Health Sciences Libraries Join SPARC (Steve Murden) ERCELAA@ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu 08 Mar 1999 14:33 UTC

Date: Sat, 06 Mar 1999 17:33:48 -0500
From: "Steven H. Murden" <stevemurden@MINDSPRING.COM>
Subject: Health Sciences Libraries Join SPARC

I saw this recently and thought it might interest other list members.

Steve Murden

For Immediate Release
February 26, 1999

For more information, contact:
Alison Buckholtz, 202-296-2296

MLA, AAHSL Seeking Solution to the Journals Crisis

Washington, DC -- The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition
(SPARC) announced today that the Medical Library Association (MLA) and the
Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) have joined the
organization.  SPARC is a coalition of academic institutions and research
libraries that uses library buying power to support lower cost alternatives
to high-priced science journals.

MLA, a professional organization of more than 1,100 institutions and 3,800
individuals in the health sciences information field, has been
increasingly concerned about the escalating cost of medical journals,
according to Jacqueline D. Doyle, MLA President.  "This alliance with
SPARC is one way to combat rising journal prices, and finding a solution
is in the best interests of our members and the people who they serve,"
Doyle said.  "Informed health care decisions are essential for quality
patient care.  The ability to make these decisions is directly related to
easy and affordable access to the latest medical research published in
scholarly journals."

MLA members spend over $200 million on journal collection development,
and membership includes those who are also members of AAHSL.

AAHSL, composed of the directors of libraries of 142 accredited U.S.
and Canadian medical schools belonging to the Association of American
Medical Colleges, has been concerned about the impact of journal prices on
library services.  "Budgets of academic health sciences libraries have been
hit particularly hard by the continually escalating prices of scientific
journals," said Patricia Mickelson, President of AAHSL.  "Since AAHSL
member libraries are collectively spending over $100 million annually
for journal subscriptions, it is in our interest to support competition in
scientific journal publishing in order to ultimately reduce journal

Health sciences libraries are on the front lines of the journal
crisis, according to Rick Johnson, SPARC Enterprise Director.  "Between
1994 and 1998, the average price for an Index Medicus title jumped more
than 50 percent, and health sciences libraries suffer when costs rise this
dramatically," said Rick Johnson, SPARC Enterprise Director. "MLA and
AAHSL have a critical role to play on this issue, and SPARC welcomes
their active participation."

SPARC membership has doubled since its formal launch in June 1997.
Since that time several publishing partners have joined its effort,
including the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Chemical Society.
Both of these societies offer new lower-cost alternatives to high-price
journals in return for SPARC endorsement.  SPARC-supported journals include
Evolutionary Ecology Research (;
PhysChemComm ( which is now available online; and Organic
Letters (, which launches in July 1999.

SPARC is an alliance of universities and research libraries that support
increased competition in scientific journal publishing.  Its membership
currently numbers over 150 institutions and library consortia.  In
addition to MLA and AAHSL, SPARC affiliates outside of the U.S. include
the Canadian Association of Research Libraries/Association des bibliothques
de recherche du Canada (CARL), the Council of Australian
University Librarians (CAUL), the Conference of Directors of Research
Libraries (Denmark), and the Standing Conference of National and
University Libraries (SCONUL, UK & Ireland).  SPARC has been endorsed
by the Association of American Universities, the Association of American
University Presses, the National Association of State Universities &
Land Grant Colleges, and the Big 12 Provosts.  More information on SPARC is
available at  SPARC is an initiative of the
Association of Research Libraries.