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ACS Price Increases

ACS Price Increases

I was heads-down working on a big grant proposal last week.  No sooner did I poke my head up did I see all manner of Listserv traffic and personal messages concerning price increases from ACS.

Ariel Neff (Benedictine University Library. IL) writes: " ACS switched to a 'value-based' pricing plan.  .... Our subscription cost is increasing 1861% Yes - over one thousand percent."

Wendy Quinn-Decatur (AMRIO, NY) writes: "They are raising our rates by 183%.  They are unwilling to moderate their pricing position...."

Amy Schukler (Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, NY) suggests a "mass uprising" and urges extra-contractual emailing of PDFs!

In my role as advisor, I wanted to let you guys know that there was some heated criticism of ACS going on right now.  In general, I do understand the need to place some metric on usage to determine cost.  Larger companies or universities should not be charged extra to subsidize smaller institutions, and the scope or volume of use should be reflected in cost.  To the extend that cost increases in one part of the market are reflected by cost decreases, or inflationary stabilization in other parts of the market, then I think the approach is well justified.

Can you provide a little backdrop on this?  I do think you should try to get the ACS message out ... there is a fair amount of bad PR being promulgated about ACS right now.

Previous Community Member

Bob and team,

Thanks for the post on this.  Yes, we've been tracking the discussion and to date we haven't decided to respond, but we have a draft response prepared if the conversation continues to spin on this topic.

As you all know, ACS has gone through a full recreation of our pricing model.  The original post on this discussion came from a corporate customer.  In the corporate and government worlds, pricing is very straight-forward, based on usage.  In the academic world, pricing is primarily set on Carnegie, with FTE and usage as secondary factors.

This should be a topic for discussion on our December 13 call - specifically when and how ACS should respond on customer-driven listservs.  The original post was from a corporate library, where I'm confident a fair analysis of cost-per-use would resolve any concerns over the 2011 fee.  Some of the subsequent posters were from academia, where usage is a secondary factor in pricing (based on the feedback from librarians that informed Value-Based Pricing.)  Often the follow-up conversations are best managed one-on-one, by ACS staff in the field, but there are times when a more general response is appropriate.  What are your views on these listservs?  Should it be pretty much confined to the librarian community as a rule, with publishers only posting when something gets really overheated?  Or should these be a forum where publishers/vendors should participate more regularly?

I've drafted a response to the listserv discussion, and am attaching it for comment from everyone.  To date, we've not posted as the discussion has died down.  It would be very good to have some feedback from our Cstomer Advisory Panel as to whether or not this is appropriate to the postings and listserv.

Thanks much, and have a great evening.