March 2021 Update
Thanks to a recent commitment from the Provost’s Office to provide full, one-time funding for next fiscal year, the Libraries will no longer be forced to pursue subscription cancellations this year. This recent change allows us to move from a reactionary stance into a more deliberate, strategic review of our subscriptions portfolio.
It is a great relief not to have to cancel subscriptions for next year. However, this financial reprieve does not include sufficient funding for new subscriptions. Having received many faculty requests for new journals and databases over the years, the Libraries still wishes to better align subscription content with Western’s current teaching and research needs. Through the 2020-21 subscription review process, some departments requested new subscriptions in place of existing ones. To honor these requests and ensure that the university’s subscription portfolio remains dynamic and relevant, the Libraries will be working with these departments to explore the possibility of voluntary subscription swapping. Our net subscription spending will remain the same, but the content itself will shift into closer alignment with the curriculum. Any departments that requested new subscriptions this year should hear from one of the Libraries’ Subject Teams in the coming weeks to discuss options to change out titles of lesser relevance and substitute them in order to better meet your current needs.
As the 2020-21 subscription review process has proceeded, the Libraries has also been preparing an operating budget request to UPRC as part of the biennial budgeting process. If this proposal is fully funded, the Libraries expects to avoid reactionary cancellations next year as well and instead will work with departments who wish to add new content in lieu of titles they find less relevant to their work. If the biennial operating request is not fully funded, the Libraries again will need to pursue large-scale subscription cancellations.
The Libraries is grateful for the university’s engagement with the subscription review process and appreciates the university-wide conversations that have taken place regarding the resource access budget. We look forward to working with the university community toward sustainable solutions in the coming years. In the meantime, we will continue to curate and develop library collections as best we can with the resources we have./p>