The Alkaline Paper Advocate

Volume 10, Number 3
1997


How the Best was Won: Paper Quality and the American Psychological Association

Victor G. Laties
Environmental Health Sciences Center
University of Rochester
School of Medicine & Dentistry
Rochester, NY 14642

Background document for National Library of Medicine Permanent Paper Task Force meeting of June 13, 1988. [The accomplishments of that Task Force are reported in the August 1990 issue of this newsletter, on p. 26.]


Events leading up to the American Psychological Association's 1984 decision to switch from acid to alkaline paper for its journals were briefly related on p. 57-58 of the 1988 Alkaline Paper Advocate by Susan Knapp, Executive Editor for the Association.

I first asked Victor Laties in 1988 if I could publish the narrative he told me he had written. At that time, it seemed too long for this newsletter, but there is more room now, and the story is still fresh. Readers in the U.S. and other countries who are carrying on the fight for permanent paper will recognize and appreciate the experiences described here.

Laties, now Emeritus Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, is the Executive Editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, a position he has held since 1966. -Ed.


This is an account of my attempts to reverse the June 1981 decision of the Publications and Communications Board of the American Psychological Association (APA) to print the association's journals on less expensive paper in order to cut publication costs.

1980

I first expressed an interest in APA journal paper quality in September 1980, when I sent Anita DeVivo, then the Executive Editor of APA Publications, a clipping from the Wall Street Journal about the evils of acid paper. She replied:

Some years ago the editor of Psychological Bulletin was concerned about the lifetime of his journal so we investigated. We find that both our printers use essentially neutral paper with a pH of approximately 7. The paper is called "free sheet," that is, it is free of groundwood; and it is the groundwood that increases the speed with which a paper yellows and grows brittle. Gaining a paper that ages well loses opacity because it is the ground wood that adds opacity to a paper and in journals with many figures or photographs, opacity is an advantage. We chose to go with the neutral paper which our printers tell us will endure for at least 30-40 years. We should have our reproduction and storage problems solved by that time. (AD to VGL, 10/7/80)

I was glad to learn that they were using a neutral pH paper but annoyed at her satisfaction with a paper life of only 30-40 years and replied: "Not long enough. You mean that you (and they) are willing to have the 1950 APA journals falling apart in the 1980's and 90's?"

1981

The Publications and Communications Board of the American Psychological Association, usually called the P&C Board, meets twice a year. Among other duties, it oversees the Association's 16 scientific journals plus the American Psychologist, and Contemporary Psychology (book reviews). The P&C Board decided at its June 1981 meeting to print the journals on less expensive paper in order to save money. (I learned much later that this change in paper, itself expected to save $50,000 per year, was one of seven steps the Board adopted in order to eliminate a deficit the Journals program was then running. The others included subscription price increases and the elimination of the 20 free reprints given authors.)

I learned of the paper quality change at the August meeting of the APA Council of Representatives, to which I then belonged, and protested the change when meeting with the Chairman of the P&C Board and some of the staff; I was one of the council's "Monitors" of that board, a device invented to make at least some council members aware of what the Board was doing. My concern was reported to the Board at its October meeting. The Board directed the staff to report at the next semiannual meeting, to be held the following June, on the question of the archival quality of paper in APA journals.

1982

An APA staffer reported to the June 25-26, 1982 P&C meeting as follows:

The P&C Board requested that staff report at this meeting on the archival qualities of various grades of paper. Enclosure (1) [Interim Report on Book Paper by the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity (H.S. Bailey, Jr., Chairman), April 15, 1981] is a report of a committee consisting of publishers, librarians and paper manufacturers which was formed through the Council on Library Resources and the A. W. Mellon Foundation to study the problem of book deterioration.

The committee strongly urges the use of acid-free paper in scholarly journals, reference books, important works of fiction and nonfiction, and similar types of publications. While encouraging the use of acid-free stock, the committee nonetheless recognizes that acid-free paper is in short supply and very costly. Through this report, the committee encourages the development of more acid-free paper mills, but realistically admits that the chances of this are rather slim. Evidently, book publishing paper accounts for only 1% of the total paper industry so that even if all book publishers demanded acid-free stock at reasonable rates, there is little chance of a turnaround.

