Journal package costs and benefits

The Research Libraries UK Group (RLUK) has announced the development of a tool to analyse the cost-benefit of various approaches to journal subscription.  The research underpinning the tool has been spurred-on by the decision of some aggregators of journal titles to offer large and, apparently, attractive collections of journals at a keen price.  The problem with this approach to pricing has always been for the library or information service manager who knows that only part of the “package” will, in fact, be used.  The RLUK model “allows members to carefully analyse the value-for-money of publisher packages and to determine whether there would be cost savings to be made from moving back to title-by-title purchasing. The model allows each member to combine pricing information with the usage their community makes of the relevant journals.  The library can then alter the combination of title-by-title subscriptions and document delivery options and compare the costs of these combinations to the cost of the big deals”.  It is, as yet, unclear whether the model will be released for use by non-members of the RLUK; if it is not, it would be a very useful idea to be developed for use within the South African consortia.

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