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    5.2 From TULIP to PEAK

    One of the Elsevier dilemmas during TULIP was what to do when the project ended at the end of 1995. Was there a marketable product here? Had we learned enough about networked delivery of journals to go beyond the limited scope of TULIP? The decision was made in 1994 to scan all 1,100+ Elsevier journals and to launch a commercial version of TULIP called Elsevier Electronic Subscriptions (EES). Michigan became one of the first subscribers when TULIP ended. EES, like TULIP, consisted of files delivered to the campus for local loading and delivery over the campus network.

    In designing the transition, Michigan made it clear that there was one thing they were particularly disappointed in with respect to TULIP: namely, that so little was learned about the economics of networked journals. There were many reasons for that — including preoccupation with technical and user behavior issues and reluctance on both sides to take risks — but the reality was that Michigan was correct: we had not gathered the hoped-for economic data. In addition, at this time the number of scholarly journals available in electronic form was slowly growing and the pricing used by publishers could be described at best as experimental. Elsevier, for reasons described below, had introduced and briefly priced its EES product at a combined print and electronic price of 135% of the print. Michigan had concerns about the variability and volatility in the pricing models they were seeing. Therefore, in deciding to proceed with the EES program, Michigan stressed the importance of continuing our experimental relationship, looking specifically at pricing. Out of that discussion came the PEAK (Pricing Electronic Access to Knowledge) experiment.[2]