Guidelines for Evaluating Journal Subscriptions
Last updated: March 23, 2018
These guidelines describe the process followed with academic departments on a biennial schedule to evaluate subscriptions to journals.
These guidelines apply to all academic departments at Hamilton College.
Policy Revision History
Last revised, December 2014.
The annual acquisitions budget of the Library provides funding for the licensing of electronic databases and serials, subscriptions to print journals and the purchase of print and electronic monographs. Together these are known as the Library’s Collection. The primary focus of the Collection is to support academic program needs in the areas of research and course assignments for students and faculty. The purpose of managing the collection is to keep its components as strong and relevant as possible to the academic program within the constraints of budget and available space. Annual increases in journal costs have outstripped both inflation and any annual increases in the Library’s budget since the 1980s.
Managing Serial Subscriptions
In order to evaluate existing journal subscriptions, we propose initiating a meeting with each academic department every two years. The department will be provided a complete list of journals, both print and electronic and cost per use data where known. The Library will develop guidelines to identify candidates for possible cancellation. No subscriptions will be cancelled without a discussion with the department.
The Library will highlight low use and low use/high cost titles based on the following criteria:
- For electronic journals with at least four years of history at Hamilton: if the average and median cost per use of the journal is more than three times the average cost of inter-library loan (currently estimated at $15/article).
- For electronic journals with more than two but less than four years of history at Hamilton that meet the above criteria we will also have a discussion with the department(s) to indicate concern and try to understand if there are reasons why the usage hasn’t been sufficiently high.
- For print journals, the department will be queried about their sense of the journal’s usefulness. The Library will provide information on each title’s electronic availability.
- We are able to get a high-quality image of the electronic article through document delivery.
Any monies recovered from serial cancellations will be applied to the costs of acquisitions (databases, serials, monographs and inter-library loan).