The Libraries will be reducing purchasing and subscriptions to scholarly and classroom information resources. In fiscal year 2024, the Libraries is reducing spending on collections by 8%. Personnel expenses have been reduced by 7% so far with further reductions (likely an additional 3-5%) to be realized by attrition throughout the year. General operating expenses have been reduced by 30%.
We are aware that these reductions will impact WVU faculty and students, and we will minimize that as much as possible by examining content that overlaps with existing resources or is readily available through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Other criteria evaluated in making these decisions include usage data, cost per use, and centrality of the content to the discipline. The collective impact of the reductions across disciplines will also be considered and will be as equitable as possible.
The evaluation process will begin immediately as numerous invoices are due for renewal or cancellation in the coming months. Faculty and researchers should leverage the interlibrary loan service for items the University does not own and seek the assistance of their liaison librarians to identify existing library collections and low-cost alternatives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Are the Libraries only cutting materials/collections?
Answer: The Libraries is reducing spending on collections by 8%. Personnel expenses have been reduced by 7% so far with further reductions (likely an additional 3-5%) to be realized throughout the year. General operating expenses have been reduced by 30%.
Question: How are titles selected for review, renewal and/ or cancellation?
Answer: The Libraries reviews all titles, but to achieve our target reduction for FY24 we are focusing on continuing resources or what are more commonly known as major subscriptions to databases and journals. In FY23, over 87% of the Libraries materials budget was allocated to subscription costs alone. The review process is ongoing, approximately 90 to 120 days prior to a resource’s renewal date. Each resource will be evaluated by both the library’s subject matter expert, I.e., liaison librarian, and the Collections Advisory Committee. Guiding principles influencing if a resource is renewed or cancelled are as follows:
Resources critical to student success (University Pillar) and centrality of the content to WVU’s curriculum;
Availability of the resource through alternative means, such as interlibrary loan;
Elimination of duplicative and highly similar content across platforms; and
Decision making informed by data, including usage, cost per use, and overlap with existing resources.
Here is a list of titles impacted by the budget reduction (revised as of 8/29/2023). It will be updated monthly to reflect the most recent changes to our holdings.
Question: How can I get access to titles once they have been cancelled?
Answer: The Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan service can be used to request most materials that the libraries do not own. Most journal articles are electronically delivered directly to you at no charge usually within 1 to 2 business days.
A number of journal titles are available through other full text aggregator databases such as Academic Search Complete or ProQuest Central. To see the sources that provide online access to a title, please use the Journals search.
You should seek the assistance of your liaison librarians to identify existing library collections and low-cost alternatives.
Question: Will the Libraries be purchasing new materials in FY24?
Answer: The Libraries has temporarily suspended the purchase of new materials. However, we encourage the WVU community to submit our Suggest a Purchase form that will be regularly monitored. Once we have achieved our initial target reductions for the year, we will be exploring alternatives to high-cost subscriptions, such as one-time purchases, that can offset the impact of recent cancellations.
Question: How does the Libraries plan to contain costs while sustaining access to critical resources and collections over time?
Answer: The Libraries engages in multiple activities that help contain costs while maintaining access to key resources, including:
membership in multiple consortia that affords cooperative purchasing agreements and enhances collective buying power
promotion and educational outreach on open access (OA) and open educational resources (OER) to the WVU community
negotiation of more favorable licensing terms with academic publishers and vendors
Question: How can WVU faculty, students, and the community help reduce the cost of library materials?
Answer: The WVU community is encouraged to seek out small yet impactful opportunities that can collectively transform the current academic publishing landscape. Potential strategies include:
engaging in open access publishing opportunities
utilizing the Research Repository, WVU’s institutional repository, for your pre-prints, creative works, and other scholarship
adopting open educational resources and other low-cost educational materials in lieu of traditional textbooks
Question: Who should I reach out to if I have additional questions or concerns?
Answer: If you need assistance with locating a specific resource, please direct questions to your liaison librarian or the Libraries’ Ask a Librarian chat service. Feedback regarding specific cancellations or cuts may be directed to Jessica Vanderhoff, Assistant Dean of Strategy, Planning, & Impact.