Journals and Cell Phones
My 18 month old son got a hold of my husband's cell phone. No surprise it was returned to us in three pieces. Our quest to find a new cell phone began. Shortly into the endeavor, we decided to look at various packages. Quickly we were on the slippery slope of cell phone, land line, DSL, and TV service bundling. I tried to compare apples to apples, a task easier said than done. After an hour of looking at various packages, bundles, and prices, it hit me. The communication industry and the publishing industry might be secretly run by the same people, because whole process reminded me of online journals.
Similar to Rollover Minutes, Fav 5, and Nights and Weekend plans, there is tiered pricing, institutional pricing, FTE pricing, number of beds pricing, etc. Both industries offer a dizzying variety of bundles and packages to try and get you to buy more. Trying to hook it all up to provide online access on campus as well as off campus not only requires some finesse but also requires you to read the fine print in the license agreements. According the fine print, Company A defines nights on the Nights and Weekend plan to start at 9:00pm while Company B defines nights starting 8:00pm unless you pay extra for nights to start at 7:00. Journal Publisher A defines a single location as one building, buildings next door are separate locations and more money. Journal Publish B defines a single location as any building within the same city limits as long as it does not have an independent administration. Like cell phone coverage, access to electronic journals varies with the publisher and can be unpredictable and spotty. Can it be accessible off campus? If so, via proxy, Athens, or password? Can you view all electronic content or is just some available? What about accessing epub ahead of print, back issues, videos, slides, podcasts, and meeting abstracts? God forbid if you have problems and need tech support or have a question about subscriptions. Just like the cable and phone company, journal customer support is less than stellar and their contact information is a mystery to find. If you do happen to reach a live person you better have your customer or account number ready because for some reason they don’t know what it is, can't find it, and won’t call up your information to help you. Usually problems are chalked up to user error, networking error, or failure to pay your bill (even though you did). Do they ever read the notes they type on their computers from your 60 help desk calls, or are the keyboard sounds you hear the result of them sending an email to a friend? Mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcy rear their ugly in head in both industries. AT&T bought Cingular but good luck trying to get their two systems and departments to talk and work together at all, let alone seamlessly. I have yet to figure out why on AT&T’s site I can log in and view my account under home phone and see my wireless account (originally Cingular) but I can’t log in to "view your wireless account" and view my wireless bill on the same AT&T site. LWW recently published three new Circulation specialty journals, but it is unknown whether those journals will be in Ovid’s LWW Total Access Package because they are working with the publisher on the rights to do so. Uh isn’t the publisher and Ovid within the same company? Wiley recently shook the hornet’s nest when they migrated recently acquired Blackwell Synergy to InterScience.
There is one difference between two, with journal publishers I don’t have to take off work and sit at home during a six hour window waiting for installation or repairs. Perhaps it is all a coincidence. But I choose to believe it is a conspiracy, one big secret organization hell bent on causing us to go insane and create havoc with human productivity. The same secret organization might also include those ever efficient and popular insurance companies. Ok, there maybe some of you that might say I am paranoid, but I know, "The Truth is Out There."