a statistical morsel on the serials crisis

Well there’s a statement that underscores the serials crisis:

At the high end, the Association of Research Libraries, representing the top 122 research libraries in North America, reports that its members have been forced to cut six percent of their subscriptions since the late 1980s, and that figure was only kept that small by chopping 26 percent off their book budgets during the same period.

(Willinsky J. (2003) The Nine Flavours of Open Access Scholarly Publishing. J Postgrad Med, 49:263-7.

(This post, btw, brought to you by open access publishing! I could’ve read the article without it — scholarly database access ftw — but I couldn’t have linked you to it.)

(Also: one of the recurring thoughts i have is about the different ways that debates about library budgets, resources, collection decisions, etc. play out in different disciplines — having seriously studied both math at an engineering school and classics at a liberal arts school I cannot fail to be aware that there are dramatically different assumptions and scholarly use patterns. And does this not underscore how the serials crisis differently affects different disciplines, when journal prices (driven by STEM fields) cut into monographs (crucial for humanities)? I say this not to make trouble for STEM, which I dearly love, but to emphasize that there are social justice and digital divide questions here, even inside one university, one library.)

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