The electronic library has brought not only change but contention. The question we have posed would not have occurred to previous generations of librarians, scholars or publishers. Scholars read and wrote; publishers published; institutional libraries owned. My colleague Brian will review other current claimants to ownership of the electronic library. I will look at the extent to which the electronic library continues our tradition of local ownership of scientific journals.
First let's first roll back the clock 125 years or so at this institution, Lehigh, about 125 years ago. Big book buying sprees, as evidenced by lots of books with 1878 date stamps. There were quite a number of acquisitions at the very beginning that were then and are now, rare volumes. One suspects that many were purchased perhaps more to give Lehigh an instant pedigree than to supply reading material for eager undergraduate engineers.
Among those 1878 acquisitions was a complete set, including the earliest volumes, of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Through such an acquisition, Lehigh demonstrated its intent to collect broadly in the sciences, with a bow to the historical traditions of science and technology disciplines, and to establish a library tradition that even antedated the school’s founding, reaching back to the earliest scientific journal.
The ensuing hundred years saw the development of an excellent, if not comprehensive, subscription base of journals in science and engineering disciplines. By the end of its first century, the library’s serial collection boasted thousands of titles, representing many languages and highly specialized, niche publications. The collection was a physical embodiment of the institution's research prowess and ambitions, and to some extent a form of conspicuous consumption. Many subscriptions may have been as much symbolic as *used*.
Over the past decade, the evolution of the electronic journal’s format and functionality has been astonishingly swift. The current issues offer not only content, but mechanisms for writing to the authors, providing comments, launching searches for related materials, and other functions . The article can be accessed by our users around the globe.
An archive that articulates with the current subscription provides access to all previous volumes and enables searching of the whole run.
So how does the electronic present link to the print past? The most obvious difference is that our current subscriptions are licensed, not owned. That difference alone does not account for the sharp discontinuities that we see.
The length and breadth of our subscription list has been affected by decades of inflation in science journals. Journal price increases, though not recently quite double digit, continue to outstrip the modest annual increases to our budgets. Here we see increases over the past 4 years in the largest research libraries, and in college and university libraries generally.
The disparity between prices charged by for-profit versus non-profit publishers drives the crisis. The cost per page in a for-profit title is often five or six times that of a society publisher. Here’s my favorite measure: the cost per download , an indicator of the local importance of a title. Here are two rival titles Tetrahedron Letters from Elsevier Science, Organic Letters published by the ACS – we show the retail cost in 2004 divided by the number of full text downloads by Lehigh users. The difference in cost per download is dramatic.
It is important to remember that the journal crisis in fact was in full swing well before the appearance of electronic journals on the Web. In 1992 a a sidebar, Ten things you can do to help in the scholarly communication crisis,” assembled by librarians at NCSU, was published in College and Research Libraries News. The crisis is attributed to unfair pricing policies of for-profit publishers, but blame is shared with science and other faculty who collaborate with unfair commercial publishers as authors or editors. Most of the items I’ve pulled out of a piece called “ten things you can do” developed NCSU in 1992 are still applicable 13 years later, and, truth be told, little progress has been made on any of them.
An exception might be made with the first bullet item here. Just last week, AIP was applauded for setting journal prices for 2006 that average to a 1.79% increase. And earlier this year, the AGU decided to introduce a new and much more attractive pricing model for their electronic journals based in part on member input.
Our primary response as individual libraries to excessive price increases remains cancellation. What the electronic library has brought to us are new ways to make those cancellation processes more efficient and precise. New measures, such as cost per download. Comparable usage statistics across vendors. The relatively easy capture of faculty publication and citation data. Through such data, we can make decisions that minimize problems for our current users.
Budget stress also occurs because of the splitting of one title into many new ones. Here’s my favorite example (Nature):
The splitting of one must-have title into many results in further cancellations. We have been known to swap a whole pile of little naturalist titles for one new Nature title.
So what is the result of these successive waves of cancellation? Diminished is size and variety --We try to focus on the high-inflation titles when we are cutting from our collections. But just as often -- and I know from looking at many other institutions' cancellation lists that this trend is widespread -- we cut many small titles, marginal titles, titles in languages that no one here really reads anymore, titles that aren't of immediate interest. Such titles have been crowded out by more expensive, higher profile titles that exhibit use, faculty publication, or faculty citation.
