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    5.5 ScienceDirect versus PEAK pricing

    It may be helpful to compare the ScienceDirect pricing as in effect during the transition from PEAK with PEAK pricing. From the [the following table][table ]tbl:hunter_tbl one sees: (1) both had a charge to help defray host service costs (and in both cases, that charge did not provide full cost recovery); (2) the ScienceDirect and PEAK content fees were somewhat similar, although PEAK charges were on a flat fee basis and were lower (which was of concern to us from the beginning, as that seemed unrealistic); (3) the transactional fees were also lower for PEAK and permitted continued electronic re-use by the individual purchaser; and (4) nothing in ScienceDirect was comparable to PEAK generalized subscriptions.

    Pricing Feature ScienceDirect PEAK Comments
    host charge platform fee participation fee often subject to negotiation; SD fees generally higher than PEAK, but not always
    content charge (SD) or traditional subscription access (PEAK) % of print charge flat $4 per issue PEAK cheaper — e.g., for 2000, Physics A has 56 issues and costs $4374.$4/issue = $224 for PEAK vs. 7.5% = $328 for SD.
    transactions free transactional allowance; $15 or $30 otherwise $7 per article in SD, window of 24 hours of access for each transaction; in PEAK, individual has continuing online access to the article
    generalized subscription nothing comparable bundles at $548 for 120 articles continuing online community access to purchased articles

    The two parallel tracks came together during 1999 when it was necessary to plan for the end of PEAK and a transition to ScienceDirect for those libraries wishing to continue to have access to Elsevier journals. We were not willing to continue the experiment beyond August, 1999. As it developed, PEAK participants did not have the option to continue accessing the journals from Michigan on a commercial rather than experimental basis, as Michigan decided it was ready to stop serving as a host and, indeed, did not want to continue to receive and mount journals locally for their own use either. Michigan chose to become a ScienceDirect online subscriber. Michigan's decision to cease local hosting was a combination of two factors: the end of the research project and the relative cost-effectiveness for Michigan of ScienceDirect online versus a local implementation. (Elsevier does have arrangements with other SDOS sites — University of Toronto, Los Alamos, and OhioLINK among others — where one institution serves as a host for other libraries.) It was necessary to make a transition plan early in 1999, before PEAK had ended and before the data could be evaluated. What could we take from PEAK (and from non-PEAK ScienceDirect experience) to inform the transition process?