As a matter of practice and service to the CUMC community, the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library systematically and deliberately evaluates its scholarly journal collection, using an ever expanding set of data points. In the past few years, we developed a sound methodology to safeguard and monitor access to peer-reviewed scholarly journals at CUMC during fiscal constrictions and unpredictable exorbitant subscription price increases.
Indicators and Data Points
For each journal we collect the following metrics, evaluated on an annual basis:
- The number of article downloads by CU researchers
- The number of articles CU researchers published in each journal, broken down by type (i.e. article, letter to the editor, meeting abstract, etc.)
- The number of times CU researchers cite articles from each journal
- The journal impact factor and category ranking from the Journal Citation Reports
To ensure that the library does not miss critical titles and continues to meet emergent needs, the following data is monitored and evaluated on an annual basis:
- The number of interlibrary loan requests
- New subscription requests
2014 Journal Cancelations
The 2013 journal evaluation started with those titles that had fewer than 600 downloads in 2012 (the most recent full year of data available). To put this in context, the most heavily used titles (eg NEJM, JAMA, Lancet) are downloaded tens of thousands of times per year and medium level titles are downloaded thousands of times.
Due to lower use
This review led the library to discontinue one entire package by the publisher Karger and purchase only the 7 titles, in which CU researchers demonstrated sufficient interest. The canceled Karger titles had low download rates, minimal publishing and minimal citing by CU researchers.
Another group of journals identified for cancelation are Masson and Doyma, the French and Spanish language Elsevier packages. These titles had low download rates, low citation and low CU researcher publishing rates.
Due to changes in pricing structures
Two additional titles were included in this year's cancelations; Thyroid and the British Journal of Radiology. The price increases for each were 55% and 45% respectively.
CUMC researchers demonstrate a modest interest in Thyroid with download rates just above 600, 2 published articles in the last 4 years, and handful of citations. However, the title is splitting into three bundled titles, a method of increasing revenue that is gaining popularity from publishers. Had we committed to continuing the Thyroid subscription, this split would have resulted in a price increase from $ 1,761 to $2,730.
The British Journal of Radiology is not splitting, but is changing the pricing tier for Columbia University. The download levels have consistently been above 1,500, but there has been minimal publishing or citing of the journal by CUMC researchers in the last 4 years. Combined with an impact factor of 1.314 and radiology category ranking of 78 out of 116, this publishing and use behavior does not warrant committing to the 45% price increase.
All the 2014 canceled titles described above can also be viewed by subject.
Add Your Voice to our Data Stream
Patron feedback and journal requests are an integral part of our journal analysis. Please contact our Knowledge Management Strategist, Susan Klimley at email@example.com, if you have any concerns about the 2014 journal cancelations or to recommend subscription to a new title.
Communication about new additions to the journal collection is forthcoming in Spring of 2014 and will be posted on the library website. If you would like to be notified when it is ready, please, send Susan Klimley (firstname.lastname@example.org) your contact information.