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> I believe this is an oversimplification.  How many personal subscriptions
> exist as a result of a first encounter with a publication in a library?
> I doubt that you or anyone else knows, but I certainly believe that the
> answer is considerably greater than zero.

You bet it is.  But that's not the question.  The question is: if all
libraries cancelled their subscriptions to all scientific journals, would
the total number of subscriptions end up increasing or decreasing?  My
guess is that if my institution cancelled its subcription to Nature, the
number of individuals who would pick up their own subscriptions is greater
than one. Now, as David correctly pointed out, libraries sometimes pay
more for a print subscription than individuals do (and this is true of
Nature).  Where that's the case, a higher number of individuals would have
to subscribe in order for the publisher to break even.  That's something
for the publisher to consider before ignoring the possibility of library

> Libraries, by existing, encourage the production, sale and use of
> published information.  If libraries subscribed to no publications,
> publishers would be hurt not just by the lost sales to libraries but by
> the reduced exposure of their publication to potential subscribers.

That's right.  But an individual journal publisher is unlikely to be
thinking in such aggregate terms.  Instead, it will consider the impact on
its own subscription base, and will act accordingly.  If the journal in
question is in high demand, the impact of a library cancellation will
probaby be negligible -- unless the price of the journal is so high that
researchers will forego access to the content rather than shell out for
their own subscriptions.

Rick Anderson
Director of Resource Acquisition
The University Libraries
University of Nevada, Reno        "Beware the cynic as well as
1664 No. Virginia St.                    the huckster."
Reno, NV  89557                         -- Ted Marchese
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