Cost per use overvalues journal subscriptions

(5 Sep 2019)  From Scholarly Kitchen editors’ note:

Digital delivery of scholarly publications has enabled far more robust tracking of usage, with the COUNTER Project providing and periodically updating the defining standard for usage measurement. As a result, usage has become a critical metric for establishing the value of a given journal or content bundle in many circumstances, including licensing negotiations between publishers and libraries. This has caused one Scholarly Kitchen author to wonder, Are Library Subscriptions Over-Utilized? At the same time, concerns about usage “leakage” from the publisher platform to other services where publishers have not received “credit” for that usage has led to efforts to re-enclose that usage through syndication.

Against this context, Curtis Kendrick, Dean of Libraries at Binghamton University and a key leader in SUNY’s collective licensing initiatives, has raised some probing questions about whether cost-per-use is the appropriate metric for measuring the comparative value of library subscriptions. Today’s piece offers a strong warning, to publishers and libraries alike, to avoid the simplistic use of metrics when the underlying thing being measured is far more complex.

Read the full story here.