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RE: Study Identifies Factors That Could Lead to Cancelled

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Date: Fri,  1 Dec 2006 21:59:22 EST
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Dear Sally,

In response to your query:

For Oxford Journals, there is some indication that free online
availability of content may have a negative effect on subscriptions.
Print subscriptions for Nucleic Acids Research (NAR), which has been
fully Open Access since January 2005, declined by 25% in 2005. In 2004,
prior to the journal's move to full Open Access, the journal was free
online six months after publication. In that year, NAR experienced
institutional subscription attrition of approximately 12%, which was
much greater than for related Oxford journals where the content was free
after twelve months.

There may be multiple factors contributing to this attrition; print
subscriptions have been steadily declining across the industry in recent
years as online access has become more widespread. However, NAR is a
highly-ranked journal in terms of impact factor, with growing
submissions and a wide readership, and so it is not clear why else the
journal would be experiencing greater than average attrition of print
subscriptions if this is not due to its free online availability.

It would be interesting to compare these results with print attrition
rates for other journals with free online access. Because of our
experience with NAR, we have not undertaken further experimentation with
free online access periods of less than one year, though we do plan to
analyse attrition rates of optional Open Access journals, once there is
sufficient data to undertake this analysis.

Mithu Mukherjee
Communications Manager
Oxford Journals

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Sally Morris
(Chief Executive)
Sent: 29 November 2006 22:46
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Re: Study Identifies Factors That Could Lead to Cancelled

I'd say that publishers, given the chance, will work out what
delay is likely to be sufficient to protect their
subscriptions/licences from large-scale erosion.  A number of
different factors will be at work:  the subject field (e.g. how
fast-moving is it?) and the frequency of the journal are both
likely to have a significant bearing on this.

Do journals see cancellations?  Well, when the British Medical
Journal made all its content (not just primary research articles)
freely available immediately, it lost subscriptions. When it
changed policy, and restricted access to everything except
primary research articles, it managed to stop and even (I think)
reverse the trend.  But the BMJ is not typical - its USP is its
non-research content...

I'd be very interested to hear any (albeit anecdotal) evidence
from publishers who have, or have not, seen a loss of
subscriptions when access was opened up at x months -
particularly those who might have changed the embargo period and
seen a difference.  I wonder whether OUP has any data?

Sally Morris, Chief Executive
Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
South House, The Street, Clapham
Email: sally.morris@alpsp.org

----- Original Message -----
From: "Phil Davis" <pmd8@cornell.edu>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 7:12 AM
Subject: Re: Study Identifies Factors That Could Lead to Cancelled

> While I have no doubt that this study was well done and holds
> up methodologically, I do wonder about its experimental
> validity. Do librarian preferences for cancellation translate
> into actual cancellations?
> If the PRC results were predictive of actual behavior, one
> would expect that subscription-based journals that provided
> delayed free content [1] would see massive library
> cancellations.  Are these publishers, some of whom provide free
> access after as little as 2-months committing subscription
> hari-kari?  Seems not.
> --Phil Davis
> [1] see hundreds of journals publishing with HighWire Press
> http://highwire.stanford.edu/lists/freeart.dtl
> Philip M. Davis
> PhD Student (and former Science Librarian)
> Department of Communication
> Cornell University
> email: pmd8@cornell.edu
> work phone: 607 255-0354
> web: http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/pmd8/