July 21, 2012
Another Useless AALL Price Index Has Been Published
In announcing that the 2011 AALL Price Index for Legal Publications is now available, the July 2012 eNewsletter reports:
The purpose of the Price Index is to provide members with comparative information about past price changes in order to help with budgeting and collection development decisions. In gathering information for the Price Index, the committee asks publishers to provide their pricing. If a publisher declines to do so, its pricing is not included in the index.
Well this year's Index committee discovered that LexisNexis has been submitting price date not for the Index's coverage year but for the following year for some time now. The Index Committee reports:
For example, instead of supplying 2010 data for the 2010 index, LexisNexis supplied 2011 data. Prior committees used this erroneous data in calculating prior years' indexes. This practice affected virtually all of the LexisNexis data for an unknown number of years. After difficult deliberation, the committee unanimously agreed to discontinue rather than perpetuate this error, and LexisNexis was required to submit 2011 data for the 2011 index. Given that virtually all the 2011 data also were submitted for the 2010 index, LexisNexis prices appear virtually unchanged from 2010 to 2011 in the index calculations. The result tends to bias the overall index to show greater price stability from 2010 to 2011 than actually was the case.
Remember the base year for the 2011 Index is 2010. Also remember what the Price Index Committee said about the the 2009 Index.
Thomson Reuters agreed to supply prices for the 2009 Price Index. They supplied list prices for new sets for the years 2005 -2009. Historically, prices within the Price Index have been for supplementation. After Thomson Reuters submitted new set prices, the [Price Index for Legal Publications Committee] Chair looked more closely at other publishers' prices within the Price Index. It appears that other publishers have also supplied new set pricing between the years 2005 and 2008.
That's because the Index Committee did not ask for print supplement pricing for its 2009 Index. Eventually, someday, the Price Index may convey meaningful information but in recent editions the only interesting information has been the Index Committee's disclaimers for its own work.
Endnote. It sounds like there will another new base year coming soon because the market basket of goods is going to be revised. That change is long overdue.
At its July 2011 meeting, the [Index] committee determined that the publication list for the PILP has not been revised materially for some years and may not give full consideration to some current Web-based products. The committee launched a two-year effort to revise the list, in keeping with price-index best practices and the need to provide year-to-year consistency, so that index changes convey meaningful information.