Marking somewhat of a corporate turnaround, Sage Publications has agreed to license 21 business titles for full-text inclusion in ProQuest's ABI/INFORM database. Just last July, Sage announced it would pull all of its content from the aggregated services, ProQuest and EBSCOhost (http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbreader.asp?ArticleID=17129). This became effective at the end of 2002, but the services were allowed to fulfill their subscription contracts with customers through 2003.
Last summer, Sage indicated that full-text database access was jeopardizing the viability of its publishing program, as libraries substituted database access for subscriptions. The company also indicated dissatisfaction with the royalties received from the aggregated services. The basic issue for Sage was dealing with the channel conflict between its various revenue streams. The withdrawal from the aggregators was designed to give Sage greater control over its content distribution and closer contact with subscribers.
According to Carol Richman, director of licensing and electronic publishing for Sage, the company reconsidered that withdrawal decision and decided that this would be a good opportunity for these specific titles. The Sage titles to appear in ABI/INFORM will support research in accounting/finance, change management, human resource development, marketing, and organization studies.
Michael Melody, president and CEO of Sage, called ABI/INFORM "the de facto source for quality business periodicals information." He said, "The database provides the ideal context for Sage content, with its quality indexing and editorial selection." Melody also indicated that the content distribution through ProQuest ensured that Sage titles would be "available to business researchers, an important audience to the editors of our journals, our learned society partners, and to our company."
The deal for these 21 titles provides an exclusive licensing arrangement for ProQuest. Rod Gauvin, senior vice president of sales and marketing for ProQuest Information and Learning, said, "Sage titles are highly regarded by researchers, and we're delighted that Sage has decided to allow searchers to access them in ABI/INFORM." He indicated that some of the 21 titles have never before been available in an aggregated database. (See below for list of titles.)
There is a one-year embargo for this collection of titles, which is the same restriction that Sage had imposed earlier with its titles on ProQuest. According to Vince Price, ProQuest's vice president of marketing, ProQuest will continue to index and abstract the other Sage journals that were withdrawn.
According to Richman, EBSCO doesn't have a product like ABI/INFORM, but Sage is continuing its conversations with EBSCO, as the company "may license another group of titles for a specific project with EBSCO."
In the meantime, Sage Publications did launch a new resource this year in partnership with CSA, as it had announced last July. Sage Full-Text Collections is a Web-based service that offers the full text of Sage journals in specific disciplines. Initially, the service has four discipline collections: communications studies, criminology, politics and international relations, and sociology. Sage clearly felt that the availability of its business titles in ABI/INFORM would not jeopardize its own full-text initiatives, which center on its core collections.
While the availability of these Sage titles in the ABI/INFORM database is certainly good news for business researchers, the continually shifting relationships among publishers and distributors can wreak havoc with libraries trying to maintain consistent service and availability, and understand the terms of their contracts.
As Barbie Keiser pointed out, in reporting on the unhappy reaction from librarians and researchers last summer: "Access to electronic journals is in a state of flux. There are many options on the customer side and just as many avenues for the publisher. The appropriate mix, with adequate compensation for publishers' efforts and bells-and-whistles access provided by intermediaries, is a continuing experiment."
The Sage titles to appear in ABI/INFORM:
· Advances in Developing Human Resources
· American Behavioral Scientist
· Business and Society
· Compensation & Benefits Review
· European Journal of International Relations
· Group & Organization Management (formerly Group & Organization Studies)
· Human Resource Development Review
· International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management
· Journal of Applied Behavioral Science
· Journal of Business and Technical Communications
· Journal of Conflict Resolution
· Journal of Management Education
· Journal of Management Inquiry
· Journal of Marketing Education
· Journal of Service Management
· Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science
· Management Communication Quarterly
· Management Learning
· Organization & Environment
· Organizational Research Methods