Subscription Review – January 2018 Update

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Subscription Review – January 2018 Update

The Western Libraries has good news to share regarding the subscriptions budget.

First, thanks to the support of Western faculty, as well as the rigorous and transparent efforts of the Senate Library Committee, the Provost’s Office agreed in January 2017 to provide the Libraries with funds to offset the cost of subscription inflation. This budgetary relief, at least for the next few years, has enabled a number of positive changes, including a hold on plans to further reduce subscription expenditures. 

With funding for inflation, the Libraries was able to restore access to the Taylor and Francis journal package, which includes 91 owned subscriptions and access to an additional 2,086 journals. A majority of titles in this package were slated to be cancelled last January.  Happily, journals in the Taylor and Francis package were instead available and downloaded by Western users a total of 38,358 times in 2017. The package was renewed in December 2017 for a three-year term.

The promise of inflationary increases from the Provost enabled the Libraries to continue its participation in the Orbis Cascade Alliance license agreement for the Springer package (610 titles, through 2019) and the Wiley journal package (1,594 titles, through 2018).  Unfortunately, efforts led by Western to renegotiate an agreement among a subset of Alliance libraries for the Elsevier journal package (146 titles) fell through, but Western ultimately was able to negotiate a favorable license through 2018 on its own. Changes in vendor pricing models—some favorable, some unfavorable—may shift the landscape as the Libraries negotiates with Elsevier and Wiley for 2019. In the meantime, Western users can enjoy status quo access to these important journal collections.

While there were no required expenditure reductions in 2016-17, the Libraries did conduct its annual journal evaluation to identify high cost-per-use titles for possible cancellation. Five subscriptions were identified as having a three-year cost-per-use (CPU) over $100, and they were assessed by the Libraries faculty. These titles were cancelled effective January 1, 2018 but are still available through interlibrary loan or per-article purchasing and may also be accessible through the Libraries’ full-text databases like Academic Search Complete, Business Source Complete, or JSTOR. Any questions about these cancellations should be directed to Collections Services or the Director of Collections.

As has been the Libraries’ practice in the past, similar routine subscription evaluations will continue on an annual basis.  If titles are identified for cancellation based on high CPU, details will be posted on the Libraries’ website and feedback is welcomed.  Due to the ongoing subscription review, the Libraries expects to free up funds within the subscription budget for the acquisition of new subscriptions (or the reinstatement of previously cancelled titles). The five subscriptions identified for cancellation in 2016-17 yielded just over $1,200 in funding for new subscriptions. Moving forward, the Libraries will be working with the Senate Library Committee to develop broad criteria for reinvestment of this and any future funds freed up by strategic cancellations.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Collections Services or the Director of Collections.