I wrote about this issue years ago in a JMLA/BMLA editorial:

The bottom line is that it is fraudulent for an institution to attempt to obtain subscriptions at the personal rate.  Subscription agents and some publishers try to monitor this closely, and if they suspect that this is being done, they may refuse to honor subscription orders or at least inquire further.

If individuals take out personal subscriptions with the intent of giving them to the library in order to circumvent the institutional rate, that may be fraudulent, but I'm not familiar with any actual court cases.

If individuals who have personal subscriptions want to donate their copies to the library when they are done with them, that is perfectly fine.  The library can accept them just as any other gift and catalog or bind them as they see fit.  

People who have been around collection development for a long time know, however, that there are some practical risks in relying on those gift issues -- will you get every issue?  How timely is the person gifting the issues?  What happens if they leave the institution? Etc...   So many libraries may choose not to catalog or bind them, but that is an individual library policy decision.

If you've got docs who are willing to give you their subscription copies, go ahead.  Just make sure they understand that they should not be taking out personal subscriptions in order to get around the institutional price.


T. Scott Plutchak
Director, Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham
[log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: Medical Libraries Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Lindsay, J. Michael
Sent: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 8:42 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: gift subscriptions

My library has been planning serious cuts of journals, and when we sent
out our list, we had a few doctors offer to provide us with their
personal subscriptions.  I've been told that we can't add them to our
catalog, bind them, etc.  
Is this true?  
J. Michael Lindsay, MSIS, AHIP
Serials/E Resources Librarian
Preston Medical Library
1924 Alcoa Hwy
Knoxville, TN 37920-6999
phone: 865-305-9528
fax: 865-305-9527
[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>