The electronic access to journals at UEL is not sufficient within certain subject areas to meet the research and teaching needs of the institute for health and human development
Any solution along the lines of ‘subscribe to many more journals’ is neither particularly helpful nor appropriate. We need to prioritise what journals need to be instantly accessible and devise an efficient and cost effective way of accessing materials that are not in the library
All staff within the IHHD need to suggest one or two journal or serial titles that the library does not currently subscribe to and that they feel is a priority for inclusion in the current subscription. If possible they can identify databases that might include this publication. In this way we might find a single database or publisher that will meet all online requirements. This should be done by 20th October. (All IHHD staff)
The Library needs to keep a record of ILL requests made by members of IHHD to both keep track of popular sources and to provide estimate of costs incurred (Sarah Castles, Glenn McPherson)
We need to decide on an approach to purchasing/procurement to allow online purchasing of articles if, as proves likely, this is far cheaper than ILL. (Adrian?)
Background: Access to journals and papers at UEL
I have had a number of problems accessing key articles for teaching or research in the fields of economics and public health. Journals that were readily accessible at Imperial through the library catalogue are not subscribed to at UEL. This may be because few staff do research or teaching in these fields and there may be a need to ‘rebalance’ the items to which UEL subscribes to more meet the needs of teachers and researchers in these subjects
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A related problem is the UEL catalogues inability to locate journals that it does actually subscribe to For example, The Journal of Economic Literature and Econometrica are available through the database JSTOR but are not listed as being available on the UEL catalogue. This might be because JSTOR allows access to journals with a 3-year lag. However the catalogue does not contain this information. I have already requested through inter-library loan articles older than three years that I thought were unavailable based on the information in the Library catalogue. JSTOR is an important source of ‘classic’ economics journals such as The American Economic Review, The Quarterly Journal of Economics and The Journal of Political Economy and the fact that the UEL catalogue cannot find them gives the impression that economics provision is poorer than it actually is.
The introduction of the ‘search for article’ button on the ISI web of knowledge web page has improved this situation as this links you directly from the article through to the database and seems to correctly indicate if both the journal and year are available.
Another problem is that sometimes access is limited the other way i.e. we only have full text access for the last few years.
A further problem is that, although databases such as science direct and JSTOR seem easy to use and quick, some other databases, such as EBSCO seem obscure in the extreme and it is usually very difficult to access articles through this source even if the library catalogue lists a subscription to the required journal. I don’t have any examples of this at the moment
I cannot single-handedly come up with a list of key journals that the library should subscribe to – I think that depends on the reading lists for teaching as well as research.
However, I would suggest that The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health should be in the library as there are many articles relevant to teaching and research
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With regard to other sources: I do not think that blanket access to everything is feasible or desirable, it would be nice to download research papers from the National Bureau of Economic Research or the Centre for Economic Policy Research but I doubt this is cost effective given the use made of these sources from UEL
Accessing resources not available through the library can be done by Inter-Library Loan. What would be useful is a list of the ILL requests made by members of the public health section and if these are concentrated in a number of journals then they should be subscribed to
Another issue is that journals/research institutes offer the chance to purchase an article online if the University does not subscribe to a particular resource. This is certainly quicker, and may be cheaper than ILL. However a mechanism to do this, i.e. pay for articles and then claim back the cost, is not in place. Without knowing the costs of ILLs it would be difficult to judge this but I suspect there is an opportunity for savings.