STORIES TOLD IN NUMBERS:AN ANALYSIS OF THE SERIALS CRISIS Sean R. O‟Brien
Accountability Increased accountability in higher education has led to an increased need to demonstrate evidence of achievement. Library value = perceived benefits perceived costs “Librarians are increasingly called upon to document and articulate the value of academic and research libraries and their contribution to institutional mission and goals.”The Value of Academic Libraries, ACRL
Demonstrating Value Libraries cannot demonstrate institutional value to maximum effect until they Define outcomes of institutional relevance And measure the degree to which they attain them. Kaufman and Watstein 2008.
Where is the Library? What are the institutional missions and goals of the college or university? Where is the library in these missions and goals? What factors influence the role of the library in the university? How do we measure or demonstrate our role in the life of the institution?
Tools and Data The Newly Revised Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Library Statistics Program
Carnegie Classifications Classifies institutions of higher education by various descriptive elements, such as: Size and setting Private/Public Enrollment Profile Population Basic Gives a librarian the ability to compare their university to others with similar characteristics
IPEDS Provides detailed information about higher educational institutions, including: Enrollment Admissions Retention and graduation rates Core university expenses Core university revenues Gives a librarian the ability to understand factors influencing the mission and goals of their university
NCES Library Statistics Program Contains detailed information about academic libraries, including: Gate counts Library expenditures Number of librarians per student Collection information Reference transactions and library classes Circulation statistics Gives a librarian information critical to understanding both use of the library and the success of library programs
Putting It All Together Used in combination, these tools can have a very powerful impact upon: Understanding the type of institution to which the library belongs (ex: Carnegie, Basic) Measuring the needs of a university (ex: IPEDs, Retention) Measuring and demonstrating the role of the library in the university (ex: NCES Library Statistics, Gate Counts, Circulation, Classes) Also can reveal prevailing trends and movements affecting librarianship as a whole.
The Serials Crisis: Explosion of information Serials become a primary means of scholarly communication Pressure for faculty to publish Expansion of knowledge leads to an expansion in serials New Serials Increased page counts and frequency of publication Branching and twigging of existing serials
The Serials Crisis Explained 2:Explosion of Cost Serials inflating at rapid rate The average price of a journal in 1984 was $78.35; in 2002 it was $543.96 Serials often sold in bundles Amount of serials increasing Example: Physical Review, once a single title, now is six separate titles
Research Question How are the libraries at very-high research universities reacting to the rapid inflation of serials and what factors are influencing their decisions?
A Sample for Study A „Basic‟ category in The Carnegie Classification System is very-high research institutions. The prestigious 108 universities in this category conduct the highest levels of research in higher education and are therefore heavily invested in serials and scholarly communication
Finding Answers in the Data Through NCES library statistics, I was able to document changes in serial and electronic serial expenditures from 2000 to 2008 and find connections between these expenditures and other variables such as total library expenditure growth and public/private institution status.
Growth 2000 200825000000200000001500000010000000 5000000 0 Electronic Serials Current Serials Total Library Expenditures
Growth Overall average growth ratesfrom 2000 to 2008: E-Serial Expenditures grew 616.8% Current Serials Expenditures grew 59.5% Total Library Expenditures grew 42.5% The percentage of Current Serial Expenditures to Total Library Expenditures grew 2.5%. Essentially Current Serials now occupied 2.5% more of the total library budget.
Looking Deeper 2.5% increase not crisis over 8 year period Is serial inflation not as substantial as estimiated? Or, are other factors coming in to play?
Influencing Factors Total Library Expenditure Increases Universities with above average increases in Total Library Expenditures increased their Current Serial Expenditures by 81.2% Universities with below average increases in Total Library Expenditures increased their Current Serial Expenditures by only 43.7% Public/Private Institution Status Private Universities also had larger Current Serial Expenditures (80.2%) when compared to Public Universities (50.3%). Although some but not all of this trend may be explained by the fact that Private Universities had larger increases in Total Library Expenditures.
Conclusions The Serials Crisis is not a crisis of budget but of access Schools and libraries will not spend more than they can afford upon serials or bankrupt themselves to pay for them However, the rapid inflation in the cost of serials does have a chilling or prohibitory effect upon the scholarly communication of public universities and schools with limited financial growth capabilities.
Discussion This study effectively proves that increases in the cost of serials has a dramatic impact upon a library‟s capacity to obtain these resources. For libraries in the business of providing access, this may truly be dubbed a crisis Intellectual inquiry and scholarly research presume ready access to the widest possible range of scholarly resources. The role of the library is not to impact the direction of research but rather to offer up a full range of resources to enable it. (Nadler, “A Library Born in the Age of Google)
What I learned Data can provide the story and substance of an argument SerialCrisis not a vague concept for me anymore but true issue to which libraries need to react Data also allows libraries the ability to understand the issues they face and their evolving role within the university