Meeting with President of Elsevier

Subject: Meeting with President of Elsevier
From: Emanuella Giavarra (
Date: ke 07 tammi  1998 - 00:19:41 EET

Dear list members,

I came across this interesting message on the US liblicense-list.

Kind regards,
Emanuella Giavarra

Ann Okerson wrote:
> Emily Mobley, the University Librarian at Purdue University, has
> made this available for sharing with liblicense-l. The message has
> been shared with other lists as well.
> This matter has been reported in the press, perhaps most visibly in
> the New York Times on December 29th.
> Ann Okerson
> ____________
> Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 16:25:24 -0500 (EST)
> From: Emily Mobley <>
> To:
> Subject: Meeting with President of Elsevier
> TO: ARL Directors
> I thought you might be interested in a report on a meeting
> which was held at Purdue University two weeks ago with
> Russell White, President of Elsevier, at our invitation.
> Mr. White met separately with our President and Executive
> Vice President of Academic Affairs, and with 14 members of
> the faculty as a group. The genesis of this meeting was a
> report by a faculty committee which recommended that
> university administrators at the highest levels should meet
> with like representatives from the publishing industry to
> express the University s concern about continually
> escalating serials pricing and the effect such actions were
> having on scholarly communications. This recommendation was
> one of several, including one to immediately cancel $600,000
> in serials. We chose to concentrate on Elsevier because in
> the last academic year 27% of Purdue s total serials dollars
> went to this one publisher and in the last six years, our
> Elsevier expenditures increased by 151%.
> Mr. White presented the same proposal to all parties
> including me. This was the standard proposal access to
> the electronic versions of all of their titles for 7.5% over
> print costs in the first year; 9% increase in each of the
> next two years with a no cancellation clause; and 10%
> discount for electronic version in lieu of a print
> subscription. He stressed the value of this proposal
> because we would have access to titles we didn t currently
> have (more information for the same price, in his terms) and
> we would avoid the high increases caused by dollar
> devaluation. He stressed that Elsevier was taking a risk
> on currency exchange. He talked a lot about the Ohiolink
> contract and by virtue of his conversation seemed to suggest
> that this was the model of choice for all.
> I was not, by choice, in the meeting with the President and
> Executive Vice President, but I understand the message he
> was given was not much different from that which he
> received from the faculty, a meeting that I facilitated. The
> faculty gave him the following points to consider:
> The symbiotic relationship which faculty have had with
> commercial publishers is breaking down due to the
> pricing policies of publishers.
> Commercial publishers seem to have forgotten that they
> do not produce the content which is sold and the
> content producers can choose to go elsewhere.
> Having access to more information (more titles) is not
> that important because if those titles were
> important to us in the first place we would be
> subscribing to the print version (note: our
> interlibrary loan records bear this out).
> It is critical that electronic serials be linked at the
> article level to indexing sources, particularly
> Current Contents or Web of Science, INSPEC,
> COMPENDEX, MEDLINE, and Biological Abstracts; an
> index which Elsevier is developing is not
> important and a waste of resources.
> The issue of currency exchange, particularly in the
> case of the dollar and the guilder is a crock.
> (One faculty member read him the value of the
> guilder over a seven year period and noted the
> years when there should have been a negative
> increase. It came out during this discussion that
> in essence the dollar was being used to stabilize
> the prices for all currencies meaning U.S.
> subscribers were paying for all currency
> devaluations.)
> Prices of titles are unnecessarily high. (One faculty
> member who is an editor of a society journal which
> is priced at $230 without page charges questioned
> why a similar journal covering the same discipline
> with a similar number of annual pages would cost
> four times more.)
> Elsevier s experience with Ohiolink is but one model
> and each state has a different culture or
> tradition in university support, so what worked in
> Ohio will not work in Indiana.
> To guarantee a 9% annual price increase means that cuts
> must take place elsewhere because this amount
> exceeds general inflation, the amount that the
> University would likely receive from the state.
> The faculty as a group stated that they would
> neither ask nor support a request that such an
> increase be given priority over other needs in the
> University. However, a proposal which had a 3%
> guarantee would be given serious consideration.
> (The faculty had heard rumors that some Ohio
> libraries were having to cancel other publications
> in order to meet the mandated Elsevier increase.)
> The next time serials were cut, it would be Elsevier
> titles because publications from
> scholarly/scientific society publishers would be
> protected.
> After this meeting, my Associate Dean who is responsible for
> collections, and I met with him. I reiterated the points,
> which I m pleased to say, were consistent at all levels of
> responsibility in the University. I did receive a
> letter from him in which he sated that Elsevier would be
> working with ISI to provide article level linking and that
> he was preparing a proposal for me which takes into account
> the information he learned here. We ll see! One other
> interesting point was made that there s no reason why
> additional print subscriptions for the same title needed to
> be priced at the same rate as the first copy and he would
> look into better pricing. Purdue, even after a $600,000
> serials cancellation, still subscribes to over 30 duplicate
> Elsevier titles.
> I m sorry this was so lengthy, but I hope it was of
> interest.
> Emily R. Mobley
> Purdue University

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