are updated on a periodic basis and do not necessarily represent levels at which transactions may have actually occurred, nor do they represent bid or ask prices. Price ranges, indicated by the two columns, may represent quotations from different participants, as well as differences in quantity, quality and location. Although prices are reported as accurately as possible, they do not carry any guarantees. The prices are intended as a guide for ICIS Chemical Business Americas readers and not to be used as a basis for negotiations between producers and customers.

The volume of prices has been narrowed significantly to those which can be updated on a regular basis. If you have any questions, please contact Editor Joseph Chang at 212-791-4224 or , or CSC at 888-525-3255 or .

This means that prices will only be posted if they change – a price doesn’t change for two years, it won’t get posted until then. My guess is at least 75% of the previously reported chemical prices are gone. If I had any doubts that ICIS did not consult with anyone in engineering education before these changes were confirmed, those doubts have been washed away with the deleted chemical prices.

I checked the Chemical Prices P-S for the week of 28 August - 3 Sept 2006, and counted 209 prices. For the period of 11-17 September 2006, Chemical Prices for the letters P, Q, R, and S total 36 prices, or an 82.% decrease in the typical number of prices previously reported in this alphabetic range.

What is it about trade publishers and their apparent disregard for their educational customers? I know, it's all about the almighty dollar, but good grief - what part of "we’re teaching your future customers” doesn’t resonate in the commercial world?

It doesn't matter that I have a bit of egg on my face from having taught 155 chemical engineering students how to search a site that no longer existed while I was actually teaching them. But there's a larger rub that really angers me.

As documented earlier, ICIS removed the chemical prices from the print edition of CMR in April 2005, moved the prices online, and decided to charge something in the vicinity of US$10,000 to access the prices online. After I and others raised hell about that option, Brian Gray reported that he had negotiated with CMR to allow educational institutions access to the most recent twelve months of chemical prices online, at US$415 - something for which we had paid in our print subscriptions in the first place! Later it was confirmed that unlimited access would cost us US$715! So for any of us in universities, colleges, etc., to provide access to the archived weekly chemical prices, we needed to ante up another few hundred dollars for a service that we had received as part of existing subscriptions for decades. Did I mention that these chemical prices are at times critical to an undergraduate chemical engineering student's education?

Now, said unlimited access gives us much less from Sept 2006 onwards. As such, college and university libraries supporting programs in chemical engineering and the chemical industry will need to decide whether or not to continue to pay an inflated subscription price for access to an online product, once extremely critical to undergraduate chemical engineers' education, or to cancel and look for the same information elsewhere.

Perhaps the writing is on the wall, and I'm too dumb to process it: for commercial and trade publishers, maybe future customers don't count until they actually exist.

September 6, 2006

ICIS Puts Chemical Market Reporter On The Bus - Could They Have Chosen a Better Time To Do This?

.: As if the timing couldn't be worse, in a move that further confirms how sadly out-of-touch trade publishers are with their educational customers, the Powers That Be at ICIS have dumped Chemical Market Reporter, and are launching a new title in its place, called ICIS Chemical Business Americas. Apparently it will be available next week. Meanwhile, when you visit the CMR page (the number one site for chemical prices) or ICBA sites, it says is "coming soon."

Dumb question: Could ICIS have done this at any time other than the beginning of fall semester at universities and colleges all over the freakin' planet? Perhaps. Yesterday morning I was extolling the virtues of CMR to 155 students in Chemical & Materials Engineering 200, using previously-designed screen shots to show them how to search for and find a chemical price. Oddly enough, each of them must find a price of a chemical in order to complete an assignment distributed to them yesterday in the class! I learned that CMR wasn't working when I received an e-mail from a distraught CME 200 student this afternoon. The last time I checked the site (a few days ago), it was working fine.

In the spring of 2005, after learning that CMR had dumped the chemical prices from the print version, and was charging something outrageous like ~US$10,000 to access the same information online, I led the charge to have the prices reinstated, or at least made available to educational subscribers at a considerably reduced rate. Read all the posts here if you like. Now ICIS pulls this stunt at the exact same time tens of thousands of chemical engineering, chemistry, business, and who knows what other categories of students are beginning classes, and need access to chemical prices ASAP.

Amazing, astonishing, but I am not surprised. I remember hearing that educational subscribers constitute perhaps 5-7% of CMR subscriptions, and I would expect the same percentage would apply to most trade titles in engineering and related disciplines. Trade publishers cater to their industries, and why not? The for-profit subscribers are their bread and butter. But what trade publishers tend to forget is that those of us at educational locations who subscribe to their publications are also teaching THEIR FUTURE CUSTOMERS. At this point in time, I seriously doubt such a concept has any resonance with them whatsoever, otherwise by now we would have seem some evidence to the contrary.

Sure, the new site might be up on Monday of next week, but even if it is, those of us who subscribe to CMR - er - ICBA, will need to reconfigure our tips sheets, resource guides, catalogue entries, etc etc. Like we have nothing else to do when classes begin. Never mind the additional embarrassment of having taught students in large groups, only to discover the site to which we were referencing has gone buh-bye. I guess it serves me right for using screen shots instead of going live during my presentation...

To put it mildly: ARGH!!! Idiot publishers. That sound you hear is my head banging against my desk.

Rant over.

March 13, 2006

Knowledgespeak Updates

.: One of the consequences of working two jobs at the same time is that my inbox is growing faster than I can hit the delete button. Here are a few recent items from the Knowledgespeak news archive, which I have been meaning to post for some time:

  • BioMed Central unveils new online open access journal - "Open access publisher BioMed Central, UK, has announced the launch of Biology Direct, a new online open access journal with a new peer review system. Led by Editors-in-Chief David J Lipman, Director of the National Center Biotechnology Information (NCBI); Eugene V Koonin, Senior Investigator at NCBI; and Laura Landweber, Associate Professor at Princeton University, the journal seeks to provide authors and readers with a unique system of peer review.

    The journal will cover original research articles, hypotheses and reviews, and is available online at The journal includes publications in the fields of Systems Biology, Computational Biology and Evolutionary Biology, to be soon followed by an Immunology section..."

Continue reading "Knowledgespeak Updates" »

December 8, 2005

Engineering-Related OA Journals Published by Hindawi

Hindawi Publishing Corp. publishes a dozen Open Access journals, 10 of which are directly applicable to engineering.

- George Porter

November 25, 2005

Dana Roth on Open Access Archives and STM

As commercial STM publishers continue to increase the subscription prices of their journals, and charge for backfile access, is it time for them to consider offering open access to their archives? Dana Roth of the Millikan Library at Caltech considers the benefits and consequences of such a move in this commentary:

Open Access Archives and STM Publishers - A Commentary by Dana Roth

One wonders ...

One wonders when commercial publishers might re-think their marketing strategies and recognize that their library subscribers deserve some compensation for years of annual price increases that far exceed inflation (for either CPI or pagination). The cumulative effect of decades of these often questionable price increases is exemplified by an analysis of the 2004 subscription costs, pagination, and cost/page.

Journal Title (publisher/volume) 2004 $ 2004 pp 2004 $/p
J. Electrochem. Soc. (ECS-v.151) $715 5825 $0.12
J. Solid State Electrochem. (Sp-v.9) $585 913 $0.64
Electrochimica Acta (P/Els-v.49) $4215 5260 $0.80
Electroanalysis (W/VCH-v.16) $2428 2094 $1.16
J. Applied Electrochem. (Kl-v.34) $2029 1291 $1.57
J. Electroanal. Chem. (Els-v.560-572) $9469 4267 $2.26

Factoring in the ISI Impact Factors (IP) and normalization of the cost/page/IP values for each commercial journal against the Journal of the Electrochemical Society (JES) produces some very startling results. These normalized values (2004N$/p/IP) are possibly a measure of the cost-effectiveness of each journal compared with JES.

Journal title - 2004 ISI/IP 2004$/p/IP 2004N$/p/IP
J. Electrochem. Soc. - 2.36 0.05 1.0
Electrochimica Acta - 2.34 0.34 6.8
Electroanalysis - 2.04 0.57 11.4
J. Solid State Electrochem. - 0.98 0.65 13.0
J. Electroanal. Chem. - 2.29 0.99 19.8
J. Applied Electrochem. - 0.98 1.60 32.0

While the Electrochemical Society's JES is somewhat unique in its very reasonable cost/page, they are certainly not publishing this journal at a loss. The normalized values of the 2004 cost/page/IP indicate that the J. Electrochem. Soc. is more cost effective than the J. Applied Electrochem. by a factor of 32. Alternatively, looking simply at the difference in the $cost/page data suggests that, if published by a society, J. Electroanal. Chem. could be priced at $512/year instead of $9649.

Given these presumably handsome profits, would it be unreasonable to suggest that commercial publishers consider making their online archives freely available thru an equivalent of PubMed Central?

One can only imagine the enormous positive public relations that the first commercial publisher will receive for this small token of appreciation to the library and research community ... and that this might encourage others to follow suit. This would also have the beneficial effect of freeing up funds for the learned society journal back files, which when their capital costs are met could also be made freely available. Thus, with a little publisher cooperation, an Open Access environment for virtually all journal articles published more than ten years ago would be a reality.

P.S. Publishers should also strongly consider offering RSS feeds, and MARC records for new online books in addition to currently offered e-mail announcements.

Dana L. Roth
Millikan Library / Caltech 1-32
1200 E. California Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91125
626-395-6423 fax 626-792-7540
dzrlib AT

October 28, 2005

Inderscience Publishers - A Heads-up From Roddy MacLeod

.: Roddy MacLeod sent word today about Inderscience, a publishing company based in Switzerland:

Inderscience is a publisher of high quality peer-reviewed international journals in the fields of engineering and technology, management and business administration, and energy, environment and sustainable development.Roddy advises that Inderscience publishes journals in the following areas: Engineering, Computing/ICT and Technology; Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development; Management and Business Administration; Healthcare, Sport and Leisure, and by 2006, will be publishing 170 titles.

Of interest is Inderscience's flexible subscription plans. Libraries can negotiate subscription prices based on estimated number of concurrent users per title. TOC e-mail alerts and an RSS feed for new articles are also available.