It is important for the Board to realize that APA journals have not been published on acid-free paper since the mid-sixties. Those issues published in 1966 on stock containing acid are now sixteen years old and show no signs of crumbling. The switch in paper we made last year was to a stock of comparable pH, but higher ground wood content. Ground wood does not directly cause the paper to become brittle. That is entirely due to the pH level. Ground wood itself is not acid. The bleach used to whiten it introduces the acid. Ground wood does, however, cause the paper to discolor sooner. Thus, the 1982 journal issues will not become brittle sooner than those published between 1966 and 1981, but the paper will discolor after a very short period of time.

Switching from our current paper to an acid-free sheet would increase our paper costs by 60% to 75% depending upon the sheet we choose. Currently, APA spends about $500,000 per year for paper in all of its periodicals, excluding the Monitor and the PsychSCANS. An increase of 60% would increase our expenses for paper by $300,000! Since it is almost impossible to find a lightweight, acid-free sheet, we would probably have to go to a heavier sheet, thus incurring additional postage, too!

The paper manufacturers have assured us that the shelf life of our current stock is at least 25 years. Also, University Microfilms produces our journals on high quality 35 millimeter microfilm and stores these filmed versions in an environmentally controlled vault. In addition, we are told that most libraries routinely microfilm older issues to free up shelf space and preserve the issues.

As you can tell from the enclosure the preservation of publications is an item of great concern in the library and publishing community, but it is difficult to seriously consider switching to a more durable paper at the current prices for acid-free stock. (Agenda book item 30, P&C Board meeting of June 25-26, 1982)

The minutes for this meeting read as follows:

Received a report on the archival quality of paper used in APA journals including the information that a switch from the current grade of paper containing "groundwood" to an "acid-free" sheet would increase the association's expenses for paper by approximately $300,000.

That large number, six times the savings realized from the just-completed change in paper quality, was to inhibit corrective action for years.


While at the August Council of Representatives meeting, I learned that no change was to be made. During September I surveyed some publishers and printers to learn more about the subject and summarized my findings in a letter to Dr. Earl A. Alluisi, Chair of the P&C Board, thereby insuring that the issue would be taken up anew at the October board meeting:

I believe that APA is making a bad error in publishing its scientific journals on paper that is not acid free. You discussed this matter briefly at the June 25-26, 1982 meeting ... but took no action, thereby endorsing the decision to cut costs by using a lower grade paper.

Consider the following:

1. Librarians, who must pay most of the freight, most certainly would not endorse the use of paper of dubious quality. That much is clear from the Bailey report, which was included in your Agenda book last meeting (the final report of the participants in the Conference of Book Longevity at the Library of Congress, April 15, 1981). My own medical librarian [Lucretia McClure] was surprised, annoyed, shocked, aghast at the decision, and immediately offered to help me in any way to reverse it. She was quite willing to pay a higher price now to avoid problems for her successors. Would APA dare to announce to the library world what it has done?

2. The Bailey report [the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity] spells out quite clearly what is wrong with using a paper that contains groundwood: Groundwood in any amount causes paper to deteriorate quickly (p. 3). The paper yellows with time, loses strength and increases in brittleness. The brittleness should be especially important to libraries because articles are now xeroxed quite frequently and such hard use will be devastating to poor paper.

According to Michael Smith, the person who orders the paper at Lancaster Press, St. Regis Sunbrite is used for the 13 APA journals printed there. It is a groundwood sheet made with an acidic bleach agent and costs about 35 cents per pound. He thought the pH to be about 4.5. However, George Thomas, who is in Technical Services at St. Regis, said that the pH is a little over 5. Both men agree that the paper would (1) turn yellow; (2) turn brittle; and (3) be not quite as durable as an acid-free sheet.

3. I talked to several printers and publishers of scientific journals in an effort to find how common is this use of groundwood sheet. Arly Allen of Allen Press, Lawrence, Kansas prints 130 journals and uses acid-free paper on all but one, the Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. Robert Sherrill of the University of Chicago Press says that they use only acid-free paper for their 40 journals, including Child Development. Michael Smith at Lancaster Press said that about 40% of the 100 journals for which they furnish the paper now use a groundwood sheet (including APA's, of course); the other 60% are on acid-free paper. Another 45 journals that they print are on paper furnished by the customer and he wasn't sure of the breakdown for them. Cushing-Malloy in Ann Arbor prints about a dozen journals, all of which, according to Tom Weber, are on acid-free paper. Waverly Press of Baltimore uses acid-free paper for 75-80% of its 200 journals, which include Pharmacological Reviews, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and Molecular Pharmacology, all of which are on excellent paper. Charles Smith, who purchases their paper, tells me that they are putting many more journals on acid-free paper now than they did a few years ago.

