ACCESS | Asia 's Newspaper on Electronic Information Product & Service
March 2003 No.44  
  In this issue
CABI chooses eBridge from Asia's iGroup 
CABI, the life sciences electronic publisher has chosen the eBridge platform from Asia's iGroup, for it's own implementation of the CABI database. It's part of an overall modernisation programme that CABI Managing Director, Tony Llewellyn has implemented since joining the organisation.  more...
Putting a cost to library services 
How much does each action in your library cost in the context of your national economy? That may not be a question you think about every day, but the people at LibEcon probably dream about it. LibEcon is creating a statistical database which can be viewed online at its website. It's also looking for country coordinators in our part of the world.  more...
INSDOC is no more 
For more than half a century, INSDOC served Indian and foreign libraries through its document delivery service and library school. Both may well continue but the old INSDOC is no more. Instead, it has merged with The National Institute of Science Communication to become NISCAIR, The National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources.  more...
China business information from Singapore 
Singapore's National Library Board with the National Library of China has set up the China Resource Library, an online infoportal for Chinese business information. It offers Chinese ebooks, journals and web resources and it's part of the ASEAN Information Network.  more...
Zap them, Harry 
Harry Potter didn't have enough magic in 2002 to turn his detractors into toads. Instead, the Harry Potter books once again were the most challenged books in America. Parents and others who don't wish magic in their lives or those of their kids made 515 formal complaints in the USA to have poor Harry removed from libraries and schools. Want to know what the other most challenged books were?  more...
India gets its first library consortium
There was a time when India and China were comparable in terms of telecommunications infrastructure and number of R&D personnel. But that has changed. India lags behind China especially in the ability of scientists to access crucial STM databases. So some enterprising folks in India with government support have established a library consortium to bring databases to the desktops of Indian academics. INDEST was recently launched in New Delhi.  more...
Open access journals get a directory 
It's a new sort of publishing, open access. An editorial board either resigns en masse from a commercial publisher to set up a low cost high impact journal, or an organisation like SPARC, brings libraries and academics together to publish a new journal which competes with a much more expensive title. The movement and number of open access titles is growing. So Lund University has gathered them together in a directory.  more...
Sha La La La La, I Love You 
It's that song! You hear it all the time but always miss the credits. But if you live in the UK you're smart enough to call Shazam, a real time music identification service. Just hold the phone near the radio for fifteen seconds and Shazam will tell you the song and the artist. Intrigued?   more...
Asian countries get free health ejournals 
First it was the very poorest countries in the world getting free access to some of the worlds' more expensive and high impact journals. Now HINARI has expanded the list giving a further 40 countries deeply discounted access. Is your country eligible?  more... 
Meetings and Exhibitions more... 
AIP introduces new pricing models  
Models better reflect use by subscribers
ACCESS was lucky enough to meet Dr. Marc H. Brodsky, Executive Director and CEO of the American Institute of Physics, when he visited Thailand recently. AIP's Online Journal Publishing Service, OJPS, is one of the most celebrated and important on the web. Besides its own high impact journals, it also publishes those of many other societies including the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Acoustical Society of America, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and so on. The AIP has long had very affordable pricing that reflects its mission to disseminate science research as widely as possible at a cost manageable by all. So ACCESS asked, why the new pricing models? With clarity and candour, Dr. Brodsky explained the new price regimes and touched upon the open access movement and why interlibrary loans are not good for scholarly and society publishing.
  Why has your overseas membership grown by 30 percent in the last 10 years?
The societies that are members of the American Institute of Physics have all except one used the name 'American' in their title. But they're not just American organisations. Because of the meetings that they run and the journals that they publish, they have become the de facto prime international organisations in their fields. So people in any country looking for the best meetings or the best journals to publish in, choose our members. In the course of things they become members of the society. Also, as many people study in the United States, when they return to their countries they want to keep in touch so they become a member. There is another huge factor. While overseas membership continues to increase from 18-19 percent 10 years ago to almost a third today, total membership has not increased which shows that US membership is decreasing. It's a reflection of the growing quality and quantity of research and development world wide. This is reflected even more drastically if you look at the authorship in the journals of say the APS or the AIP. The majority of authors live outside the United States and it's a large majority. For Physical Review it's probably three quarters of the authors and it's two thirds for many of the AIP journals.