September 22, 2005

OECD Report on Scientific Publishing

:: As noted by George Porter, "The OECD has posted its report on Scientific Publishing and an accompanying press release." The Economist offered a commentary today as well, in a piece called The Paperless Library:

Free access to scientific results is changing research practices

IT USED to be so straightforward. A team of researchers working together in the laboratory would submit the results of their research to a journal. A journal editor would then remove the authors' names and affiliations from the paper and send it to their peers for review. Depending on the comments received, the editor would accept the paper for publication or decline it. Copyright rested with the journal publisher, and researchers seeking knowledge of the results would have to subscribe to the journal.

No longer. The internet—and pressure from funding agencies, who are questioning why commercial publishers are making money from government-funded research by restricting access to it—is making free access to scientific results a reality. This week, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued a report describing the far-reaching consequences of this. The report, by John Houghton of Victoria University in Australia and Graham Vickery of the OECD, makes heavy reading for publishers who have, so far, made handsome profits. But it goes further than that. It signals a change in what has, until now, been a key element of scientific endeavour.

August 17, 2005

George Porter: ACM Launches Two New Journals

.: The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has launched two new journals within the last month, ACM Transactions on Algorithms (TALG) and ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks (TOSN).

ACM Transaction on Algorithms is the long-awaited result of a mass resignation by the editorial board of Journal of Algorithms (JoA) over a long running pricing dispute with their publisher. [For additional background on the JoA->TALG story, read the STLQ posts Commentary: The Crisis In Scholary Communication, by George Porter and Journal of Algorithms Fallout Getting Noticed, Stanford U Takes Stand Against "Pricey Journals".]

-- George Porter

August 10, 2005

Knowledgespeak - Daily Reports on the STM Publishing Industry

:: Knowledgespeak is a new daily online news service covering developments and news from the STM publishing industry. The site also links to relevant articles, white papers, and presentations.

It looks promising, and is a service that is perhaps long overdue for the industry. Visitors can subscribe to the Knowledgespeak newsletter, but astonishingly, there is no RSS feed to the news updates. (Via EngLib)

July 18, 2005

Journal of Biomedical Science -- Publisher Change & Free Content

:: Interesting entry from George Porter on the perils of what can happen when an online journal changes publishers in midstream:

Journal of Biomedical Science moved from Karger to Kluwer (now Springer) at the beginning of 2005. Karger provides free access to much of the backfile and provides a link forward to the current website. Springer is not reciprocating, leaving users wondering whether/where the previous years of the journal may lurk on the web.

Journal of Biomedical Science
Fulltext v5-10 (1998-2003); v11 (2004) [subscription required]
Fulltext v12+ (2005+) [subscription required]
Print ISSN: 1021-7770 | Online ISSN: 1423-0127

There's an easily identifiable industry best practice for journals which change publishers, regardless of the contractual issues of what to do with the backfiles.

Best Practice: When an online journal title is transferred from one publisher to another, certain obligations are incumbent upon the former publisher and the current publisher.

The former publisher must acknowledge, from the same URL as previously used to deliver content:

  • that they published the journal for a specific period (volumes and years).
  • where new material may be found by providing a link.
  • in the event the former publisher no longer provides access to the actual content, what provision has been made (transfer to new publisher, transfer to owning society, etc) for current access to the material which they did publish.
The new publisher must acknowledge, from the same URL used to deliver new/current content:
  • the former publisher and the specific period issued from said publisher(s).
  • where older material may be found by providing a link(s).
  • in the event the new publisher does not provide access to the actual earlier content, what provision has been made (retention be former publisher, transfer to owning society, etc.) for current access to the earlier material which they did not publish.
- George Porter

June 14, 2005

now - Foundations and Trends®

:: While at the SLA trade show, I visited the now booth, i.e., Now Publishers Inc, creators of a new series of journals called Foundations and Trends®. From the Product Overview page:

Each Foundations and Trends will cover a major branch of a scientific discipline and offer current, state-of-the-art review articles by opinion/research leaders in their field. Authors are allowed 50-100 pages for a complete review of the subject and articles are published upon acceptance in electronic form with all of the references linked to the original source. Each article is intended to put primary research into context, improving researchers' and students' understanding of the original literature. As a result, and guided by the links to source material, users will have access to primary and secondary data - enriching their comprehension, retention and utilization of the content.
From the About Us page:
now is introducing a new type of product into the research information market. Focusing initially in the Business and Technology areas, now is introducing Foundations and Trends (FnT). This product combines the peer-review of journals, the high usage of reference works, and the pedagogy of textbooks. Each "issue" of FnT comprises one or more monographs of up to 100 pages written by research and opinion leaders in the field that surveys the literature and offers a state-of-the-art review of the subject in full including a complete bibliography. The issues will be published electronically upon acceptance with subsequent distribution in print format. Each issue will be subject to peer-review thereby vetting the content and validating the information. We will also have authors revise their contribution on a regular basis to maintain currency and the incentives include the long-term citation impact of the article and financial compensation. As the number of "issues" grows over time, the subscriber has access to a large corpus of literature "in effect a "digital library" -- covering the entire scope of a discipline.
Again, we are presented with a new and interesting approach to scholarly publishing, and like Morgan & Claypool, focusing on up-to-date, state-of-the-art analysis in selected subject areas. Now's two subject areas thus far are business and technology, with some overlap in subject coverage with M&C. Now is publishing seven titles in business, and eight in technology. Another similarity is that each "issue" will be revised by its authors as required, as is each M&C "lecture". Now will use CrossRef to link to the full text of the references in each article.

Is there a need for this new kind of scholarly publishing? Is a vacuum being filled by now and Morgan & Claypool? Stay tuned to find out.

Synthesis: The Digital Library of Engineering and Computer Science

:: Morgan & Claypool Publishers, a new company in the STM publishing world, has launched its new series of "lectures", Synthesis: The Digital Library of Engineering and Computer Science:

The basic component of the library is a 50- to 100-page "Lecture"; a self-contained electronic document that synthesizes an important research or development topic, authored by an expert contributor to the field. We believe that they offer unique value to the reader by providing more synthesis, analysis, and depth than the typical research journal article. They are also more dynamic and convenient than traditional print or digital handbooks, contributed volumes, and monographs.

The library and its lectures are organized in a hierarchical structure of disciplines and series. Each series is managed by a prominent consulting editor. The series editor guides lecture topic and author selection as well as peer review. New series and lectures will be added continuously and existing lectures will be revised as needed. This will make the collection dynamic in a way that has not been achieved with traditional reference or educational products.

The Synthesis platform provides the user with access to content in both PDF and HTML formats, with live links to references and sophisticated search and personalization functions.

I met with company reps Glyn Davies and Mike Jones at the trade show at SLA, who mentioned that the first five lectures are now available: Articulation and Intelligibility, Hf-Based High-k Dielectrics, Understanding Circuits, Spectral Analysis of Signals, and Recognition of Humans and Their Actions Using Video. This is an interesting approach to scholarly publishing, one I haven't seen before. I wonder how researchers will cite these "lectures", especially once an existing lecture is updated. Will the earlier version still be available?

For the moment, the subject emphasis is on electrical and eletronic engineering and computer science topics. I hope the publishers choose to add lectures in the other major engineering fields, including chemical and materials, civil and environmental, mining and petroleum, mechanical, engineering management, and nanotechnology.

June 3, 2005

Chemical Market Reporter To Offer IP Access to Universities/Colleges

:: I have been in contact with Connie Magner, Assistant Manager of Subscription Sales for ICIS Publications, publishers of Chemical Market Reporter. Connie advises that CMR will be offering two options to learned/academic institutional subscribers of CMR, to allow for access to the chemical prices. One option, for US$415/year, will provide for unlimited online access to the current issue of CMR every Monday morning plus unlimited search access to a one year online archive (moving wall.) For US$715/yr access will be provided to the full CMR archive, currently 6 years worth of material, including the chemical prices. The rates offered are being offered to the institutions who will maintain their current paper copy subscriptions. Access to the online version of CMR will be provided via IP authentication.

While I lament the loss of the chemical prices in the print edition, I am pleased that CMR has offered an alternative to colleges and universities, to allow access to the very important chemical prices. My sincere thanks to Connie Magner in London, and Helga Tilton, the Editor-in-Chief of CMR in New York, for working towards a solution, which will allow universities and colleges access to the very important weekly chemical prices. My thanks also to Brian Gray at Case Western Reserve for his work towards solving this access dilemma.

May 12, 2005

PNAS Backfile Completed at PubMed Central

:: As reported by George Porter on a number of discussion groups:

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) is a long running (1915+), highly regarded journal [ISI Impact Factor 10.260-10.896 (1999-2003]. PNAS was one of the early collaborators with the National Library of Medicine in the creation of PubMed Central. Backfile digitization has been completed at PubMed Central for PNAS; previously the first 40 or so years of the journal were only available online by subscription through JSTOR.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) Fulltext v1+ (1915+) 6 month moving wall
Open Access articles (239, as of 10 May 2005)
Fulltext v59+ (1968+) 6 month moving wall
Fulltext v1-99 (1915-2002) 2 year moving wall; updated annually [subscription required]
Print ISSN: 0027-8424 | Online ISSN: 1091-6490

[Thanks to Carol Myers, PubMed Central Digitization Project, via the PMC-News mailing list <>.]

George S. Porter

April 26, 2005

John Wiley Launches New Digital Collection and Databases

:: From the InfoToday Weekly News Digest:

John Wiley & Sons, Inc. announced the launch of the Analytical Sciences Backfile Collection. This is the latest addition to its growing collection of digitized journal libraries; it is the second one to be launched this year. The Analytical Sciences Backfile Collection is available via Wiley InterScience (, Wileys online publishing platform.

Spanning the years 1968 to 1998, the Analytical Sciences Backfile Collection contains digitized back-issue content across 13 journal titles. Subscribers now have access to more than 24,000 research articles and more than 180,000 digitized pages of new analytical sciences content. Articles are presented as fully searchable PDFs, with abstracts, bibliographic content, and literature citations available in HTML, which allows for both internal linking to cited content located on Wiley InterScience and external linking via CrossRef/DOI, PubMed, ISI Web of Science, and CAS.

