Review Process and Timeline

Review Process and Timeline

Revised September 2021

Since 2019-20, the Western Libraries has led the university through an annual subscription review process. In times of budget shortfall, this process allows the university to manage rising subscription costs and, if necessary, make critical expenditure reductions. At all times, this process serves a greater purpose, providing the valuable opportunity to review what we have, identify new subscriptions for Western’s collections, and align library materials more closely with the university strategic plan. This allows for more timely support for new and emerging programs, development of more inclusive and diverse collections, and better support for interdisciplinary research. 

The annual subscription review process will follow the model developed for the 2019-20 subscription review, with minor modification based on specific, constructive feedback gathered each year. The overall process itself will be reviewed at the end of 2022-23, once all journal packages have come up for renewal and we have established a baseline of data from which to draw conclusions. 

The process will be implemented by the Libraries’ Scholarly Resources Group (SRG) (consisting of subject librarians and library collections experts) with regular reports to the Senate Library Committee (SLC) for informational purposes. The process will continue to involve a university review period in winter quarter during which all members of the university community can review the draft cancellation list and potential new titles, submit retention requests, or suggest additional new titles for consideration. The Libraries’ Subject Teams will engage with departments throughout the process, starting in the fall and continuing until decisions have been finalized in late spring. 

The process will include an annual refresh of each subscription’s scorecard. The majority of data will be updated annually as part of this refresh. However, some metrics that are slower to change (e.g. vendor privacy policies) and more labor-intensive to implement (e.g. publisher support of Open Access) will be updated on a biennial basis. Based on each subscription’s updated score and the volume of new subscriptions requested by the university community, the SRG will identify a draft cancellation list each year. 

Following the creation of the draft cancellation list, students, faculty, and staff will be invited to provide feedback on potential cancellations and new subscriptions via individual survey. The SRG will review the individual responses; consult with departments and institutes on aggregate, subject-specific trends; and revise the cancellation/acquisition list based on qualitative input. Libraries administration will authorize final retention, subscription, and cancellation decisions.