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RE: puzzled by self-archiving thread -- subscription cancellation comment

I do not feel qualified to comment on the impact of 
self-archiving on subscriptions, but, as a small independent 
publisher with a growing journals program, I would like to 
comment on the cancellation of journals due to non-use.

We discovered some time back that a significant percentage of our 
institutional subscribers failed to activate their online access. 
(In our case these subscribers were entitled to online along with 
their print subscription.) The work involved at our end in 
systematically keeping tabs on this is considerable. However, 
given that non-activation results in non-use / high cost per use, 
and therefore subscription cancellation, it clearly needs to be 
high priority.

At a recent trade show I met with a large journals publisher who 
said that they had experienced this too, so I don't see it as a 
problem that is specific to small publishers. However, larger 
publishers may have resources to police the process more 
vigorously. Also, larger publishers may disseminate content 
through a greater number of channels, which may help to elevate 
usage statistics when activation failure does occur. It would be 
a great shame if such failure was at the root of subscription 
cancellation for smaller publishers. I don't know that this 
happens -- but it sounds like a strong possibility.

I for one would very much welcome any advice or comments people 
may have on this issue. I am new to this listserv and am finding 
it very useful because I understand the process at our end (I 
hope!) but confess to knowing little about the library end. I, 
for one, would welcome any opportunity to partner with libraries, 
as Ms. Landesman suggests, with the aim of reducing subscription 

Kathryn Earle
Managing Director
Berg Publishers

NEW journal from Berg! See the first issue FREE online!
The Senses & Society

-----Original Message-----
From: Margaret Landesman [mailto:margaret.landesman@utah.edu]
Sent: 15 December 2006 22:04
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: puzzled by self-archiving thread

Re: posts about self-archiving causing cancellations

Busy as I am each year cancelling serials and cutting the book 
budget, I have not read these complete postings, nor have I done 
studies or read most of these studies.

But I am puzzled.

As we cancel journals, we rely on reports which show the number 
of uses, the costs, and the costs per use.  We have no reports 
which show the journal's stance on IRs or whether it is OA after 
an embargo.  Do other libraries have such a thing?  We do not 
have this information in our ILS and it would be a very big job 
to put it there.

If we know that the journal has a liberal stance, we exempt it 
from cancellation if possible - and we have done that with MUSE, 
BioOne, university press, etc journals in order to support those 

We are cancelling journals - both print and electronic - as fast 
as we can, generally on the grounds that they are:

1)	high cost-peruse, or
2)	not used

We expect to go on doing this, probably forever.

What has made me especially sad this year is that, very 
reluctantly, we have cancelled packages from university presses 
and smaller publishers because, after we have had them up for a 
number of years, they are showing no use.

I would wish this list might talk about ways libraries can 
partner with such publishers to find ways to change this 

Margaret Landesman
University of Utah