Published in Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, No. 55, Fall 2008.


We report on a citation analysis of PhD dissertations in Plant Biology and Zoology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, undertaken to test the common assumption that scientists favor current research to such an extent that journal backfiles can be de-emphasized in academic library collections. Results demonstrate otherwise. The study is reproducible for any institution, and can help to evaluate 1) the value of electronic journal backfiles and 2) the need to maintain print backfiles.