Each year, Arthur Lakes Library negotiates with publishers and vendors to provide access to the databases and journals that advance Mines’s world-changing research and transformative instruction. Unfortunately, the cost of these resources rises by 4-8% annually, far outpacing the rate of inflation and the realistic constraints of university budgets. When we negotiate with publishers, we seek contracts that are affordable, sustainable, and transparent, but sometimes publishers insist on significant increases that far exceed available funding. Mines is not alone in challenging these unsustainable increases- academic libraries of all sizes across the nation face the same reality. See news from University of California at Berkeley, University of North Carolina, University of Oklahoma, Kansas State University, and University of Iowa for a few examples.
We have dealt with this problem for years, creatively minimizing the impact of subscription cancellations on our faculty and students as we continue good faith negotiations. Last year we cancelled $68,000 in journal and database subscriptions. Two years ago, here at Mines we cancelled approximately $34,000 in journal and database subscriptions. In past years, through stopgap strategies like curbing book and digital archive purchases, we were able to avoid cancelling more. Unfortunately, to remain within our budget and be good stewards of University funds, fiscal year 2021 will bring with it another cut to subscription resources, with a goal of cancelling $50,000 worth of titles.
We know that cancelling subscription titles creates challenges for our faculty, researchers, and students. Every effort will be made to retain the most heavily used subscriptions. We will help find alternate means of accessing information whenever possible, and encourage the use of services like Interlibrary Loan. We will deliver more articles upon request, in lieu of a reliance on institutional subscriptions.
The library will employ a stopgap strategy of utilizing endowment funds to help mitigate the impact but existing subscriptions will still need to be cancelled.
Below is a downloadable spreadsheet listing subscription titles that will be canceled
A journal or database subscription that I need for my research has been cancelled. Is there a way for me to gain access to it?
Yes! We can and will meet your information needs without relying on costly subscriptions. The best place to start is Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Our staff are happy to help you find the resources you need when you need them, regardless of whether the title in question is in Purdue’s own collection.
Why is the Library cancelling so many titles this year?
Each year, Arthur Lakes Library negotiates with publishers and vendors to provide access to the databases and journals that advance Mines's world-changing research and transformative instruction. Unfortunately, the cost of these resources rises by 4-8% annually, far outpacing the rate of inflation and the realistic constraints of university budgets. When we negotiate with publishers, we seek contracts that are affordable, sustainable, and transparent, but sometimes publishers insist on significant increases that far exceed available funding. To remain within budget, we must cancel approximately $50,000 worth of titles this year.
When will the cancellations take effect?
Cancelled databases will have been discontinued as early as July 1, 2020. Cancelled journals will be discontinued on or around Jan. 1, 2021. Please note that some cancellation dates will vary within the 2020-2021 fiscal year as contracts expire and are not renewed.
How are you determining which titles get cancelled?
We have gathered data on hundreds of titles. Our primary criteria are usage numbers and CPU (cost per use.) The cost per use varies widely across titles, with some costing less than $5 and others costing over $100 for each use. Titles that are not used frequently, or can be easily accessed through less expensive means, or are simply too cost prohibitive will be considered for cancellation. Additionally print journal subscriptions will be cut due to staffing shortages.
How many journals and databases are you cancelling?
We are not focused on a number of titles. Rather, we need to cancel approximately $50,000 worth of titles to remain within our budget. Because the cost of titles varies and several factors go into determining which titles will be cancelled, we cannot provide an exact total of cancellations at this time. The final list of cancelled titles will be posted here in Fall 2020.
I feel strongly about maintaining a subscription to a certain title. Who should I contact to make sure my opinion is heard?
The deadline to submit feedback on the proposed cancellations list is Sept. 10, 2020. If you have additional concerns about our proposed cancellations, please contact Anna Seiffert via email.
If I state my objections to cancelling a title, will it automatically be saved?
We will attempt to maintain as many subscriptions as possible. However, we anticipate that there will be some level of concern about nearly every title proposed for cancellation, and we must meet the goal of canceling $50,000 from subscriptions in order to bring the available funds and the cost of current subscriptions into balance. Ultimately, the Library will not be able to maintain every title of interest to members of the faculty, staff, or student body, but we can promise that your objections and concerns will be respectfully taken into account in the decision-making process.
What can an individual faculty member do to help?
There are several ways that the campus community can assist the Library in addressing this problem:
Take an interest in the future of publishing and communication within your field. Reduced access to information caused by high prices is a problem faculty can help solve.
Cancellations is a frightening word, but it does not mean that you will lose access to the resources that you need for your teaching, research, or studies. By cancelling underused journal and database subscriptions, we are shifting the model of an effective, sustainable academic research library away from one of ownership to one of access. The information resources you need will still be available to you, but the route to access them will change.
Our streamlined Interlibrary Loan service will be your go-to source for many cancelled titles. By using ILL, you will still be able to access the articles you need when you need them, but they may be sourced from collections outside Mines. Regardless of where your requested materials originate, we are committed to ensuring that you receive them in a timely manner, be it in print or electronic form. Reaching out to your librarians when you need to source hard-to-find resources is also essential. Our librarians are here to help you!