CBAT statement on online IAUCs
About the blocking of free access to new and old IAU Circulars, which A/CC reported November 9th, apparently Vinzenz Luebben made inquiry and received the following response from Dan Green at the IAU Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT), which Luebben forwarded to several mailing lists and A/CC on 11 November 2004.
For decades, the work of the CBAT has relied on paid subscriptions for much of its operation. In 1997, Commission 6 of the IAU (which oversees the CBAT operations) supported our efforts to begin posting some older IAUCs to nonsubscribers at our website, with some delay for recent IAUCs, which have long been posted with several weeks delay in deference to our paying subscribers. We have long had warnings posted at our website that, if the number of paying subscribers dropped off too much, we reserve the right to have online Circulars available only to paying subscribers. This is a common feature that professional journals (and also many magazines and newspapers) have to retain their paying subscribers. Due to the Internet, we have lost about a third of our paying subscribers in the past decade .... not because there is a lack of interest in what we issue, but because people have copied (pirated) them freely outside of our knowledge. In fact, there may well be *many* more readers of the IAUCs now than there were a decade ago. But at this time, we urgently need to try and recoup some of our dwindling income; we also get complaints from
paying subscribers about the freely posted IAUCs at our website. So we have blocked access by non-paying subscribers to the IAUCs in what we hope is a temporary measure, to raise our number of paying subscribers. Responsible, interested readers of the IAUCs who are not now paying subscribers will hopefully do the right thing and start their paid subscriptions. Sizeable donations by a few individuals could also potentially allow us to go back to posting IAUCs to non-paying subscribers — though out of respect to our paying subscribers (unless we get some very large donations to permit us to dispense with paid subscriptions, something we would very much like to see), it may well become a permanent feature that recent IAUCs will be delayed for a minimum of several months in terms of availability to non-paying subscribers.
Our standard price for back issues of the IAUCs has been US$1.00 for a long time. In this case, we may have to photocopy the page and mail it to you. We haven't yet finished getting all the old IAUCs in ready electronic form. Send your check payable to "Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams", drawn in U.S. dollars on a U.S. bank, to CBAT, M.S. 18; Smithsonian Observatory; 60 Garden St.; Cambridge, MA 02138; U.S.A.
We need all responsible users of the IAUCs to help pay
their fair share of the costs. We hope that we can
count on you to do your fair share, seeing that you
have interest and/or need in viewing the IAU