  How important is Asia to the turnover and wellbeing of your publishing?
Absolutely key and growing. You can say that about 40 percent of our revenue from libraries comes from North and South America. The balance is almost equally divided by Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. That's extremely significant. For the most part, if we look at the revenue to our journals from any given country, it's almost proportional to their GDP and it's almost more or less proportional to the authorship. China is the exception. Authorship is larger percentage-wise than the revenue we get from Chinese libraries. That's beginning to change with the last two years seeing a remarkable shift in the number of subscriptions from Chinese libraries. It's getting closer to the percent of their GDP. 
  How do you see India? Does it conform to the same set of conditions?
We get a lot of contributions from India and we see a lot of activity in computer science. We've not seen a huge increase in library subscriptions. But we expect that to change as economic growth in India gathers pace. 
  Why are you changing your subscription structure to resemble that of the major commercial publishers? Isn't your strength as a society publisher that you can go your own way?
The reason we're going into tiered pricing is fairness. Certain institutions use our material, be it as authors or subscribers, much more than others. Our pricing structure and the support of the Institute is based on fairness. So all the stake holders should pay their fair share of the cost of production and distribution. Someone has to pay; there's no free lunch as we say. The question is who? There are many different models. Some people think that anybody who looks at a journal on the web shouldn't pay anything. But some of those people are learning that there is a cost to running a publishing operation and they have now started charging authors or their employers. We looked at many ways of contributing to the cost of the Institute. We get some membership dues, we have advertising, we have voluntary page charges for authors in some of our journals: all this contributes. We have some individual subscriptions, but by far the largest percentage or revenue comes from library subscriptions. We have to look at that to ensure that each pays their fair share. There are small colleges with a couple of professors who occasionally look at the journals; and there are others such as the MITs and Stanfords as well as research-intensive universities in Asia where every day hundreds of people are looking at the journals. So it doesn't make sense to charge everybody the same rate.
  Do you go along with recent calls from the open access movement to make freely available all science literature six months after its publication date?
The people promoting this are dealing with several false premises. They don't understand that somebody has to pay for mounting and maintaining quality information, vetting it, indexing it, preserving it, archiving it and so on. Let me deal with some of the false premises. One is the web is cheap, but of course it's not inexpensive to maintain in a disciplined manner published material on the web. They're learning that. So the people advocating open access have learned that now they have to find somebody to pay for it - be it authors or George Soros or a foundation. Second, they try to convince others that there's not particularly good access today by traditional publishing methods. I would contend that more people are seeing more information today than ever before and there is not a huge problem. There is a problem for some library budgets and we are addressing that. But, there's not a problem of people having access. Indeed, for most society publishers, including the AIP, APS and our other member societies, all our tables of contents and abstracts are freely available. This is remarkable. As the literature is published and you go on the web, you can see everything down to the abstract. You can do searching, find the material and if you want to see the full text, the societies hope you will pay your fair share. We have many, many inexpensive options from big consortia deals that small libraries can join to traditional subscriptions and single article sales which are probably cheaper than the process of one library giving it away to another. It's a remarkable system that has given more people more access than ever before. This arbitrary 'six months later it will be free' ignores that somebody has to pay. And who will it be? It's obviously the current subscribers. So once again I go back to fairness with everybody paying their fair share. In the physics community we charge people for backfiles as opposed to saying that after time they get them free because it costs us money to scan old issues, put them on the web, index them, link to and from them... So it's a very difficult and expensive process. The open access people are going down the wrong path. My prediction is that many of these open access methods will be open access for a while until somebody realises that it has to be paid for or else it will disappear, or we'll go back to the traditional publishing method.
  OJPS is very generous in providing lots of free information and services. How would you summarise your free offerings?
The table of contents for all our issues and abstracts are free. We've just started experimenting with extending free searching to non-subscribers. That's free searching down to the abstract level of nearly 400,000 articles for anybody, anywhere. Some alerting services are also free, depending on the publisher. 
