Journals, 2011/12

In order for an academic library to cancel an instutional journal subscription, we must provide four to six months advance notice. Therefore, when the final budget cuts were announced in August, we needed to move very quickly to identify which journals should be renewed and which could be cancelled. In identifying specific titles and packages for cancellation, library faculty and staff followed a thorough and thoughtful process in analyzing available data for journals, including such details as price, usage statistics, cost-per-use, overlap with other resources, impact factors, expected inflation rates, and current need or relevance.

When considering cancellation options, the Libraries looked at both individual journal titles and "Big Deals". A “Big Deal” is a package containing many journal titles that a publisher offers as a one-price, one-size-fits-all package. Although a Big Deal can be relatively expensive, it can also be cost effective, because faculty and students gain access to a significantly larger number of journals than through individual subscriptions. The University Libraries have arrangements with a number of Big Deals, and all of these arrangements were reviewed for possible cancellation. Four Big Deals have been identified for cancellation:

  • Royal Society of Chemistry B & J package of 12 current titles, $31,000
    Reason, high cost-per-use
  • Institute of Physics (IOP) package of 57 titles, $15,000
    Reason, high cost-per-use
  • Sage Premier package was cancelled ($154,000), but selective subscriptions were initiated for a number of individual titles with the highest usage statistics and four Sage subject collections (Psychology, Sociology, Education, and Nursing & Public Health) ($76,000), with resulting savings of $78,000
    Reason, high mark-up on price for package
  • Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins Total Access Collection was cancelled ($92,000), but we retained 78 titles that were either in the LWW Nursing Collection, or had high usage, or had a combination of moderate usage and high impact factor. This reduction allows us to save more than half the cost of the Total Access package.
    Reason, price has more than doubled over last 4 years and is projected to increase at an unsustainable rate

In addition to identifying the four Big Deals, library faculty reviewed all the titles for which we have direct, individual subscriptions. For these titles, we were able to save a significant amount of money by changing format (usually moving from a print subscription to an online subscription), and by reducing format duplication (which typically means moving from a dual print-plus-online subscription to an online-only subscription). We also identified for potential cancellation over forty direct subscriptions whose usage is low relative to their cost.

List of all journals identified for cancellation - Note: This list includes 52 individual subscriptions plus over 600 additional titles currently accessible through the four Big Deals described above. It only includes titles for which, after January 2012, we would no longer be able to provide access to current volumes as they are published. In nearly all cases, we will retain access to significant backfiles that go back many years. After this round of cancellations, we still expect to be able to provide UNCG faculty and students with access to over 55,000 journals, including virtually every journal published by Elsevier, Springer, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press, Taylor and Francis, and several other prestigious academic publishers.

Comments and Feedback

We encourage faculty comments about the impact of these reductions on your work and practice, and we welcome suggestions for optimizing library service and resource access under current fiscal constraints. Please send comments to your library liaison or Beth Bernhardt, Assistant Dean for Collection Management and Scholarly Communications.