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University Library Budget Cuts 2020/21

Library Budget Cut FAQs

Why is the Library canceling titles this year?
Our reality is that the cost of library databases and journals rise by 4 to 8% each year. Inflation on top of a flat library budget means that we have been effectively taking budget cuts for years. We no longer have the ability to weather this year and next without canceling titles that, while important for academic research, are not heavily used.

In normal times, pre-COVID-19, we would have a full fiscal year to prepare for journal cancelations. The library would share a list of low-use titles and request feedback as part of a shared process. This year, the timing of the late budget and January 2021 renewals leaves little time for the longer conversation. The good news is that the cancelled titles are not heavily used, and we have options for providing access.

A journal or database subscription that I need for my research has been cancelled. Is there a way for me to gain access to it?
Yes, we can order almost anything that you need for your research. The best place to start is Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

How are you determining which journal titles to cancel?
We have started by gathering data on directly-subscribed journal titles, i.e. those whose most recent issues are not included in database aggregators such as JSTOR or through publisher packages such as the American Chemical Society, American Society of Civil Engineering, EBSCO, Elsevier, Emerald, IEEE, Oxford University Press, SAGE, or Springer. Our primary criteria are usage and CPU (cost per use). Titles that are not used frequently, can be easily accessed through less expensive means, or are simply too cost-prohibitive are considered for cancellation.

How many journals are you canceling?
We are not focused on a number of titles. Rather, we need to cancel approximately $25,000 worth of titles this year to remain within our budget.

I feel strongly about maintaining a subscription to a certain title. Whom should I contact to make sure my opinion is heard?
If you have strong concerns regarding our cancellations, please use the Feedback form at the left, or send us an email

What about cancellations for FY 2021/22?
President Nelsen’s October 5 SacSend states, “We do not expect the budget for 2021/22 to improve and will be preparing for a similar reduction.” For this reason alone, this spring the library will be preparing a list of journals and databases that may be canceled should this prediction come true. Your subject librarian will include all faculty in the conversation for the next possible round of cuts.

What can an individual faculty member do to help?
There are several ways the campus community can assist the Library in addressing this problem:

  • Consider publishing in open access journals.
  • Support efforts by professional associations and other groups to identify sustainable and affordable ways to distribute scholarly information.
  • Consider publisher behavior—especially in terms of pricing—when you are choosing where to publish articles, which editorial boards to serve on, and what you do with your copyright.

Take an interest in the future of publishing and communication within your field. Reduced access to information caused by high prices is a problem faculty can help solve.

Last Updated: Oct 29, 2020 9:32 PM