Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at imperial.ac.uk
Mon Jan 24 12:21:05 EST 2005

Margaret wrote:
	Okay, I give up; why do librarians hate Elsevier? I was trained
in graduate school to think, "If Elsevier published it, it's probably a
legitimate academic book with some real content."

It's not the books, it's the journals. (From a report grabbed from Bryn
Mawr's website) "Since 1986 the price of journals has increased 215%,
compared to the overall inflation rate of 64%" Library budgets, over the
same period, have pretty much risen at the rate of inflation, or have
taken real cuts. My own institution has been much less badly hit than
most, as it's so research-heavy that the library has been well funded,
and we've cancelled several hundred subscriptions this year. Elsevier,
the largest (after all the takeovers) and most ruthless journal
publishing firm, have been very major players in all this. 
(See below for more details)

The Crisis In Scholarly Communication has been a staple topic at library
conferences for about the last 15 years; just recently, the British
government has finished an investigation into whether the publishers are
abusing their monopoly and should be made to play nice; despite evidence
from academics, librarians, and basically everyone else except the
publishers that yup, this is a big problem, they went with exactly the
line that the large commerical organisations who have the potential to
give them large donations wanted. We were all soooooo surprised.
Scholarly journals are a dream market for a large firm- they get the
content free, as academics desperately need to publish; then the
academic libraries basically have to pay whatever you choose to price
the journal at- our negotiating power is "if the price goes up too much,
we won't subscribe", but we can't stop subscribing to the things the
academics need! (Of course, libraries have had to make subs cuts as we
just *do not have the budget* to take everything we used to; niche
subjects, titles from small publishers, and less-highly rated journals
have mostly taken the brunt of the cuts, so the large publishers have
got more market share every year!)
Elsevier *spitspitspit*.

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