The Association of Research Libraries has published The E-only Tipping Point for Journals: What’s Ahead in the Print-to-Electronic Transition Zone.
Here’s an excerpt from the “Executive Summary”:
The role of the printed journal in the institutional marketplace faces a steep decline in the coming 5 to 10 years. Print journals will exist mainly to address specialized needs, users, or business opportunities. Financial imperatives will draw libraries first—and ultimately publishers also—toward a tipping point where it no longer makes sense to subscribe to or publish printed versions of most journals.
Publishers will be driven to rationalize their investments in declining print revenue streams and to finance investments in e-publishing infrastructure and emerging opportunities. Some will be faster to do so, such as those already straining from the cost burden. Others will be slower, such as those with a self-supporting base of individual subscribers or significant advertising revenue from print.
A new focus will emerge on productivity in scholarly communication. Experiments will explore new business models and new ways of conducting and facilitating research. Along the way, vexing issues such as those surrounding assurance of long-term access to the scholarly record will continue to be sorted out and perhaps even solved.