Ryerson to cancel select academic journal subscriptions due to costs

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By Al Downham

The Ryerson University Library & Archives (RULA) called for “sea change” Friday after announcing anticipations to cancel select academic journals over current subscription fees.

In a press release, RULA encouraged advocacy against a “budget crisis” where journal publishers reap 40 per cent profit margins while academic libraries “cannot keep pace with the cost of subscriptions.”

Due to eight consecutive years of department budget cuts, RULA said their base funding has been reduced. Along with the low value of the Canadian dollar and inflation rates of 5 to 10 per cent on subscription costs per year, the library said they’re bracing to make a “difficult” decision adjusting spending on academic journals.

“We simply cannot maintain our current levels of spending with the confines of our reduced budget allocation,” the statement read. “Unless the Canadian dollar recovers, we can continue to expect the loss of access to some resources.”

The statement was released after Memorial University of Newfoundland said it would cancel 5 per cent of its journal subscriptions early last week.  

RULA said they are working to keep core journals, but said others should “band together” over current academic journal subscription costs.

“This is the beginning of a sea change – we must be part of it and see the opportunity that has been presented in challenging circumstances.”

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