Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, September 27, 2007

More on the pricing crisis: Michigan cancels 2,500 subscriptions

Emily Barton, To save money, 'U' cuts journals, The Michigan Daily, September 24, 2007.   (Thanks to LIS News.)  Excerpt:

To save money, the University's libraries are canceling some of their journal subscriptions because of budget cuts and the increasing costs of the subscriptions.

Many of the cuts are to print subscriptions only, while the University continues to subscribe to the journals online.

University Librarian Paul Courant said that about 2,500 were canceled this fiscal year. In many cases, Courant said, the University starts by canceling duplicate subscriptions, leaving one copy of the journal in at least one library, as opposed to in multiple libraries. The University's other prominent case is when subscriptions were cancelled to journals with lower demand....

Courant said it's possible that a journal might not be available through [inter-library loan] if it becomes too obscure for universities to maintain a copy.

"It's a real concern," he said....

The University Library budget has gone up by an average of 3.1 percent per year since 2004.

According to Library Journal magazine, the average subscription price of national arts and humanities journals has increased 6.8 percent per year since 2003. National social science journals increased 9.2 percent and national science journals increased by 8.3 percent....

Comment.  The U of Michigan Library is one of the largest and best-funded in the US.  Large-scale cancellations like this one belie publisher claims that everyone who needs access to subscription journals already has access.