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Data to support evidence based subscription decisions

1. Background

This is a project to support the decision making of the Journal Coordination Scheme (JCS) in relation to subscription to, and use of, academic journal literature across Cambridge.

There is a need to:

  • Understand the full value of the publishing landscape for Cambridge (both as suppliers and consumers of the material)
  • Within that context articulate the value of subscriptions for Cambridge, enabling the JCS Working Group to model the impact of decisions.
  • Evaluate the impact of open access culture allowing for disciplinary differences
  • Create data that is reproducible and replicable
  • Develop a set of analytical tools that will support the decision making of the JCS into the future.

This Project will be undertaken in three parts –

  • A quantitative section
  • An analysis section
  • A qualitative section

2. Project Mapping

2.1 Quantitative section

This process will include the need to:

  1. Formulate questions that will obtain the fullest picture possible of where Cambridge researchers are publishing, how much they are contributing to the publishing process (through editorial and peer review services), what is the usage of these works both in download and citations.
  2. Identify possible partners and comparators
  3. Identify potential data sets including (but not exclusive to)
    1. Journal download/usage information collected by the JCS team
    2. Subscription spread and cost by publisher
    3. Open Access spend by the University
    4. Citation information that is freely available through the Open Citation portal
    5. Publishing information in relation to Cambridge researchers
    6. Demographic information about the spread of researchers and students across the University at Department/subject level
    7. Peer Review information
    8. Editorial activity identified in Symplectic Elements
    9. Altmetrics information
  4. Locate the data and identify any potential barriers to using it, documenting any procedures undertaken to collect the data to allow replication of this work at a later stage.

2.2 Data analysis & publication

Analyse the datasets in light of the questions posed. Create visual maps of the results, for example, at University level, publisher level and at subject level (if possible).

At least part of this data will be published on University websites (possibly under a Raven password) to help discussions across the institution. This will require decisions about which data can be released openly and what needs to remain behind Raven and what is not to be released at all. We will need to have a Data Management Plan about what can be released or otherwise.

2.3. Qualitative section

This is a separate study considering the ‘long tail’ of subscriptions, and how the engagement with these subscriptions differs to engagement with Big Deal subscriptions. Steps in this process:

  1. Identify potential case studies
  2. Develop interview questions & have these approved by Ethics
  3. Create an interview schedule with a select group.

2.4. Report writing

This will be both with the view to make some information public, but other, more sensitive information only available internally.

3. Governance

The role will officially report to the JCS Working Group, however on a practical level the roles will be supervised by a senior member of Library staff. It would be sensible to have a panel of three advisors to turn to in the first instance.

4. Timing

  • 27 November 2017  Presentation of this proposal to the JCS Working Committee
  • December 2017     Identifying the parameters of the job and the skill sets required
  • March 2018           Recruitment for the role (possibly by invitation)
  • April 2018              Project commencing
  • May 2018              Data gathering complete
  • June 2018             Analysis begins
  • June 2018             Report writing, complete by end of June

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