The relationship between libraries and the scientific journals they carry has its troubles now and then, but has proved to be enduring over time--like any long, if perhaps imperfect, marriage. Most of the problems that spring up periodically--like the proverbial seven-year itch--to threaten the stability of the marriage arise from the sometimes competing needs, demands, and claims of researchers, library administrators, and publishers.

Scientists would like libraries to be comprehensively stocked with the specialized journals that support their investigative work. Conscientious library administrators, while sympathetic to their clients' needs, nevertheless complain that rising costs of science publications, along with space constraints and lack of personnel, frustrate their efforts to accommodate all users. Meanwhile, many publishers, while professing the desire to serve the broadest possible audience, are perceived as pricing their products to maximize profits, thereby putting them out of reach of individuals and smaller institutional subscribers.

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