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Re: high priced journals

I suggest looking at both the cost and the benefit side of the equation.
Count the citations made by your faculty in their work, by journal. You
don't need a citation index, just the pile of working papers your dean
collects each year to demonstrate faculty output. A clerk can take each
paper and put a tick mark on a list of titles you subscribe to for each
reference in each paper.

Then divide the journal cost by the number of citations to articles in
that journal. This gives the cost per citation for each journal. Then list
the journals in increasing order of cost per citation. Now go down the
list untill you run out of money. Unsubscribe to the remaining journals.

This list of journals is optimal in the sense that it maximizes the
probability that someone looking up a reference in a paper by one of your
faculty will find it in your library.

It won't work for small faculties, or large fields, because the
statistical variation will be to large. But if you include several years,
that might help, and you could include course reading lists (perhaps
counting those with a higher weight) and other material as well.

I admit I have only made such a list once (for the Economics faculty at
Princeton University) and the librarian did not act upon it. However, some
of the most expensive items (including a service that cost $10,000 in
1978) showed zero citations and should certainly have been dropped.

Daniel Feenberg

 On Wed, 3 Jan 2001 Publishingnut@aol.com wrote:

> I found a list of the 100 most expensive journals and I wanted to share it
> with all of you. You can do a variety of searches at
> http://db.arl.org/journals/ based on your specific needs. When forced to
> subscribe to a journal such as Brain Research for $16,344 a library must
> cancel other subscriptions. What should a library do when forced to
> subscribe to journals that are beyond their budgets?