January 18, 2022

New Journal Article: “Using Data to Break Apart Journal Packages”

The following article appears in the latest issue of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice.


Using Data to Break Apart Journal Packages


Alison Ambi
Memorial University of Newfoundland

Erin Alcock
Memorial University of Newfoundland

Pamela Morgan
Memorial University of Newfoundland

Amanda Tiller-Hackett
Memorial University of Newfoundland


Evidence Based Library and Information Practice
Vol. 11, No. 4 (2016)

From the Article


Memorial University of Newfoundland is the only university in Newfoundland and Labrador and has approximately 20,000 students. The university aims to provide both a comprehensive undergraduate program and research-intensive graduate programs. Because of the university’s geographic isolation it is particularly important for the library to provide a comprehensive collection. Unlike in larger centres, researchers can not avail themselves of the resources held by nearby institutions. We therefore tend to adopt a cautious and conservative approach to cancellations or weeding.


Over the past decade there has been a steady increase in journal subscription prices while the materials budgets of academic libraries has remained fixed or even decreased. When this trend coincided with a precipitous devaluation of the Canadian dollar beginning in 2013, many Canadian academic libraries were thrust into a serials budget crisis.

Librarians at Memorial had implemented many smaller cost-saving measures during 2013 and 2014, however, it became evident that trimming the low-hanging fruit would not suffice. Librarians needed to set their sights on significantly larger cancellation targets to make ends meet. A committee was formed to evaluate our cancellation options.

Based on an analysis of the target savings, the subscriptions available for renewal at the end of 2015, and strategies to avoid disadvantaging any particular discipline, the committee recommended cancelling four large multi-disciplinary publisher journal packages – Cambridge, Oxford, Springer, and Wiley – and buying back only the most crucial titles. This was a dramatic proposal by any standard, but especially for Memorial. It was, however, unavoidable.

Direct to Full Text Article ||| PDF Version (6 pages)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.