ASIS&T 2013 Annual Meeting 
Montrťal, Quťbec, Canada | November 1-5, 2013

Killer Serials: Did Electronic Journals Really Destroy the University Press?

Elisabeth A. Jones, University of Michigan
Paul N. Courant, University of Michigan

Tuesday, 8:30am


Given the rapidly changing economics of scholarly communication in the digital age, the importance of accurate, specific data on the resource flows within this realm has become increasingly important. Both the producers and the collectors of scholarly information require accurate information in order to nimbly navigate their changing roles in advancing the progress of knowledge. Two key actors in this area are university presses and academic libraries, which both hold keystone roles in scholarly communications, as disseminators and conservators of scholarship, respectively. This paper describes an exploratory study examining one contentious aspect of the relationship between these two actors: trends in purchases of university press books by academic libraries. It does so in order to provide an empirical basis for evaluating frequent claims by publishers that declines in librariesí monographic purchasing over the past three decades can be held primarily responsible for the declining economic fortunes of university presses over the same period. The results of this analysis indicate that this relationship is not clear-cut, for at least two reasons: first, to the extent that purchasing reductions have occurred, they have occurred much more recently than prior accounts have suggested, and second, purchasing trends vary significantly between different libraries and between different sizes of university press.