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Re: Survey: How many refereed journals .... David Goodman 19 Jan 2001 00:31 UTC

Serial titles at the Princeton Biology Library:

                 titles    cost*    lib.use**    doc del***   cost doc del###

current for 2001   571   $438,000   65,872          585##      $1,993,710

canceled > 1988    435    382,000    2,968#       1,040        $  120,240

never owned****    346    187,000        0        3,010        $   90,300

* at 2001 prices
** measured shelf use, corrected for undercounting
*** actual requests, corrected for under-requesting by 5X -- DocDel now takes
1-5 workdays. If same as in-library response, much higher expected (5X is my
guess--could be 10X or 20X, for all I know)
**** actually requested 2X or more per year.
# use in library of the part owned
## items missing, at bindery, never rec'd, or for years before subscription began.
### cost if all items requested by document delivery at $30/article

note: Neurobiology is not included: at Princeton it's in the Psychology
library mostly.
Cancellation of duplicates also not included.

1/ We have continued the titles most needed, canceled appropriate titles, and
avoided getting the least needed. Rational journal selection is possible.

2/ Per article pricing will not work for heavily used titles.

3/ Many of our "never owned titles" are core titles in other disciplines, like
   Per article pricing is appropriate for these in this situation.

4/ (The cost of our present conventional ILL-based document delivery system is
$40,000, mainly in labor costs--the bio library runs its own so I know the
costs. Three-fourths of it is for journal articles.)
The cost of instantaneous document delivery at $30 for the non-subscribed
titles would be:
    $210,540-$30,000, or $180,540, which would add 41% to our journal budget.
The cost of buying the same titles would be $382,000+$187,000-$30,000, which
is $539,000, which would add 123% to our journal budget.

5/ Princeton has no medical school.
   If it did, the University would own at least half of the unowned titles,
and would probably never have cancelled half of the ones that were cancelled.
This would greatly change these results: we'd be adding 20% to the journal
budget, not 40%.

General note: This assumes everything is electronic, and therefore ignores
storage, binding, and processing costs.

Could we afford the $180,000 without a major budget increase? No. We buy only
about $90,000 in books and databases.
Is a budget increase of the necessary amount likely? Judge for yourself.

-- David G.

Stevan Harnad wrote:
> It would be very helpful if those of you who have access to the data
> could reply to the following 3 questions:
> (1) How many refereed journals does your library subscribe to? (By
> "subscribe," I mean either Subscription (S) or License (L), on-paper or
> on-line, or both.)
> (2) What proportion is that, of the total number of refereed journals
> that are published (anywhere) that could conceivably be relevant to the
> researchers (in all fields) at your institution?
> (3) If we now add in your total potential annual budget for
> Pay-Per-View (P), in addition to the prior annual figures for S and L:
> What proportion of all the published papers in all the refereed
> journals of potential relevance to your researchers can you afford to
> purchase through Pay-Per-View?
> The reason I have requested the S/L/P data in this rather
> counterintuitive form is that I think these figures will prove to be
> very revealing. And it is precisely these figures -- the figures for
> all the papers your researchers MIGHT have wanted to read, if only they
> could access and afford them all -- that tell the true story of what
> the current status quo is costing research and researchers in lost
> impact and access. And what freeing it all would gain them.
> We are all too accustomed to think in terms of the journals our
> institutions CAN afford to access, rather than the ones they cannot.
> This short-sighted reckoning might be what is holding us back --  or
> preventing us from seeing the urgency and advantages of -- freeing this
> literature immediately through self-archiving.
> Here is a prediction: The data will show that even the very richest
> institutions, with the biggest S/L/P budgets (e.g., Harvard), will only
> be able to afford a minority of the total relevant annual corpus. And
> most institutions will be able to afford much less.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> Stevan Harnad           
> Professor of Cognitive Science
> Department of Electronics and     phone: +44 23-80 592-582
>              Computer Science     fax:   +44 23-80 592-865
> University of Southampton
> Highfield, Southampton  

David Goodman
Biology Librarian
and Co-chair, Electronic Journals Task force
Princeton University Library
Princeton, NJ 08544-0001
phone: 609-258-3235
fax: 609-258-2627