Zach's News

March 3, 2008

E-Journals: Behind the scenes

Here’s a little background on our recent e-journals announcement.  In case you’re wondering how we were able to add 389 electronic journals to our collection in the midst of Henderson Library’s ongoing budget crisis, this might be of interest to you.  (Many thanks to Iris Durden, Serials Librarian, for providing both the work and the information on this achievement!)

Because faculty and students are increasingly expecting resources to be available online, Henderson Library has been constantly evaluating current periodical print subscriptions to determine the best format for delivery of information for the present learning environment as well as for future needs.  The Library provides access to periodicals online through various full-text databases and through individual subscriptions with online access (both free and for reasonable upcharge fees).   The continuing analysis of subscription options for journals and databases is necessitated by ongoing library budget shortfalls, as well as rapidly rising subscription costs and frequent shifts in publishing strategies.

The journal publishing market has changed drastically during the past few years.  Many journal publishers are restructuring their subscription options and charges in a variety of ways.  For example, many publishers no longer offer “free online” with a print subscription, instead charging an additional fee (5-10%) for online access with the print subscription, or offering reduced pricing (compared to print only subscription) for online only access.  If “free online” is offered with a print subscription, access might be for only one person at a time (username/ password required), rather than unlimited simultaneous use (“site license”/IP authentication).

A number of prominent journal publishers have begun pulling their current journal content from aggregated full-text databases and are now offering their periodical titles in their own full-text packages and/or portals.  Examples:  Duke University Press, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, etc.

The economics of the publishing world continue to evolve at a rapid pace.  The recent Harvard decision to adopt an open-access policy for providing free online access to their faculty publications is being widely discussed in academia and beyond.

For further information, please see Journal Pricing from SPARC, the Open Access FAQ from the Public Library of Science, and news on scholarly communication and publishing from SPARC.


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