[This is a response to Richard Poynder's column at http://www.infotodaycom/it/nov02/poynder.htm and on p. 1 of the Nov. 2002 issue of IT.]
First of all, I wish to clarify our newly adopted name. The name "Emerald" stems from the name of our flagship product, Emerald Fulltext--a database offering an expanding collection of over 40,000 articles from management titles published by Emerald. It was an acronym of the product's working title--the Electronic Management Research Library Database--when it launched in 1996.
Emerald was adopted as the trading name for MCB University Press in order to benefit from the increasing presence Emerald Fulltext was achieving in the marketplace. In fact, when we realized that our prospective customers recognized Emerald Fulltext more than MCB University Press, we decided to make it easier for customers to link our company to our products, paving the way for Emerald to become our corporate moniker.
"Transformation" rather than "reinvention" is the word that should be associated with MCB's change in trading name. Instead of shaking off our past, we have accepted it, embraced the learning and growth opportunities it afforded us, and moved forward. Our old image taught us a valuable lesson in the power of the market, but then so has our image of today.
Regarding our pricing policies, we agreed to an interview with Mr. Poynder earlier this year in which we provided written responses to 22 questions concerning a variety of issues, including journal pricing policies. In the spirit of openness, which we champion at Emerald, we would like to share with your readers some of our responses to Mr. Poynder's questions as a means of clarifying the pricing points he raised in his article.
Poynder: I understand that several years ago there was considerable anger amongst librarians over the rate of price increase of your journals. How would you characterize that period and what did you do to address these concerns?
Emerald: "It was a period of taking stock--reflecting and listening to our critics. We saw the opportunity to take advantage of new technology and to consider the potential for new business/access/purchase models, which would help address these concerns.
"The result has been improved listening through customer/user forums, librarian workshops, author workshops, and more people discussing issues with our stakeholders. This was a real cultural shift for the organization--but one that was absolutely necessary.
"We used what we learned and we turned a corner as an organization. Admittedly it is an uphill battle to change perceptions--our customer/stakeholder focus now has renewed vigor...."
Poynder: Is this now a historical issue, or are you aware of current concerns?
Emerald: "We are very aware of our historic image and it's difficult to change perceptions. In truth, it makes us work even harder to get things right for the customer.
"More librarians than ever now purchase Emerald products using our new business models. Usage is rising and copy flow is also …