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Scholarly Journals, Elsevier

Magazine article Information Today

Scholarly Journals, Elsevier

Article excerpt

This past fall, academic serials librarians struggled with their journalpurchase and -renewal decisions. For some, the RoweCom failure had been just one more blow during tough economic times. As rising journal costs and severely strained library budgets were putting on the squeeze, librarians-as well as faculty at some institutions-cried "enough" and started to make some tough choices about subscriptions.

In mid-November, I reported in a NewsBreak (http://www.infotoday.com/ newsbreaks/nb031117-l.shtml) that Cornell University Library was canceling about 200 Elsevier titles. Harvard University said it was preparing for similar cuts in its Elsevier subscriptions. And the University of California was continuing its negotiations with the publisher on behalf of all the UC campuses, while faculty on some campuses-at UC and others-resolved to boycott Elsevier if reasonable rates cannot be negotiated.

Since then, a student newspaper at North Carolina State University reported that the student senate passed a resolution supporting the NCSU libraries' position to not renew the Elsevier ScienceDirect subscription. The NCSU library site has posted extensive information about the contract situation (http://www.lib.ncsu .edu/colmgmt/elsevier).

Meanwhile, the Triangle Research Library Network's (which includes NCSU, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University, and Duke University) contract for electronic access to Elsevier's journals via ScienceDirect was set to expire Dec. 31, 2003. At press time, renewal negotiations were still in process, but according to the NCSU site, if Elsevier doesn't offer TRLN "a reasonable contract for shared electronic access to their journals, NCSU will move to what Elsevier calls its 'Limited Option.' Under this model, NCSU can choose the titles to which it subscribes and more effectively manage costs, but will have to pay a 25-percent access fee for electronic access to our subscribed journal titles." The site also posted a list of 2004 Elsevier cancellations by title.

While it's clear that there's a lot of frustration with the inflexibility of Elsevier's "big deal" pricing bundles and the overall price increases, it's not clear how all of this is affecting the mega-company. …

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