Karl Heumann, Executive Editor of Federation Proceedings, somewhat apologetically informed me that he was considering moving from Warren Bookman, an acid-free sheet, to Boise Cascade Dependoweb, which has under 3% groundwood and apparently will have even less after the mill that produces it is in action for a while. St. Regis Sunbrite contains 50% groundwood and, according to George Thomas at St. Regis, is about the same quality as the paper supplied by them to those archival outlets Time and Newsweek. Don't our authors deserve better? (VGL to EAA, 10/1/82)

Dr. Alluisi replied (in part) as follows:

I share your concern with the non-archival characteristics of the paper on which the APA archival journals are now published. As you know, the P&C Bd considered the Item at their June meeting. It was the meeting in which the Board had to increase journal prices in order to come up with an additional $750,000 to make the budgetary goals set by the Board of Directors. The staff informed the Board that in order to move all archival journals to acid-free paper there would be an additional cost of $300,000 annually. I believe the Board, rightly or wrongly, opted to keep the costs of the journals at the lowest possible level, even at the expense of continuing the practice of publishing with non-acid-free paper. However, I assure you that the matter will be taken up again in the October meeting, and I am confident that the Board will give the proposal serious and professional consideration. (Letter of 10/12/82)

The Board discussed the paper quality issue but again decided to do nothing. This passage from the minutes describes the Board's action at its October 22-23 meeting:

Quality of Paper in APA Journals. Received with thanks a suggestion from Dr. Victor Laties that the P&C Board consider printing APA journals on acid-free paper. The Board requested that Dr. Laties be informed that it does not appear to be financially feasible to change to acid-free paper at this time; however, it will continue to review this issue from time to time.

One of the journals published by the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (I am its Secretary-Treasurer; see the Addendum, below) was printed by Allen Press Inc., of Lawrence, Kansas. When we had engaged the firm to print the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis in 1968, I had been impressed by its president, Arly Allen. I had spoken to him briefly before and now wrote him as follows:

I wonder what your current opinion is on the type of paper most suitable for use with scientific journals. What do you use on your journals? Why? Is a paper that contains groundwood satisfactory? I ask because the American Psychological Association journals are being printed on St. Regis Sunbrite, which contains groundwood, and I am afraid that they will decay too rapidly. Am I being too alarmist about the problem? (VGL to AA, 9/24/82)

Mr. Allen replied:

We have long felt that the only suitable paper for use in scholarly journals is acid-free paper. There are two reasons for this:

1) The journals that we produce are designed for archival use in libraries. They are expected to be used for many years. Thus they should last, not discolor and become brittle with age.

2) The problems libraries now face with their budgets [are] compounded by the need to replace acid books. Since it will cost libraries many millions of dollars to replace books that are deteriorating, additional acid books simply reduce the capacity of libraries to purchase new publications. By compounding libraries' problems, publishers compound their own.

Since acid-free papers generally cost no more that acid papers of a similar grade, we see no reason to use acid papers. (AA to VGL, 10/20/82)

Mr. Allen's last paragraph surprised me and I asked for some elaboration:

Thanks for your letter on paper. You mention that "acid-free papers generally cost no more that acid papers of a similar grade." Could I get you to document that statement? The American Psychological Association journals that are printed by Lancaster Press are using St. Regis Sunbrite, which costs approximately 35 per pound and contains 50% groundwood. I thought that acid-free papers always cost more. Am I wrong? Are you referring to groundwood-free papers such as commodity grade offset paper that is not acid free? (VGL to AA, 10/27/82)

Arly responded with a detailed explication of his position:

You asked that I document my statement that acid-free papers cost no more that acid papers of a similar grade. I am happy to do so.

