The value of e-journals

The Research Information Network published an excellent report in January on E-journals: their use, value and impact.  Here is a summary from their introduction:

It’s clear that e-journals have given researchers an unprecedented level and convenience of access to knowledge in scholarly articles, but what effect have they had on the ways in which researchers seek information? Do they provide good value for money to higher education libraries and what are the wider benefits for universities and research institutions?

Our Phase One report examines how researchers interact with journal websites and whether enhanced access to journal articles has led to greater productivity, research quality and other outcomes. It finds that researchers are savvy when it comes to using e-journals, finding the information they need quickly and efficiently, and that higher spending on e-journals is linked to better research outcomes.

Based on an analysis of log files from journal websites and data from libraries in ten universities and research institutions, our report starts to build a clear picture of how e-journals are shaping the information landscape a picture that we’ll add to as our research in this area continues.

The aim in the Phase Two report was to test and examine the reasons underlying the behaviours which were identified in Phase One.

One of the key conclusions from the report is a strong and positive correlation between per capita expenditure and use of e-journals on the one hand and the numbers of papers published, citation impact, numbers of PhD awards and research grant and contract income on the other.

I would recommend this report to anyone working in journal publishing or the academic library sector.

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