Monday, February 19, 2018

Canadian Association of Research Libraries Brief on Unsustainability of International Journal Costs

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has released a brief on escalating subscription costs for international journals:
"Over the past several years, a convergence of escalating subscription costs, unfavourable exchange rates, and tightening budgets at Canadian universities has put a spotlight on the unsustainable economic environment of scholarly journals. In 2015, the Ontario Council of University Libraries outlined the problem in a letter to vendors. 'We are currently facing significant cumulative negative impacts through the combined effects of flat funding for the sector, increasing inflationary costs, and projected lower student enrollments. Moreover, many institutions are undertaking system-wide budget cuts that include targeted reductions for libraries’ collections budgets. This situation is significantly aggravated by a major weakening of the Canadian dollar against the US dollar.'  In 2016, CARL issued a similar statement, asserting that we are in a perfect storm of factors. Many Canadian library acquisition budgets cannot stretch any further — bringing us to a point where we must consider new strategies and responses."
 The association proposes 4 recommendations for action:
  • Support libraries and consortia in taking a strong stance against unreasonable price increases and publisher lock-in. 
  • Raise awareness of the issues with the broader academic community.  
  • Raise awareness with other stakeholders about the inherent limitations of impact measures such as journal impact factor, and work with them to define a broader range of assessment measures that more accurately reflect research quality, impact and value.  
  • Invest in sustainable scholarly publishing platforms, services and infrastructure that support the needs of researchers and provide practical alternatives to the existing system. Libraries are already working nationally and internationally to develop this infrastructure, but will need support for redistributing funds towards new models.
CARL represents Canada’s twenty-nine largest university libraries as well as two national libraries.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:20 pm

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