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Plan for Low-cost Journals Online
Paul Hilts -- 7/20/98
The Association of Research Libraries and the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, have announced a partnership to create online journals in order to distribute research results faster and at significantly reduced costs to subscribers. The partnership will produce at least one new online journal each year for the next three years.
Duane Webster, executive director of ARL, characterized the agreement as "a major step forward in resolving the debate between libraries and publishers over academic journal costs and access," a prime motivation behind ARL's recently established Scholarly Publishing &Academic Resources Coalition. ACS, which currently produces 26 peer-reviewed journals, all of which are available on the World Wide Web, is the first publisher to cooperate with SPARC.

According to SPARC director Richard Johnson, under the new agreement, the 81 member libraries of SPARC will advise ACS which topics they most want covered and will guarantee a certain number of subscriptions to ensure the profitability of the project.

SPARC was established to address the inability of libraries to keep up with scientific journal price increases, which the ARL claims have averaged 12% annually, while acquisition and subscription budgets have increased at just under 7% annually over the last 10 years.
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