Date: Fri, 19 Dec 1997 10:07:14 EST From: AAllan Subject: Reconsidering ADS publication arrangements At the ADS Executive Council meeting Friday morning, January 9, we will have real business to transact: considering the future arrangements for our publications and for the management of our society. Here is the report from the hard-working ad hoc committee. The report does *not* include details of the specific proposals from the publishers, partly because the publishers may well revise their proposals. But all details will be on the table at the Council meeting. As usual, the January 9 meeting (8 am!) will be open to all ADS members. If more people attend than usual, we may need a bigger room. So - if you are not a Council member but are planning to attend, please let me know in advance (e- mail to AAllan[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Meanwhile, comments on this report are appropriate for ADS-L, as are questions. We need everyone's best thinking! - Allan Metcalf, executive secretary ------------------------------------------ DATE: 12/16/97 TO: ADS Executive Council FROM: The Ad Hoc Publications Committee RE: Report of the Meeting Held in Raleigh, NC, December 6, 1997 Members Present: Ronald R. Butters, Charles Carson, Connie Eble, William Kretzschmar, Walt Wolfram (recorder) Members Absent: Larry Davis, Allan Metcalf Summary of Meeting: The committee was charged to review the current publication status of American Speech (AS hereafter) and PADS. This review process included an examination of the current contract with the University of Alabama Press as well as the consideration of proposals for publishing AS and PADS from other journal publishers. Contacts by committee members with agents from different publishers resulted in the submission of five formal proposals for publishing AS and PADS: Blackwell, Duke University Press, John Benjamins, Kluwer, and the University of Alabama Press. The committee reviewed the current state of AS and PADS publications with the University of Alabama Press. Although the University of Alabama Press publishes AS and PADS at a reasonable base cost to the American Dialect Society (ADS hereafter), the mechanical production of the journal is antiquated (for example, the editor is required to submit camera-ready hard copy to the University of Alabama Press). It was further noted that the current publication arrangement with the University of Alabama Press is actually based on a subvention fund by Duke University of approximately $35,000 per year. Duke is no longer willing to sustain this subvention unconditionally. Therefore, continuation of publication with the University of Alabama Press under the current arrangement is NOT an option. If the ADS continues to publish AS and PADS with the University of Alabama Press, then a new arrangement will be required. The committee established a set of criteria that would serve as the basis for evaluating the proposals that we received. These include the following factors: proprietary interest (editorial control), the production process, electronic publication, marketing, membership and subscription, financial terms, archiving and storage, supplemental publications (PADS), stability, prestige, and commitment to the ADS. After reviewing the proposals in terms of these considerations, the committee determined that the two most competitive proposals were those submitted by Blackwell and Duke University Press. For all of the factors excluding commitment, the University of Alabama Press proposal was considered to be less competitive than the Duke University Press or Blackwell proposals. Nonetheless, because of the longstanding loyalty and commitment to ADS by the University of Alabama Press, we recommend three proposals for discussion by the ADS Executive Committee and membership: Blackwell, Duke University Press, and the University of Alabama Press. Of the submitted proposals, Duke appeared to offer the best financial deal for the ADS, although it should be noted that all of the financial packages (including those from commercial publishers that we did not forward for present consideration) were far superior to the proposed financial package offered by the University of Alabama Press. Duke also was strong in terms of the commitment factor, having invested significant subvention funding (in excess of $500,000) over the past 15 years. Blackwell's proposal offers the marketing advantages of a large and respected commercial publisher with experience in marketing linguistic textbooks and journals. Duke does not currently publish linguistic journals or textbooks, but has vast experience as a publisher of journals and books in a wide variety of fields, including titles in linguistic theory. With respect to proprietary interest, Blackwell proposes either to buy the publications in whole or in part for up to $100,000, or to have ADS retain full ownership. Duke University Press does not propose to buy the publications. Neither press would interfere with editorial matters. The current editors are all acquainted with the contact persons at Duke University Press and are convinced that the transition from the University of Alabama Press to Duke University Press would be seamless and easy as compared to the transition to a new commercial press based in another city. We determined that the evaluation of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the respective proposals would be communicated to representatives from each of the candidate publishers. Revised or amended proposals would be encouraged on the basis of our feedback. We also proposed inviting representatives of each of the candidate publishers to New York for an opportunity to meet with interested ADS members. The committee discussed membership status in the ADS, since some of the proposals were based on differential fee rates for individuals and institutions. Such a practice follows the common and expected practice for journal subscriptions, and proposals from Blackwell and Duke appear to be contingent upon the differential membership fee. The committee recommended making a distinction between different types of membership: regular, student, life, and subscriptions. Although clarification is still necessary, it appears that this action might require an amendment to the ADS constitution. The current by-laws simply state, "Membership is open to all persons interested in the object of the Society." The committee concluded that AS and PADS were significantly undervalued in the journal marketplace and that a course of action was needed in order for the ADS journal to assume its rightful place in the profession. It is obvious from the proposals submitted by the different publishers that the journal is highly attractive to commercial and non-profit, university-based publishers. Finally, we noted that, regardless of which publisher we choose for the new contract, the contract could be renegotiated for future years, and publishers could be changed if and when circumstances require change. Plan of Action: As a result of our deliberation, we propose the following plan of action. (1) We propose that a discussion of publication options for AS and PADS be given high priority on the agenda for the upcoming meeting of the Executive Committee and the general meeting of ADS in January, 1998, in New York City. All of the proposals submitted for our consideration will be made available for perusal by the membership at that time. (2) We propose that representatives from the University of Alabama Press, Blackwell, and Duke University Press be invited to meet with interested ADS members after the executive and general meeting of the ADS for purposes of clarification regarding the terms of the proposals. Separate meetings will be held with each of the representatives. (3) We propose that an announcement of publishing options for AS and PADS be reported to the general membership through NADS or a special mailing to the ADS membership. The general membership should be encouraged to contact Executive Committee members with their opinions concerning the merits of candidate publishers. (4) We propose that a special vote of the Executive Committee be held no later than March 31, 1998, in order to make a final decision about the selection of a contract with a publisher for AS and PADS. (5) We propose that a special negotiating committee meet with the publisher selected by the vote of the Executive Committee to negotiate the final terms of the contract for publishing AS and PADS. The committee will be comprised of the ADS President, the Executive Secretary, and two appointed members of ADS selected respectively by the President and the Executive Secretary. It is anticipated that the new contract should begin with the first issue of AS in 1999. Walt Wolfram Box 8105 English Dept. North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC 27695-8105 E-MAIL: wolfram[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] FAX (919) 515-1836 PH: (919) 515-4151