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Re: Institutional versus personal subscriptions Kim Maxwell 01 Jun 2006 17:23 UTC

I could easily be wrong about this, so please no one quote me.  But I think
the institutional price is the "real" price of the subscription, and the
individual price is deeply discounted so that individuals can purchase their
own copies.  If someone out there knows better than I, please do correct me.

The only parallel I can draw to the book world is the copies of text books
professors can get free if they are contemplating using them for a class.
Other than that, the price of the book is the price of the book.


Kim Maxwell
Serials Acquisitions Librarian
Associate Head, Acquisitions & Licensing Services
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT Libraries, Room 14E-210
77 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
phone: 1-617-253-7028
fax:   1-617-253-2464

> -----Original Message-----
> From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum
> [mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Thomas, Susan Elaine
> Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 11:17 AM
> Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Institutional versus personal subscriptions
> Has anyone ever asked why libraries are asked to pay more in
> the first place?  Why are publishers allowed to charge
> libraries more?  Is the product that libraries receive
> somehow more enhanced than the individual subscription?  Is
> it in a better binding?  Are libraries essentially being
> asked to pay more for the same product because we never said
> no to the higher rate in the first place?  Has anyone tried
> to say no to the institutional rate?  What would happen?
> Would the publisher say I am not sending you the
> subscription?  What if we all said no collectively?
> Understandably publishers are trying to make a profit.  When
> a library subscribes to a title it MAY decrease the companies
> profit because it is losing out on subscribers.  Does that
> justify asking libraries to pay more for the same product? Is
> it not good will/charity/public service to allow libraries to
> subscribe at the individual rate so those folks who can't
> afford the subscriptions in the first place can access the
> information and maybe some day when they can afford to,
> obtain their own subscription?  I don't know of any library
> that has not struggled with serials inflation issues in the
> past ten years.  In most cases our budgets are not keeping up
> forcing many of us to go through massive serials cancellation
> projects.  At this rate, publishers won't be able to make a
> profit off of us anymore because most of us won't be able to
> afford any subscriptions.
> Why not begin a boycott of all titles charging an
> institutional rate until publishers agree to not charge
> libraries more than 10% over an individual subscription.  If
> teachers, pilots, union workers, etc. can strike in order to
> be heard, then why can't libraries do the same?
> I think if we really stop and think about this we will
> realize that in the bigger scheme of things, it does not make
> any sense to ask us to pay more for a subscription than the
> individual.  It's like asking us to foot the bill for the
> good will and charity when all we are tying to do is support
> access to information.  Somehow someone got it backward.
> Susan E. Thomas
> Head of Collection Development
> Schurz Library
> Indiana University South Bend
> (574) 520-5500
> -----Original Message-----
> From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum
> [mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Pennington, Buddy D.
> Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 5:15 PM
> Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Institutional versus personal subscriptions
> Should have thought more about this before I opened my big mouth.
> Yes, we should probably respect the price differential.  So
> we shouldn't be systematically skirting the higher prices by
> relying on donations from personal subscribers.  That's not
> what we do here at UMKC and I apologize if that was what
> folks took away from my email.
> Still, it would be interesting to know more about the
> legalities behind differentiated pricing, donating issues,
> the "contractual" language used in such journals as Journal
> of the History of the Neurosciences, etc., etc.
> Buddy Pennington
> Serial Acquisitions Librarian
> UMKC - University Libraries
> 800 E. 51st Street
> Kansas City, MO  64110
> 816-235-1548
> 816-333-5584 (fax)
> UMKC University Libraries: Connecting Learners to the World
> of Knowledge
> -----Original Message-----
> From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum
> [mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Howlett, Lee Ann
> Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 3:24 PM
> Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Institutional versus personal subscriptions
> We tried persuading our
> physicians to purchase institutional
> subscriptions
> with their monies so that
> we could avoid legal problems.
> However, the majority of them
> balked at paying the usually
> much higher price.
> Lee Ann
> -----Original Message-----
> From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum
> [mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Susan Wishnetsky
> Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 3:14 PM
> Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Institutional versus personal subscriptions
> At 01:33 PM 5/31/2006, you wrote:
> >We've had various physicians do this for us over the years by
> >subscribing and then immediately giving us the issue when it arrives.
> >Unfortunately, it never seemed to work out.  We never
> managed to obtain
> >all of the issues for a volume from anyone.
> >
> >People mean well when they offer to do this but, in my experience,
> >something always happens where they either forget to send an
> issue on
> >or they wanted to keep just 'that one'.
> Doesn't really address the legal issue, and I think Ms.
> Bluhm-Stieber is
> right -- if the subscription will be available to all the
> patrons of a library, the institutional rate should probably
> be paid.  But I'm no expert on this.
> As for the reliability of donors, well, there are occasional
> exceptions,
> from whom we've gotten very, very close to complete runs over
> many years of donations -- as good as we would've had with a
> subscription.  But they are the rare exceptions.
> Suppose the library were to share the cost of an
> institutional subscription with a donor who was getting a
> personal subscription anyway.  The donor would pay the cost
> of the personal subscription, the library would pay the rest
> and provide institutional online access.
> Perhaps this kind of "contract" would encourage the donor to
> be more diligent about donating all the print issues,
> eventually if not immediately.  The donor would get the
> benefit of IP-authenticated online access, so they wouldn't
> have to fool
> with personal passwords; perhaps that benefit would give them
> a sense of
> obligation.
> Even if it worked, though, such small savings probably
> wouldn't be enough to solve this library's budget problems.
> And I imagine such arrangements might cause other problems or
> extra work, too.  SW
> >_________________________________
> >Lee Ann Howlett, MA
> >Head, Serials, Dept.
> >Shimberg Health Sciences Library
> >University of South Florida
> >12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC 31
> >Tampa, FL  33612
> >(813) 974-9080
> >(813) 974-7032 (fax)
> >
> >
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum
> >[mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Bluhm-Stieber, Hella
> >Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 12:27 PM
> >Subject: [SERIALST] Institutional versus personal subscriptions
> >
> >Hello all,
> >We are facing severe budget cuts and need to cancel half of
> our journal
> >subscriptions. The suggestion was made to ask for donations from
> >physicians who subscribe to certain journals the library
> needs. We are
> >concerned about the legal implications of this. We explained to our
> >management that we think that this is against copyright law. One
> >problem is that the doctors can pay for subscriptions through their
> >educational fund, but cannot donate money from it.
> >
> >We think that the donors would have to pay for an
> institutional copy in
> >order that we can use it in the library. I would be grateful for any
> >suggestions or documentation why this is o.k. or not o.k.
> >
> >Thank you very much,
> >Hella Bluhm-Stieber
> >
> >Hella Bluhm-Stieber, MLIS, AHIP
> >Medical Librarian
> >Milton J. Chatton Medical Library
> >Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System
> >751 S. Bascom Ave.
> >San Jose, CA 95128
> >(408) 885-5654
> >Fax (408) 885-5655
> Susan Wishnetsky
> Electronic Resources Librarian
> Galter Health Sciences Library
> The Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
> 303 East Chicago Avenue
> Chicago, Illinois 60611-3008
> (312) 503-9351
> FAX (312) 503-1204