Evaluation of Chemistry Journals at IIT Kharagpur, India: Use and Citation Analysis
Bipin Bihari Sethi
Globally, librarians spend enormous sums of money to acquire library materials irrespective of the fact that national, state, and local economies vary widely, as do individual library budgets. Traditionally, librarians believed in a “collect everything” approach. But with recent budget limitations, space constraints, and rapid growth of digital materials, most librarians cannot continue with the same approach anymore. Librarians, as professionals, try to build and maintain collections that will meet their collection development goals and be appropriate for their users (Agee, 2005, pp. 92-95).
In this environment, it becomes a dilemma for the librarian, whether to switch completely to a digital environment or not. By evaluating current collections, librarians may better manage future collection development. Collection evaluations help librarians ascertain the usability of materials in their collections to the user community.
Aims and Objectives
The present study evaluates the collection of Chemistry Journals at IIT Kharagpur library with following objectives;
Scope and Limitations
The scope of the present study is confined only to Chemistry Journals subscribed by Central Library, IIT Kharagpur. It is quite a difficult task to take all the Journals subscribed by the Central Library under the purview of the study. The present study, therefore, has the following limitations:
In the present study, the questionnaire data coupled with citation statistics from SciFinder were used for the evaluation of Chemistry Journals. A simple questionnaire was prepared to elicit pertinent data on the usage of journals by the respondents. In the second part of the study, the cited references of selected Journals for the year 2005 and 2006 were collected from SciFinder Scholar based on the analyzed data of questionnaire. At last ISI impact factor of each Chemistry Journal was obtained to find out the global usage trend of the journals in Chemistry.
Analysis of Data and Discussion
The researcher has devoted all its effort to meet the goal of the study, starting from drafting a simple questionnaire to distribute it to the faculty and research scholars of the Department of Chemistry, IIT Kharagpur. All the Journal titles categorized under Department of Chemistry have been collected from the website of Central Library. The Department of Chemistry, IIT Kharagpur is scattered in three different building, viz. Main Building, Organic Lab and High Pressure Lab. The researchers have distributed and collected 31 questionnaires from the faculty and research scholars available within the period 19th April 2007 to 25th April 2007. From the 31 collected questionnaires, only 30 questionnaires are being taken into study. The data collected from the questionnaire are divided into two segments for effective interpretation. The first part deals with the types of Journal version available in the Central Library and how many numbers of users prefer which one. The gathered data are portrayed in Tabl-1 for necessary analysis and interpretation.
Table-1: Distribution of Data by Preferred Versions of Journals
The above table clearly describes about the preferred version of journals by user and percentage of use out of total sample (30) retrieved from the questionnaire. It is interesting to discover that, 21 (70%) respondents prefer to use both print and online version of the journals. However, 8 (26.66%) respondents like to use only online version and only 1 (3.33%) prefers only the print version of the journal. The data indicates that though digital and electronic technology has a great impact on publishing industry, they can not replace print or hard copy of journals completely.
Fig.1: Distribution of Data by Preferred Version of Journals
Use of Journals
The second part of the questionnaire highlights about the usage of journals by the local users. Every library need to evaluate the usage statistics of their journals, since a major part of library budget is spend on it. There should not be a random selection of journals; it needs to be placed on a strong foundation of qualitative and quantitative data. With this objective in mind, the researcher has made an effort to study the usage statistics of all the 51 journals, taken as sample for the present study. At the same time researcher has also gathered the ISI Impact Factor of Journals which can be traced from the following table. The following table can also provide evidence about the local and global importance of each Chemistry Journals to the end users.
Table- 2: Distribution of Data by Usage Frequency of Journals
Table-2 uncovers the frequency of use of journals by the faculty and research scholars of the Department of Chemistry along with its respective percentage. It was found that some of the journals like Journal of American Chemical Society and Chemical Reviews are the highly used by more than 90% of the users. It was further found that 14 (27.45%) out of 51 journals are used only by 10% of the users. None of the users are using journals, Chemical Research in Toxicology and Electroanalysis. The rest of the journals have moderate percentage of use. From the above table it conclude that some of the journals have very low percentage of use and still library is subscribing them as a part of the package or individually.
Citing References Collected from SciFinder Scholar
Before coming to a conclusion about the usage of journals and dropping them from the collection, the library need to verify the relevancy of the data collected through questionnaire. The researcher has traced the citing references of journal articles by IIT Kharagpur faculty and scholars in their research papers using SciFinder Scholar Database. As SciFinder is a database of Chemistry and Chemical Sciences and also provide citation search comparable to Science Citation Index, no other database can be proved as better as this. Simultaneously, most of the faculty and research scholar of this institute also use SciFinder Scholar for their research. The researcher has randomly selected 5 low usage journals and 5 high usage journals as sample for the study, based on the data retrieved from Table-2. And all the citing references by IIT, Kharagpur faculty and research scholars are traced using various steps in SciFinder Scholar. The use of Journals through citing reference can be better understood from the following table.
Table-3: Data Distribution by Citing References
The above table shows that Journal of American Chemical Society is highly cited (33) by the faculty and scholars of Chemistry at IIT Kharagpur. Similarly, Angewandte Chemie (27), Chemical Communications (26), Chemical Reviews (22) are mostly cited. However, the number of citation from journals likes Biotechnology Progress (02), Chemical Research in Toxicology (03), and Electroanalysis (01) are very low. Two journals, Energy & Fuels (00), and Molecular Pharmaceuticals (00) have not been cited by any one.
Fig. 2: Distribution of Data by Citing References
Comparison of Data
To prove the significance of the questionnaire data, it has compared with the citing references drawn from SciFinder. The data of the 10 sample journals are compared and shown in the following table.
Table-4: Comparison of Questionnaire Data with SciFinder Data
From the above table researcher conclude that data collected through questionnaire about the usage statistics is very relevant. The journals which are not referred by the faculty and scholars in the questionnaire have either very low or zero cited references in SciFinder. The comparative analysis has been graphically represented as under.
Fig.3: Comparison of Questionnaire Data with SciFinder Data
All the librarians practice to build a rich and well organized collection of documents in a cost-effective way for their library. But it can not be achieved with out knowing its utilization percentage along with user satisfactory level. For this regular evaluation of collection is needed. The investigator has proposed some suggestions as illustrated below for better collection management:
Projects are being undertaken to study on a specific topic with available data and to come to an end with some observation and findings. After collection of data and analyzing, it is found that most of the Chemistry Journals subscribed by the Central Library have a high impact on the use for research carried out by Department of Chemistry, IIT, Kharagpur. But there also some journals which have a very low impact with regard to their use by the user community. These types of journals with low usage are neither recommended nor referred by the faculty and research scholars of the Department of Chemistry. Still they are subscribed by the Central Library as a part of journal packages offered by different publishers. At the same time it is also found that most of the users like to use both online and print version of journals. So the present study concludes that all the journals of Central Library need to be evaluated for better organization of the collection.
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