A) Most publications intended for library use are printed on coated or uncoated commercial offset grades. The papers that we buy generally come from the S. D. Warren Company or from Consolidated Paper, both of whom produce acid-free papers exclusively. These two paper mills are in competition with all of the paper manufacturers in the same marketplace. Their papers from top down are basically similar in price to those of their competitors. That is to say that the number one coated and uncoated grades at S. D. Warren and Consolidated are in the same price range as papers produced by a variety of other paper mills, some of whom are not producing paper via the acid free method. Thus, within the commercial market the distinction between acid-free paper and acid paper is not normally one of price, but rather one of the manufacturing process used by the paper mill itself.

B) In order to show how this works, I enclose a series of competitive grade finders giving you the names of the various paper mills and the types of papers they produce [not included here]. You will see under the sheet labeled "Coated Papers--Sheet Offset" a number of mills on the righthand side which produce this type of paper. Of these mills we believe that the following produce acid-free papers: Champion, Consolidated, Glatfelter, Newton Falls, Plainwell, Simpson, and Warren. We believe that Head makes some acid-free papers in some of their mills although not in all of their mills. We believe that Midtec makes a pH neutral sheet in their mill. A pH neutral sheet is a sheet that combines alkaline coatings with acid stock to create a neutral sheet, though not strictly an acid-free sheet.

In the "Coated Paper--Web Offset" section those that we believe are making acid-free paper are Champion, Consolidated, Glatfelter, Newton Falls, Plainwell, Simpson, and Warren. It is possible, as mentioned above, that Head, Midtec, Niagara and Nitec make some papers which qualify either as acid-free or as neutral sheets.

As you can see from the range of paper and paper mills, there is a broad spectrum from which a printer can choose his paper. Normally speaking, most research oriented publications are produced on the better grades of offset. Because of the price competition involved, each of these mills is competing in approximately the same price range in each of the different categories, although not all mills make paper in all of the different categories. For reasons mentioned above, we have chosen to work primarily with those that use acid-free paper rather than those that produce acid-based paper. We have found that price competition has kept these two types of paper in balance.

C) The paper you mentioned, St. Regis Sunbrite, is an uncoated offset paper listed under the column "Number 1 Groundwood." This is the next to the lowest grade offset paper available. As you can see by the enclosed charts, there are only three sheets in this category: Vista Offset made by Crown Zellerbach, Catalogue Offset made by Fraser, and Sunbrite Offset made by St. Regis. The Number One Groundwood category is normally used only for news magazines that are not designed to have any lasting value. I am surprised to find this sheet being used for the American Psychological Association's research publications.

However, since it is being used, I must admit that if they chose to go to an acid-free sheet they would have to pay a higher price for their paper. This is because they are using one of the cheapest grades of paper made to produce their journal and are at the very bottom of the price spectrum, very close to the level of newsprint. If they were to move up to a slightly better sheet, however, they would find, I am sure, that there are papers made by acid-free mills that would provide them with an improved and a more durable product. However, strictly speaking, I must confess that in this instance because of the low grade of their sheet, any move from that level would probably cost them more money. (AA to VGL, 11/16/82)

I valued Arly Allen's opinion and felt more sure than ever that my position, so thoroughly imbued with virtue and logic, would eventually triumph.

APA has a complicated governance structure, with a number of other boards at the same level as the P&C Board. Paper quality should especially concern the scientists who publish in the journals. So I approached a friend, James R. Ison, Professor of Psychology at the University of Rochester, who was then a member of the Board of Scientific Affairs, asking him to raise the issue at their November meeting. He reported thusly:

I brought up the matter of "acid rain" in our publications at BSA. The group was sympathetic but the context was, unfortunately, that of searching for a bandaid for a scratched finger, while a leg was being cut off the patient. The discussion went from archival data banks, to archival journals and acid paper (my cue) to [Executive Director] Mike Pallak's saying that $300K was an impossible cost at a time when APA is considering a submission charge for APA Journals. My God. So your project was lost in the general uproar, as you might imagine. (JRI to VGL, 11/24/82)

1983

I had always been suspicious of the APA staff's conclusion that it would cost $300,000 more, at a minimum, to print the scientific journals on an acid-free sheet. Arly Allen's letters had suggested that the association would have to spend a somewhat more manageable sum for truly archival paper.