Much of our subscription base is now dominated by various “generic journal collections” – prepackaged journal bundles, or full text content offered as part of several general periodical databases. Publishers can package and easily disseminate scientific journal content in electronic form, sometimes licensing this material cheaply to institutions that have traditionally had little or none of this material. Distinguished science titles are just another brand of electronic stuff
Content from our subscriptions– and the subscriptions of others -- can often be found elsewhere -- easily Here’s a retrieval from Google Scholar, listing available versions of an article entitled “Nature of roll to spiral-defect chaos transition,” by a Lehigh author. The revolutionary thing that Scholar does is that it places in the same display the official subscribed version of the article from Physical Review along with other “green”, that is, self-archived alternatives.
So back to the question -- to what extent does the electronic library continue our tradition of collecting scientific journals at our local institution – does the electronic library in that sense still “belong” to us? I would argue that in many ways it does not. The present electronic library has diverged from the print collection that went before.
We have seen the effects of inflation and electronic access on ownership of a library’s current list of subscriptions. What about backfiles and deep archives? Let’s capture a bit of recent history here.
By the mid-nineties came the sobering realization for libraries, scholars and publishers that publishers, and not libraries, would be hosting and controlling access to electronic journal archives. Ann Okerson’s 1997 statement demonstrates the concern at that point of realization.
In 2001 at Lehigh we worked with faculty to set a stringent policy that promised that before we received a journal exclusively in electronic format, and ceased receiving print, the publisher would assure us of subscriber rights to archived materials, distributed backups and distributed archives, and access to archives in the event that a title ceased or was sold. The course of events has made it impossible to honor that policy.
Drexel University in Philadelphia took the step a few years ago of going to electronic receipt of virtually every journal. This quote exemplifies a widely held current view that archiving should no longer be considered the responsibility of individual libraries.
The leadership demonstrated by non-profit publishers would suggest that Drexel’s optimism is warranted.. However these are not evenly available to disciplines. Those disciplines that have for one historical reason or another, not developed a strong society publication presence, such as cell biology and chemical engineering, do not enjoy the benefits of these efforts.
In the electronic library, the licensing of journal archives from for-profit publishers must be viewed as another short term, strategic opportunity, not as a long term collection building activity.
The appearance of electronic journal archives has also contributed to the “generic” quality of library collections. If it's content you're after, what's the difference between the version of the Royal Society volume 1, so proudly collected in 1883 (on the left) and *this* one picked up from JSTOR?
As we’ve seen, at the local institutional level, a strategic approach to electronic journal archive development may be most appropriate. But it won’t serve scholarship at large. In the print library, accidental preservation – a few volumes kept here by one institution, a few by another – made the difference in keeping a publication from disappearing. No one institution has a complete set in print of a wonderfully titled publication of the early automobile era, Horseless Age. But among the institutions that held onto what they had, enough could be found to microfilm it – and now to digitize it. In the current electronic library, where archives are licensed, there is no accidental preservation.
The LockSS Program, initiated by Stanford University, attempts to revive a modified form of accidental preservation in the electronic sphere. In the LOCKSS system, publishers grant libraries the right to collect and preserve access to their own material just as they would if it were on paper, while retaining access restrictions. There are at this point a small but growing group of publishers, librarians and available publications participating in LOCKSS.
This recent call for action developed at a Mellon-sponsored meeting urges that academic institutions demand archival deposit as a condition of licensing. It’s a first step toward articulating a solution to the current instability. Libraries acting collectively have effected changes to license agreements that secure ILL, off campus access and course use rights. Demanding archival deposit is a logical next step.
In a largely separate development, libraries of all sizes across the country have been developing sophisticated local infrastructures for and expertise in digital publishing. Most projects have been based around distinctive local collections and historical materials, as well as the institutional repositories that Brian will touch on. This collective expertise must be harnessed to support both new and archival publications in science. In the process, some sense of ownership of scientific publishing can perhaps be returned to academic libraries.
Whose electronic library is it, anyway?
