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Memorial continues to consult on journal subscriptions

Dec. 11, 2015

Memorial continues to consult on the review of journal holdings in its library system.

 Despite a 25 per cent increase in funding for journal subscriptions over the past five years, from $6 million to $7.5 million, the rising cost of journal subscriptions and the impact of the strengthening U.S. dollar have presented significant challenges to the planning process for the library. About 85 per cent of journal purchases are in U.S. dollars.

Memorial Libraries is continuing to analyze journal purchases to find cost savings where possible, while still maintaining journal subscriptions for those resources deemed essential by academic staff and students.  

The analysis includes a review of journal usage, and consultation with academic units that began in June 2015 and will continue into 2016.

As recently pointed out by CBC News, journal subscription has become increasingly profit driven and complex. Critical journals are often packaged with a group of less popular journals, forcing the university to pay for materials it doesn’t necessarily deem valuable. The current analysis includes examining journal packages and existing subscriptions to find cost savings where possible. This may include breaking bundles apart and buying back the significant journals.

Memorial currently holds about 80,000 journal subscriptions and is analyzing about 2,500 of those in its current review.

To view the library collections online, please visit here

At this point, no journals have been cancelled as a result of this review.

“Journals are integral to the core business of the university and we have no intention of undermining our teaching and research capacity,” said Dr. Noreen Golfman, provost and vice-president (academic).

Aside from analyzing current journal costs, the university is also exploring ways to protect itself from the shock of currency fluctuations; those discussions are ongoing.

Memorial continues to prioritize academic budgets over administrative spending.

The university budget, passed by the Board of Regents in July, included a one-time budget reduction of $1.3 million and an ongoing base budget reduction of $2.6 million for administrative units. Direct academic expenditures were exempt from cuts in July.

For more on university budget, please see here.