John Wiley & Sons also announced the launch of two new natural products databases designed for organic and biochemistry research: AntiBase 2005 (for ISIS/Base and ChemFinder) and AmicBase 2005 (on CD-ROM in the following formats: Microsoft Access, CambridgeSoft ChemFinder, and MDL ISIS/Base). AntiBase 2005 is a database of 31,022 natural compounds from microorganisms and higher fungi. The data in AntiBase 2005 has been collected from the primary and secondary literature and then carefully checked and validated. AmicBase 2005 contains information about the antimicrobial and toxicological properties of pharmaceutical drugs and natural compounds produced through microorganisms and higher plants.
Source: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

April 22, 2005

Bonehead Move of the Year: Chemical Market Reporter Stops Including Chemical Prices In Its Issues

:: As reported in CHMINF-L by David Flaxbart:

Has anyone noticed the significant changes in Chemical Market Reporter? As of the March 28 issue, CMR has gone to a slick-magazine format. More importantly, the Chemical Prices section no longer appears. The CMR web site ( provides access to this and other information only by registering with a subscription number, then logging in with a username and password. Obviously, this is not a viable solution for library users who have used CMR for years to obtain current chemical pricing information. I see no information on their web site about institutional web subscriptions, either.

CMR has just become much less useful for a library, and the publisher probably did not stop to consider this when redesigning the magazine. It's also unclear how Schnell, the longtime publisher, is related to ICIS, the new publisher.

This is the kind of news that makes me want to bang my head against a wall. What is up with this publisher? Once again, those of us in libraries supporting students and researchers who need critical nformation for their work and studies will be denied access because of a publisher's decision that most probably did not take the educational users of their product into account. Students on our campuses are studying engineering disciplines and when they graduate, many of them will become Paying Customers of publications like CMR.

CMR can be searched on Business Source Premier or ABI Inform. I searched it on BSP, and as expected, no "People and Prices" section is available past the v267 n12 21 March 2005 issue. The quality of the.pdf version of this section, when downloaded from BSP or ABI Inform has been marginable at best, but it was better than nothing, when the print edition might have been hard to track down for our users.

Having to use a subscription number plus ID and PW to access any journal is a useless exercise for libraries. This is an unwelcome development for libraries supporting chemistry and various engineering disciplines such as petroleum refining and chemical engineering. It will make it all the more difficult for students working on capstone projects in engineering design courses to secure prices for their research. Then again, students and faculty members don't generate subscription income as a rule, do they?

I'm also ticked because I recently completed an article for the Newsletter of the Chemistry Division of SLA on - wait for it - finding chemical and petroleum prices, and of course I mentioned the "People and Prices" section of CMR. (It was the editor, Mary Ann Mahoney, who e-mailed me with this news.)

I wonder if it's worth flooding the publisher with a number of angry e-mails? I will pass this information on to the chemical engineering professors on my campus, and ask them to consider taking some action about it; they will not be happy about it, to be sure. The editors of CMR may not have considered that this decision might alienate a few users, and yet this is what has happened; pity. Dumb, stoopid move.

March 29, 2005

AIP Introduces Library Branding

:: From a message sent by Christine Orr of AIP, which appeared on various listservs:

The American Institute of Physics is pleased to announce that beginning this week, all AIP journal abstract pages will carry a message informing users that their access is provided via their library’s subscription. Once a user is IP-authenticated, each abstract view will display a small banner stating, “Your access to J. Appl. Physics [e.g.] is provided by the subscription of [institution].”

Continue reading "AIP Introduces Library Branding" »

March 18, 2005

IoP To Offer "Cited By" Links Using CrossRef

:: From a post on LIBLICENCE-L:

In September 2003, we announced that papers in our Electronic Journals had been enhanced by links to citing articles from The American Physical Society and NASA's Astrophysical Data System. I'm pleased to report that our 'Articles citing this article' tool has now been developed further. In keeping with our tradition of innovation, we have become the first publisher to implement 'cited-by' links using CrossRef's Forward Linking service.

We have made 'cited-by' links available for papers published in the last 10 years. Over the coming months, we will be working our way through our entire journal archive, back to 1874. To take a look at forward linking in action, go to the following paper from New Journal of Physics and select the 'Articles citing this article link' on the right hand side:

New Journal of Physics is our open-access electronic-only title (co-owned by the Institute of Physics and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft) so the 'cited-by' links are available to all. For our other journals, this facility is limited to subscribers.

Continue reading "IoP To Offer "Cited By" Links Using CrossRef" »

March 15, 2005

Economics of Scientific and Biomedical Journals: Where Do Scholars Stand in the Debate of Online Journal Pricing and Site License Ownership between Libraries and Publishers?

:: The latest issue of First Monday includes the article, Economics of Scientific and Biomedical Journals: Where Do Scholars Stand in the Debate of Online Journal Pricing and Site License Ownership between Libraries and Publishers?, by Haekyung Jeon-Slaughter, Andrew C Herkovic, and Michael A Keller:

The emergence of ejournals brought a great change in scholarly communication and in the behavior of scholars. However, the importance of scholars behavior in the pricing of scientific journal has been largely ignored in the recent debate between libraries and publishers over site license practices and pricing schemes. Stanfords survey results indicate that sharply increasing costs are the main reason for individual subscription cancellation, driving users to rely on library or other institutional subscriptions. Libraries continue to be a vital information provider in the electronic era and their bargaining power in the market and the importance of roles in scholarly communication will be increased by branding and a strong relationship with users. Publishers strategy for thriving in the electronic era is not to lose personal subscribers. Cooperation among the three sectors scholars, libraries, and publishers promises optimal results for each sector more than ever.
Also of interest, an article on televison archiving by Jeff Ubois:
Worldwide, more than 30 million hours of unique television programming are broadcast every year, yet only a tiny fraction of it is preserved for future reference, and only a fraction of that preserved footage is publicly accessible. Most television broadcasts are simply lost forever, though television archivists have been working to preserve selected programs for fifty years. Recent reductions in the cost of storage of digital video could allow preservation of this portion of our culture for a small fraction of the worldwide library budget, and improvements in the distribution of online video could enable much greater collaboration between archival institutions.

March 11, 2005

International Journal of Rotating Machinery Goes Open Access

:: George Porter forwarded this post from Peter Suber on Open Access News, which will be of interest to engineering librarians, especially mechanical:

Hindawi Publishing has announced that The International Journal of Rotating Machinery has converted to open access, effective immediately. From the announcement: 'IJRM is edited by Prof Wen-Jei Yang of the University of Michigan, USA. The journal employs an open access model based on article processing charges to be paid by the authors' institution or research grant. The journal shall have an online edition which is free with no subscription or registration barriers and a print edition which shall be priced at a level reasonable for covering the printing cost. All articles published in the journal shall be distributed under the "Creative Commons Attribution License," which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Hindawi is currently working on retro-digitizing the back volumes of the journal and will make these volumes available online in the near future.' (PS: Kudos to Hindawi for this important step.)
This is good news, but with one concern. The subscription through MetaPress goes back to v8 n1 Jan/Feb 2002, whereas Hindawi is offering it from v9 n1 Jan 2003 only. A minor quibble perhaps, but there will always be at least one researcher who needs that one volume to which access is no longer offered.

February 22, 2005

SARA: Scholarly Articles Research Alerting - from Taylor & Francis

:: Taylor & Francis has revised its alert service, SARA - Scholarly Articles Research Alerting:

Taylor & Francis currently publishes over 950 academic peer-reviewed journals across a variety of disciplines. In response to the changing needs of the academic community, we are using the Internet actively to disseminate information about journals in advance of publication.

SARA - Scholarly Articles Research Alerting - is a service designed to deliver by email, tables of contents for any issue of Psychology Press, Routledge, or Taylor & Francis journals to anyone who has requested the information. This service is completely free of charge and you can select to receive alerts by keyword, title, sub-category or *main category.

What seems to be missing from the service are RSS feeds. :-( What is taking publishers so long to offer RSS feeds for tables-of-contents, publisher news and press releases, etc.?

February 8, 2005

Online Access to Complete Archive of AIP Journals

:: The American Institute of Physics is offering online access to the entire backfile of AIP journals. From the AIP site:

All subscriptions to AIP journals at the institutional rate include access to a five-year online backfile. In 2005, were offering extended access to all AIP journals back to Volume 1, Issue 1. This lets you provide your patrons with thousands of additional articles online.

For an annual maintenance fee of only $95 each ($130 for The Journal of Chemical Physics, Journal of Applied Physics, and Applied Physics Letters), your patrons can now access the entire backfile of AIP journals a significant increase over the number of articles available online with a regular subscription. Complete backfile access is also included with select AIP combination subscriptions. While research in many scientific disciplines rapidly becomes obsolete, the results obtained in physics often remain sought after for many years.

- via Online Insider

January 13, 2005

Article Duplication in Emerald/MCB Journals - Update from Phil Davis

:: As reported some time ago, Cornell U Life Sciences Librarian Phil Davis, through simple keyword searching, identified 409 articles from 67 journals published by Emerald that had been republished between 1989 and 2003, without notification. Davis' initial study will be published in v49 n2 Spring 2005 issue of Library Resources & Technical Services

Davis is now reporting that the duplication is more extensive than first reported. He has submitted a letter to the editor of LR&TS, expected to be published in the v49 n4, Summer 2005 issue. The draft manuscript is available on his web site:

Article duplication within Emerald/MCB publications is more extensive than first reported. It has now been identified in 73 journals spanning a period from 1975 to 2003. This letter will address updates to the initial findings and react to Emeralds response. It will investigate the relationships between Emerald, MCB and Barmarick Publications, and shed light on possible conflicts of interest in management functioning simultaneously as owners, editors and authors. Is this a case where commercial interests have outweighed editorial independence?
Further information is available from the Library Journal Academic News Wire: January 11, 2005, available to subscribers only. Thanks to Bob Michaelson at Northwestern for this information.

