As we announced in July, the University Library is cancelling its “big deal” electronic journal subscriptions to Taylor & Francis and Wiley-Blackwell, effective January 1, 2020. We are forced to take action to balance our collections budget, with deficits largely caused by the fluctuating value of the Canadian dollar and unsustainable inflation on the subscription costs set by publishers.
By cancelling these two subscription packages, the library will meet its reduction target of $1.38 million while freeing up approximately $400,000 to re-subscribe to selected individual journal titles from within the two packages. Re-subscription decisions were made in accordance with our principles, including using multiple data points, maintaining appropriate disciplinary balance, and incorporating feedback from faculty and graduate students.
Specifically, we factored the following criteria into our decision-making process:
- Average use per year (four-year average)
- Adjustments to maintain proportional disciplinary balance
- Titles selected and ranked by survey responses (scored based on a weighted average calculation)
- Papers published by USask researchers over a 10-year period
- Citations to journals by USask researchers over a 10-year period
- Total budget available for re-subscription
For summaries and explanations of some of our data points, see Balancing the Collections Budget: By the Numbers.
The complete list of titles the library plans to buy back is here.**
With the cancellation of these two journal packages, we will lose ongoing access to approximately 3,700 of the 40,000 electronic journals we currently subscribe to. No other publisher packages (e.g., Elsevier, Springer-Nature, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, IEEE, ACS, etc.) are being cancelled at this time.
The next steps for the library involve working with Taylor & Francis and Wiley-Blackwell to set up subscriptions to the individual titles we have identified for resubscription. We will also provide additional information on how you will be able to obtain articles from the journals we are cancelling. In the new year, we will continue to assess usage and consider feedback; a small pool of funds has been set aside to make adjustments as needed.
*Cost-per-use = the annual journal title subscription cost divided by the average # of downloads. Cost-per-use is a measure of the overall journal cost relative to how much it is used at USask; it is not the price we are paying every time an article is downloaded.
**UPDATE-DEC. 23, 2019: negotiations with Taylor & Francis and Wiley-Blackwell have concluded. 29 additional journals will be re-subscribed to and more than 1,660 journals from both publishers combined will be retained through perpetual access agreements.