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JSIST 2004 Pages: December 16, 2004

Regarding the Issues Related to the Acquisition of Scholarly Monographs

Speaker: SUZUKI Tetsuya, Kyoto University Press and AKAZAWA Hisaya, Kyoto University Libraries.

December 16, 2004

The following report summarizes the lectures given by Mr. Tetsuya Suzuki and Mr. Hisaya Akazawa.

"The Change in Scholarly Communication and University Presses"
by SUZUKI Tetsuya, Associate Managing Editor, Kyoto University Press

Despite their active appearance, Japanese university presses are in a poor, even critical situation from the viewpoint of the activation of scholarly communication and the worldwide development of Japanese scholarship.

University Presses Increasing
The number of university presses in Japan has been increasing despite the general depression in the publishing business, but the continuation of this trend is questionable. The background of this phenomenon is the so-called "daigaku kaikaku (university reform)" initiated in 1991, with its revised university establishment standards, which, while encouraging the diversification of university curricula, intensified competition among universities. The competition was accelerated among the public universities, which became independent administrative institutions in 2004. While Japanese universities are expected to become nationally or internationally competitive, the depression in the publishing trade hinders researchers in distributing their works through publication. Hence universities are led to establish their own presses to secure the means to distribute the works of their faculty members and help promote the standing of the university itself. However, such an inflation of university presses, without the understanding of and solutions to the problems academic publications face, may lead to low-quality publications. The three problems are identified as follows: 1) the lack or insufficiency of publication in English; 2) the lack of infrastructure needed to publish cutting edge/narrow-focused/specialized works; and 3) the poor prospects of scholarly communication in the age of digitization.

1)   Lack or Insufficiency of English Language Publication
The Japanese government has proceeded with the "Center of Excellence (COE) Program" which aims to create internationally competitive research centers in Japan. In order to receive financial assistance from this program, researchers are further encouraged to publish scholarly monographs in English to receive international recognition. Nonetheless, the number of publications in English in Japan remains extremely low, and even university presses "pay no attention to English publications." This is partly due to the insufficient infrastructure in the Japanese publishing business, which lacks editor capable of assessing and reading English manuscripts as well as a system for distributing selected publications to the oversea market.

2)   The Lack of Infrastructure to Help Releasing the Cutting Edge/ Narrow-Focused/Specialized Works
The Japanese publication business leans toward mass production and mass consumption, and the economics of publishing makes it extremely difficult to publish scholarly monographs for small audiences. Also, because many editors lack advanced knowledge of the subject matter, they are unable to comprehend the content of the manuscript and fail to employ an appropriate editing and publication strategy for the effective distribution of scholarly discourse.

3)   The Poor Prospects of Scholarly Communication in the Ages of Digitization
The Internet revolutionized the world of information-communication by making possible the instantaneous search and retrieval of information. However, "scholarly" information available via the Internet lacks credibility and such digitized information allows instant revision and elimination. The digitization of scholarly discourse seems inevitable and perhaps self-evident, but both publishers and scholars have not paid enough attention to such problems.

Attempt of Kyoto University Press (KUP) and Proposal for New Scholarly Communication Model
KUP is attempting to meet the demands of the scholars and the readers of today; for example, KUP has been actively publishing scholarly works in English in selected fields. By forming an affiliation with Trans Pacific Press and Cactus Communication Pvt. Ltd., KUP has developed an overseas market. Also, KUP has published scholarly monograph supplemented with CD-ROMs. Scholarly discourse is moving toward internationalization as well as digitization, and university presses should seek for a new business model to meet the demand of time.

"A Way to Acquire Scholarly Monographs: Collection Development of Periodicals in University Libraries, focusing on "kiyo."
By AKAZAWA Hisaya, Librarian, Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Library, Kyoto University

What is "daigaku kiyo"?
"Daigaku Kiyo ("university journals") is usually defined as a collection of articles periodically published by a university or department or attached research institute. It is a means through which affiliated faculty members publish their scholarly works. Effective acquisition and dissemination of daigaku kiyo has been a difficult task for university libraries.

Uniqueness and Problems
Daigaku kiyo provide younger researchers with the opportunity to publish their works; thus it has become an important medium of scholarly discourse, especially in the humanities and social sciences. On the other hand, since acceptance standards tend to be lax or low, the articles available through kiyo show a great variety in quality. Also, there is no standard for their acquisition and preservation, largely because kiyo are usually distributed on a gift or exchange basis. A university library may collect kiyo published by its parent university or those that are related to the parent university's research areas. However, kiyo published by junior colleges and those that are outside the research programs of the parent university or are have brief periods of distribution tend to go uncollected. Moreover, many kiyo have generic titles, which may be changed from time and time, and the publication tends to be irregular. Such characteristics make it hard for a library to adequately manage the acquisition, preservation and retrieval of kiyo.

Contents Distribution of Kiyo
Traditionally, a university library's involvement in its parent university's kiyo has been limited to acting as depository. Recently, however, some libraries have taken a more active role by creating indexes to the articles and thereby promoting the dissemination of information. Efforts are also being made to create a so-called "electronic library" in which the articles are digitized and available for use through the library's web page. However, such attempts are limited to a few university libraries; so easy access and reliable acquisition, storage and delivery of kiyo content remain challenging.

Acquisition of Kiyo Contents
The following databases are useful for searching articles in kiyo.

  • Zasshi kiji sakuin database: provided by the National Diet Library OPAC; also available through MagazinePlus (commercial database provided through Nichigai Associates)
  • Kokubungaku bunken mokuroku database by Kokubungaku Kenkyu Shiryokan (National Institute of Japanese Literature): a journal index database for Japanese litearature; 60-70% of records are cited from
  • CiNii: Ronbun joho nabigeta, an index database for journal articles by the National Institute of Informatics (NII): a free test database which contains approx. 10,000,000 records as of August 2004. Some records provide links to the articles to which the searched records refer. Abstracts and full-texts are partially available.


[Prepared by Michiko Ito.]

Projects of Digital Resources in Japan: Mainly at the NDL

Speaker: Hisayoshi Harada, Keisuke Horikoshi, Miho Kawai, Shuji Uetsuna, Hiroki Yamazaku, Kansai-kan, NDL

December 16, 2004

Several new digital resource projects by the NDL were introduced. Each can be accessed for free through the NDL homepage.

Digital Library includes: "Kichosho gazo detabesu" Image database of rare materials kept at the NDL.

"Kindai degitaru raiburai" (Modern digital library)
They digitized 54,349 books published in Meiji era (1868-1912) whose copyrights were expired or which NDL obtain permission to digitize.

WARP (Web Archiving Project):

NDL archives the mainly three categories of websites.

  1. Electronic journals.
  2. Governmental websites.
  3. Local government, universities, non-governmental organizations, event websites.

Dnavi (Database Navigation Service)
This is a portal site of collection of about 9,000 databases (September, 2004).

"Denshi tenjikai" (Gallery - digital exhibitions)
Eight digital exhibitions are organized by using the NDL collection to preserve "Japan's memory" in the Gallery section in the NDL. Each exhibition is about Japanese history or culture and was arranged as the digital resource from the beginning.

Referemce Information System
Rifarensu kyodo database (Reference Collaborative database)
This is a new service to be launched from April, 2005. The database contains reference questions and answers shared by public libraries in Japan. Participant library can use this database to offer more efficient reference service. This service will be shared with libraries outside Japan as well in future.

International reference service is available for researchers overseas.

[Prepared by Keiko Yokota-Carter.]

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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