How to measure the value of scholarly information occupies center stage in the day-to-day lives of information professionals, whether we work for publishers or libraries or another type of entity involved in the STM arena.
Value can be seen as the extent to which information contributes to providing an answer to a specific information question that a customer or user has. For information professionals, measuring our own worth often is tied to measuring our ability to create, deliver and interpret sophisticated resources so they genuinely help researchers achieve their goals and provide answers to their questions.
To which extent information transforms into value, especially relative to investments made, is not a straightforward question to answer. That said, we're devoting this issue to the theme of information valuation.
Here is some of what you'll find in the following pages:
- The Librarians Speak Up section features thoughts from eight information pros located across the globe but all answering "How is your library determining its value?"
- Two articles report on studies looking at the value of e-resources. The first article, by Leo de Vos, addresses the effects of VAT on European libraries' migration to e-publications. The second, by Philip-Jan van Kappen, addresses the value of e-books.
- Monique Fayad's article "Elsevier launches new advertiser-supported portal for oncologists" discusses OncologySTAT — comprising a new model for scholarly information access and a new model for revenue for our company.
As you may agree, assessing the value of university libraries can be challenging. Chrysanne Lowe, in writing the preface to her interview with UCSD librarians, noted "The value of the academic library is articulated in different terms to different constituencies." For details on how librarians in the US and Hong Kong have recently articulated impacts of academic libraries, read Chrysanne’s interview on page 6 and the Research Watch articles on page 7.
The rest of this issue is equally noteworthy. But I want to leave some content for you to discover.
Please join me in extending thanks to all the contributors to this issue. And now, happy reading!
Roy Jakobs, Managing Director, Academic & Government Sales, Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Recently Elsevier commissioned a study looking at the ROI of library expenditures on scholarly resources. Find the paper, "University Investments in the Library: What's the Return? A Case Study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign" by Judy Luther, at www.elsevier.com/libraryconnect.