Budget and Planning

2018 Collections Planning

In 2018, the Dalhousie Libraries will continue the process of re-evaluating the journals we purchase in bundles or “big deals”.

The sustainability of the current academic publishing model is a urgent concern for Canadian research libraries. The “big deal” is no longer sustainable for many mid-sized Canadian universities. Libraries such as Université de Montréal, Université Laval, University of Calgary, Memorial University have recently dropped or significantly altered their journal bundles.  Libraries leaving “big deals” or seeking to re-negotiate them is an international phenomenon.

We spend more than $4.3 million dollars on journal bundles each year. Some of the journals in these bundles are well used and highly valued by the Dalhousie community, but up to 40% are rarely or never used.

Unsustainable Costs

Although the Dalhousie Libraries’ collections budget increases 2% annually, the annual price increases of journals outstrips both our budget and the rate of inflation. Since 2010, Dalhousie’s costs for journal bundles from the top five academic publishers have increased from $1,800,000 CAD to more than $3,300,000 (CAD) —a 78% increase. (You can read more about these publishers and their economic impact in “The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era”.)

As a result of these unsustainable costs, the Libraries have already had to significantly reduce spending on books and other materials to pay for journal bundles. We forecast that within 7 to 10 years our journal and database subscription costs will require our entire collections budget. To prevent this, we need to look critically at what we are purchasing.

Which Journals Are the Most Important to You?

Between February and May, we are asking you to identify which Cambridge, Oxford, Sage, Springer, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley journals are most important to your learning, teaching, and research. In future years, we will be looking at other journal packages.

The decisions we make this year will shape the purchasing patterns of the Dalhousie Libraries for the coming years. In future years, we will be looking at other packages and asking for your input as we go through the process of reviewing all of our subscriptions.

Participate in the 2018 Journal Assessment. (You will need a valid NetID and password.)

You can read more about the Journal Assessment and about previous cost reduction efforts here.