Collections update – September 2016

Posted on Friday, September 23, 2016

The scholarly communications landscape in Canada and worldwide is currently under technological and economic pressures that will inevitably lead to new models and approaches (CARL, 2016). As described in CUSP: Canadian Universities and Sustainable Publishing (2016) by Martha Whitehead and Brian Owen, “Many factors are converging: the continuing impact of digital technology on teaching and research, the growing expertise of academic libraries in utilizing and supporting technology-based initiatives, the move towards policies of open access, the oligopoly of international academic publishers and the financial constraints of university budgets.”

The University of Ottawa is not immune to these global pressures.  Combined with the lack of indexation to address annual increases in the costs of scholarly materials, the absence of a mitigation strategy to address the problem of currency fluctuation and weakness in relation to the US dollar and the 2% university-wide budget cut in 2016-17, collections expenditures will be cut by a total of $1.927M.  Serials and databases expenditures will be reduced by $1.527 million and books expenditures by $400K.  In March 2016 we carried out a Collections survey of full and part-time professors, as well as graduate students. The input we have received was used in guiding our decision-making, as discussed below.  A summary report of findings has been prepared; the full report is forthcoming.

In assessing the value of the ‘Big Deal’ journal collections available for cancellation this year, Taylor & Francis and Springer are deemed to have lower overall value than Wiley (based on cost, usage, and impact) for a savings of $955,919. The impact of these cuts, which will come into effect on January 1, 2017, are shared across all faculties and disciplines.

To meet the balance of the $1.527M, additional individual journal and database titles will be cut from the Brian Dickson Law Library, Health Sciences Library and Morisset Arts & Sciences Library for a total of $683,174.  Access to some of these titles has already been terminated, while access to others will terminate at the end of December 2016.  This is a list in progress – we will finish our exercise this fall and post the final listing as work to identify titles is completed.

University Librarian Leslie Weir presented a comprehensive overview of the challenges and issues affecting our Collections budget to the Deans and members of the Administration Committee.

Please contact your subject librarian to discuss the status of specific titles, and to discuss alternative access methods such as Interlibrary Loans, or Open Access alternatives.

We thank you for your collaboration as we make difficult decisions to operate within the budget constraints.

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