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Re: query about the Big Deal

So, you have a limited (possibly decreasing) budget.  Journal 
prices are going up and up.  You can't take everything that your 
researchers and students want.  In fact, you're going to have to 
make significant cuts.  How do you do it?

Asking faculty what they consider important, comparing that with 
usage statistics, and then seeing what you can afford (a core) - 
while balancing competing demands across different disciplines - 
doesn't appear to me to be a bad way of doing it.

Ideally everybody would have access to everything to allow the 
wonderful cross-fertalisation of ideas that Laval describes. 
But nobody can afford to do that in a subscription based model. 
Of course, this is a great argument for open access.  But that is 
another discussion!


On 5 Jul 2011, at 03:47, Laval Hunsucker wrote:

> Excuse me, but may we not here be -- largely unwittingly, but 
> also probably a bit naively -- getting into rather hazardous 
> waters with this sort of reasoning (or, rather, 
> rationalization?)?
> Ken Masters has already dealt with the matter of how "'support' 
> is frequently exercised". I would second him on that 
> appropriate observation.
> What I'm talking about now is the notions you advance of 
> "get[ting] feedback on what constitutes the core titles for 
> each subject" and "The strategy of title-by-title selection for 
> core journals supplemented by ILL for rarely used material ... 
> [being] exactly the strategy that UK members of RLUK will adopt 
> ...".
> If there's anything that's becoming clear on the research 
> landscape these days, isn't it that in various areas the very 
> concept of "core journals" has *in practice* lost a lot of its 
> validity? And we're talking here not only about the numerous 
> newer interdisciplinary research fields -- but also about 
> long-established fields whose scholars are deriving 
> inspiration, theoretical orientations, hypotheses, ideas, 
> evidence, research results, data, references etc. from the 
> literature of diverse disciplines to which they had 
> traditionally devoted relatively little, if any, attention.
> The research landscape is much less one of separate 
> intellectual silos than was the case even when many of us were 
> students. (At least that's certainly very true in my case.) 
> Looking at your post just now, I thought back for example to an 
> article I happened to read last year in which the author 
> plainly stated that: "there is no "core" collection of journals 
> for history" [he was dealing largely with American history], 
> and even that, in history: "a minority of cited articles belong 
> to history-focused journals" [!] (Sherriff, in _Portal: 
> libraries and the academy_, vol.10 no.2, April 2010, p.178, 
> p.181).
> That was one (to him apparently somewhat surprising) conclusion 
> from his own local citation analysis, but I should emphasize 
> that research results achieved by others regarding the field of 
> history have pointed in the same direction (e.g. Delgadillo & 
> Lynch in _College & research libraries_ 60.3 (1999), p.245-259; 
> Dalton & Charnigo in _College & research libraries_, 65.5 
> (2004), p.400-425; Hellqvist in _Journal of the American 
> Society for Information Science and Technology_ 61.2 (2010), 
> p.310-318; Buchanan & Harubel in _Journal of scholarly 
> publishing_ 42.2 (Jan. 2011), p.160-181). History is clearly 
> one example of this phenomenon, but hardly the only one.
> To depend, therefore, even partly, on so-called "core titles" 
> selections for supporting decisions in connection with big 
> deals and journal cancellations, may not necessarily be such a 
> good idea (not to mention "strategy") for anyone wishing to 
> provide the best possible support to a given academic 
> community. And, as I above suggested, even less of a good idea 
> tomorrow than it already was today.
> It has also been shown, I believe, that even within the same 
> field and at the same institution, different 
> scholars/scientists will often come up with widely varying 
> accounts of which journals are the core journals -- and that 
> these accounts furthermore don't necessarily correlate strongly 
> with what various metrics indicate about actual journal usage 
> at that institution.
> In some areas indeed, the notion of "core titles" was -- as far 
> as I'm concerned -- always a questionable one, and it is now 
> more questionable than ever before -- and questionable, 
> furthermore, in more areas.
> - Laval Hunsucker
> Antwerpen, Belgium