[Asis-l] Ceasing publication of ARIST

nicholas belkin belkin at rutgers.edu
Wed Mar 31 13:38:50 EDT 2010

The value of ARIST to the ASIST and general scholarly community is 
immense. It is not only a tool for keeping current, for many different 
constituencies and purposes, but also an invaluable historical record. I 
have difficulty in believing that the general value of ARIST was 
properly weighed against what I assume to have been a financial cost. In 
particular, since the viability of an electronic version of ARIST 
appears to have been supported, I think that it would be appropriate for 
those who took this decision to explain precisely why it was taken, and 
why electronic publication was decided against.

Nicholas J. Belkin
Past President,   ASIST

Richard Hill wrote:
> [Apologies for a lengthy post.  Dick Hill]
> The decision to discontinue print ARIST was actually made in Nov 2008 after
> a substantial amount of board and task force discussion.  It was announced
> in a Bulletin President's Page (June/July 2009) after we had consulted about
> the changes with the publisher, Information Today.  The decision was also
> announced at the 2009 Annual Business Meeting.
> As context, prior to the decision, Blaise Cronin had become the new JASIST
> editor and we had a new publishing contract with Wiley Blackwell.  With
> Blaise moving from ARIST to JASIST, we needed a new ARIST editor, which
> presented the problem of what context to give a new editor, forcing
> re-consideration of ARIST as we know it.  
> Over the last dozen years ARIST sales have gone from well over 1500 to well
> under 1000, dropping around 10% per year. Our consultants advised that sales
> of such publications were projected to continue dropping.
> We included ARIST in the publishers RFP which led to our Wiley Blackwell
> contract.  All the publishers who responded recognized the quality of ARIST
> but were considerably less than enthusiastic about continuing it as a print
> publication in anything like its current form.  All suggested an electronic
> publication or did not address ARIST.
> The ARIST editor has had increasing difficulty getting authors to agree and
> significant numbers never completed their review articles.  Some potential
> authors felt that a review 3 years old by the time the publication came out
> was not useful; others thought that print was not the best medium for timely
> reviews.  
> There was a retreat in the fall of 2008 with Wiley-Blackwell and a
> consultant that resulted in the recommendation to the Board.  The Board
> deliberated at length before voting to discontinue. This was a difficult
> decision for all of us, but a decision that was made recognizing where
> publishing and scholarly communication are headed, future directions and
> trends.
> The JASIST review sections will serve as a transition venue at least.  The
> reviews will be available in a more timely fashion and to all ASIS&T
> members.  Perhaps someday we will be able to establish a review type series
> that will serve the role that ARIST played so long and well.
> We only posted recently to the web site to protect sales of the final three
> volumes, which is prevailing advice, and out of consideration for
> Information Today.  Tom Hogan and Information Today deserve enormous credit
> for keeping ARIST afloat for so long (as well as ASIST itself in years
> past).  
> _____
> Richard B. Hill
> Executive Director
> American Society for Information Science and Technology
> 1320 Fenwick Lane, Suite 510
> Silver Spring, MD  20910
> Fax: (301) 495-0810
> Voice: (301) 495-0900 
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: El-Hadidy, Bahaa [mailto:elhadidy at cas.usf.edu]
>> Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 1:53 PM
>> To: belkin at rutgers.edu; asis-l at asis.org; leadership at asis.org
>> Subject: RE: [Asis-l] Ceasing publication of ARIST
>> Importance: High
>> I agree completely with Nick Belkin. The decision
>> of ceasing tha Annual Review
>> is important for all members and the problem should be widely discussed by
>> the membership at large. I realize the financial problems of the Society,
>> but other alternatives should be discussed and members should have a say
>> in this decision.. I would like to propose that this decision would be
>> kept on hold and mambers be given the chance to give as much input as
>> possible, and the final decision would be made during a special meeting
>> during this year Annual meeting in Pittsburgh.
>> Bahaa ElHadidy, PH.D.
>> Professor of Onformation Science, Retired
>> Tel (813)978-1551
>> elhadidy at cas.usf.edu
> Xx snip xx
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Nicholas J. Belkin
Professor (II) of Information Science
Department of Library and Information Science
School of Communication and Information
Rutgers University
4 Huntington Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1071, USA
Phone +1 732 932 7500 x8271
Fax +1 732 6916
Email belkin at rutgers.edu

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