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RE: arXiv (RE: Why Cornell's Institutional Repository Is Near-Empty)

> I'm sure there are more current figures, but as of 2002, some
> sections of The Astrophysical Journal (ApJ) were nearly fully
> covered by arXiv.  Someone on this list can undoubtedly provide
> more current figures.

For both political and practical reasons, the gulf between 
"nearly fully covered" and "fully covered" can be quite large 
when it comes to justifying subscription cancellations.  But the 
gulf gets smaller as subscription prices get higher and as 
budgets get tighter; when a journal truly is fully covered 
without emargo, the gulf becomes negligible.  That's not to say 
that there might not be people on campus who would prefer the 
convenience of a subscription -- it's just that justifying the 
purchase of a subscription becomes nearly impossible when the 
price of a subscription is high and the content is easily 
available for free.

Consider _Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter_.  This is a 
$10,000/year title.  Now suppose that mandates are put in place 
requiring all articles in that journal to be fully archived in 
postprint versions without embargo.  How could a research library 
possibly justify a continued subscription?  Maybe if the library 
has a virtually unlimited materials budget and supports a 
powerful physics department, but there are very few such 
libraries.  The rest of us have to make hard decisions about how 
to allocate scarce resources -- and for most of us, this wouldn't 
even be a hard decision.

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