Response to American Association of Physics Teachers email to Ohio teachers

Recently the American Association of Physics Teachers sent an email to its Ohio members regarding OhioLINK's contract with AIP Publishing, which ended on Dec. 31, 2013.

We appreciate that the American Association of Physics Teachers would like its members to continue to have access to the two journals it produces and makes available through AIP Publishing. These journals are the American Journal of Physics (AJP) and The Physics Teacher (TPT). OhioLINK also appreciates the value researchers place on access to online databases and journals, and a great deal of consideration was given to this particular contract.

However, the email contains a number of omissions and inaccuracies. (The text of the email is available below this response.)  Here is the rest of the story:

OhioLINK only negotiates and handles contracts on behalf of its 91 member libraries.

A committee of subject specialists from the member institutions make the renewal and purchase decisions for journals, databases or ebook content, because member institutions fund more than 80% of the OhioLINK content subscriptions from their local campus budgets.

OhioLINK central staff members do not make renewal or purchase decisions; OhioLINK staff negotiate for the best possible pricing for the consortia members once those decisions are made.

AIP Publishing sharply increased its yearly access pricing for the OhioLINK statewide contract.

This committee of member librarians did not take the decision to cancel the statewide AIP Publishing contract lightly. However, because AIP Publishing increased its access price by 1,900% (that is not a typo), the committee members decided that this was neither justifiable nor sustainable for all OhioLINK institutions. The reality is that many of our libraries are dealing with sharp budget cuts, and many more are coping with flat budgets. OhioLINK central funding only accounts for approximately 18% of annual funding for journals and databases. Local budget commitments, and collective member decision making, are what determine whether subscriptions are renewed at the statewide level or not.

Access to back issues will remain available.

OhioLINK purchases the content of databases on behalf of member institutions. Even if an institutional library decides not to renew on its own, AIP content purchased up to 2013 through OhioLINK on behalf of member institutions is available through the OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center.

Please note: The Physics Teacher was never part of the OhioLINK statewide contract from AIP Publishing, contrary to the information in the AAPT email. Member institutions have always made local subscription decisions about this journal.

Date of contract end.

OhioLINK's contract with AIP Publishing ended in December 2013.  The AAPT statement says the end of the contract is this upcoming July 2014.

Institutional libraries subscribe to many, many more resources locally than are economically feasible on a statewide member level.

Many OhioLINK institutions have decided to continue to subscribe to a set of AIP content for their campuses, and have done so since the end of the OhioLINK AIP contract last year.

The AAPT statement says that non-renewal of the contract will remove access to AIP and its other member societies’ journals. The committee's decision to not renew a member-wide OhioLINK AIP contract does not mean that an individual institution no longer subscribes to AIP Journals or other member society journals. Faculty and researchers should always contact their own library for more information and details regarding content available on campus.

We regret any confusion caused by the AAPT email, and have requested that they communicate the information above to their Ohio members. If you are a faculty member or researcher at an OhioLINK member library, your own library is the best source of information about what is available to you on your individual campus, whether from OhioLINK or from your individual library.




[Text of the AAPT Email]:

AAPT recently learned that OhioLINK has decided to not renew its license with AIP Publishing. This means that any institution in the OhioLINK consortium, including your institution, will lose its access to AAPT’s two journals, the American Journal of Physics (AJP) and The Physics Teacher (TPT). This includes access to all of the online back issues.  Moreover, non-renewal will remove access to AIP’s and its other member societies’ journals.  As you may know, AJP publishes papers that meet the needs and intellectual interests of college and university physics teachers and students and is considered to be the world’s premier journal for this audience.  TPT uniquely focuses on introductory physics teaching resources and pedagogy.  As such, the physics community relies on these two journals to inform faculty and engage students.

We urge you to contact your librarian today to request that OhioLINK renew its license with AIP Publishing or subscribe directly to the American Journal of Physics and The Physics Teacher in order to regain access to current issues as well as all of the back issues.  Access will be lost at the end of July; therefore, we ask that you take action now.