December 17, 2004

Scholarly Journal Prices: Selected Trends and Comparisons - New Report from LISU

:: Joe Kraus, on the ReedElsevier listserv, writes:

I read in the SLA rag, Information Outlook, that the Library and Information Statistics Unit (LISU) of Loughborough University in Leicestershire, UK had written a report -- Scholarly Journal Prices: Selected Trends and Comparisons. "This report, published with the permission of Oxford Journals, a division of Oxford University Press, documents the results of the Journals Pricing Analysis project, undertaken by LISU for OUP."

Take a look at "Fig 2.5 Median journal prices - science" on page 15 of the PDF. This is particularly interesting. But, Elsevier does have /somewhat average/ median price per page, (see page 20 of the PDF), but Elsevier is still the highest for "Fig 2.12 Median price per point of impact factor 1993-2003" on page 23 of the PDF.

Of course, there is a lot more to consider and read from this 122 page report than my very short synopsis.

The issue of Information Outlook of which Joe writes is the December 2004 number, which, predictably, I have yet to receive, being in Canada. (Update: The issue is Information Outlook, v8 n12, December 2004, p7.) The report is written by Sonya White and Claire Creaser, and is LISU Occasional Paper No. 34. In the executive summary, the authors highlight the following issues which emerged from their work:

Continue reading "Scholarly Journal Prices: Selected Trends and Comparisons - New Report from LISU" »

November 16, 2004

American Institute of Physics Announces "AIP Author Select" - A New Open Access Initiative for 2005

:: As posted to PAMNET on 15 November 2004

:MELVILLE, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 15, 2004 - The American Institute of Physics announced today that it will offer on a trial basis an open-access publishing option to authors contributing to three AIP journals: Journal of Mathematical Physics, Review of Scientific Instruments, and Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science. The initiative has been named "AIP Author Select."

Continue reading "American Institute of Physics Announces "AIP Author Select" - A New Open Access Initiative for 2005" »

November 12, 2004

Springer Survey

:: Springer has a user survey on their site. Send them feedback should you be so moved. (Thanks to Carol Hutchins on PAMNET.)

November 10, 2004

Emerald/MCB University Press Republishes 409 Papers Without Citing Original Source - Phil Davis, Cornell U

:: The XXIV Annual Charleston Conference was held last week in Charleston SC. Phil Davis, Life Sciences Bibliographer at Cornell University, presented a talk called The Ethics of Republishing: Should journal articles ever be republished? In the presentation, Davis revealed that he discovered 409 articles had been republished in 67 Emerald journals between 1989 and 2003, with 5 occurences of triplicate publication. Variations of this practice included simultaneous publication, delayed republication, same journal - different year, article reformat, copy editing, title modification, republishing "original research", and more.

Davis's article to follow, "The Ethics of Republishing. A case study of Emerald/MCB University Press Journals", will appear in Library Resources & Technical Services 49 no.2, forthcoming April 2005. Here is the abstract:

It is unethical to republish a journal article without citing the original source. Simple keyword searching of Emerald (formerly known as MCB University Press) online journals from the publishers web site has identified 409 examples of articles from sixty-seven journals that were republished without such notification from 1989 through 2003. Many of these articles were published simultaneously in journals within the same or similar subject disciplines. Five examples of triple publication were identified. In several cases, neither the editor nor editorial board members reported knowledge of this practice. This article will review the conditions of acceptable republishing plus document and provide examples of republication. It will discuss implications on the publication of record, and question whether this is a case of let the buyer beware.
From Davis's web site, the following are available for his paper: the draft manuscript, list of Emerald/MCB UP duplication examples in alphabetical order (updated to 7 Oct 2004), examples of MCB University Press republished articles in journal order (updated to 7 Oct 2004), and the aformentioned powerpoint presentation.

November 3, 2004

Free Access to October 2004 Issue of IoP's Nanotechnology Extended to End of 2004

The October issue of IoP's Nanotechnology contains selected papers from the inaugural conference on Nanoscale Devices and System Integration (NDSI-2004) held in Miami, Florida, 15-19 February, 2004. Nanotechnology is a truly multidisciplinary endeavor at the frontiers of chemistry, physics, materials science, and chemical and electrical engineering. The conference focus was on fully realized devices and systems.

IoP Publishing customarily provides free access to articles for the first 30 days after they have been published online. Following my lament to SLAPAM-L on November 1, Dr. Nina Couzin, publisher of Nanotechnology, graciously arranged for free access to this issue for the remainder of the calendar year. - George Porter

November 2, 2004

IEEE To Cease Print Versions of Conference Proceedings in 2006

:: Christina Pikas reports that IEEE will cease publication of the print versions of their conferences, beginning in 2006. Availability will be online only. There is no "official word" about this from IEEE just yet, but expect a press release about it in the next few weeks. However, the (excellent) IEEE rep for our region confirmed in an e-mail to me today that "It is ABSOLUTE and TRUE that we are ceasing Conference Paper Print Packages in 2006--confirmed most definitely"

October 28, 2004

Platinum Metals Review Available Free Online

:: Following up the previous post on the PMG Database, Dr Keith White, Editorial/Information Scientist, Platinum Metals Review, sent the following note regarding the journal:

Platinum Metals Review is free.

As from the July 2004 issue, Johnson Matthey's science journal Platinum Metals Review became an E-journal with the editorial team offering a free quarterly E-journal on the dedicated website:

Here you will find:

* Platinum Metals Review E-Journal: HTML and PDF versions from the October 2003 issue onwards.

* PGM Science Mine, in which you will find: Ask a Question, People and Organisation Directories, Links, Events Calendar and Recommended Reading.

Platinum Metals Review can also be accessed for free on IngentaConnect.

Thanks to Keith for this information.

October 18, 2004

NRC (Canada) Research Press Drops 2005 Journal Prices by 2.5%

:: The NRC Research Press, publishers of 15 of Canada's most prestigious scholarly titles, has announced a reduction of 2.5% in its site licence prices for 2005. The price reduction affects these titles:

  • Biochemistry and Cell Biology
  • Canadian Geotechnical Journal
  • Canadian Journal of Botany
  • Canadian Journal of Chemistry
  • Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering
  • Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences
  • Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
  • Canadian Journal of Forest Research
  • Canadian Journal of Microbiology
  • Canadian Journal of Physics
  • Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
  • Canadian Journal of Zoology
  • Environmental Reviews
  • Genome
  • Journal of Environmental Engineering and Science

September 23, 2004

CrossRef Search - Commentary

Bob Michaelson at Northwestern offers the following observations about CrossRef Search, as posted to CHMINF-L:

CrossRef Search
is a pilot initiative running in 2004 in collaboration with Google, and now includes the content of 29 publishers (out of the 650 CrossRef publishers and societies) -- it now covers approximately 3.4 million research articles.

"...this Pilot launches a typical Google search but filters the result set to the scholarly research content from participating publishers, with the intent of reducing the noise produced by general web searches." The searches need to be done from the individual publishers' web sites, e.g.

"The purpose of the Pilot, which will run during 2004, is to determine the value to the scholarly community of a free, federated, full-text, interdisciplinary, interpublisher search focused on the peer-reviewed scholarly literature."

I wonder whether a fully-integrated version of this search engine, on all 650 publishers and societies, will put out of business many of the existing bibliographic databases, other than the highly specialized ones, or ones that have such extensive backfiles that they cannot easily be superseded. Perhaps that depends in part on whether the integrated version will be freely available, as is the pilot program.

Bob Michaelson
Northwestern University Library
Evanston, Illinois 60208
rmichael AT northwestern DOT edu

Bob makes a good point - if all member publishers (now numbering 699) contribute to make CrossRef the ultimate search engine, leading searchers to scholary, peer-reviewed, full-text results, what might be the fallout? The CR website lists some of the 699 participating publishers and societies, and links to 303 CR member publishers are provided.

The sentence that intrigues me is this one: "The purpose of the Pilot, which will run during 2004, is to determine the value to the scholarly community of a free, federated, full-text, interdisciplinary, interpublisher search focussed on the peer-reviewed scholarly literature." Exactly what is "free" in this context? Some of the member publishers also publish large dbs: IEEE, Elsevier, American Chemical Society, American Mathematical Society, CABI Publishing, Institution of Electrical Engineers, and many others.

Continue reading "CrossRef Search - Commentary" »

September 22, 2004

Swets: About To Implode, or Stable?

:: The following article appeared in the Dutch Financial Times (het Financieele Dagblad) on Monday, 20th September, 2004:

AMSTERDAM - Swets & Zeitlinger, Dutch distributors of scientific information, are in trouble. The business needs refinancing after it was found that it made losses in the past years. As a consequence of the problems Swets no longer meets the credit conditions of the bank. On Friday, shareholders will decide on a capital injection of EUR 45 million.

This is confirmed by Jan-Willem Baud, chairman of the board of supervisory directors. Baud is the director of NPM Capital, which holds 26% of the shares of Swets. Other shareholders are the Swets family (29%) , Nesbic (23%), Paribas (15%), and Alpinvest (7%). The business has approx. 1400 employees in 23 offices.

Continue reading "Swets: About To Implode, or Stable?" »

September 21, 2004

IEEE Title Change - Again!

:: George Porter notes the following title change (actually a split into two new titles). This is one of those "what the - ??" moments, that makes you wonder if someone at IEEE lost it for a moment when this decision was made regarding the timing. George suggests that this change could complicate OpenURL linking services. Consider the plight of the poor serial cataloguer as well, not to mention the headaches this will cause researchers trying to nail down a specific issue. And then there will be the citation screwups in article bibliographies...

IEEE has changed the title/website, mid-year/volume no less, of IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation to IEEE Transactions on Robotics. Same ISSN, though, which is bound to complicate many an OpenURL linking service. Here's a brief review of the historic run of this journal, arranged in reverse chronological order..