There had been some turnover in the organization and I asked Pam Fenning, now the appropriate APA staff person, to determine just how much was being saved, journal by journal, by using poorer paper. I learned that the core scientific journals could be restored to better paper for a relatively small sum, about $50,000 (PF to VGL, 1/19/83 and 2/22/83). (The 1981 decision to switch to somewhat cheaper paper had saved about that sum, something I did not know--or did not understand--until I saw the June 1981 minutes while preparing this document.) I petitioned the Board at once in April, 1983:

May I ask you [Dr. Lorraine Bouthilet, then Chair of the P&C Committee] to put the question of journal paper quality on the agenda of the next P&C Board meeting? I realize that the group has considered it twice already in the past year but believe that I have now developed an acceptable proposal....

My suggestion is this: upgrade the paper for the primary journals only, ignoring Psychological Abstracts, the American Psychologist and Contemporary Psychology. These three account for approximately two-thirds of the total number of pages published by APA. According to the figures provided by Pam Fenning (Enclosure 42), it appears that about $50,000 will suffice to restore the quality of paper in the primary research journals and pay for any increases in postal charges that accompany the changes. This sum, I hasten to add, should not impinge on APA's financial state; it should be passed on to the subscribers (preferably the institutions) as is any other cost of production. This is particularly appropriate for a cost devoted to the quality of the journals, a cost that amounts to a pittance compared to the other costs involved in the research enterprise.

... Lastly, I cannot resist calling your attention to the peculiar fact that APA is now in the position of using better paper for its routine correspondence than for its scientific journals: 20 percent cotton Gilbert bond vs. 50 percent groundwood Sunbrite.

For shame. (VGL to LB, 4/15/83)

I included the exchange of letters with Arly Allen so that it would go to the board members in their agenda books. Dr. Bouthilet agreed to put the matter on the June agenda and added:

You may know that many of us on the Board are sympathetic to your suggestions and would like to see better quality paper used for the journals. But when staff presents the financial implications to us, we have become reconciled to use of cheaper paper. Your new proposal may be a satisfactory compromise, but I cannot predict what the Board will decide.

Please be assured, however, that we do take your suggestions very seriously and appreciate your concern with the APA journal program--especially its archival quality and long life.

(The watermark on this paper says 25% cotton. Hmm...)

I next received a letter from Michael S. Pallak, Executive Officer of APA:

Thanks for the information you amassed regarding paper quality for APA journals. While I was not aware that the issue was being raised, I echo Lorraine's comments that when the staff bring me certain statements regarding paper costs, I have to follow them also. However as you know we have had several staffing changes and we have had several instances in which the recommendations of former staff were in fact based on erroneous information.

While issues regarding paper in one sense are not policy decisions, the general point regarding longevity has been. Each time that the issue has come up the P&C Board has supported the reduced cost involved. Totally acid-free paper has never been used in the APA journals to my knowledge. The change in paper quality that was instituted for AP [American Psychologist] and the primary journals was a reduction of one grade or so I was told.

Finally, comparisons of letter paper and journal paper involve apples vs. oranges.

Be assured that I will insure a thorough review of paper and costs for the journals. (MSP to VGL, 5/17/83)

I replied:

You are right: staff was off on the estimate of how much is being saved through the use of lower quality paper in the journals--by a factor of more than two.

You are also correct in concluding that the drop in quality was only by a grade or two. My point is that APA would be wise to move up just that amount in order to get away from the groundwood-containing grades now used.

Lastly, both our apples and oranges should be first class. I'm not arguing for lousier stationery; I'm arguing for better journal paper.... (VGL to MSP, 5/31/83)

Sadly, Lorraine Bouthilet died before the next P&C Board meeting. She was succeeded by Samuel H. Osipow, who wrote giving me the outcome of their deliberations on paper quality at the June 1983 meeting:

It isn't much, but the Publications and Communications Board did address, once again, your concern about the quality of the paper on which the APA journals are published. The Board voted to ask the Executive Officer to further study the issue, with the sentiment of the Board clearly supportive of a proposal to upgrade the quality of paper--hoping to institute such upgrading in 1984, if it can be done.

That's not a total victory, but it's a move in the right direction. Your efforts went a long way toward getting that reconsidered. (SHO to VGL, 7/20/83)

However, no further study was made and paper quality was not upgraded in 1984. The issue was not discussed at the Board's October meeting.

1984

In December 1982 I had been elected to the Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) and in 1984 was assigned to be its liaison to the P&C Board. That meant that I could attend the latter's meetings and participate in its deliberations.

