Memorial Libraries completes collections consultation for 2016

journal subscriptions feb 1

Memorial Libraries has finalized a list of journal subscriptions from four publishing packages that it will be retaining for 2016 following an extensive review and consultation with faculty, students and senior university administration.

Memorial Libraries provides access to approximately 80,000 journals. Five per cent of these journals, costing $1.4 million, are in the Cambridge, Oxford, Springer and Wiley publisher packages which were up for renewal in 2015.  Memorial Libraries will invest about $600,000 to retain the core journals included in these packages in 2016. In total, the libraries are cancelling approximately 1, 700 titles, or two per cent of its current journal subscriptions.

As with other academic libraries across the country that are part of this complex situation, 85 per cent of Memorial Libraries resources are purchased in U.S dollars.  As previously noted, despite a 25 per cent increase in funding for journal subscriptions over the past five years, from $6 million to $7.5 million, the rising cost of journal subscriptions (5- 15 percent annually) and the impact of the strengthening U.S. dollar have made it exceedingly difficult for Memorial Libraries to retain all journal subscriptions.

“Valuable dialogue continues to happen between the libraries, faculty and other stakeholders across Memorial,” said Louise White, interim university librarian.  “We gathered feedback through a detailed survey, examined important library data, including user statistics, and the overlap with other resources, all to ensure any impact on research and teaching is mitigated.”  

The libraries will find savings by cancelling publisher packages  and re-purchasing individual journal titles, as well as providing access to many others through significantly cheaper intermediary companies (often with the current year embargoed), and by providing alternate access to cancelled journals through a digital document delivery service. Despite these measures, rising publisher costs and the currency exchange rate will continue to challenge the libraries’ buying power.

 “The relationship between faculty representatives and our collections librarians is very important as we are forced to become very selective with our specific journal subscriptions,” said Ms. White.

“By working to maintain subscriptions to core journals and providing alternate access to all other journals required by faculty and students, we plan to continue the libraries’ focus on innovation and resiliency despite these challenging times,” said Ms. White.

Memorial Libraries and university administration are working closely together to ensure continued access to the university’s most relevant journals.

“There has been continuous consultation between university and library administration and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to uphold Memorial’s reputation for outstanding teaching, research and service,” said Dr. Noreen Golfman, provost and vice-president (academic).  “Libraries and the support they provide to teaching and research are integral to the university.”

Please contact the Collections Review SubCommittee Chair, Erin Alcock  with any questions, comments or concerns.

More information on the 2015-2016 journal subscription review can be found on the Memorial University Libraries website.