As electronic journal formats become more predominant and are
viewed as attractive alternatives to print formats, it is important
for K-State Libraries to clarify the circumstances under which
subscription to only the electronic form of a journal is acceptable.
Recent user surveys conducted by the Libraries have suggested that
our students and faculty generally support decisions to carry only
electronic formats for many titles. Some publishers are offering
incentives to libraries to collect only the electronic format, in
an effort to free themselves from the costs of publishing in multiple
formats. More importantly, the desire to offer the greatest service
possible to our users with limited resources forces us to consider
carefully the costs and benefits of acquiring journals in print
or electronic formats.
There are many advantages to converting to
electronic-only access to journals, but we recognize that there
may also be drawbacks. Faculty are consulted regularly when a
subscription is considered for purchase or cancellation. Conversion
of a subscription from print to electronic format, while a serious
decision, is not a cancellation decision. Subject librarians will
work closely with faculty to discuss the appropriate format for
various titles using the Libraries' criteria
for changing serial subscriptions to online format. It is important
to note that the Criteria not only present guidance, but also allow
flexibility in decision making. Therefore, Librarians will be able
to address the circumstances where retention of the paper format
is considered more desirable.
The Criteria deal with issues involving content
and access, archiving, pricing, and licensing and offer explicit
reasons for determining when subscription to the electronic-only
format of a journal is appropriate.
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