CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 75

QUESTION
The soaring prices of scholarly and scientific journals have forced academic libraries used only by academic researchers to drastically reduce their list of subscriptions. Some have suggested that in each academic discipline subscription decisions should be determined solely by a journal’s usefulness in that discipline, measured by the frequency with which it is cited in published writings by researchers in the discipline.

Which one of the following, if true, most seriously calls into question the suggestion described above?

OPTIONS
[A]. The nonacademic readership of a scholarly or scientific journal can be accurately gauged by the number of times articles appearing in it are cited in daily newspapers and popular magazines.
[B]. The average length of a journal article in some sciences, such as physics, is less than half the average length of a journal article in some other academic disciplines, such as history.
[C]. The increasingly expensive scholarly journals are less and less likely to be available to the general public from nonacademic public libraries.
[D]. Researchers often will not cite a journal article that has influenced their work if they think that the journal in which it appears is not highly regarded by the leading researchers in the mainstream of the discipline.
[E]. In some academic disciplines, controversies which begin in the pages of one journal spill over into articles in other journals that are widely read by researchers in the discipline.
Answer: D
Explanation:

The author says that academic libraries (used only by academic researchers) will have to cut down their subscription lists; journals are just too expensive. He suggests that subscription decisions in each discipline should be based only on the usefulness of the journal in that discipline, and goes on to say that a journal’s “usefulness” can be measured by how frequently it’s cited by researchers in published writings. (D) weakens this suggestion by attacking the author’s concept of “usefulness.” If, as (D) says, researchers will not always cite a journal article that’s important in their work, then it’s possible that by using the suggested criterion for usefulness, some journals that are useful may not appear useful based only on frequency of citation. Thus the proposed response to the problem would actually be counter-productive—many useful journals could end up being removed from the academic libraries.

(A) and (C) are irrelevant. The problem under discussion is experienced by libraries that cater only to academic researchers, and so the nonacademic readership of scholarly journals, (A), and the conditions of nonacademic libraries, (C), are out of the scope.

(B) offers an irrelevant comparison/distinction; there’s no necessary connection between the length of a journal article and the number of other articles it cites, or is cited by. Furthermore, in the stimulus, the comparison between journals is only made within each discipline—there is no comparison between disciplines as stated here.

(E) doesn’t affect the solution. It doesn’t matter that controversies spill over from one academic journal to another; so long as all the articles concerned with the controversy cite their sources, the solution in the argument isn’t weakened.


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