Friday 9 October 2009

ALPSP Survey of Librarians - report published

Against the backdrop of the global economic downturn that began in the second half of 2008, ALPSP undertook a survey of librarians in mid-2009 to inform a panel discussion at the 2009 ALPSP International Conference.

The report arising from that survey is now available and is free to ALPSP members.

Key findings are:
  • The average number of journals being made available by the libraries surveyed more than doubled between 2000 and 2009. However, librarians are predicting that they will provide access to around the same number of journals in 2010 as they did in 2009, with more journals purchased as part of 'big deals' and fewer as single subscriptions. This will be of concern to smaller publishers who are unable to offer their content as part of a 'big deal' and those that are launching new subscription journals.
  • A significant proportion of librarians responding to the survey state that they would prefer to purchase content from non-profit publishers, although the profit status of the publisher is not an important factor in any of the purchasing decisions surveyed.
  • There is a strong demand from library customers to move more journals to electronic only. Three of the four most important barriers are within the control of publishers who may wish to consider what more can be done regarding electronic only offerings, licensing terms and post cancellation access to facilitate this move.
  • Librarians generally understand and value the role that academic publishers play in the dissemination and communication of scholarship. However, there is room for a better understanding of the inflationary pressures on journal prices and better communication regarding this from the scholarly publishing industry generally.
  • Librarians look for the most advantageous cost / benefit ratio when making their purchasing decisions. Usage statistics, both overall use and cost per use, are very important tools used in determining whether to renew or cancel journal content. Publishers should therefore continue to make every effort to maximize the usage of their version of the article. Faculty continue to play a very important role in all purchasing decisions relating to single subscriptions and end user marketing will therefore remain a priority for journal publishers who primarily sell their content as single subscriptions.
  • Librarians responding to the survey are knowledgeable of open access publishing business models. However, more work needs to be done to minimise the burden of administrating open access publishing and to ensure that expenditure is predictable.

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