In June 1984 I wrote to three significant figures who I was confident would be able to provide strong statements on the issue: Warren J. Haas, President of the Council on Library Resources; David H. Stam, Director of Research Libraries, New York Public Library; and R. Gay Walker, Head, Preservation Department, Yale University Library. They had all been members of the Bailey committee. My letters were substantially like the one given here, which went to Mr. Stam:

I am attempting to convince the American Psychological Association to reverse a decision it took about four years ago to print its journals on a 50% groundwood paper (St. Regis Sunbrite) that I believe unsuitable for scholarly publications. The move was made to save money and was justified with the argument that the publication of journals on paper will be supplanted by newer technology before substantial deterioration occurs, with even the older literature being placed on optical discs and distributed for use on terminals, printers, and the like. I write to you because you were a member of the Council on Library Resources Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity and probably keep up with developing technology better than most. Does the New York Public Library envision discarding its journal collection in a few decades when this marvelous future finally arrives?

Would you be willing to express an opinion on this matter? If you do, I will share it with the members of APA's Publications and Communications Board, which I will meet with in late October as the liaison from the Board of Scientific Affairs. (VGL to DHS, 7/2/84)

All three replied with supportive letters. Mr. Haas quoted from the Bailey report, which had been reprinted as a pamphlet called "Book Longevity," a copy of which he enclosed:

The sentence on page 8 states the matter simply. "Groundwood in any amount causes paper to deteriorate quickly." It seems irresponsible to me to use inferior paper for a scholarly journal. Neither libraries nor individual subscribers are interested in buying (and binding) journals that will shortly crumble. Technology will play a role, but until technology is in place and its role defined, degradation of quality in printed titles is premature.

The cost differential for acceptable paper should be slight and is unlikely to affect library subscriptions.

Keep up the good fight.

Mr. Stam, from the New York Public Library, wrote:

Thank you for your letter. I am personally and professionally very sympathetic to your viewpoint on groundwood paper and hope you might have success in persuading the APA to reverse its practice. In all candor I have to say I'm not optimistic about journal publications (a subject the Book Longevity Committee didn't deal with). The argument about replacement on optical disc might be partially true, but also involves a self-fulfilling prophecy in that the deteriorating volumes will require replacement in some form or be lost.

As to NYPL practice, we have been discarding journals on deteriorated paper for years, as often as possible after microfilming. As a rule, we haven't done this with volumes on stable paper. We and our readers would obviously prefer the paper version but too often the volumes are beyond further use and we are at least able to capture the content in an alternate format. I would only say that the future is already here and it's not as marvellous as a sound volume, well bound, on good paper. Economics may overrule that judgment but I have no doubt that our present readers, and probably yours, continue to prefer the real thing.

I hope this is of some help. (DHS to VGL, 7/2/84)

The third letter, from Ms. R. Gay Walker at Yale, included the following:

Thank you for your letter ... concerning the use of acidfree paper for journals. This topic is of great interest to me, and I am very encouraged to know of your concern.

I believe that scholarly journals should be published on permanent, acidfree paper. Their runs are generally not large, and their customers are mostly researchers in the field and libraries. Such journals are usually retained permanently by libraries, or until we are forced to replace them due to deterioration in another, less desirable, format. At the Yale Library, we do try to keep all materials in hard copy unless they are deteriorated, and though microfilm and, soon, optical disc, storage of information will become more and more popular in the publishing field, they are generally our second choice keeping in mind ease of reading, copying, and handling by our patrons. Level of use is also important, and there may be some titles (magazine-type newspapers fall into this category) that are obtained in hard copy and film at the same time so that only the film may be retained after a certain number of years. However, I would most emphatically support your opinion that permanence in most scholarly journals is critical to the maintenance of that title in libraries given, presumably, that the journals of the APA are heavily used and remain of importance historically. We may be fighting a losing battle, but the scholar's first choice of format is likely to remain hard copy.

The three letters were sent to APA for inclusion in the agenda books for the October 26-27, 1984 meeting in Washington.


I also decided to generate a more graphic display for the October meeting by showing how the poor paper that APA was using for its journals reacted to the accelerated aging produced by sunlight. On a late summer's day in Rochester, I put some journals out in the bright sun. Some had been published by APA (Psychological Review, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, American Psychologist); others by the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis); and one by the University of Chicago Press (Child Development). The latter three journals constituted my control group, all having acid-free paper. I placed an inch-wide metal ruler over each open journal so that the sun's effectiveness in darkening the paper might easily be assessed.