IEEE Transactions on Robotics
Fulltext v20(4)+ (August 2004+); ISSN: 1042-296X

IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation
Fulltext v5-20(3) (1989-June 2004); ISSN: 1042-296X

IEEE Journal of Robotics and Automation
Fulltext v4 (1988); ISSN: 0882-4967

IEEE Journal of Robotics and Automation
Fulltext v1-3 (1985-1987); ISSN: 0882-4967

- George Porter

Brian Quigley noted the new title that emerges from this mid-volume split is called:

IEEE Transactions on Automation Science & Engineering
Fulltext v1+ (July 2004+); ISSN: 1545-5955

The other annoying bit is that IEEE hasn't crossreferenced the title change from the existing page on IEL. In other words, the IEL page for Robotics and Automation, IEEE Transactions references earlier versions of the journal, but doesn't link to the new version, Robotics, IEEE Transactions on [see also Robotics and Automation, IEEE Transactions on]. You will notice the See Reference from the new title to the previous version, but as well, there is no actual link to the previous incarnation from the this page. Does that make sense?

At the very least, IEEE might had a new ISSN assigned to IEEE Transactions on Robotics, to prevent future problems with online catalogues, software using ISSN's for linking, etc.

August 24, 2004

Real-Time Document Request (RDR) Ranking Establishes New Method of Evaluating Scientific Journals

:: Press Release: CAS Science Spotlight Ratings Show Journals' Significance for Scientists

Philadelphia, August 23, 2004 - Recording how often a journal's contents are cited in scientific literature has long been the conventional way of measuring the importance of specific publications and even of the authors themselves. However, the widespread availability of electronic journals on the Web has enabled CAS to provide a new measurement - a tally of researchers' actual requests (Real-Time Document Requests) for full-text articles transmitted via CAS search services. The latest rankings are now available on the Web, free of charge, through CAS Science Spotlight and were announced at the American Chemical Society national meeting held this week in Philadelphia.

Continue reading "Real-Time Document Request (RDR) Ranking Establishes New Method of Evaluating Scientific Journals" »

Developments at IEEE Xplore

:: New journal debuts on IEEE Xplore, IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology & Bioinformatics. The ACM Digital Library version of this journal is not yet available.

IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology & Bioinformatics
Fulltext v1+ (2004+)
ISSN: 1545-5963

Unfortunately, there is still no indication that IEEE will be including two of the more recently introduced IEE journals in Xplore any time soon. Systems Biology is supposed to have its first issue released in Summer 2004. Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing appears to date from 2000, although I've seen neither hide nor hair of it in Xplore nor seen any mention of it through the various IEEE alerting services.

- George Porter

August 23, 2004

CAS Extends Access to Additional Research from Early 20th Century

:: As posted to CHMINF-L.

CAS Extends Access to Additional Research from Early 20th Century

CA Databases Add More Than 7,000 Publication Records back to 1900

Philadelphia, August 23, 2004 - CAS has expanded its "Scientific Century" project by making thousands of additional early 20th century articles from American Chemical Society (ACS) journals and others available online. Planned for release in September, the enhanced content will enable researchers to access more than 7,000 additional records back to 1900, including publications even older than the beginning of Chemical Abstracts (CA). CAS announced the expanded access during the ACS National Meeting being held this week in Philadelphia.

Continue reading "CAS Extends Access to Additional Research from Early 20th Century" »

August 19, 2004

Cell Press Announces Free Access to Recent Online Archive

:: From the Cell web site:

Cell Press is pleased to announce that access to the recent online archive of Cell and the other premier journals of the Cell Press collection will become freely available beginning in January 2005. The recent archive of these journals includes content that is 12 months old or older and dating back to content from 1995. Each month as new issues are published, the year old issues will be added to the freely accessible recent archive. Free access to the recent archive will be available on both ScienceDirect ( and on the Cell Press journal sites (

Continue reading "Cell Press Announces Free Access to Recent Online Archive" »

August 13, 2004

Four IOP Journals Move to Taylor & Francis - Commentary by Dana Roth

:: There has been ongoing dialog regarding the transfer of four IoP journals to Taylor & Francis. David Stern (Yale) provided comments, and Steve Moss (IoP) responded. Dana Roth (Caltech), continues the discussion, and writes the following on SLA-PAM:

I first want to express my appreciation to the IOP for all it has done over the years for SLA-PAM. The sale of the four titles to T&F, however, reminded me of a tangential issue that has been bothering me for some time.

I have spoken about differential journal pricing for several years now, and it is not an issue unique to commercial European publishers. For example, the 2004 British Pound price for IOP package Z was 25,894 while the US$ price was US$49,798. There are several ways to calculate a reasonable exchange rate and a corresponding reasonable US$ price.

1. Elsevier, prior to 2000, calculated their US$ subscription rates based on the average exchange rate for the 07/01-6/30 period prior to announcing subscription rates, a few months later, for the next calendar year.

2. An alternative, that was offered by Harrassowitz in the past, was to allow payment (in US$) at the exchange rate in effect on the day when the invoice was paid (i.e. for institutions on the 10/01-9/30 fiscal year, in October 2003).

If either of these practices had been employed by the IOP, for their 2004 prices, the exchange rate (and US$ price) would have been:

1. (07/01/02-06/30/03) US$ 1.586 = 1 --- $41,068

2. (10/01/03-10/31/03) US$ 1.677 = 1 --- $43,424

Comparison of these prices, with the $49,798 charged, suggests that US$
subscribers are paying at least a 15% surcharge over a reasonable exchange rate subscription price.

If the IOP is not prepared to reduce the Package Z subscription rate in 2005, would it be too much to expect them to meet us half way and also not increase the US$ subscription rate?

Dana L. Roth
Millikan Library / Caltech 1-32
1200 E. California Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91125
626-395-6423 fax 626-792-7540
dzrlib AT library DOT

July 29, 2004

IoP Responds to Concerns Over Four IOP Journals Moving to Taylor & Francis

:: On PAMNET, Steve Moss, VP of IoP Publishing, responds to David Stern's comments regarding the sale of four IoP journals to Taylor and Francis:

Dear David,

Please be assured that IOP will never become a "breeding ground for eventual commercial titles." This is so much the opposite of our mission.

Our primary goal is to publish journals that will benefit the Physics community. To do so effectively, we occasionally need to consolidate our resources to focus on our core strengths. This enables us to sustain the ongoing development of all of our journals and the improvement of services being provided to authors, readers and subscribers.

We are also committed to developing new journals which reflect emerging and exciting growth areas in Physics. As a not-for-profit, learned society publisher for Physics, we are dedicated to communicating the latest state of the science of Physics.

Continue reading "IoP Responds to Concerns Over Four IOP Journals Moving to Taylor & Francis" »

July 28, 2004

Four IOP Journals move to Taylor & Francis - Commentary from David Stern

:: The Institute of Physics Publishing announced on July 19, 2004, the sale of four of their journals: Waves in Random Media, Network: Computation in Neural Systems, Combustion Theory and Modelling, and Journal of Turbulence. David Stern, of the Yale U Science Libraries, offered these comments on SLAPAM-L:

In case others have not seen this, there are about to be some changes to the IoP packages. This will probably mean increased costs as these titles move to a commercial publisher, and certainly will mean we will reconsider our current IoP package purchases.

I am disheartened that newer titles we have altruistically supported are moving away from non-profit publishers. If this is happening because the IoP could not support these titles due to low subscription levels, the move to a commercial publisher would seem to be an even worse fate for the authors ... as even fewer libraries will be able to afford them and the articles will be seen by even fewer readers.

I hope new journal titles from non-profit publishers are not merely a breeding ground for eventual commercial titles. If this becomes a common pattern, we will no longer support new non-profit titles as the better alternative ... knowing they will come back to bite us as established alternatives to existing non-profit titles. We will simply ask non-profit publishers to expand their existing journals rather than start new niche publications.

July 6, 2004

Exchange rate profiteering and cost-effectiveness of physics journals - 2004 Update

:: Dana Roth presented the following to the PAM Physics Roundtable at SLA in Nashville in June, 2004: Exchange rate profiteering and cost-effectiveness of physics journals

US$ subscribers are paying significant 'surcharges' for European journals, when US$ prices are compared with the corresponding EURO prices, suggesting exchange rate profiteering. Furthermore, large differences in the relative cost effectiveness were observed across three publisher titles. The maximum variance in 'cost per use per Impact Factor' analysis was 11/1.

June 30, 2004

Experimental Mechanics Added to Highwire Press

Experimental Mechanics (EM), the outstanding flagship research journal of the Society of Experimental Mechanics, has just been added to the HighWire Press publishing service. Although EM is available on Ingenta , it is a very limited backfile. Backfile digitization and mounting is proceeding rapidly at HighWire and is free to all comers through mid-October.

Experimental Mechanics
Fulltext v42+ (2002+)
Fulltext v32(2)+ (June 1992+). Fulltext free through 18 October 2004
Print ISSN: 0014-4851

The announcement from HighWire indicates that additional backfile digitization is underway and will be released as it is ready. As with the Ingenta fulltext access, HighWire fulltext is included in a standard institutional subscription. - George Porter

IoP Announces New Conference Journal

:: Institute of Physics Publishing has launched a new journal to cover timely publication of high quality, international conferences. No word on when the first issue of Journal of Physics: Conference Series, will appear later this year.

June 28, 2004

Nucleic Acids Research Moves to Open Access Model

:: Oxford U Press has announced that Nucleic Acids Research will move to an open-access model:

Oxford Journals, a Division of Oxford University Press (OUP), announced today that its flagship journal Nucleic Acids Research (NAR) is to move to a full 'Open Access' (OA) publishing model from January 2005. This represents a significant step towards maximum dissemination of scholarly research, a core part of OUP's mission as a leading University-owned Press.

NAR will adopt a mandatory OA model whereby authors pay a fee once their paper has been accepted, and all articles published online are immediately available without charge.

The full text of the announcement is available here. Further details are available here.

From: Peter Scott's Library Blog.

