Price increase could jeopardize GW’s Lexis-Nexis research service

GW’s access to the Lexis-Nexis computerized database is likely to be scaled down this fall because of a 1,100 percent increase in the price of the service, said Deborah Bezanson, the coordinator of Gelman Library’s electronic reference materials.

The online subscription service is a popular research method, providing “one stop” catalogued access to the full text of thousands of newspapers and periodicals from across the world.

But the current contract between GW and Lexis-Nexis through the Lexis-Nexis “Classroom Accounts” program will be discontinued Aug. 31.

The “Classroom Accounts” plan provides a limited-use version of Lexis-Nexis and is offered to academic institutions at enormous discount. Currently, about 250 schools subscribe through the program.

Reed Elsevier, Lexis-Nexis’ parent company, which also publishes Who’s Who guides and Books In Print, was losing too much money through the discount program, Bezanson said.

The GW Law School and School of Media and Public Affairs, which each have separate Lexis-Nexis contracts, will not be affected when the University signs a new contract, Bezanson said.

Bezanson said that according to the company, Lexis-Nexis use statistics for 1996 indicate that GW would have spent $3,481,307 at the commercial rate.

“Really . they were doing us too big of a favor. They didn’t price it right,” Bezanson said.

“Lexis-Nexis has offered us pricing terms to help us and will expect us to pay only a 186 percent increase the first year, with scaling increases in future years to full payment four years out,” Bezanson said.

In 1996, students logged about 9,000 hours of use on the system at Lexis-Nexis stations across campus, Bezanson said. That figure has decreased during the past two years because of the rise in popularity of other full-text resources like the CD-ROM collections of The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

“We are aware that Lexis-Nexis is a very popular service so we’re looking at our usage statistics – in particular, which sources are being used – and looking for ways to continue and possibly expand service by coming up with the best package possible,” Bezanson said.

“Whether additional funding would come from the University or from changes in other collections or services here at Gelman has not yet been determined,” she added.

“At this point, we have not received next year’s fiscal budget from the University, so I can’t say for sure, but I would be really surprised if we had nothing” added to continue the service, Bezanson said.

Bezanson said she expects the budget will be made available sometime next month.

For next year, several new options for GW’s service will be offered, including different “source” packages, different rates for different hours of service and expanded access for faculty members and administrators. All of the services come at a significant increase in cost, Bezanson said.

Currently, GW has access to almost all of the source collections and the “all hours” plan, but faculty members and administrators are able to use the service for classroom purposes only.

Other full-text research options for students and faculty include access to international news on World News Connection through Gelman’s Web site, computer journals through the Computer-Select CD-ROM and business and financial news through Dow Jones Interactive.

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