Collections and Journals Review 2009


What is the timeline for the serials cancellation project?

Because serials are ordered and paid for several months before the beginning of the subscription year, the collections review needs to take place during the spring and early summer months. The cancellations requests for the 2009/2010 subscription year need to be made with the serial vendors by summer 2009.

January 16 Departmental Library Representatives Special Meeting
February 10

Distribution of proposed cancellation list for review and ranking

March 10

Deadline for feedback to the Libraries on the serials review list

Mid April

Distribute cancellation list for follow-up review

Early May

Deadline for comments about cancellation list

Mid May

Final list of cancellations posted

August 1

Initiate serials cancellation process

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What is the dollar amount of this budget reduction?
The NCSU Libraries has estimated that it will need to reduce the collections budget in 2009-2010 by up to $1,000,000. Projected budget reductions from the university, combined with expected inflation for journals and databases of $425,000 (at a 7% annual inflation rate), necessitate planning for a reduction of this size.

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How are titles being selected for cancellation?
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 NCSU 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. 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 NCSU researchers, subjects, and usage data of the online versions (downloads) from 2007 and 2008.

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Why is the Libraries focusing on cancelling serials?
The NCSU Libraries spends approximately 75% of collections funds on serials. Serials costs have been increasing between 7%-12% per year.  In comparison, books have been increasing at approximately 3%-5% per year. To prevent serials from consuming the entire collections budget, we must look at cutting back on some of the serials we purchase.

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Will the Libraries’ also spend less on books?
Yes. The Libraries will be reviewing all areas of collecting to absorb this budget reduction.

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Can the Libraries save money if it purchases only online journals?
It depends. The subscription model differs from publisher to publisher. With some publishers, online access comes "free" with a print subscription. In some instances, the publisher requires that the Libraries subscribe to both the print and electronic versions of a title at a combined cost; the electronic version is not available on a separate subscription. Other publishers provide a small savings usually 5%-10% for online-only access.

It should be remembered that the savings by moving to online-only subscriptions and cancelling the print counterpart can only be realized once.  While switching to online-only subscriptions eliminates some costs of processing print materials (e.g., receipt and processing, shelving, binding, circulation, stacks maintenance), new costs are created (licensing, cross-resource linking, maintaining and troubleshooting access problems).

In making the decision to subscribe to online-only resources, the Libraries will evaluate whether there is a reliable archiving model such as LOCKSS and/or Portico in place for a title before cancelling the print format. If you feel that it is critical to maintain a print subscription for a particular title, please contact us.

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What are the guiding principles for this collection budget reduction?
While we identify ways to reduce the collections budget, we will seek to:

  • Develop and sustain access to research materials with available funding to support research, teaching and extension
  • Maintain an appropriate balance among disciplines and user groups
  • Remain flexible enough to respond to new research areas and purchase new resources
  • Support a reasonable balance between monographs and serial commitments
  • Use gift funds strategically to purchase important resources when the opportunity arises
  • Collaborate with the NCSU community to make the best decisions for our campus

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Can I donate a personal journal copy to the Libraries?
We very much appreciate the offer, but in most cases, publishers have different pricing structures for individuals and institutions and the cost to individuals is typically much less. Publishers do not expect the personal copy to be used in a library, and doing so may violate a subscription agreement. In addition, arrangements for using personal copies may result in significant delays, gaps in coverage, and other problems for library patrons.

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What can a faculty member do to help?
The most immediate action a faculty member can take is to participate actively in the review by giving the Libraries your feedback.  Talk with your departmental library representative about the review process. Review and rank the proposed list of cancellations and provide feedback to either your departmental library representative or to the Libraries directly, through the NCSU Libraries' Collection Management contacts. Make sure you submit your feedback by the date listed in the review timeline.

Faculty can also engage in activities that have an enormous impact on scholarly communication issues. The Libraries encourage you to:

  • Learn more about journal pricing and inflation
  • Stay aware of publisher policies regarding authors' retention of copyright
  • Examine the scholarly journals in which you publish as well as your service on editorial boards
  • Support the efforts by professional associations, societies, and other organizations to develop alternative, less costly means of distributing scholarly information

Learn more about these issues in scholarly communication and opportunities offered through the NCSU Libraries Digital Repository.

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When will the cancellations go into effect?
Most of the cancellations will take effect in FY 2009 – 2010. This means that Libraries’ subscriptions and standing orders for titles slated for cancellation will end with the 2009 volume in most instances.

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When the electronic version of a journal is cancelled, do we still retain electronic access to the years/volumes that we subscribed to before the cancellation?
Yes and no. Typically, after cancelling a subscribed title the Libraries will maintain electronic access to the subscribed years/volumes stored on the publishers' servers. This is made possible by way of the rights secured in the negotiated licence.

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Are there any journals not on the proposed cancellation list that may be cancelled as part of this review?
Yes and no. The list of proposed cancellations includes only our individual and direct subscriptions. Through its consortial partners such as TRLN, the Libraries has license agreements with several publishers that allow us access to a broader selection of titles to which we do not formally subscribe (a.k.a. non-subscribed titles). For those non-subscribed titles, if we cancel or decide to not renew a license/title with a publisher, we may lose all access to the additional non-subscribed titles.

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How does this review relate to previous serial cancellation projects?
The Libraries last conducted a comprehensive serials review project in Spring 2006. The 2006 review targeted subscriptions to periodicals, newspapers, and indexes/abstracts, with the aim to reduce subscriptions expenditures by approximately $277,000.  Due to a reversion of the decision to reduce the overhead funding allotted to support the collections, this cancellation did not need to be carried out.  However, during Spring 2005, the Libraries conducted a serials review that did culminate in reducing serials subscriptions by $250,000 due to continuing and persistent inflation in the cost of scholarly journals and other electronic resources.

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How can I get access to titles once they have been cancelled?
The Libraries’ Tripsaver 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.

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What about other parts of the Libraries’ budget?

The Libraries is comprehensively reviewing its budget, making strategic, programmatic reductions, slowing and freezing hiring, reducing equipment expenditures, and extending existing collaboration with its Triangle partners.  We understand how central the collection is to research and teaching and are doing everything we can to limit the impact of budget cuts.  However, because the collections budget is a large part of the Libraries’ overall budget, we cannot avoid collections reductions in the face of significant cuts to the budget.

Funds for capital projects, such as the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, come from separate budget lines that cannot be used for library collections and services.  The Hunt Library has been fast-tracked by the state in part to provide a strong short-term stimulus for the state’s economy.

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Whom should I contact at the Libraries for more information?
For more information or any questions please contact:

Annette Day
Interim Head, Collection Management

Greg Raschke
Associate Director for Collections and Scholarly Communication

Or the Collection Manager/Branch Director for your subject area.

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