DRAFT Western Libraries Annual Subscription Review Process
Drafted February 2020 by the Western Libraries Subscription Task Force
Updated March 2020 by the Western Libraries Scholarly Resources Group
NOTE: This document is a draft as of May 2020 and may be updated pending feedback from a Spring 2020 feedback survey.
Starting in 2020-21, the Western Libraries will lead the university through an annual subscription review process. This process will allow the university to manage rising subscription costs and, if necessary, make critical expenditure reductions. Beyond these financial motivations, an annual subscription review will also provide the valuable opportunity to identify new subscriptions for Western’s collections and align library materials more closely with the university strategic plan. This would allow 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 of the 2019-20 subscription review, with minor modification based on specific, constructive feedback at the end of the 2019-20 process. The process itself will be reviewed after four years (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 and consultation purposes. The process will continue to involve a departmental review period in winter quarter during which departments can review the draft cancellation list, submit retention requests, or suggest new titles for subscription.
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, the SRG will identify a draft cancellation list each year. In order to allow for retention requests and new subscriptions, the draft cancellation list should total at least 120% of the target reduction amount during years when funding shortfalls make cancellations necessary or 2% of the subscription budget in years when no cancellations are necessary (in order to free up funds to add new subscriptions). Evaluation must include all journal packages as they are up for renewal. Following the creation of the draft cancellation list, departments will be invited to provide feedback (using a process to be developed at the end of 2019-20), after which the SRG will revise the cancellation/acquisition list for SLC review. Libraries administration will make final retention, subscription, and cancellation decisions.