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January 2, 2006

Reading


The December issue of the e-newsletter is now available on the SENCER webpage at: www.sencer.net/news.cfm (Click on "December 2005")

 

Read the latest issue of the Tredway Library newsletter, Key Words, at: http://www.augustana.edu/library/KeyWords/index.html

 

Here is one article from the library newsletter that may be of special interest to faculty regarding Scholarly Communication .

Special Topic: Scholarly Communication

by Amanda Makula


Have you ever needed to order a scholarly article from interlibrary loan because Tredway Library doesn't subscribe to a particular journal? Have you noticed that many of the Library's journals are only available online, rather than in print? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, you have been impacted by changes in the process of "scholarly communication."


"Scholarly communication" simply means the system by which academics and scholars communicate their research to other academics, faculty and students. This system has traditionally meant the publication of articles in scholarly print journals. However, this system is changing.


In recent years, the price of scholarly journal publications has soared. According to "Create Change," an effort dedicated to addressing the current "crisis" in scholarly communication, the average research library spent $1.52 million on scholarly journals in 1986; in 1999, that number skyrocketed to $4.1 million - an increase of over 170%! Even more sobering is the fact that the $4.1 million only bought a fraction of the journals (6.5% fewer) that the $1.52 million bought in 1986. Because commercial journal publishers have exponentially increased the cost of their journals, academic libraries are forced to buy fewer scholarly journals, but for more than double the original cost. (This is especially ironic because most of the research documented in scholarly journals is contributed by the faculty of academic institutions!) And in many cases, the high cost of journals also means that libraries are able to purchase fewer books.

In response to the problems caused by high journal costs, it is necessary for scholars, researchers -- and libraries -- to explore new methods for scholarly communication:

  • "Open-access journals," are funded by models other than institutional subscription charges and offer anyone free access to full-text scholarly journals via the World Wide Web.
  • "Cooperative collection development" allows libraries to partner with other libraries in order to offer faculty and students access to more materials.
  • "Online-only journals" introduce greater competition to commercial journal publishers, with the potential of being a less-expensive alternative in the scholarly journal market. However, electronic resources have their own set of issues. Questions about preservation, access stability, respectability within the academic world, quality concerns, licensing agreements, and usage restrictions are challenges that confront academia's adoption of online-only journals.

Like other academic libraries, Tredway Library has felt the strain caused by the current tensions in scholarly communication. The Library carefully monitors every opportunity to obtain resources in the most cost-effective manner, including the new methods of scholarly communication described above. However, we still must continually evaluate our subscriptions to scholarly publications; it is sometimes necessary to cancel high-cost, low-use journals, to switch to an online-only subscription for certain journals, and to consider what journals will be included when making decisions about purchasing online databases. The Library understands that all these factors greatly impact Augustana students and faculty. While we grapple with the challenges posed by changes in scholarly communication, we are committed to providing the scholarly resources necessary to support the undergraduate curriculum here at Augustana.


For more information about changes in scholarly communication, please visit:

Create Change www.createchange.org

Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) www.arl.org/sparc

Directory of Open Access Journals www.doaj.org


Please send suggested essays to share through the newsletter to Angie Williams.