StaffGuide: Serials Receiving & Processing

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Frequency Changes

A frequency change is:

  • A change in the number of issues you receive of a title in a year or volume. Ex: monthly -> quarterly, or quarterly -> semiannually. It can be something major like that, or something minor, i.e. from 11x/yr to 10x/yr.
  • Not always the same as a publication schedule change. Ex: weekly except for combined issues in July and Dec. -> weekly except for combined issues in June and Nov. See the section on publication schedules for more info about this. 

When to look for a frequency change:

  • It is best to check for these in the first issue of a volume or year.
  • Frequency changes in the middle of a volume or year are rare, but occasionally happen. It is good to review for frequency changes if you notice a new pattern in the journal’s cover date and/or enumeration format. For example, Popular Science switched from bi-monthly to quarterly with the 2nd issue of 2018. This became noticeable when the journal published a seasonal Spring 2018 issue, in contrast to their previous issues designated by months:

Frequency change from bimonthly to seasonal


Where to look for a frequency change:

  • Most journals list their frequency in the masthead area, often in fine print. This will be usually be towards the front of the issue on the 2nd or 3rd page, but can sometimes be in very fine print along the margin towards the back of an issue.
  • Sometimes, the publisher will mention an upcoming frequency change in an editor’s note. We are not expected to actively read all of these, but they are another good area to check and have been known to provide useful info after noticing something different about the journal.
  • Occasionally, we will get an e-mail from a publisher or one of the major vendors alerting us of a pending frequency change. HARR will often send us notification e-mails similar to claim e-mails alerting us of a pending frequency change, and EBSCO will send us title change alerts with links to login to our EBSCONET account for info on the change.
  • Sometimes, the publisher's website will mention a pending frequency change. 

What to do:

Give journals and forward any e-mails, publisher correspondence, etc., that indicate new frequencies or pending frequency changes to the Serials Processing Specialist for review. For more information, check out the section on how to process frequency changes