June 14, 2004

Periodicals Price Survey 2004, Johns Hopkins Reviews Elsevier Titles, ASCE Online Research Library, STS Conference Info

:: There is a lot of information moving at lightspeed through various listservs this morning:

  • Library Journal has published its 2004 periodicals price survey.
  • Johns Hopkins has joined in the movement towards downsizing Elsevier collections. The latest edition of its newsletter advises that the library is "analyzing our collections of Elsevier journals to identify low- and no-use titles."
  • ASCE has announced that its conference proceedings will be available online in the fall of 2004:
    The American Society of Civil Engineers announces the Fall 2004 launch of ASCE Online Proceedings a new online subscription which provides access to proceedings papers from 2003 to the present. At its launch, ASCE Online Proceedings will include more than 4,800 papers, or 50,000 pages of content. For a limited time, ASCE is offering libraries the opportunity to sign up for a FREE trial access to ASCE Online Proceedings. For more information, simply visit and submit your request using the Proceedings Only Free Trial Form that appears in the right column.
  • Information on the Science & Technology Section (STS) of ACRL's annual conference is available, including the conference schedule, program, poster session abstracts, discussion group topics and descriptions, and new member orientation. It looks like a great program. I've attended 13 SLA conferences, but have never been to ALA or ASEE (even when it was in Edmonton some years back, I couldn't attend), always due to lack of funds. Someday...

May 28, 2004

Electrochemical Journals, AIP's Scitation, Cost-Effectiveness - Commentary by Dana Roth

:: Nearly 40 years ago, in my first library job, I overheard The Electrochemical Society (ECS) disparaged as a 'Neanderthal' society, which might explain the initial popularity of the commercially published Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry (JEC), Electrochimica Acta (ECA) and Journal of Power Sources (JPS). This characterization certainly hasn't been true for many years(1) and, with the 2003 annual costs of JEC (nearly $10K for less than 4K pages), ECA over $3.6K (for less than 4.4K pages) & JPS (over $3.3K for about 4500 pages), one is hard pressed not to ruminate on the cost/page data, for these commercially published journals, compared with the Journal of The Electrochemical Society (JES), which was priced at only $692 for about 5400 pages.

The transition of the electronic versions of the ECS research journals -- JES & Electrochemical and Solid State Letters (ESL)-- in 2004 to AIP's new Scitation publishing platform (formerly OJPS), is very welcome news(2). Scitation currently includes 110 journals from 18 STM publishers, providing both forward and backward reference linking from over 600,000 articles (growing at a rate of 6,000 per month). Journals can be browsed by title, publisher or subject category. A wide variety of features for individualization are available (e.g. MyTOCAlerts) and new features are scheduled for 2004. Keyword searching of SPIN + Scitation articles is available for library or personal subscribers, with keyword searching of Scitation abstracts freely available with registration. Scitation's publisher list currently includes the expected (e.g. AIP journals, etc.) as well as: APS, ASCE, ASME, ACS Geochem. Div., ECS, ICDD, Maik Nauka, SPIE, etc. Fulltext articles can be displayed, by subscribers, as PDFs, HTML or sectioned HTML.

Continue reading "Electrochemical Journals, AIP's Scitation, Cost-Effectiveness - Commentary by Dana Roth" »

May 26, 2004

When A Journal Ceases Publication - Commentary by George Porter

What happens when a journal ceases to produce new issues?

In the print environment, at least from the librarian/academician standpoint, the answer was perfectly clear -- no new issues arrived, but all received issues remain available until a collection management/space decision led to a conscious, locally determined change in that situation.

Local control over what happens to the material is a critical difference between the print and online environments. Online, authors, scholars, and libraries tend to be at the vendor's mercy, having no control the fate of the published archive.

Vendors have the unfortunate ability to conflate multiple titles and multiple ISSNs into a single web archive; i.e. Journal of Climate & Applied Meteorology, from the American Meteorological Society inhabits an archive with its successor, Journal of Applied Meteorology. Wiley is notorious for splitting titles and ignoring the rules for ISSN issuance. Whenever a journal changes title or splits into sections, from a cataloging/ISSN standpoint, multiple bibliographic records and ISSNs are required to track the changes. For instance, in 2003, Wiley split Journal of Experimental Zoology (JEZ) into JEZ A and JEZ B; however, Wiley insists that all 3 titles have the same ISSN, 0022-104X. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) goes further, insisting that the six sections of Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR) are a single publication with ISSN 0148-0227. I've even seen the occasional conflation of multiple journals, not continuations of one another on the same web page. That won't/shouldn't happen in a library.

A title simply changing publishers is usually a nonevent to librarians and authors, but is a huge upheaval in the online publishing world. Catalogers will ensure that issues from one volume appear with issues of the succeeding volume. In the online environment, volumes may disappear, be transferred, have redirects, or a number of other variations which are yet to be discovered.

In the online environment the simple question, what happens to a journal...?, has a multitude of facets:

    * has the title merged or split to continue under a new title(s)
    * has the title changed
    * is the question being asked/answered by a librarian/academic or a publisher
    * has the title been transferred between publishers, thus possibly 'ceasing' from the point of view of the initial publisher
Here are a couple of examples to illustrate some, but certainly not all, of the ways in which a seemingly simple question is answered.

Continue reading "When A Journal Ceases Publication - Commentary by George Porter" »

May 21, 2004

Educating Patrons Re: Access Violations

:: Alice Trussel, Director of the Fielder Engineering Library at Kansas State U, posted a fascinating e-mail on ELDNET-L today, regarding the fallout from a patron committing an access violation (aka systematic downloading) on an ASCE journal last week.

We had a patron commit an access violation on an ASCE journal last week, quickly creating access havoc for engineering building IPs. We were able to quickly track down who, when and where, and the patron candidly admitted doing the deed. He had downloaded several consecutive issues of a journal to make access "handy." He had no concept that this systematic downloading was illegal, because in looking at the main page of the journal as well as any of our library pages, nothing was posted clearly saying "Don't do systematic downloading--it's illegal." I've been campaigning for our library to create a page that clearly states what constitutes an access violation, but I'm running into people who respond with "Of course it is on the publisher's page. All they have to do is click on the 'terms of use' link and read that systematic downloading is illegal." & "Everyone knows that is illegal."

The rest of us know that NOT everyone knows & we realize that patrons will NEVER click on the terms and conditions link, so this leads me to two questions:
1. Do any of you have a specific page devoted to defining what is and is not allowed in downloading journals? If so, could you respond with a URL so that we can see what you have posted? (NOTE: Alice's e-mail is alitrus AT

2. Could we, as professionals, create some momentum to get publishers to put some noticeable line or warning on the main electronic journal pages so patrons can clearly see what is acceptable use and what will create an access violation? Something along the line of "NOTE: Systematic downloading of entire issues and volumes violates the rules of agreement and can cause your institution to lose access."

I think our situation was exacerbated by the fact that this was an international student, and feel that it is possible that international students may well have a different cultural concept of copyright issues and access violations. That makes it even more imperative that we clearly communicate what's allowed and what isn't.

Thanks for your thoughts and feedback.
The same thing happened to us last year, so I was interested in the responses. Here is the feedback so far:

Continue reading "Educating Patrons Re: Access Violations" »

May 19, 2004

Cites & Insights and The Open Access Debate

:: The v4 n7 June 2004 issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Incites: Crawford at Large, is worth a look (for that matter, so is every issue, but I digress...) Walt provides coverage and analysis of the continuing debate on open access. In "Library Access to Scholarship", he brings us up to date on the latest developments at U Maryland, Stanford U, and Indiana U Bloomington, and comments on H.R. 2613, the Public Access to Science Act, aka the Sabo Bill, (which would exclude copyright for the publication of results of US-federally funded research) and PLoS. Also covered, in "The Empire Strikes Back", Walt discusses the investigations into the state of scientific publishing currently underway in the UK, providing analysis and commentary on Elsevier's position paper, responses from BioMed Central (including its (Mis)Leading Open Access Myths, and The Open Society Institute, and more.

May 6, 2004

Annals of Botany Backfiles Now Available

:: George advises that the Annals of Botany, published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company, a non-profit educational charity established to promote plant science worldwide, has opened their fulltext for free access, following a 1 year period of exclusive use by subscribers.

Annals of Botany
Fulltext v71+ (1993+) 1 year moving wall
Print ISSN: 0305-7364; Online ISSN: 1095-8290

A complete list of titles to which Highwire provides free online access to full-text articles, either upon publication, or after a certain time period, is available here.

May 4, 2004

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.

April 16, 2004

Compositio Mathematica moves to new publisher; cuts price 1/3

:: Gerard van der Geer provides wonderful background on the history of Compositio Mathematica (CM) in an Opinion piece in the May 2004 issue of Notices of the AMS.

The article is available free, which is a nice touch. CM moved from Kluwer to London Mathematical Society/Cambridge University Press. Backfiles remain with Kluwer -- Fulltext v105-139 (1997-2003). Current material is on Cambridge -- Fulltext v140+ (2004+). Subscriptions are required for the fulltext access, though. No word yet on whether new subscribers will receive access to the backfiles or whether Kluwer will transfer the material to CUP.

Much like the analysis by Donald Knuth which led to the editorial board revolt at Academic Press' Journal of Algorithms, van der Geer "... became worried about the regular price increases that Kluwer Academic Publishers... imposed. These price increases threatened the orderly systems that had governed publishing in mathematics (and other sciences as well) for many years."

van der Geer and the Foundation Compositio Mathematica are to be commended for their awareness of the dangers to scholarly communication caused by unchecked journal subscription price increases and for having the willingness and fortitude to examine their options and to take action. - George Porter.

April 6, 2004

IEEE Scores First Amendment Victory for Scholarly Publishing

:: From the IEEE website:

5 April 2004 -- IEEE scored a victory for freedom of the press and the scholarly publishing community with the ruling it received Friday from the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The ruling exempts peer review, editing and publication of scholarly manuscripts submitted to IEEE by authors living in countries that are under U.S. trade embargoes, such as Iran and Cuba. OFAC determined that IEEEs publications process is "not constrained by OFAC's regulatory programs. Read the news release and the OFAC ruling.

