FAQs on Moving to E-Only Periodical Access
Why are the CMU Libraries Doing this?

How can I tell which titles are affected?

How do I access these titles online?

What issues did the Libraries consider in making this move?

How are the Libraries ensuring long term access to electronic issues of periodicals?

How are the Libraries ensuring uninterrupted access to electronic issues of periodicals?

How do the online editions compare to the print editions of these titles?

What portion of the collections is affected by this change?

Last Updated: 10/6/06

Why are the CMU Libraries Doing this?

Increasingly, electronic versions of periodicals are available either as alternatives to paper or as enhanced forms of titles simultaneously offered in print format. Some periodicals are now only available in electronic format and a majority of periodicals in CMU's collections have an electronic version. As electronic formats become acceptable, or even attractive, alternatives to print formats, the Libraries are working to identify titles for which it is no longer advantageous to maintain both print and electronic or print-only formats of periodical subscriptions.

Subscribing to the electronic versions of periodicals allows the Libraries to provide 24/7 access to all CMU users, regardless of location. Subscribing to the print versions insures perpetual access to (or archiving of) the content we paid for. Up to now the CMU Libraries have been in many cases providing both.

Early subscriptions to electronic versions of periodicals were often offered either for free or for a nominal percent above the price of a print subscription. In recent years, subscription rates are increasingly being based on the electronic versions, with a substantial additional cost for purchasing the print version. The CMU Libraries can no longer sustain duplicate formats in order to provide off-campus 24/7 access and to insure perpetual access.

The need to offer the greatest service possible with limited resources forces subject librarians to consider carefully when the costs of acquiring print periodicals, either in preference to electronic access or in addition to electronic access, are justified.

The costs of maintaining existing collections continue to rise while many new academic initiatives on campus increase the need for new resources. In this environment, the Libraries have to consider carefully whether denial of new requests or outright cuts in our existing collections can be justified to maintain print access where electronic access is available and savings from cancellation of print duplication are possible, particularly when publishers have created strong perpetual access plans and complete electronic equivalents of print editions.

How can I tell which titles are affected?

All periodical titles and holdings are included in Centra.

The Libraries will retain all paper issues already in the collections. As the last paper issues come in, they will be received and bound so the switch over will seem gradual. Please check at the Reference Desk or in Centra if you are looking for a paper issue and believe it has been affected by this changeover.

How do I access these titles online?

The way to access any of the Libraries' electronic periodicals is to go to Centra (http://catalog.lib.cmich.edu/) and search by journal title.

What issues did the Libraries consider in making this move?

The Libraries have a policy for evaluating whether to move to electronic-only access for periodicals. The policy is available at http://www.lib.cmich.edu/policies/e-only-serials.htm. The main issues that are considered are the comparability of the content in print and electronic versions, perpetual access plans and commitment of the publisher, the quality of access, and the terms of the licenses.

The publishers already converted or being converted to e-only access meet all of the criteria in our policy.

How are the Libraries ensuring long term access to electronic issues of periodicals?

The Libraries would not have considered relying on only electronic access without first ensuring that a publisher has a strong perpetual access program in place. All of the publishers already converted or being converted to e-only access:

  • have made arrangements to guarantee ongoing access to back issues if the Libraries cancel a subscription in the future,
  • have backup servers to provide ongoing access if there is a failure of their main server.

Each publisher's perpetual access arrangements are detailed in the licenses governing Central Michigan University access to the periodical titles.

How are the Libraries ensuring uninterrupted access to electronic issues of periodicals?

The Libraries will ensure that the vendors of the titles selected provide content at the speed of loading/accessing that meets CMU Libraries’ users’ reasonable expectations. Vendors should have minimal server downtime and should provide technical assistance when needed. Attention to problems with access of electronic materials will be given priority access by the Library Systems and Technical Services Departments.

How do the online editions compare to the print editions of these titles?

The Libraries have reviewed each publisher's approach to electronic publishing in comparison with their paper publications. The Libraries’ criteria for migration to electronic-only are designed to assure that the electronic version is the full scholarly equivalent of the print edition. In most cases both PDFs and HTML versions of articles are published online. At a minimum PDFs are provided. In many cases, publishers converted to e-only publish online issues in advance of print and in many cases articles are available online well in advance of the compilation of the full issue. Thus the online article is available long before the receipt of print publications. All of the scholarly or professional content of the paper edition with the possible exception of advertising (when that occurs) is available online. Many publishers also offer a free table of contents notification service. When a new issue is published, you can be notified immediately via email and review the issue from your desktop.

Since the majority of CMU’s current periodicals will be e-only in the near future, faculty/instructors should accept printouts from the electronic-journals as equivalents of photocopies from the print editions. Faculty/instructors may consult with their subject librariansfor assistance in creating or revising library assignments.

What portion of the collections is affected by this change?

As of 2005/2006 the Libraries subscribe to 911 electronic-only periodicals, 1,412 periodicals in both print and electronic formats, and 1,973 in print-only. The goal is to migrate to 70% electronic-only by September 2008.

Adapted with Permission from the University of Maryland, University Libraries, Policy on Collecting Only Electronic Versions of Journals, (http://www.lib.umd.edu/CLMD/e-verpol.html). For more information, please send an email message to the Director of Collection Development.

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