Reduced-Cost Journal Service

March 1994


The lack of current scientific literature is particularly acute in the former Eastern bloc, a region rich in human resources but undergoing enormous economic dislocations. Donation and exchange of journal subscriptions, though often welcome, cannot hope to meet the need for new, highly specialized serial titles in advanced science and technology, especially those sold at $300-$5,000 a year by the leading commercial publishers. To address the problem Sabre has since mid-1992 been developing a reduced-cost program for purchase of advanced scientific journals. A one-university, one-publisher pilot purchase was undertaken in Poland in 1992, co-funded by Sabre. A more complex pilot, funded by the recipients themselves, was tested in the Czech Republic in 1993 involving thirteen major scientific libraries and four leading STM (scientific, medical and technical) publishers. Under this latter pilot, Czech libraries ordered 35 new subscriptions at the 50% discount, savings more than $16,000.

On the basis of these pilots, and after discussions with librarians, scientists, publishers, agents, governmental officials, and foundation officers, as well as with its own specialized advisors, Sabre is prepared to offer an ongoing Reduced-Cost Journals Service to make advanced serial literature more readily available in the region.

The Journals Service

The Reduced-Cost Journals Service makes available discounted, multi-year journal subscriptions to needy institutions in the former Eastern bloc. Its aim is to bridge the difficult transition to a "pay-as-you-go" system. It is designed to be accessible to institutions of higher learning in the region and their governmental and non-profit supporters in the West. The Service offers substantial discounts on scientific journals published by commercial firms which do not normally discount or donate serial titles. In marked contrast to book publishing, large commercial publishers of scientific journals normally sell their titles at full price, offering only a 5-10% discount even to the largest commercial wholesaling agents. Sabre has secured significant discounts of at least 50% from leading international publishers on the understanding that it will coordinate orders from qualified non-profit purchasers. Sabre administers the Service using in-country coordinators and a leading European subscription agent, Blackwell's, selected on the basis of a competitive tender.

Through the Service, publishers and agents, external supporters of science, and the libraries and institutes themselves can combine to tide the region through a crisis in the provision of current scientific literature.

Sabre's Role

Sabre's role consists in:

As Sabre is not a grant-making foundation, it will not normally provide purchase funds for the program. Instead, the Service has been set up to encourage direct institutional subscription via a commercial agent, as a bridge to a market-oriented system. The purchasers themselves will have responsibility for acquisition priorities, title selection, and negotiation of exemptions from VAT and customs duties.

The Journals Service is conceived as a joint European-American project, drawing publishers and supporters from several Western countries. The coordinating organization for the service, Sabre Foundation, Inc., and its European affiliates are members of the general assembly of Sabre Europe, A. I., a transnational non-profit set up in Brussels under a royal charter from the Belgian government.

The Country Coordinator's Role

Sabre has a designated coordinator in each country to manage the Journals Service. Their responsibilities include:

Once the country coordinator provides Sabre with a list of journals selected by each institution, the orders are passed on to Blackwell's for processing. Blackwell's then sends an invoice to the libraries detailing the discounted prices for each new title, plus a 5% processing fee. The country coordinator receives copies of all correspondence with the libraries regarding their orders. As soon as invoices are verified and paid, the orders are submitted by Blackwell's to the publishers. All further communication regarding delivery, renewal, etc. is between the individual library and Blackwell's. Sabre and the country coordinator are no longer needed as liaisons.

Terms and Conditions

Eligibility: Participating institutions in the region may be public or private so long as they serve a primarily educational, scholarly or scientific purpose. Profit-making information centers and data-bases, or institutions with individual share-holders who may receive financial benefit from the discount, are excluded.

Financial terms: Discounts are at least 50% off the list price of new institutional subscriptions, plus a nominal fee for the commercial agent, also reduced in keeping with the non-profit spirit of the project. Back issues may also be available on a discounted basis. Sustainability: Reduced-price subscriptions are available for up to three years, with no guarantee of continuation thereafter. Sabre cautions libraries and external funders to consider the question of sustainability before entering the program. In order not to disrupt existing markets, publishers may limit discounted subscriptions in various ways which participants in the program will agree to honor. Delivery, payment and renewal: Normal mailed delivery is direct to subscribing institutions, as with fully paid subscriptions. Payments are made according to standard commercial practices through hard-currency accounts, with annual billing by the subscription agent. Multi-year pre-payment may also be arranged. Renewals are invoiced and paid through the subscription agent under generally accepted commercial procedures.

Method of operation: After an initial qualifying correspondence between Sabre and the country coordinator -- typically, containing a list of eligible educational and scientific institutions to be served -- orders are passed on to Blackwell's for processing. Direct communication between the agent and the library is then established.

New technologies: Subject to demand and publisher cooperation, the Service may be extended into CD-ROM subscriptions.

Participating publishers: The Service offers more than 2,000 serial titles from leaders in advanced scientific publishing with established readerships in the former Eastern bloc. The list of participating publishers and their terms of discount is attached.

Reduced-Cost Journals Service: Discounts

Discount Terms

Blackwell Scientific (U.K.)
50% off subscription & postage

Butterworth Heinemann (U.K.)
50% off subscription & postage

Churchill Livingstone (U.K.)
50% off subscription & postage

Elsevier Science/Pergamon Press (Netherlands)
50% off subscription & postage

Institute for Scientific Information (U.S.)
60% off subscription & postage
"Citation Indices" only

IOS Press (Netherlands)
50% off subscription & postage

John Wiley & Sons (U.S. & U.K.)
50% off subscription price only

Kluwer Academic (Netherlands)
50% off subscription price only

Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (U.S.)
50% off subscription & postage

Springer Verlag (Germany)
50% off subscription price only

VSP Science Publishers (Netherlands)
50% off subscription price only


Country Coordinator List

Bulgaria: Ms. Boryana Savova
Open Society Fund
1 Bulgaria Square
NDK Office Building, 11th floor
Sofia 1463
tel: (359 2) 658 177
fax: (359 2) 658 276
email: ososo@bgcict.bitnet

Croatia: Dr. Helena Pavic
Fondacija Sabre-Zagreb
Omiska 5A
41000 Zagreb, Croatia
tel/fax: (385 1) 416 650

Czech Republic: Lada Osmanagic
Prague Institute of Advanced Studies
U. Michelskeho lesa 366
140 00 Prague 4
tel: (42 2) 496 625
fax: (42 2) 472 4750

Hungary: Mr. Miklos Fogarassy
Sabre-Hungary Alapitvany
c/o Szechenyi National Library
Budavari Palota F epulet
1827 Budapest
tel: (36 1) 1568 521
fax: (36 1) 2020 804

Poland: Mr. Janusz Siek
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology
University of Warsaw email:
ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 3
00-047 Warsaw
tel: (48 22) 26 43 88
fax: (48 22)26 09 62

Slovakia: Ms. Marcela Grosekova
Slovak Academic Information Agency
Hviezdoslavovo nam. 14
813 29 Bratislava
tel: (42 75) 333 010
fax: (42 75) 332 192


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Document Last Updated: March, 1994

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