Discussion List Archives

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

The Ingenta Institute studies on document delivery

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <epc-l@iucr.org>
  • Subject: The Ingenta Institute studies on document delivery
  • From: Pete Strickland <ps@iucr.org>
  • Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2001 13:50:38 +0100 (BST)
Dear All

Please find below a report by Barry Mahon on the recent Igenta
meeting in London, which I attended. If you have any questions,
about the meeting please let me know.

Best wishes

The Ingenta Institute studies on document delivery

Report of the meeting held in London on September 25 2001-09-25

By Barry Mahon

In 1996 ICSTI commissioned a study on the relationship between
subscriptions to scientific journals and document delivery requests for
articles from those journals. The basis for the work was the hypothesis
that the availability of document delivery  affected subscriptions.
The results indicated that even institutions who had subscriptions made
requests for documents and only one of the requesters investigated spent
enough to justify buying a subscription and that user was an intermediary
who provided documents to a number of end users.

The Ingenta Institute, supported by ICSTI, undertook an update of the
1996 study and extended the work to evaluate user behaviour in respect
of document ordering.

The meeting reported on the results and heard commentary from University,
Library and Publisher representatives.

The dataset was 12,637 requests made to BLDSC and 4, 575 requests
made to CISTI from 28 journals in the case of BLDSC and 22 journals in
the case of CISTI. The publishers of the journals, in Life, Medical,
Physical and Social Sciences, supplied the names of the subscribing
institutions so that a comparison could be made with subscriber based
requests and non-subscribers.

In the 1996 survey there was evidence that high priced journals attracted
a large number of requests. The 2000 survey did not confirm this, on
a higher sample count. There was evidence from the BLDSC data that one
requester spent more than the price of a subscription -  and in three
instances the top current year user was a subscriber. Brokers and document
suppliers were the top users of 9 titles. In  general there was overlap,
i.e. the percentage of requests coming from subscribers, in requests, 6 to
8% in the case of medical journals and 25% in the case of Social Sciences.

For the Life Sciences, journal subscribers ask for the same proportion
of current year items as non-subscribers. Physical Science titles exhibit
the highest proportion of requests for older material, while medical and
social science have the largest proportion of articles supplied for 2
year old material.  Non-subscribers tend to ask for more older materials,
except in the Life Sciences.

There are many other sets of results in the full report.

Reporting on the results David Russon reiterated what had been clear from
the 1996 study that document delivery services did not appear to affect
subscriptions, with 15% of requests coming from subscribers. Commenting
on the effect of electronic availability (full text or summaries) he
said that of the 6 titles appearing in both 1996 and 2000 the number of
requests increased by 22% at BLDSC and by 54% at CISTI.

Overall, David reported that demand at BLDSC had dropped by 2% in recent
years and Bob Campbell of Blackwells commented in a question that
this was probably due to greater consortium buying and licensing of
electronic availability with PDF downloading.   Bernard Naylor of the
LA said that he often wondered whether use of document supply created
subscriptions or, in other words, if non-use of document supply services
meant non-subscription.

David Warlock of EPS reported on the survey of user behaviour in document

His survey was based on what many present considered to be a small sample
and limited to UK, but he maintained that use of individually purchased
full text articles is significant and is growing.

65% of respondents reported ordering on average between one and five
articles each week.  This is not affecting subscriptions or use of printed
journals. 50% of the orders were for articles recommended by colleagues
(to which presumably they did not have local access).

An interesting finding was that users said it was easier to find articles
in non-subscribed journals online than it was to find them in subscribed
journals! I am not quite sure what this means but presumably there was
more information available about journals on online delivery sites than
on local sites?  2/3 of the respondents said they preferred journal
articles in hard copy for ease of use, annotation, and guarantee
of non-corruption. Online receivers said they liked the ability of
circulating articles to colleagues as a reason for preferring online
versions [interesting IPR implication here..]  30% said they paid
for articles personally and 70% said they needed no authorisation for
purchasing articles. Although site licenses were important in having
approval for ordering, credit card facilities were considered equally

2/3 of respondents said they considered articles `too expensive'
(compared to what??) However, several of those questioned did not know
the average price they paid for articles.

