An Evaluation of ReadCube as an Interlibrary Loan Alternative
- Elizabeth J. Weisbrod
Traditional collection management of serials through site licenses and subscriptions is increasingly unsustainable due to rising costs and steady or falling library budgets. The ensuing gaps in access have led to widespread illicit file sharing, resulting in the disintermediation of libraries and the devaluing of publishers. It has therefore become essential to explore alternatives for the delivery of journal literature. We report on the exploration of a new mechanism for the provision of scholarly articles using patron-driven acquisition (PDA). During the 2012–2013 academic year, the University of Utah Marriott Library, ReadCube, and Nature Publishing Group collaborated on the development and testing of ReadCube Access, an article delivery service designed to allow researchers to immediately access individual articles at a cost lower than traditional interlibrary loan, pay per view, or document delivery. The goal of this session is to explore the economics of collection management from the perspective of supplying needed scholarly articles and discuss how new technologies like ReadCube Access and PDA can support that aim. The session will involve a frank discussion of the effects of and attitudes toward illicit file sharing, from which the audience will learn about the scale of file sharing and how it affects the perceived value and, therefore, funding of libraries. An interactive workshop on cost-per-use assessment for various acquisition mechanisms will elucidate how the economics of acquisition mechanisms change with demand and under which conditions PDA will save libraries money while increasing patron engagement and satisfaction.