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Library Acquisitions Cancellations

We would like to inform the Laurentian University community that the Library and Archives will need to take a number of difficult measures to manage its acquisitions budget in the context of the steep fall in the value of the Canadian dollar in relation to the US dollar over the last year.  Since the measures that we are proposing may have consequences for your teaching or research, we list them here. Some will affect the community at large and others will be noticed mainly by those working in a particular discipline; in all cases, we would be pleased to receive any questions or comments that you may have.

Background

  • A year ago, the Canadian dollar was worth over $0.90 per US dollar; it is currently worth $0.76 and is projected to fall even further in the next year.
  • The Library and Archives spends over 90% of its acquisitions budget on purchases and licenses that are priced in US dollars.
  • The acquisitions budget of the Library and Archives in the 2015-2016 fiscal year is just over $2.1 million; while this is includes an increase of about 2.85% over last year’s acquisitions budget (generous in the context of the University’s tight budget overall), it does not compensate either for “normal” yearly price increases for scholarly content or for the shrinking purchasing power of the Canadian dollar.
  • We anticipate that we will need to find about $500,000 (Canadian) in savings, of which we hope to achieve about $350,000 this year and the remaining next year.

General Measures

  • We are dropping our license (expiry: August 2015) to EBSCO’s Academic Search Complete, favouring instead its market rival, Gale Cengage’s Academic OneFile, which we already license and which, through an historical quirk, is relatively inexpensive for us.  While there is significant overlapping content in these two databases, some may find that certain “favourite” journals are not available in Academic OneFile; some titles may be available through another database, but articles from other journals may need to be obtained through RACER.  For those curious about the difference in coverage between these two databases, we can provide title lists.
  • We are reducing our purchasing of single books by about half, retaining enough money to allow us to respond positively to most requests for individual titles.
  • We are dropping our site license (expiry: August 2015) for RefWorks (already announced) and encouraging the use instead of free Web-based citation management applications, e.g., Zotero.
  • We are cancelling low-use individual paper or online journal subscriptions as we identify these; the very occasional need for these titles will be met through inter-library loan (RACER).
  • We are dropping our license (expiry: October 2015) to Thomson Reuters’ Journal Citation Reports (a tool, rather than scholarly content and not highly used).
  • We have made regular purchases of new titles in certain large e-book series, e.g., Oxford Handbooks Online; while we will cease these broad e-book purchases, we will retain access to those we have already purchased and can still purchase particular titles upon request.

Cancellations specific to certain fields

In order to achieve our savings target, we will need to drop a number of licenses to products that serve particular disciplines or multidisciplinary fields.  We do not pretend that these will go unnoticed and we remain open to the possibility that certain ones may be too important to a given field to drop—we invite your feedback and would be pleased to speak with you about any concerns you may have. Nevertheless, we have been able to identify a number of products that are either (a) low-use, (b) very high-cost per use or (c) have a significant over lap with one or more products that we anticipate retaining.  

  • Environment Index (expiry: August 2015) - Significant overlap with GreenFILE
  • GEOBASE (expiry: February 2016) - Significant overlap with GeoRef
  • Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (expiry: November 2015) - Very low use
  • International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (expiry: November 2015) - Very high cost per use
  • MathSciNet (expiry: December 2015) – Low use
  • Music Index (expiry: August 2015) – Significant overlap with RILM
  • OECD iLibrary (expiry: December 2015; the journals and books only: we will retain access to the datasets) – Very low use 
  • Physical Education Index (expiry: February 2016) – Significant overlap with SPORTDiscus
  • Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (expiry: November 2015)– High cost per use (have print version at the U. of Sudbury)
  • Science (the paper version; expiry: fall 2015) – We have online access through NOSM

Notes

  • Most of the bibliographic and full-text journal databases noted above have at least some, and often significant, overlap with Thomson-Reuters’Web of Knowledge and/or Gale’s Academic OneFile.
  • Increasingly often, especially in the sciences, a post-peer-review version of an article can be found in an open access repository through a search in Google Scholar.
  • Articles to which we do not have immediate access can, as ever, be obtained through RACER.
  • As we generally make multi-year commitments to license online content, not all “good” candidates for cancellation are available to us this year; additional cancellations will likely be necessary in 2016-2017; we will prepare a list of these next winter.
  • It is not a realistic option for us to move funds from already minimal staffing or other operational lines to assist with acquisitions. 

As noted, we would be pleased to confer with you about any of the anticipated cancellations noted above.  Your liaison librarian would be able to work with you on resource location questions that may arise from not having access to the sources above. This is a difficult moment for Canadian academic libraries and the communities they serve.  We thank you for your understanding.