Home / Collection Analysis and Strategy / 2009-2010 Reductions in Book Purchasing and Journal Subscriptions / Libraries Reductions in Book Purchasing and Journal Subscriptions FAQ

Libraries Reductions in Book Purchasing and Journal Subscriptions FAQ

Q: Why is the Libraries reducing book purchases and cancelling journal subscriptions?
A: The Libraries, like other units at the UW, has had to make cuts in response to reduced funding. In addition to reductions in hours, branches, and staffing, we have to make cuts of approximately $2,000,000 in monograph purchasing and subscriptions to journals and other materials.

Q: What is the extent of these reductions?
A: We estimate that the Libraries will buy at least 7,000 fewer books as a result of the budget reductions, cancel subscriptions to about 1,600 journals, and lose access to another 1,200 because funding will not allow continuation of a journal “bundle” from publisher Springer through which they have been available. Our goal is to minimize the impact of these reductions on research, clinical care and learning–but the large and unprecedented scope of the reductions unfortunately will affect most users.

Q: On what basis were the reductions made?
A: Reductions to serials budgets will be about $1.5M and the reduction to book budgets close to $500K, which roughly reflect current Libraries expenditure patterns. Reductions to disciplinary or subject allocations have been made on a percentage basis.

Q: How will the Libraries reduce book purchasing?
A: We will be pursuing a number of strategies, including reduction of duplicate purchases across the 3 campuses, more cooperative buying with other Orbis Cascade Alliance libraries, and purchasing fewer specialized materials.

Q: What journals and other subscriptions are being cancelled?
A: Our first step has been to reduce duplicate subscriptions and print copies where we can rely on electronic access. Since those reductions are not enough to address the funding problem, we are eliminating many other subscriptions. Lists of subscriptions being cancelled will be made available on the Libraries website.

Q: How did you decide which journals to discontinue?
A: As described in a memo sent to faculty, deans, directors and department chairs by Dean of University Libraries Betsy Wilson in April, the Libraries solicited input from departments to identify lower priority journals to eliminate. Comments from faculty and graduate students on the proposed cancellations and ratings were then gathered this fall via a web survey, and the 3,000 resulting comments, usage data, pricing and bundling of journal packages were considered in determining which subscriptions to eliminate.

Q: What is journal bundling, and how did it affect decisions?
A: The research journal market is increasingly dominated by relatively few publishers, who offer journal “bundles” or packages that provide access both to journals we have subscribed to in the past and to many others. Many of those additional titles have been shown to be of value through use statistics, or have been cited by UW authors. Such bundles typically also offer lower price increases and treat the 3 UW campuses as a single entity; otherwise each campus would have to subscribe individually to the journals they need, at a prohibitive overall cost. In return for these benefits, the Libraries may have to limit or forgo the right to cancel individual journals in the bundle. In some cases we have reluctantly decided to cancel journals from other publishers that we would prefer to retain, in order to continue providing access to more journals overall.

Q: Aren’t online journals less expensive than print?
A: Most journals have moved from print to online in the past several years, and that has saved publishers print publication costs like paper, ink and mailing. However, most publishers charge libraries about the same for online access that they used to charge for print. In some cases charges for online access far exceed what the Libraries paid in the past for print.

Q: Can I get this at another UW Library – for example UW Tacoma or UW Bothell?
A: The University Libraries is a system of individual libraries that share materials, resources and licensing. Where print copies of journals are available, we share them. However, since online journals are generally licensed for all 3 campuses, the loss of electronic access to a title is generally a loss to all campuses.

Q: But I need this journal for my research, clinical care, and/or teaching. Where can I find it?
A: The Libraries is also part of a national system of libraries with which we loan and borrow materials as requested by patrons, and we’re happy to help you locate materials you need elsewhere. In many cases, we can find the article you’re looking for and have it sent to you via ILL (Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Service) in 24-48 hours. Although there are costs to the Libraries of offering these services, they are currently being provided at no charge to UW faculty, staff and students.

Q: Can I donate a personal subscription of a journal?
A: Faculty sometimes offer their personal journal subscriptions as a substitute for higher-priced institutional subscriptions, but we are unable to accept them for legal and logistical reasons.

Q: Can I make other kinds of donations to the Libraries?
A: The Libraries welcomes monetary gifts that support our collections, although they are generally not used to fund ongoing costs like journal subscriptions. Please contact Cyndi Asmus at 206.685.1973 or go to Libraries Advancement for more information. Your gifts of review copies and other current books can also help–contact Carolyn Aamot at 206.543.1859 or visit the Gifts Program.

Q: Will cancelled subscriptions be resumed if and when funding is restored?
A: There is no guarantee that any journal subscription will be reinstated in the future, but we will continue to listen to the academic community as our funding situation evolves and do our best to address user needs.

Q: What is the future of online journals? Will cost continue to be a factor in selection?
A: Cost will continue to be one of many factors in selection of materials and collections for the University Libraries. The Libraries supports “open access publishing,” which enables access to online publications at no cost to users, as a way to help reduce subscription costs to libraries.

Q: Where can I direct my comments on specific journals or collections?
A: Please contact your library liaison, subject librarian or any Libraries staff member, or send an email to Tim Jewell, Director, Information Resources and Scholarly Communication.