Information Access Seminar

California Digital Library: Calculating Scholarly Journal Value

Friday, October 3, 2014
3:10 pm to 5:00 pm
Chan Li & Jacqueline Wilson

The number of scholarly e-journals has grown considerably in the last ten years, however many academic library budgets have not kept pace. To cope with this imbalance libraries have been looking for an effective way to analyze journal quality and use this information to make informed collection decisions. The California Digital Library (CDL) developed a value-based strategy to assess journals which is now used as a major part of the University of California's systemwide e-journal collection planning process. The value-based process is objective and quantifiable and is based on measures of utility, quality, and cost effectiveness, with a goal of alignment to UC's user communities and programmatic needs.

The strategy involves using objective metrics to calculate the value of scholarly journals and identify titles that make a greater or lesser contribution to the University's mission of teaching, research, and public service. A key aspect of this strategy is the use of the CDL Weighted Journal Value Algorithm to assess multiple vectors of value for each journal title under review. This methodology compares each UC e-journal title licensed for systemwide use against other UC-licensed titles within the same subject category according to a variety of objective value indicators, in order to arrive at a comparative value for each journal within the UC shared licensing portfolio. The current analysis covers over 7,600 journals. Individual journal value metrics can be compiled in order to assess the value of journal publisher packages and to compare the value of a journal publisher package to other journal publisher packages.

CDL recently completed an extensive evaluation of the algorithm. We gathered feedback and recommendations from a broad community including bibliometric scientists, library school faculty, librarians, economists, and statisticians in order to validate the algorithm's accuracy and reliability.

For more information see

Chan Li received her MLIS in 2006 from University of California Los Angeles. She is senior data analyst at the California Digital Library (CDL), where she manages all aspects of electronic resource analysis activities. In the recent years, Chan has been a key player in the development of CDL's weighted value algorithm to assess the significance of UC systemwide electronic journals across disciplines. Chan currently serves on NISO SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative) Standing Committee.

Jacqueline Wilson supports management of high-profile University of California negotiations with large academic publishers and parallel coordination with campus libraries, facilitates various collaborative collection decision making processes, provides support for systemwide policy and planning efforts for the UC Libraries and scholarly information activities, and provides project management and leadership for various systemwide library pilots and trials. She is Senior Associate for Collection Development and Management at the California Digital Library. She has an MLIS from Berkeley, American Management Association Certificates in Project Management and Executive Leadership, an ARL Certificate in Measuring Library Service Quality, and completed the Senge Group Systems Thinking Institute, Interaction Management Program.

Last updated:

March 26, 2015