In a  comment, Bernard Naylor said that his experience was that users
(academic) made one order every `few weeks' through the InterLibrary Loan
(ILL) and this in his view did not constitute a trend. If there was any
trend it was downwards since many users had access to full text online.

Christopher Woodward gave a detailed description of the `route map' for
document delivery. He quantified many of the elements - for example he
said that there were `over 305 million' elements (individual items) in
the `separates' business in 2000. This depends on what you are measuring
and what constitutes a `separate' but is an interesting figure none the
less. It illustrates the potential volume of activity in the delivery
area. He said this 305 million was worth $2.5 billion. He also said the
market for individual order and delivery was rising rapidly because
of the number of publisher sites and e-journals (2,024 active ones,
215 peer reviewed).

John Cox provided an integrated summary of the results.

He said that many of the key findings confirm the results of the 1996
ICSTI study, but some throw fresh light:

Readers are reading as much as ever, there appears to be no reduction
in regular reading of  articles

There is a 15% overlap between document requests and subscriptions.

Colleague recommendations and identification from reading are the main
triggers, but A&I services, browsing web sites and alerting services
are key methods for online users.

Only 20% of users of document delivery identify their library as the
source of their information for online materials, but the principal
source for print materials. The implication is that libraries are not
seen to be involved in online information delivery.

Readers are becoming more and more self reliant in identification of
and obtaining articles.

He concluded from the data that:

Publishers and document delivery centres needed to capture part of the
ILL activity.

Online journals have significantly affected library costs (downwards in
the case of binding, storage etc.) and improved the breadth of service.

Pay per view availability has reduced ILL.

Publishers licensing policies need to be flexible.

Archiving (by publishers) can be exploited in the future as a source of
revenue for individual article sales as can digitising back material.

Navigation (to articles) has become all-important. DOI, CrossRef and
SFX are important tools.

Libraries face a number of management challenges. They  are no longer
perceived as being the main source of information.

Publishers have defended their position well. However, they must realise
that customers are becoming more demanding.

He identified the following as follow up actions:

Measures of effectiveness of the services (timeliness, etc.)

The importance of `one stop shops' for document identification and

The differences between academic and corporate users

Pricing models

(these should be seen as potential ICSTI activities).

In the afternoon we had responses from various communities to the results.

Ian Butterworth  responded from the viewpoint of the University community.

He divided his comments into three areas: The University as an
institution, the staff and students and Science itself.

He pointed out that in modern research the majority of `colleagues' were
from outside the institution, the common room was no longer central to
information for researchers! In J Phys B there had been a 37% increase
in reporting from international collaborative research in the last
three years. This implied that the main source of information was the
online terminal and archiving was discipline/project based rather than
institution based.  Commenting on the results of the user behaviour study
he said that in his area of work a $20 fee per article was unacceptable.
There was a need for facts in trying to identify what was happening,
the work so far is providing hints, not facts.

Concerning the future of publishing and its effect on Science he
said there were significant pressures on academics to support local
institutions, there was a move towards the creation of a European Chapter
of the US initiative SPARC. The Research Councils (in UK) and the EU as
funding bodies were increasingly promoting `open' publication of results
(in preprint archives etc.)  He commented that although online versions
of publications were considered as having high added value for users
there still a significant perception that online publication was `second
class' There was even a perception that the speeding up of review and
publication made possible by online techniques meant that the quality
of reviewing was lower! He quoted a study from the field of Pediatrics
that even though the reviewing and evaluating process was the same,
publication online as compared to printed was considered `less valuable'.

Michael Breaks spoke from the viewpoint of libraries.

He considered that institutions other than specialists such as BLDSC
(and CISTI) as suppliers of individual articles were a `distraction' -
(I think he meant that only institutions like BLDSC could provide the
coverage and service, publisher or agent based services were limited in
scope, but I am sure Michael will comment if I got it wrong).

In many institutions there was internal charging for ILL, about 1 or
1.50 or else there was rationing of ILL requests. He indicated that this
was much lower than individual article delivery pricing but although
economic pressure was significant it had to be balanced against user
satisfaction in deciding to use ILL or document delivery.

