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Subscription Review Update 2/10: Cancellation Target

February 10, 2021


The Libraries support teaching and research at all levels across the University of Washington. When the University moved to remote learning in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Libraries shifted to focus on online resources to support students and faculty in this remote environment. The Libraries was able to leverage endowment funding to increase our purchasing of ebooks and streaming media, and continue most of our journal and database subscriptions even while facing inflationary pressure on our budgets from these subscriptions.

The continuing pace of inflation of these journal and database subscriptions is pushing ongoing subscription costs as a share of the overall resources budget to unsustainable levels. The pressure from serials inflation alone is eroding our ability to acquire and provide access to critical resources for teaching and research. The Libraries received a modest increase in the 2019-2021 biennial budget that covered a fraction of the subscription inflation. This shortfall in inflation funding combined with additional COVID-19 related budget reductions for fiscal year 2020-2021 resulted in a significant shortfall in funding for subscriptions that requires we take a critical eye to all of our subscriptions.

The Libraries is planning for two possible scenarios for fiscal year 2021-2022: 1) flat budget, and 2) 5% budget reduction (note: both scenarios include fiscal year 2020-2021 COVID-19 budget reduction).  With a flat budget for the Libraries resources at the Seattle campus and anticipated average increase of 4% for subscriptions, the resulting shortfall in funding would require the Libraries to cancel $1.5 million of journal and database subscriptions. With an additional 5% budget reduction, the target for cancellations grows to $2.1 million.

The total cancellation target amount scenarios were presented at the Faculty Council on University Libraries (FCUL) February 10th meeting. Lists of proposed cancellations and a feedback form will be presented at the next FCUL meeting scheduled for April 14 and posted to the Subscription Review web page.

If you have specific questions about this process, we encourage you to reach out to FCUL voting faculty, or your Libraries Subject Librarian.


Denise Pan

Associate Dean of University Libraries for Collections and Content