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The interdisciplinary use of physics journals

TABLE 3 (cont’d)

Coverage of 36 Physics Journals by 8 Major Indexes

Titles IAA MR MA SCI
Annals of Physics 65% 99%
Applied Physics Letters 42% * 100%
Classical and Quantum Gravity 60% 100% 100%
Contemporary Physics 15% 10% 100%
Europhysics Letters
Fortschritte der Physik 50% 95%
JETP Letters 20% 7% 91%
Journal of Applied Physics 24% 19% 100%
Journal of Low Temperature Physics 28% 100%
Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General 6% 100% 100%
Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular & Optical 21% 2% 100%
Journal of Physics C: Solid State Physics 22% 100%
Journal of Physics F: Metal Physics 98% 100%
Journal of the Optical Society of America B 35% 6%
Nuclear Physics A 1% 82%
Nuclear Physics B 27% 100%
Nuovo Cimento 31% 11% 2% 100%
Optics Letters 45% 100%
Physica (A,B,C,D) 73% 10% 100%
Physical Beview A: General Physics 19% 8% 100%
Physical Beview B: Condensed Matter .4% 1% 63%
Physical Beview C: Nuclear Physics .6% 100%
Physical Beview D: Particles and Fields .2% 26% 100%
Physical Beview Letters 20% 9% 11% 100%
Physics Letters A 21% 25% 8% 99%
Physics Letters B 12% 100%
Physics Beports 25% 94%
Progress of Theoretical Physics 37% 100%
Beview of Scientific Instruments 17% 4% 98%
Reviews of Modern Physics 3% 16% 100%
Soviet Journal of Nuclear Physics 5% 95%
Soviet Journal of Particles and Nuclei 16%
Soviet Physics: JETP 3% 12%
Zeitschrift für Physik A .1% 100%
Zeitschrift für Physik B .7% 14% 98%
Zeitschrift für Physik C 8% 100%

IAA = International Aerospace Abstracts

MR = Mathematical Reviews

MA = Metals Abstracts

SCI = Science Citation Index

*percentage (articles indexed 1983-1985/articles published 1983-1985)

Without ready access to this literature, researchers would be severely hampered in their work.

Science Citation Indexis a special case. The number of articles published is taken from the “Journal Citation Reports” volume which counts only source articles. Source articles are generally defined as “original articles, technical notes and review articles.” Note that online, Science Citation Index often includes such items as letters to the editor in addition to source articles. Therefore, the number of articles indexed often appears to be greater than the number of articles published.

Even if only source items were cited online, the resulting percentage would still be quite high.

The results of this project demonstrated that non-physicists do indeed use physics journals. The final outcome was that the 36 physics journals were not removed from the Sterling C. Evans Library to form a physics branch library. Approximately 100 staff hours and nearly $1,000 in online charges were expended to complete the project. Nonetheless, the final outcome justified the high cost in time and money. Had the 36 titles been moved to a branch library, serious consideration would have been given to starting duplicate subscriptions because the journals were obviously needed by other researchers. However, there appeared to be no ready source of library or university funding for the duplicate subscriptions.

Online searching used in a non-traditional manner provided a fast and efficient solution under tight time constraints. Information gathered from the searches done on this project would have been impossible to obtain by hand in time to meet the deadline. This same approach could also serve well in similar situations that demand that journal collections be evaluated. One question must first be answered: is the evaluation important enough to offset the cost in time and money of doing the online searches? If the answer is yes, online searching will generate meaningful results quickly.

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