The number of print subscriptions being taken out was reducing as much for
economic reasons as for reasons of alternative delivery methods. However
the number of ILL requests was also decreasing.

An interesting point made by Michael was that fee paying students
(in UK an increasing number of students are paying for their tuition
through loan schemes) feel that they are customers of the University and
therefore will not pay `again' for document delivery. In general there
was resistance and reluctance to paying at all.

Michael was sanguine about the tendency for libraries to be invisible
as sources of information. He asked `why should the library get in
the way' their job was to deliver the information, how it was done was
of no interest to the user.  More worrying from his point of view was
the increasing view that Google provided access to all the information
students needed, there was a misconception that everything was free.

The 15% overlap between orders and subscriptions was not worrying in
the context of the service provided; it may be due in many cases to
incompleteness of the electronic product available.

Michael felt the future would look like this:

Users would have an `information space or environment' , specific and

Consortia deals would be the norm for library purchasing

Current pricing models would prove to be a significant barrier to
individual delivery (and be changed).

The real market would be `separates' of all kinds

Content pages leading to individual article identification and sale
would be the norm. (with click through to references).

He took the view that the business of information delivery had to take
into account these developments. He asked, `whose core business is
document supply' and said it was a partnership between publishers and
libraries. He indicated that we need to look at new models in this regard.

Bob Campbell of Blackwell Publishing spoke for the publishers.

In response to the apparent phenomenon of alternatives to publisher based
distribution he pointed out that a survey of editors of journals in the
field of nursing had indicated that none of them had ever heard of the
FOS initiative or the Public Library of Science (PLS). He pointed out that
the 27,000 signatories of the PLS petition represented a very small part
of the approximately 4 million authors identified by Christopher Woodhead.

Bob said that Electronic Delivery and the Site License were the new
model. Blackwell's revenue had increased by 12% due to increased market
share and a portion of the ILL business being picked up in the new model.

He said the following elements would characterise the future of scholarly
publishing and article delivery:

Hard copy will continue for the foreseeable future

Individual document delivery will continue to grow

There will be more and more efforts by publishers to get `in' to this
area Publishers will continue to erode the ILL area by offering more
and more older material online.

Smaller publishers will need to find better solutions.

Commenting on these he took the view that publishers could take
satisfaction from the Ingenta study. It showed they were heading in
the right direction. However, aggregation was a phenomenon which would
affect smaller publishers as demand increased for one stop shopping for
information. In this regard it would be interesting to see how activities
like CrossRef would drive this phenomenon.


The day was very interesting. The Ingenta work was another set of data in
a continuum and they indicated that they would be continuing to perform
research in the area.

There are a number of opportunities for ICSTI in the area. Ian
Butterworth's view that we need more facts should be followed up and
perhaps through polls of ICSTI/ICSU audiences on some of the new ideas
around such as FOS and PLS and their effect on document ordering. There
is also a need to get more detailed information on behaviour and the
answer to the question `who is paying what to whom and how' for document

As discussed at the recent Executive Board session on the ICSTI Strategic
Plan, a lot of further work needs to be done on models, especially pricing
models for science publishing and information delivery.  This meeting
reinforced this view in a number of critical areas:

The balance between publisher, document fulfilment centre and local

The role of archives and archiving in future delivery options and the
economic consequences

The implications for smaller publishers of the pressure for a one
stop shop.

Finally there is a special offer for the full report which I assume is
available to ICSTI Members - 95 per copy. Send your request to Amanda
Procter, Ingenta Institute, 23-28 Hythe Bridge St., Oxford OX1 2ET,
England.  Email: aproctor@ingenta.com

Reply to: [list | sender only]
International Union of Crystallography

Scientific Union Member of the International Council for Science (admitted 1947). Member of CODATA, the ICSU Committee on Data. Member of ICSTI, the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information. Partner with UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in the International Year of Crystallography 2014.

ICSU Scientific Freedom Policy

The IUCr observes the basic policy of non-discrimination and affirms the right and freedom of scientists to associate in international scientific activity without regard to such factors as ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political stance, gender, sex or age, in accordance with the Statutes of the International Council for Science.