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Usage and impact (RE: puzzled by self-archiving thread)

> Rick, we are never happy with simple algorithms around here. 
> No, the STM journal world is a complicated place. We not only 
> consider use and cost, but impact factors as well.

Impact factor is a relevant criterion, of course, but I think 
it's only meaningful in the context of usage.  Why?  Because 
impact factor suggests quality -- but there are lots of 
high-quality journals that your institution doesn't (and 
shouldn't) subscribe to, because they're not relevant to your 
curriculum and the needs of your faculty.  My faculty at UNR will 
benefit much more from a pretty good mining journal than they 
will from a top-notch architecture journal.

Ultimately, it seems to me that for a library with a limited 
budget and a limited mission (which is to say, most libraries), 
usage is the trump card.  If something must be cut, it should be 
what's not being used.  (Though it's important to think about 
sub-constituencies within the university as well -- a journal may 
get low use because the corresponding department is small, but 
still get heavy and consistent use within that small department.)

Obviously, though, this is just a general principle -- there's no 
simple answer or strict formula that will apply perfectly in 
every situation.

Rick Anderson
Dir. of Resource Acquisition
Univ. of Nevada, Reno Libraries