FAQ for the Libraries 2020 Cancellations

Why are the libraries canceling subscriptions? 

The Libraries are supporting the efforts of the School of Arts, Science & Engineering to address a $7 million structural deficit. The reduction is one part of a much larger campus-wide effort. 


What is the goal of the journal cancellation project? 

The Libraries will cancel a total $500k in serials one time.  


How much of the libraries’ budget does the $500k reduction represent?

The reduction is 7% of the libraries serials budget.


What is the timeline for the cancellation project? 

February - May 2020Data Analysis and Collection Assessment - Library professionals established criteria and methodology to identify potential cancellations.  

June - July 2020Review and Cancellations - The Campus will be able to review and provide feedback on the list of proposed cancellations from June 1st until July 15th. 

July - August 2020Assessment and Next Steps - On July 15th, the campus will receive an email update with the results of the project.  


How are resources identified for the project? 

Because this collections review is a comprehensive evaluation of all subscription-based costs, it is important to assess all print and online serials titles to which the River Campus Libraries currently subscribes. The evaluation of serials involves a combination of quantitative, qualitative and cost measures. All cancellation decisions are being made in consultation with faculty, staff, and students. To this end, the lists of serials titles proposed for cancellation include data for evaluation such as publishers, costs, journal impact factors, frequency of publications and citations to the serials by UR researchers, subjects, and usage data of the online versions (article downloads) from 2017-2020.


How can I access a journal that is not offered through the libraries?  

The Libraries’ InterLibrary Loan (ILL) service can be used to request articles, books or other documents that the Libraries does not own or offer access to. In most cases, journal articles will be delivered directly to your desktop at no charge to you. 

Many articles you’re looking for may already be available in a repository or on the web. We recommend using Browser extensions such as Open Access Button and Unpaywall which are free and legal ways to locate open access literature. 


Which departments and programs will be affected?

This project will affect all departments and programs in AS&E.


When will cancellations take effect?

Cancellations must be committed by July 15th and will be in effect in Fall Semester, 2021.  


How are cancellations decided?

The most critical element of the decision-making process is consultation with faculty, staff, and students about the journals they consider most critical to teaching, learning, and research. Librarians making the final decisions will consider a number of other factors (and will share information about these criteria to the extent possible): 

  • The cost and price history of the journal. This information is being provided to librarians with the list of journals. 

  • The use of the journal, especially of current and recent issues. Our means for measuring use are imperfect, and this criterion must be applied with caution, but the data available in many subject areas provides some insight into proportionate use. 

  • Citation and publishing behavior (for those fields for which we have sufficient information). The Libraries has reports on the number of times UR authors have cited (as well as published in) journals, year-by-year, in certain fields.  There are also reports indicating the frequency of citation of journals by all researchers. 


How can I help? 

The most immediate action a faculty member can take is to participate actively in the review by giving the Libraries your feedback- let us know what titles are most important to you. Talk with your library representative about the review process. Make sure you submit your feedback by before July 15th. Faculty can also engage in activities that have an enormous impact on scholarly communications issues. The Libraries encourages you to: 

  • Learn more about journal pricing and inflation and help the libraries take action make scholarship more sustainable.  

  • Consider opening up your own past works - enter the DOI in Share Your Paper to make it Open Access today.

  • Examine the scholarly journals in which you publish as well as your service on editorial boards- consider taking your journal Open Access and letting your publisher partner know that you want them to help the libraries.

  • Learn all the ways you can take action.


Who can I talk to about the process?

Talk with your library representative about the review process. If you have specific questions or feedback around Collection Strategies and Scholarly Communications, reach out to a member of the Sustainable Scholarship team.