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I am a librarian, not a physician, and I look quickly at each issue of
NEJM in order to spot if there are any particularly interesting or
important items that I need to know about in order to anticipate user
questions. Either the electronic or the paper does fine for this.

If I were a student with a reference to a specific article in NEJM, I know
what format I would want: electronic, and from my usual computer along
with the other journals I needed.

If I were a physician, and especially a specialist in internal medicine,
which is the journal's intended primary audience, I suspect I would be
sufficiently interested in most of the contents of NEJM that I would want
to read it through. Since it is a publication of manageable size, I know
what format I would want: an individual paper subscription.

Not all publications have this last group of readers. I do not know how
many journals an internal medicine specialist would think worth reading
through regularly, but I know NEJM would be one. This readership will
continue.  It is the publishers of the less important journals in the
field, who have no real primary audience of this type, who need to worry.

David Goodman, Princeton University
Biology Library				 dgoodman @princeton.edu            


On Sat, 25 Aug 2001, Anthony Watkinson wrote:

> I am not defending the NEJM approach and I do agree very much with the
> suggestion of David Goodman that a campaign of complaining is very
> sensible. Publishers and librarians both gain if librarians complain about
> arrangements that are unworkable.
> However I do want to bring up (again) what I imagine is the perceived
> problem for NEJM and other journals with a large individual subscription
> base. How do they avoid losing these subscribers if they adopt a policy of
> general electronic access to the patrons of a licensed library?  It is
> interesting that, as usual, non-profits behave much the same way as
> commercial publishers, though perhaps they tend to be rather more
> restrictive.
> This may not seem important to librarians but it is very important to the
> publishers of such journals, not just because of the financial loss but
> also because of the atttitude of advertisers. At least it is my
> understanding that advertisers understand circulation figures but do not
> understand projections of potential access especially as it is electronic.
> How are the ads handled in the electronic versions? I may be on weak
> ground here. It is not an area in which I have personal experience.
> My question to the list - does anyone know of any evidence pointing either
> the retention or the loss of personal subscribers where journals/magazines
> of this type have gone for a general access license policy. I am told that
> the British Medical Journal, which is free online and is therefore in a
> rather different category, has lost personal subscribers but I have
> challenged them before to give information on this point and they have not
> replied. I know of no other evidence, even potential evidence.
> I know some librarians have posted on this list to say that no personal
> subscribers will be lost but they have given no evidence for this
> assertion. Maybe however they have evidence they could share with us.
> Anthony Watkinson
> 14, Park Street,
> Bladon
> Woodstock
> Oxfordshire
> England OX20 1RW
> phone +44 1993 811561 and fax +44 1993  810067