As in the past year, Western Libraries will again implement a sustainable subscriptions strategy as it projects deficits in its FY18 resource access budget. Anticipated deficits are primarily the result of escalating subscription prices, compounded at an annual average of 6 percent, and a flat annual base allocation for scholarly resources. The estimated FY18 budget will be determined and announced soon.
Key documents describing last year’s subscription reduction review process are listed to the right. In summary, last October the Faculty Senate charged the Senate Library Committee’s Sustainable Access Task Force (SATF) to, in part, recommend transparent guidelines and processes that would result in subscriptions’ expenditure reductions of 15 percent for FY17, possible cuts of 10 percent for both FY18 and FY19, and 5 percent for both FY20 and FY21. The goal remains to balance the Libraries resource access budget by FY21.
In early 2016, the Libraries estimated it needed to reduce FY17 subscription expenditures by $315,000, or approximately 15 percent of that base budget. In June, after applying SATF’s recommendations, the Libraries cancelled more than 3,330 subscriptions and reduced subscription expenditures by $230,000. At the same time, the university allocated a total of $85,000 in one-time funds to retain selected high-use subscriptions for at least an additional year.
Whenever possible, Western Libraries seeks to lessen the negative impact on library users by retaining higher use titles relative to lower use titles. For example, of last year’s 4,016 journal titles that underwent institutional review, Western retained 686 titles (17 percent), which preserved 235,764 total uses (65 percent). In addition to the journal titles, Western retained 81 of 87 databases (93 percent), which preserved 8,092,789 total uses (99.9 percent).
Subscriptions identified for cancellation in FY16 will not take effect until January 1, 2017. There will be no disruption to those cancelled subscriptions during this quarter. Western Libraries is committed to ensuring that students, faculty and staff have access to resources that support their teaching, learning and research. To minimize disruption, the Libraries will continue to prepare and educate the university community on alternate access to cancelled content. The Senate Library Committee and Libraries administrators will soon review the past year’s subscription reduction review process with intent to improve this year’s process.
If you have any questions about last year’s or this year’s subscription reduction review process, please contact Collection Services.