This paper examines a research study funded by the CLR (Council on Library Resources) and the SUNY (State University of New York) central administration and looks at issues surrounding the ownership and borrowing costs of scientific journals at the four SUNY Centers (Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, and Stony Brook). Access to journal articles is compared in three ways: a consortial approach, trad itional interlibrary loan, and commercial delivery services. Data was collected and analyzed in 1994/95 for scientific articles requested through ILL offices at the Center Libraries. Requests were coded and tracked and user satisfaction and opportunity costs were measured via a survey instrument. A decision rule based on cost factors related to ownership vs. delivery will be developed.
The simplest and most straightforward way to describe our research study is to divide it into four segments:
Since then, each University Center Library has purchased ARIEL software developed by the Research Libraries Group (RLG). The Centers have established policies which guarantee priority respo nse to each other's interlibrary loan requests. This special ILL operation is called "SUNY Express" by the four Centers.
A co-development project in the late 1980's with NOTIS (now owned by Ameritech) supported the design of the PacLink software, a Z39.50 linkage among the Center catalogs. Through easy linkage to our catalogs, ILL (interlibrary loan) staff can determine whether volumes are on the shelf or checked out. PacLink also facilitates the sharing of databases mounted locally with special licensing arran gements and accessible to center users through our linked catalogs.
The Center Libraries were awarded a "Cooperative Planning Grant" by the CLR in 1991 to conduct in-depth journal use and interlibrary loan studies and to begin involving their campus communities in t he development of policy as a move toward greater inter-institutional interdependence.
This steady building of our collaborative relationship and the data gathered from earlier joint projects prepared us to seek additional outside and local support for this research study which specif ically focuses on ownership and access costs. Escalating journal subscription costs of expensive scientific journals and budget increases that do not cover inflation have left us with declining purc hasing power. We must collaboratively, wisely, and economically build our collections together and make cost effective decisions on how and when to provide access for our users.
A theoretical model developed by Dr. Kingma will be used to determine financial cost savings, financial efficiency, and local ownership compared with document delivery via a consortium of the SUNY U niversity Center Libraries (SUNY Express); traditional interlibrary loan or commercial supply/delivery services. Using the economic models and data gathered, two cost-benefit analyses of document de livery will be developed. (See Annex 2). The first analysis focuses on the library cost savings of local ownership versus different document delivery choices which utilize document scanning and tra nsmission equipment. (See Annex 3). For the second analysis, the focus is on the user's opportunity cost with different document delivery approaches. Additional intriguing and related research is sues are raised by the study. (See Annex 4).
An important objective of the proposal is wide dissemination of the research study results because of their value to the research community and to academic libraries facing the same economic issues. More on our dissemination plans will follow.
During the 1994 fall semester, the Center ILL offices marked science requests (Library of Congress classification letters Q, R, S, T, or W) for inclusion in the study. Normal procedures were used t o determine holdings and the borrowing source. This resulted in a reasonable distribution among SUNY Express, traditional ILL, and commercial document delivery.
Last summer, Dr. Kingma designed the survey instrument with the advice of the Center participants and pre-tested it. ILL users were asked about the timeliness of the service, the quality of the ser vice, and the value of their time spent waiting for the article to be delivered. Another question asked the user to relate their satisfaction with the delivery service in comparison to having a loca l subscription of the journal. The article and the survey were sent to the requestor together.
Demographic data about the requestor was solicited: status (graduate student, undergraduate, library staff, professional rank, other) and the academic unit with which the user was affiliated. Infor mation on the journal price, frequency of requests, cost of delivery, and time and method of delivery were recorded locally.
Responses returned were about 50 percent, more than were expected might be returned. Data for articles acquired but without returned survey forms was still tallied. Since some users may have recei ved more than one survey, this may account for some of the non-responses.
Additional research for the summer of 1995 includes several different calculations to establish a decision rule as to when ownership becomes more cost effective than access through document delivery . (See Annexes 5 and 6).
What have we learned so far? The primary users of the science and math journal articles requested were graduate students. On average, graduate students were more willing to pay for delivery than w ere undergraduates. Faculty were the group least willing to pay. None of the groups was willing to pay much for either one-hour delivery or one-day delivery. Document delivery via SUNY Express too k, on average, four days less than OCLC related delivery. (See Annex 7).
Dr. Kingma will publish the complete study results in a special issue of the Journal of ILL, Document Delivery and Information Supply. Later, it will appear as a book with Haworth Press.
A major conference on the economics of information in the context of higher education is planned for fall, 1995. Scheduled for September 18-19 in the Sheraton City Centre, Washington, D.C., the "Ch allenging Marketplace Collisions to Problems in the Economics of Information," is designed to attract academic officers, chief information officers, economists, interested faculty, librarians, comput er professionals, and representatives from higher education associations. Besides CLR and SUNY University Centers, the ARL (Association of Research Libraries), CNI (Coalition for Networked Informati on), and NASULGC (National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges) are endorsing and supporting the conference. The conference should be of interest to many constituencies that ca re about the economics of university information resources and the scholarly communication process. Topics to be addressed at the conference include: costs and benefits of electronic journals, unive rsity investments in information and technology, digital libraries, case studies in transforming scholarship, economics of the Internet, and economics of resource sharing. Conference proceedings wil l be published by the Office of Scientific and Academic Publishing of ARL some time in 1996.
Our findings will be disseminated through journal articles, monographic publications and conference proceedings. Libraries should find our research relevant and replicable for their own decision ma king regarding journal ownership or access.