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Impact on publication of monographs (Albert Henderson) Marcia Tuttle 11 Jul 1996 12:18 UTC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 1996 17:58:08 EDT
From: Albert Henderson <70244.1532@COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: Impact on publication of monographs

Heinrich C. Kuhn <hck@IPP-GARCHING.MPG.DE> requested a source; his message is
captioned below:

In "Growth and change of the world's chemical literature as reflected in
Chemical Abstracts," (PUBLISHING RESEARCH QUARTERLY 10,4:38-46, 1994/95) Edward
P. Donnell provides detailed statistics of paper, patents, and books covered.
The numbers of papers and patents have risen constantly. The numbers of books
rose until 1978 with 7804 titles abstracted; then it fell with the last year,
1993, showing 3261 titles. In a telephone interview, Donnell confirmed to me
that there was no change in editorial policy that might have caused this

There are other sources that corroborate this. The Association of Research
Libraries (Washington DC), whose members represent roughly half of the
purchasing power of U.S. academic libraries, issues annual ARL STATISTICS,
summaries that have been showing declines in the purchase of monographs. A study
by Bernard M. Fry and Herbert S. White, PUBLISHERS AND LIBRARIES (Heath 1976)
focused on journals but reported that publishers were becoming discouraged from
underwriting research publications ... this would certainly apply to monographs,
perhaps even more than it did to journals. The directors of any scholarly press
can also confirm that average sales and initial printings are half what they
used to be. Many works that "should be published" according to academics are
refused by publishers, unless there is a substantial subsidy, on the ground that
there is "no market."

Best wishes,

Albert Henderson <70244.1532@COMPUSERVE.COM>

Forwarded from  Tue, 9 Jul 1996

> Total numbers of monographs in some fields has
> actually been falling, while numbers of researchers and research
> expenditures climb, because of the weak library market.

Please do excuse my curiosity caused by ignorance: Could you
provide information as to what are such fields and where
to find the relevant information? Does the falling number
of monographs in those fileds "just" mean that there are
less students' textbooks published or is this about research
monographs as well? If so: has there been a similar decline
in the number of articles published in these fields? Are
these fields sufficiently broad to ensure that the decline
mentioned is not caused by mere "statistical fluctuation"
(e.g.: as far as I know there has been published one
monograph on Cesare Cremonini in each of the years 1993,
1994, 1995, 1996; in 1997 there probably won't be a new one,
but that's not caused by any "weekness of the library
market": it's a mere return to normal ... .)?

Thanks a lot in advance for any answer!

Heinrich C. Kuhn, coordinator libraries Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

* Dr. Heinrich C. Kuhn      Max-Planck-Gesellschaft /GV IIb3
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