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Serials Review Projects: FAQ


Do you evaluate every subscription every year?

No. Some subscriptions renew annually, while others are multi-year commitments. We evaluate subscriptions as renewal deadlines approach.

What is a "big deal"?

A big deal is a negotiated, multi-year contract in which an academic library receives access to all or most of the journals in a publisher's catalog for a price that's usually based on the cost of current subscriptions. Fixed annual price increases are included in the deal.

Are all OSU's journal subscriptions part of big deals?

No, it varies from publisher to publisher. We have big deal contracts with some publishers. With others, we subscribe to smaller packages of journals. We also have individual subscriptions to some titles that are not part of a deal or package.

How much do academic journals cost?

Institutional subscription prices vary a great deal. In 2019, the average cost across all academic disciplines of journals that are indexed in Scopus was $1,330, up 7% from the previous year [source].

If a journal is being reviewed, does that automatically mean it is going to be canceled?

No. Subscriptions being reviewed are in the process of being evaluated. Decisions to renew a subscription or not are based on a variety of considerations including usage data, cost, cost per use, alternate availability, the significance of the title within its field, campus publishing activity, and the feedback we receive during this process. In several cases, the library has reviewed serials packages and found that maintaining existing subscriptions constituted a good use of our materials funds.

If a subscription is not maintained, how will the library provide access?

The library will provide access through a variety of approaches. In many cases, we will retain ownership of previous years of content after canceling a subscription. Aggregator databases such as JSTOR and Academic Search Premier contain the full text of many journals.

Students and faculty can use interlibrary services to request items that OSU does not own. This service is free to the requestor, and most requests for journal articles from other libraries will be filled within one business day. When articles become available, requestors are notified by email with instructions on how to download them.

Can I still use a journal if the library's subscription isn't renewed?

Yes. We generally maintain ownership of previous years' content after ending a subscription, and you can use interlibrary services to request current content.

When do changes go into effect?

Most serials subscriptions are by calendar year. Changes made during 2021 will go into effect in January 2022.

How do I know which titles are being reviewed?

Active reviews will be posted under the "Current projects" tab of this guide. The monthly faculty newsletter will also include updates.

What is the timeline for reviews?

Timelines will depend on the scale of each project and the renewal deadlines established by vendors. Time for feedback from the campus is being built in to the review process. See the individual projects' tabs for details.

Why is this happening now?

Unlike many academic libraries throughout the country, OSU has not yet been forced to respond to budgetary constraints and rising serials prices by making deep reductions to our collections. However, we cannot continue to match these rising prices indefinitely. By methodically reviewing subscriptions and making data-driven decisions now about which subscriptions to maintain, we will be able to continue to provide users with the best resources possible despite rising prices.

The rising cost of ongoing commitments during the past several years has limited our ability to obtain materials in other formats, including books. These reviews will help us restore balance to our allocations for different kinds of materials.

How can I provide feedback?

If you would like the library to reconsider individual titles before changes go into effect, contact your liaison librarian. They will discuss options with you.