Re: Institutional versus personal subscriptions ALBERT HENDERSON 02 Jun 2006 14:22 UTC
on 1 Jun 2006 Kim Maxwell <kmaxwell@MIT.EDU> wrote: > 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. Having studied prices of a number of publishers, I would say this is essentially correct. Projections forward are based on the institutional price. The member or individual prices need cover only the added cost of producing and mailing an additional copy. Practical approaches to this theory may vary. ACS in the 1970s set its member prices at 1/4 the institutional prices. As a membership organization, it enforced anti-leakage of member copies as a member benefit with possible loss of membership as a penalty. ACS was sued by IRS, who claimed the discount was 'inurement,' jeapordizing its nonprofit status. It was rumored that university lobbies were behind the IRS complaint. To make a long story short, the IRS lost. My analysis of the consequences, if the IRS had won, was that there would be no more subscriptions at the member price. In other words, the institutional price is the 'real' price. On Behalf Of Thomas, Susan Elaine wrote: > > 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? The research universities that dominate spending on scientific journals started cutting their library budgets around 1970, resulting in thousands of subscription cancellations. Publishers, faced with exponential increases in journal articles, simply raised their rates to cover increased production + CPI + the declining value of the dollar. I think the question should be: Why are science libraries not recognized in the nation's growing science R&D spending? Best wishes, Sincerely, Albert Henderson, former Editor PUBLISHING RESEARCH QUARTERLY 1994-2000.