Dr. Marc H. Brodsky, CEO, American Institute of Physics
  There are publishers who are concerned about excessive downloading of their products. Does this also concern you?
We regularly monitor downloading by looking at the top 10, 25, 100 downloads of any journal at any time. The patterns vary. There are some institutions, especially in Asia, where the culture is to download a lot more than elsewhere. We worry about excessive downloads and we put certain restraints on it. We don't allow folks to download one article after another faster than they can read them. So we block robots. We will temporarily block and write a polite note asking why they downloaded as much as they did. So we have ways to deal with this, mostly emphasizing fairness and preventing overload on our servers. Our license agreement does not allow systematic downloading - an entire journal issue for example. 
  Does interlibrary loan of electronic journal articles concern you?
Interlibrary loan is an archaic term. Nothing is being loaned. Something is being given away or resold. Some libraries charge each other fees or have barter arrangements so they're actually reselling and republishing our material in some cases. Libraries that track their costs know that it costs them more to do an interlibrary loan than to come into our site and buy a single article. For our electronic products, our license agreement generally does not allow interlibrary loan of electronic copies. And we expect the borrowing library to come to our site if they want a single article or to go to a document delivery service that pays royalties. Since the invention of the photocopier we've seen a decline in subscriptions. Some libraries claim that photocopying does not affect subscription rates, but it does because of the significant number of people who opt out of the system by deciding not to have a subscription and rely instead on document delivery without charge. This puts a burden on the remaining libraries that pay for their subscriptions and are paradoxically supplying non-subscribing libraries with copies. Now we've got the web and all this stuff is there, it's just as easy to go to the publisher's site and buy a copy. The need for that alternative publishing and redistribution system - interlibrary loan - is going away except for those people who don't want, or more generously, cannot pay their fair share. 
  Do you permit authors who publish with you to post their papers on their own or other websites?
We certainly do because authors always like to keep copies of their articles for friends or colleagues to see. 
  That's another way for librarians to get hold of a paper.
Yes, that's an unfortunate side effect. We ask authors to post on their web site the links to the publisher of their article and to ask people who want copies to go to that site. 
  What refinements have you planned for your service in the next 2-3 years?
Electronic publishing on the web is a world of unbounded opportunity. Unfortunately we all have bounded budgets! We have to pick and choose where we're going. We have a huge menu of potential improvements and functions. One is improved searching, for example, full text; another is to increase our backfiles to the first journal we ever published; another is to improve navigation with different types of linking. We already have forward and backward citation linking. I see more inter-publisher interactions in linking, and I see more integration of the whole process from manuscript submission through the referee and review stage right to online publishing.
AIP offers free searching to non-subscribers 
The American Institute of Physics is offering free searching of all the bibliographic records on its Online Journal Publishing Service (OJPS) for which PDF files of full text articles are available. To date, searching has been restricted to those who subscribe to at least one of the more than 100 journals on the OJPS platform. The name of the new service is Search OJPS , and it is accessible on a six month experimental basis to anyone who registers.
The service has similar functionality to SPIN (Searchable Physics Information Notices), AIP's abstracts database. Users may browse or search bibliographic data from 110 online journals published by AIP and other scientific and engineering societies, with various options for accessing full text articles. Search OJPS enables fielded, cross-journal searching on more than 300,000 abstract records. Users may also browse tables of contents (with links to abstracts) for each of these journals for this same time period. Within each of these areas, options are provided for users to obtain the full text articles. Users may directly download PDF files from journals to which they or their institutions subscribe, or they may use the pay-per-view facilities of AIP's DocumentStore to purchase full text articles from publications to which they do not subscribe.
Search OJPS provides a convenient research resource for searching across multiple journals on the OJPS, including journals published by AIP, American Physical Society, Russian Academy of Sciences, ASME International, and American Society of Civil Engineers. Users are required to register, and the service is accessible through a number of links, including links on the AIP homepage, OJPS homepage, AIP's DocumentStore, SPIN abstracts database, and journals on the OJPS platform. 
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