April 5, 2004

Scientific Societies' Publishing Arms Unite Against Open-Access Movement

:: Interesting piece from the 26 March 2004 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. As reported earlier, the Washington DC Principles for Free Access to Science was announced on 16 March 2004. The Chronicle's take is that the DC Principles represents the 48 nonprofit groups as forming "a united front against the increasingly popular open-access movement.":

"It feels good to say everything should be free," says Martin Frank, executive director of the American Physiological Society and one of the organizers of the new coalition, in an interview. "But we'd rather get there using a business model different than the one used by PLoS and the open-access advocates. It's our contention that there's nothing wrong with that, that it makes the literature available to the community of individuals who need it, in a timely manner."

In their statement, the society publishers vowed to improve the efficiency and accessibility of the scientific literature. But they also argued that "publication fees should not be borne solely by researchers and their funding institutions, because the ability to publish in scientific journals should be available equally to all scientists, no matter what their economic circumstances."

April 1, 2004

Cancellation of Elsevier Packages at Cornell, MIT, Harvard, etc. - Commentaries

:: On 23 March 2004, I posted the following e-mail to four listservs (ELDNET-L, SLA-ENG, PAMNET, and STS-L):

"Hello everyone, and please excuse the xposting. This is a query about the impact and/or fallout from the cancellations of Elsevier packages and/or journals, by MIT, Harvard, Cornell. Has anyone heard of reactions from faculty at these universities and institutes regarding the loss of access to Elsevier titles? Are any faculty members complaining vociferously, or applauding wildly? Are any "alternatives" being discussed? I'm thinking, it's not like these three universities are minor players in academia and research. Despite outrageous pricing schemes, Elsevier journals still carry much weight in the scholarly community. To ensure that their research remains cutting edge, what will the faculty at these campuses do to maintain access to Elsevier titles for the time being? Use ILL services only? Or start to move away from Elsevier titles, in their research and publishing activities?"
I've received a number of responses, and with permissions where required, compiled and posted the responses back to the four listservs. I am also posting those replies here, for your perusal and feedback. What do you think of the stands taken by major campuses like Cornell and others, in reaction to Elsevier's pricing schemes and packages?

The feedback follows:

1) I am not so sure that many of the Elsevier titles still publish 'cutting edge' research, or at least enough to justify the prices. We were encouraged by the most affected faculty member to cancel J. Mol. Structure/THEOCHEM last year and will propose some more this year. It probably depends on where faculty members are able to publish their results. If they can get their articles into ACS,RSC,APS, etc. then they probably don't care but ...

2) Hello Randy. Do not forget Universities A, B, C, and D (eastern US). So far, faculty have been satisfied with canceling lower use titles, maintaining a fairly substantial core of titles print+online, and using delivery services to cover the rest. Part of their satisfaction is that we have been able to reinvest in other priority areas such as ejournals from professional societies like the American Society for Microbiology and large ejournal archives.

Continue reading "Cancellation of Elsevier Packages at Cornell, MIT, Harvard, etc. - Commentaries" »

March 22, 2004

Nature's "Access to the Literature" Web Focus

:: Nature has begun a new Web Focus discussion, called "access to the literature: the debate continues":

The Internet is profoundly changing how scientists work and publish. New business models are being tested by publishers, including open access, in which the author pays and content is free to the user. This ongoing web focus will explore current trends and future possibilities. Each week, the website will publish specially commissioned insights and analysis from leading scientists, librarians, publishers and other stakeholders, as well as key links, and articles from our archive. All content is available free.

March 18, 2004

STM Publishing Giants Rally Behind EBL

:: This is flying around the Internet:

Top STM Publishers Join eBooks Corporations New Library Offering.
PERTH, Australia
Friday, 12 March 2004

Six of the world's principle Science, Technology & Medical publishers announced today that they are participating in the launch of eBooks Corporation's landmark new library service, EBL.

Cambridge University Press, Kluwer, Oxford University Press, Springer, Taylor & Francis and World Scientific will all provide titles for EBL. At launch in June 2004 EBL will carry titles across all disciplines, including the deepest, most comprehensive and most up to date range of STM ebooks currently available to the library community.

Aimed at academic and research libraries, the EBL model features enhanced functionality including multiple concurrent access, online and offline access, read aloud, chapters for reserve circulation, short term circulation and document delivery solutions.

Continue reading "STM Publishing Giants Rally Behind EBL" »

March 15, 2004

Elsevier Announces Scopus

:: Elsevier announced today that Scopus, its "full text-linking abstract and indexing (A&I) database", is in its final testing and user trials phase. Further details are available in a report from Paula J Hane, Information Today.

March 10, 2004

The Academic Publishing Industry: A Story of Merger and Acquisition

:: Bob Michaelson notes the following in an e-mail to selected listservs today. I have added a few additional links.

From February 2004 E-News for ARL Directors: (these briefings also are posted on the ARL web site at, although the Feb. 2004 briefing hasn't been posted there yet).

4. New Web Site Documents Academic Publishing Mergers

A new Web site commissioned by ARL and the Information Access Alliance documents mergers and acquisitions in academic publishing. "The Academic Publishing Industry: A Story of Merger and Acquisition" was developed by Mary H. Munroe, Associate Dean, Collections and Technical Services at Northern Illinois University. Ms. Munroe, formerly a business librarian, has published work previously about mergers, including "Which Way Is Up? The Publishing Industry Merges Its Way into the Twenty-First Century" (Library Administration & Management, 14, no. 2 (spring 2000): 70-78). The site can be found at, and links are provided from the ARL scholarly communication site and the IAA Web site. We hope libraries and the media will find the extensive information on the site helpful. Please contact Mary Case (marycase @ with any questions or comments.

March 1, 2004

Journal of Algorithms Fallout Getting Noticed, Stanford U Takes Stand Against "Pricey Journals"

:: On December 31, 2003, the editorial board of the Journal of Algorithms resigned, in protest of Elsevier pricing policies. George Porter from CIT posted this message to a number of listservs today:

:: Stanford University has received support from its Faculty Senate, which has approved a resolution that encourages the boycott of "pricey journals."

February 26, 2004

IEEE Distributed Systems Is IEEE's First Free Online Publication

:: From What's New @ IEEE for Libraries, v6 n2 Feb 2004:

    "This year, IEEE Distributed Systems Online becomes the IEEE's first free Web-based publication. Published by the IEEE Computer Society, the journal is sponsored by IEEE Internet Computing and IEEE Pervasive Computing magazines. Original, peer-reviewed material from monthly issues will be available for free on the journal's Web site, as will educational, tutorial and information services. Launched in 2000, IEEE Distributed Systems will now contain more exclusive, original material, and will have a full schedule of special article series associated with conferences and workshops. The magazine's entire archive is available at its Web site, and will be available in IEEE Xplore at a later date. Visit:

February 24, 2004

More on Journal Prices, Open Access

Margaret Landesman, Marriott Library, U Utah, writes that "Price Increases Are Not The Problem", in the Advisor Op-Ed section of the v5 n3, Jan 2004 issue of The Charleston Advisor. Elizabeth D'Antonio-Gan of Denison Memorial Library (U Colorado Health Sciences Center) offers "Open Access and the STM Publishing Crisis: A Medical Librarian's View", in the same issue.

February 23, 2004

Just Say No to Exploitative Publishers of Science Journals

Christopher Reed, a chemistry professor at UC Riverside, has written a powerful and very convincing editorial about the crisis in for-profit STM publishing. It appears in the 20 Feb 2004 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, and it is worth the time to read it. The question is, will a movement (paradigm shift?) that sees a majority of libraries, for example, joining MIT and Cornell in their boycott of Elsevier, ever take hold?

    Just Say No to Exploitative Publishers of Science Journals


    It used to be publish or perish. Now it is publish and perish. Academic science and medicine are drowning in a sea of publications. They have developed a journal-publishing culture that threatens to engulf them. Library budgets can't keep up. The peer-review system is overloaded. Researchers feel overwhelmed.

    Biologists at the University of California at San Francisco have called for a boycott of several popular Cell journals in response to overpricing by the British-Dutch conglomerate Reed Elsevier. Cornell University is canceling more than 150 Elsevier journals and refused to accept a bundled deal. After warning faculty members of possible cancellations, the University of California campuses used their combined purchasing power to negotiate a systemwide agreement with Elsevier that keeps price inflation in check for the time being. The Public Library of Science has started a new biology journal based on free and open electronic access, and is expected to start a medical journal soon.

    It's time for universities, en masse, to take their cue from these smaller-scale insurrections and to just say no to extortionate journal-subscription costs and pay-for-view access to electronic versions of back issues. That will require boldness among administrators and librarians, along with some "bribing" of faculty members to change their behavior.

Continue reading "Just Say No to Exploitative Publishers of Science Journals" »

February 10, 2004

MIT Libraries Declines Three-Year Elsevier and Wiley Renewals

:: Another major library system has joined Cornell University Library in not renewing their subscriptions to Elsevier journals. MIT Libraries has announced it will not renew three-year online and print subscription packages from Wiley InterScience and Elsevier Science. Last year, the Faculty Committee of the Library System expressed their concern about this issue:

    we are concerned about the pressures exerted on the scholarly publishing system by a small number of highly profitable commercial publishers concentrating in science and technology journals. These publishers lock libraries into high-priced packages for combined print/electronic output, and contractually constrain libraries ability to manage expenditures. Libraries must invest a continually larger percentage of their budgets in providing access to these publications.

    **Professor Marcus Zahn, Chair of the Faculty Committee on the Library System The MIT Faculty Newsletter, Dec.-Jan., 2003

MIT Libraries was offered the three-year renewal packages through their membership in the NorthEast Research Libraries Consortium (NERL), but the cost and commitment to proceed became prohibitive:
    "Through our membership in the NorthEast Research Libraries Consortium (NERL), the MIT Libraries were offered three-year renewals for our Wiley and Elsevier packages of print and electronic journals. The costs of these two packages constitute approximately one-third of the Libraries budget for serials (those materials we pay for by subscription on a continuing basis). The multi-year agreements required a commitment not to cancel titles (or to substitute other titles at the same price level for any cancellations). The decision to decline the three-year renewals was difficult because the terms for one-year renewals were considerably less attractive. However, the one-year renewals put us in a position of being able to cancel titles next year if we need to."
So what happens next? Harvard University Library has cancelled subscriptions to ~100 Elsevier journals. With the most important research institutions on Planet Earth cancelling journals from the largest STM publisher, where does that leave their scientists, scholars and engineers? Will these actions put pressure on Elsevier to drop their prices, or will they increase them further so that those of us who still subscribe will bear the brunt of their losses to date?