Whose electronic library is it, anyway? Christine Roysdon and Brian Simboli Lehigh University
Lehigh in 1878 <ul><li>Late 19 th century book buying adventures </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrated that Lehigh intended to be elite institution, with rare literature, history, science works </li></ul>
100 years later (around 1978)… <ul><li>Overall size of the journal collection </li></ul><ul><li>Esoteric titles, languages </li></ul><ul><li>Depth and age – rarity, complete runs </li></ul><ul><li>Number of current subscriptions </li></ul><ul><li>Symbol of institution’s research strength </li></ul>
Price increases continue to diminish our subscription resources 38.15% 7.91% 9.33% 8.56% 7.86% College & University 39.46% 8.44% 9.83% 8.67% 7.76% ARL 01-05 % increase 2005 % increase 2004 % increase 2003 % increase 2002 % increase Library type
Price per download <ul><li>2004, Tetrahedron letters: $11,017/729 </li></ul><ul><li>Cost per download = $15.12 </li></ul><ul><li>2004, Organic letters: $3121/982 </li></ul><ul><li>Cost per download = $3.17 </li></ul>
“ Ten things you can do to help in the scholarly communication crisis”, NCSU, 1992 <ul><li>Send a signal to publishers by protesting current pricing policies. </li></ul><ul><li>Resign from the editorial boards of journals published by companies that practice exorbitant pricing. </li></ul><ul><li>Educate colleagues in professional societies about the hidden danger in contracting with commercial publishers to publish society journals, which often results in higher subscription prices for libraries . </li></ul>
Ten things you can do to help in the scholarly communication crisis, NCSU, 1992 <ul><li>Encourage your professional associations and societies to resist the temptation to raise prices based on the models of commercial publishers. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage university presses to undertake the publication of scholarly, refereed journals. </li></ul><ul><li>When submitting an article to a journal, consider the journal’s pricing policies and select the one with the fairest prices. </li></ul>
In 2005: <ul><li>Nature </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Biotechnology </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Cell Biology </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Chemical Biology </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Clinical Practice journals </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology and Hepatology </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Clinical Practice Oncology </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Clinical Practice Urology </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Genetics </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Immunology </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Materials </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Medicine </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Methods </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Neuroscience </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Physics </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Structural and Molecular Biology </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Reviews journals </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Reviews Cancer </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Reviews Drug Discovery </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Reviews Genetics </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Reviews Immunology </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Reviews Microbiology </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Reviews Neuroscience </li></ul>
Who’s subscription list is it, anyway? <ul><li>Diminished in size and variety </li></ul><ul><li>Driven by immediate needs, as evidenced by usage statistics, faculty surveys, and citation data </li></ul>
Content can be found elsewhere <ul><li>Nature of roll to spiral-defect-chaos transition X Li, H Xi, JD Gunton - Physical Review E, 1998 - link.aps.org Xiao-jun Li 1 , Hao-wen Xi 2 , and JD Gunton 1 1 Department of Physics, Lehigh University , Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015 2 Department of Physics and Astronomy ... </li></ul><ul><li>Cited by 75 - Web Search - arxiv.org - lehigh.edu - adsabs.harvard.edu - all 5 versions » </li></ul>
Whose (electronic)subscription list is it, anyway? <ul><li>No longer perceived as a front end of a long-term collection– present is disconnected from the past </li></ul><ul><li>Diminished in size and variety by journal inflation </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic and opportunistic -- driven by immediate needs </li></ul><ul><li>Significant component of “generic” packaged content, rather than a distinctive, cultivated set of titles </li></ul><ul><li>“ Subscription” content can often be found elsewhere -- easily </li></ul>
Archives issue <ul><li>“ Clearly the whole underpinnings of libraries and culture are at stake depending on the outcomes of the archiving dialogs that are in place now and will surely outlast our lifetimes” </li></ul><ul><li>Ann Okerson, Yale, 1997 </li></ul>
Lehigh policy for eonly conversion, 2001 <ul><li>Rights to archived materials for which we had paid electronic access fees </li></ul><ul><li>Journal archive would be preserved through distributed backups and distributed archives </li></ul><ul><li>Access to archives in the event of discontinuation, sale, repackaging, or cessation. </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Has been violated continuously!! </li></ul>
Drexel, 2005 <ul><li>Another factor contributing to our decision to “go electronic” was the belief…that, in the electronic environment, preservation should no longer be the responsibility of many individual libraries. The model that makes sense in this new order is for a mix of organizations with national and international scope to step forward and assume archiving roles. This is, in fact, happening… </li></ul>
The instability of archives <ul><li>Institutions that cancel “punished” with loss of paid backfile </li></ul><ul><li>Publisher mergers, lost titles </li></ul><ul><li>Rolling/broken off backfiles </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic journal archiving must be approached in an opportunistic, strategic way </li></ul>
Accidental vs. intentional preservation <ul><li>Accidental preservation occurs with print </li></ul><ul><li>There is no accidental preservation in the electronic library </li></ul>
“ Urgent Action Needed to Preserve Scholarly Electronic Journals” <ul><li>Preservation of electronic journals is a kind of insurance </li></ul><ul><li>Qualified preservation archives would provide a minimal set of well-defined services </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries must invest in a qualified archiving solution </li></ul><ul><li>Research and academic libraries and associated academic institutions must effectively demand archival deposit by publishers as a condition of licensing electronic journals </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Statement endorsed by ARL, October 31, 2005 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
Whose electronic library will it be? <ul><li>Local digital library infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Metadata knowledge and project experience </li></ul><ul><li>Expertise can be directed to new publications and to archives </li></ul>
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