Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Report on Transition to E-Journals

The Association of Research Libraries recently released a report entitled The E-only Tipping Point for Journals: What's Ahead in the Print-to-Electronic Transition Zone on the transition from dual-format publishing toward electronic-only publication of journals.

The Association represents 123 research/academic libraries in the U.S. and Canada.

The report examines both the library and the publisher perspective on what is driving and/or holding back the transition to full e-publication of journals.
"While reports of the death of the printed journal are premature, its role in the institutional marketplace faces a steep decline in the coming 5 to10 years. As use and norms evolve, print journals will exist mainly to address specialized needs or business opportunities. Financial imperatives will draw libraries first—and ultimately most publishers also—toward a tipping point where it no longer makes sense to subscribe to or publish printed versions of most journals. For libraries a 100% electronic journals environment is remote, but 95% could be on the horizon. A more mixed picture is likely for publishers, especially societies and advertising-driven journals".

"(...) But financial disincentives to keeping print ultimately will outweigh dwindling demand and squeeze out all but the most popular or tactile of titles. As generational change leaves its mark and a critical mass of electronic resources (including books and primary documents) reach the desktops of users and bring productivity gains in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, resistance will dwindle".

"At the same time, as the aggregate number of print subscriptions drops, the relative cost of supporting each of them will increase and raise the threshold for justifying their continuance. The change may be more rapid in state institutions than in better-funded private institutions, but ultimately all academic libraries will follow suit to a greater or lesser extent".

"As libraries moves toward e-only, publishers will see print subscriptions increasingly limited to individuals—the least lucrative element of the base. They will be driven to rationalize their investments in declining print revenue streams and to finance investments in e-publishing infrastructure and emerging opportunities. Some will be faster to do so, such as those already straining from the cost burden. Others will be slower, such as those with a self-supporting base of individual subscribers or significant advertising revenue from print".

"(...) On campus and in the market, the move 'from ownership to access' will approach completion in the coming decade. A new focus will emerge on productivity rather than custom in scholarly communication. Experiments will explore new business models and new ways of conducting and facilitating research. Along the way, vexing issues such as those surrounding assurance of long-term access to the scholarly record will continue to be sorted out and perhaps even solved".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:57 pm


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