Old Sol did his job well. All the APA journals--and only the APA journals--showed pronounced yellowing where sun had been allowed to strike, distinct white bands demarcating the protected areas. I took the journals to the October meeting in Washington. Spread out on the conference table, they made the point dramatically. The strong letters from Haas, Stam and Walker undoubtedly helped greatly, but I am convinced that the simple demonstration of what was happening to the journals finally convinced the P&C Board to change its position. The minutes of the meeting reported that the members

... voted to recommend to the Board of Directors that the quality of the paper should be upgraded to acid-free for the primary journals (and CP [Contemporary Psychology]) and to recommend that the institutional subscription rate should be increased slightly to cover the added cost. The Board noted that it was desirable for all APA journals to be printed on the upgraded stock and requested that APA move in that direction. It was recognized that arrangements for upgrading the stock for AP (American Psychologist) and Abstracts would need to be worked out separately.

1985

A few months after the decision to switch to better paper was made, Susan Knapp and Gary R. VandenBos, the latter the Deputy Executive Officer of APA, wrote me a joint letter:

At their winter meeting, the Council of Representatives gave the final vote of approval to the change from ground wood to acid-free paper for the APA primary journals. The publications office staff is currently discussing the various available papers with our printers and will make a decision sometime between now and May for the 1986 print runs.

Our office recently received the enclosed pin and press release concerning permanent paper standards from NISO. In view of your long-standing personal interest and the time you have devoted to improving APA publications, we thought you would be interested in seeing that you are well-supported in your efforts. Michael (Pallak) sends his regards and thanks. (SK & GRV to VGL, 2/7/85)

The pin depicts the mathematical sign for infinity. It was a nice gesture. I don't often wear the pin, but when I do I wear it with pride.


The changeover was made in January 1986 for all the scientific journals as well as for the American Psychologist. Those journals printed at Lancaster Press were switched to Thor Offset; those at Waverly Press, to Glatfelter Offset. American Psychologist went to Miami Book. Contemporary Psychology was still on an acidic sheet in mid-1988 but will be acid-free very shortly. Before the last Board meeting, the new Executive Editor, Susan Knapp, had estimated the probable cost of a switch to an acid-free paper for the 16 scientific journals to be between $40,000 and $90,000, depending upon the new paper. The exact cost of changing paper can't now be easily determined because the type specifications for all the journals were also changed so as to improve paper use efficiency. However, it was far less than the $300,000 figure that governed the conversation a few years earlier.


Addendum: My interest in paper quality arose from my connection with the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, which has published the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior since 1958 and the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis since 1968. In 1966 I became Executive Editor of JEAB and the organization's Secretary-Treasurer, positions I still hold. At that time Cushing-Malloy, our printer in Ann Arbor, printed JEAB on S. D. Warren's Olde Style. This excellent choice had been prompted by a letter from B. F. Skinner, a member of the society, to John J. Boren, then the Editor of JEAB:

A way to use our surplus money has occurred to me. As you know, almost nothing of current literature will be in existence a hundred years from now because the paper will not last. A few journals do publish library editions on rag paper. Would it cost too much to separate the mailing lists and run off perhaps a hundred copies or so on better paper for the library subscribers? We may owe this to the future. (BFS to JJB, 4/26/63)

Boren investigated the question and reported the following:

... I finally found a long-lasting paper stock for JEAB. According to the printer, Warren's Olde Style can last for as long as 150 years. A sample is enclosed. One-hundred-and-fifty years should be long enough to please most of our current subscribers. (JJB to BFS, 8/15/63)

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URL: http://cool.conservation-us.org/byorg/abbey/ap/ap10/ap10-3/ap10-302.html
Timestamp: Sunday, 03-Mar-2013 21:42:55 PST
Retrieved: Wednesday, 22-Nov-2017 18:05:37 GMT


[Search all CoOL documents]


URL: http://cool.conservation-us.org/byorg/abbey/ap/ap10/ap10-3/ap10-302.html
Timestamp: Sunday, 03-Mar-2013 21:42:55 PST
Retrieved: Wednesday, 22-Nov-2017 18:05:37 GMT