Code of Ethics (was: Cellular & molecular life sciences) 2 messages ERCELAA@ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu 12 May 1999 17:46 UTC

2 messages:


Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 13:30:39 -0400
From: Birdie MacLennan <bmaclenn@ZOO.UVM.EDU>
Subject: Code of Ethics (was: Cellular & molecular life sciences)

Some years ago (1993, to be exact) there were some substantive discussions
and meetings taking place on ACQNET and in ALA's Acquisitions Section (AS)
regarding a code of ethics.  Acquisitions Section members expressed the
need for a statement related to ethical business practices.  Wasn't there
a statement that came out of the work of a Task Force on Ethics?  I found
a reference to a draft document, entitled _Principles and Standards of
Acquisitions Practice_.  (see messages from Barbara Winters in the 1993
ACQNET logs, v.3:no.36 (Apr. 1, 1993) and v.3:no.50 (May 25, 1993) --  The draft
guidelines were developed from provisions taken from the Principles and
Standards of Purchasing Practice advocated by the National Association of
Purchasing Management, and the Code of Ethics of the National Association
of Educational Buyers.  The Task Force edited them to fit the library

Does anyone know if a final document was ever published?  Could these
guidelines be further developed and expanded for the international library
"buying community"  in such a way as to include purchasing practices in
regard to release of information?  Just a thought ...

        Birdie MacLennan
        Coordinator, Serials & Cataloging
        University of Vermont

On Wed, 12 May 1999, Simone JEROME wrote:

> I agree with all of you who complaint about that (bad) habit of
> publishers, curiously only commercial publishers do, to
> split their materials in as much as issues as possible in a
> sort of quest of the absolute issue, the one which contains nothing
> and which costs a maximum, as physicists searched for the absolute
> zero temperature.
> My question is : why the influent American and less influent
> European library associations do not work at a code of ethics
> for the release of information so that libraries would know
> what they are actually buying when they pay for a subscription ?
> In other words, is it acceptable to bill 5 volumes a year
> and 2 or 3 volumes more the year after when the librarian
> may easily count that the number of pages per volume is
> the same or lower ? It happens sometimes.
> And what about that other old innovation of publishers to
> deliver volume n, 1-4, complete in one issue ? Initially
> it was to cover meetings but now it happens more and more often
> and without a justification.
> Librarians are consumers and consumers have rights other than
> to pay.
> Simone JEROME, Librarian
> University of Liege
> Institute of chemistry B6
> 4000 Sart Tilman (Liege 1)
> email address :


Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 11:08:57 -0500
From: Peter Picerno <ppicerno@CHOCTAW.ASTATE.EDU>
Subject: Re: Cellular & molecular life sciences (Simone Jerome)

As someone who is new to serials, I cannot but agree with this statement
except for one issue -- and that is that it seems that commerical publishers
eschew any thought of ethics since they are primarily profit-making
organizations who are, incidentally, making *their* profits from non-profit
institutions and organizations. However, more to the point, is that we
librarians have ourselves to blame if we continue to allow ourselves and our
institutions to be the victims of what I like to call "word-commerce." I
think that we need to realize the hard cold fact that for commercial
publishers, concepts like intellectual content, scholarly communication, and
other lofty and philosophical ideals have no relevance except as they
translate into $$. The sooner that we realize that commercial publishers of
books and serials are in the same business as those telemarketers who phone
us at dinner time to sell siding for houses or cemetery plots, the sooner
that we, as a profession, will be able to constructively deal with the
present journals crisis. One way is to begin by asking the same hard
questions of journals that we (ought!) to ask of those who would wish to
side our houses.