The main purpose of this study is to test and verify return on investment (ROI) model proposed for academic libraries in Arab countries. The study assessed the value of AAU digital library resources and identified the value of the digital library in supporting the funded research projects.
The proposed ROI model is based on two phases and two different data. In Phase I, the authors calculated ROI based on the total downloads of full text to determine the total financial returns of the database subscription costs for the academic year 2019–2020. In Phase II, the authors examined the citations drawn from the Scopus database on a sample of 30 funded research projects for the College of Engineering during the year 2019.
Although the application of the proposed model has some challenges, it is relevant in measuring the ROI of academic libraries in Arab countries. The results of the study in Phase 1 revealed that the AAU gained $0.95 for every $1 spent on subscriptions to online databases. For Phase 2, the findings indicated a negative ROI of $−0.70 for every $1 spent on library subscriptions to the IEEE database.
This is a case study based on data collected from Al Ain University, United Arab Emirate (UAE). Therefore, the findings of the study may not be generalized, and other studies may find different results if more samples and data are used.
Although the proposed model has been cited by research papers indexed in the Scopus database, Web of Science, Google Scholar, Crossref and ResearchGate, none of these papers tested or verified the suggested ROI model. This study could be the first study testing the suggested model. The findings of the study may contribute to the application of the ROI model in the Arab countries, and particularly the academic libraries in the Arab world.
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