February 9, 2004

News from IOP

The information below regardings developments to the Institute of Physics' (IOP) Electronic Journals service was received in an e-mail from the IoP.

    *Electronic Journals Quick Guide*
    A new step-by-step guide to our Electronic Journals service is now available online. A good introduction for new users and a useful refresher for existing ones, the Quick Guide runs through all of the key features of the service including searching, clustering, e-mail alerting and reference linking (forwards and backwards).

    The Quick Guide has been prepared in Microsoft PowerPoint so it can be used in a number of ways: you and your library users can work through it onscreen (in 'slide show' mode); the slides can be used for presentations or training sessions and/or they can be printed out and distributed as handouts.

Continue reading "News from IOP" »

January 16, 2004

New report -- "A Survey of Digital Library Aggregation Services"

As posted to several listservs, including OAI-general...

"A Survey of Digital Library Aggregation Services."
By Martha L. Brogan.
Digital Library Federation, Council on Library and Information Resources:
Washington DC, December 2003.
[And available in print, 1st quarter 2004]

This 100-page report, commissioned by the DLF, provides an overview of a
diverse set of more than thirty digital library aggregation services,
organizes them into functional clusters, and then evaluates them more fully
from the perspective of an informed user. Most of the services under review
rely wholly or partially on the Protocol for Metadata Harvesting of the Open
Archives Initiative (OAI-PMH). Each service is annotated with its
organizational affiliation, subject coverage, function, audience, status,
and size. Critical issues surrounding each of these elements are presented
in order to provide the reader with an appreciation of the nuances inherent
in seemingly straightforward factual information, such as "audience" or

David Seaman
Executive Director, Digital Library Federation
Council on Library and Information Resources
1755 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036


January 7, 2004

ACS President Weighs In On Soaring Journal Prices and Open Access

:: ACS President Charles P Casey is featured in the 5 Jan 2004 issue of Chemical & Engineering News. His column, Challenges for Chemists, Chemistry, and ACS, addresses a number of issues, including rising costs of journals, and the open access movement:

    I think that the solution to soaring library costs does not lie with open-access publishing but rather with electronic journals from scientific societies that are made available at reasonable costs. The solution will also require scientists to exert pressure on commercial publishers. The time has come for chemists who are editors or editorial board members of commercial journals to use their considerable influence to strongly urge publishers to greatly reduce their prices. I believe it is also time for chemists to consider whether they will continue to support exorbitantly priced commercial journals by serving as editors, editorial board members, authors, and referees!

January 2, 2004

Elsevier to Close Three End-User Portals

:: From Infotoday: "December 29, 2003 An in-house employees newsletter, Elsevier Today, dated Dec. 3, revealed that a company review of portal operations had decided that the contribution of this form of marketing to S&T's [science and technology] current business is not sufficient to continue the associated high investments. Therefore, Elsevier plans to discontinue operation of its three end-user portalsBioMedNet (, ChemWeb (, and Some current activities will migrate to the main site, which may have some redesign." - Barbara Quint

:: Geoff and Randy wish all our readers a very Happy New Year!

December 15, 2003

Ovid Opens Full-Text Journal Articles to Pay-Per-View Access

:: From InfoToday: "December 15, 2003 Ovid, a leading online service for medical, health sciences, and pharmaceutical information, has announced a new PayPerView Service for the full text of medical journals. The service is designed to open access to nonsubscribers, both nonsubscribers to the journals via institutional library subscriptions and to Ovid itself. With the current ongoing rebellion by large libraries against big deal packages of online journal access (see Cornell and Other University Libraries to Cancel Elsevier Titles,, this approach by Ovid could help librarians building collections around high-use titles to offer clients a safety net service for access to unsubscribed journals. The Microsoft Office 2003 and PubMed connections let Ovid reach new markets not currently using its services. At present, only 339 of the over 900 journals in the Journals@Ovid full-text collection are available for PayPerView, but Ovid expects to expand that number quickly." - Barbara Quint

Full-text of article.

December 12, 2003

UK Parliamentary Committee to Investigate Pricing and Availability of Scholarly Journals

:: With an increasing academic backlash against yearly skyrocketing prices for scholary journals, a UK parliamentary science and technology committee is preparing to investigate the state of scientific publishing, in the new year.

    The committee will look at access to journals, with particular reference to price and availability.

    Specifically the committee will ask about the importance of open-access journals and whether the government should support the trend towards free scientific information. Such a move could spell disaster for Reed Elsevier. With their high margins, Reed's science and legal publishing operations are currently supporting its weaker business to business and education operations.

The press notice from the House of Commons was posted on STLQ on Dec 10, 2003.

December 11, 2003

Cornell University Library cancels Elsevier journal package


    "After several months of negotiations, Cornell University Library (CUL) administrators have decided not to renew CUL's subscription with publisher Reed Elsevier for a bundled package of more than 900 journals. Beginning in 2004 the library will subscribe to a smaller number of individual Elsevier titles. Library administrators cite an unsustainable pricing model, prohibitive selection options, and the financial impact on the library's ability to purchase other journals as reasons for its decision.

Continue reading "Cornell University Library cancels Elsevier journal package" »

December 3, 2003

AIPs ScitationSM Links Scholars and Publishers to Online Services

London, UK, December 2, 2003 - AIP Publishing Services today announced a new name for its online hosting platform. The new name, ScitationSM, will replace Online Journal Publishing Service (OJPS), as the service has been known since 1996. Scitation will launch in January 2004.

According to Marc H. Brodsky, AIPs Executive Director and CEO, The name Scitation conveys three important messages. First, it stresses the platform's strength in science and engineering. Second, it reinforces AIP's leadership in citation reference linking, both forward and backward. Finally, it signals the breadth and timeliness of online products and services that we develop and host beyond journals. Scitation will better communicate our services to the broader scholarly community.

Continue reading "AIPs ScitationSM Links Scholars and Publishers to Online Services" »

December 2, 2003

Open Access Under Attack

:: The commercial sector seems to be concerned about open access, and has published recent articles attacking it. Last week Jan Velterop of Biomed Central, in a message to the Reed Elsevier Customers list, pointed out an article in IMI Insights ( -- open to subscribers only -- in which Arie Jongejan of Elsevier exposes what he called "myths" of open access. Velterop gives a cogent response in his message to that list.

This week, Lancet (published by Elsevier) has an article by Wiley vice-president Brian Crawford, who claims that science could be weakened by open access: "The primary weakness inherent in open-access models is that they are based on authors paying for publication. As a result, science will either have a less effective filter, or will require the introduction of new post-publication filtering mechanisms." The issue also has a defense of open access by Biomed Central's Pritpal Tamber.

See -- scroll down to "Series". (Access to these articles is free, but it requires registration, which takes a couple of minutes).

NOTE: The above posting care of Bob Michaelson, Northwestern University Library. Thanks, Bob.

November 21, 2003

Taylor & Francis Purchases Dekker

:: Taylor & Francis, the UK publisher of technical and scientific literature, has purchased Marcel Dekker for $138.6US. It's been a busy year for T&F, having already acquired Swets, Bios Scientific, Cass, and CRC Press.

November 17, 2003

Serials Crunch! How Does Your Library Handle It?

:: What's happening at Cornell is happening elsewhere as well. How does your library deal with the challenge of serving its faculties' information needs, in particular, serials, in the face of serious budget crunches? This issue (no pun intended) is one currently being addressed by Jane Duffy, Physics/Astronomy Librarian at the Science and Engineering Library, Ohio State U.

The question is, how do we get a fair, comprehensive overview of an entire academic department's journal needs? Jane is curious especially about the comparative efficacy and manageability of the following means of getting this overview: focus groups, surveys, roundtables, e-mail inquiries, etc. If you have any insight, ideas, comments or suggestions, please e-mail Jane directly at , and feel free to post your responses here as well.

October 23, 2003

Call for Boycott of Cell Press Journals

:: A call for a boycott of Cell Press Journals has been written by two important researchers from UCalifornia San Francisco, Peter Walter and Keith Yamamoto. The call to boycott has made it to the SPARC-OAForum and is being republished on blogs, such as -=(In Between)=-. So far, I have found one response to their plea, from Stevan Harnad, U Southampton, UK.

Here is the text of their letter:

Continue reading "Call for Boycott of Cell Press Journals" »

October 3, 2003

Elsevier Over The Top?

:: The Elsevier title, Surface Science Reports, will publish 4 volumes and 32 issues in 2003 (and again in 2004). A few eyebrows have been raised with the publication of Volume 51, which has been assigned 8 issues at once (v51, n1-8), and features but one, 149-page article. The annual subscription cost for this journal is $1,449US ($1,939CDN), making the cost of this single article $362US, or $484CDN. Ridiculous.

September 25, 2003

Web Research Guide from Elsevier

:: From Sitelines:

    Elsevier has produced a highly readable Web Research Guide, aimed "at scientists, faculty members students, researchers and authors who have access to ScienceDirect. Although clearly intended to promote ScienceDirect, the general suggestions about search tools, written by an unidentified editorial board, are really very good -- and attractively presented as lists of tips with examples and templates."

August 8, 2003

Oxford Journals tries Open Access

EurekAlert! posted the following news release on its site:

"Oxford University Press (OUP) is initiating an Open Access experiment with one of its flagship journals, Nucleic Acids Research (NAR), recently listed by ISI as one of the top ten 'hottest' journals of the decade in biology and biochemistry . This initiative is in response to calls from the academic community to make research freely available online without the barrier of a subscription to access. "
A very positive step forward for the open access movement. Read the full document at: EurekAlert!

July 4, 2003

Feedback re: New Springer-Verlag Website

Gordon Coleman at Bennett Library, Simon Fraser University, sends the following comments about the new Springer-Verlag website.

Continue reading "Feedback re: New Springer-Verlag Website" »