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Journal and Database Cancellations Project FY21

Information and resources related to Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies' ongoing Journal and Database Cancellations Project for fiscal year 2021

Journal and Database Cancellations Project FY21 FAQ


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 and will meet your information needs without relying on costly subscriptions. The best place to start is Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Our staff are happy to help you find the resources you need when you need them, regardless of whether the title in question is in Purdue’s own collection.


Why are the Libraries cancelling so many titles this year?

Each year, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies negotiates with publishers and vendors to provide access to the databases and journals that advance Purdue University’s world-changing research and transformative instruction. Unfortunately, the cost of these resources rises by 4-8% annually, far outpacing the rate of inflation and the realistic constraints of university budgets. When we negotiate with publishers, we seek contracts that are affordable, sustainable, and transparent, but sometimes publishers insist on significant increases that far exceed available funding. To remain within budget, we must cancel approximately $500,000 - $600,000 worth of titles this year.


When will the cancellations take effect?

Cancelled databases will be discontinued as early as July 1, 2020. Cancelled journals will be discontinued on or around July 1, 2021. Please note that some cancellation dates will vary within the 2021-2022 fiscal year as contracts expire and are not renewed.


How are you determining which titles get cancelled?

We have gathered data on thousands and thousands of titles. Our primary criteria are usage numbers and CPU (cost per use.) The cost per use varies widely across titles, with some costing less than $5 and others costing over $100 for each use. Titles that are not used frequently, or can be easily accessed through less expensive means, or are simply too cost prohibitive will be considered for cancellation.


How many journals and databases are you cancelling?

We are not focused on a number of titles. Rather, we need to cancel approximately $500,000 - $600,000 worth of titles to remain within our budget. Because the cost of titles varies and several factors go into determining which titles will be cancelled, we cannot provide an exact total of cancellations at this time. The final list of cancelled titles will be posted here in June 2020.


I feel strongly about maintaining a subscription to a certain title. Who should I contact to make sure my opinion is heard?

The deadline to submit feedback on the proposed cancellations list has now passed. If you have additional concerns about our proposed cancellations, please contact your liaison librarian via email. 


If I state my objections to canceling a title, will it automatically be saved?

We will attempt to maintain as many subscriptions as possible. However, we anticipate that there will be some level of concern about nearly every title proposed for cancellation, and we must meet the goal of canceling $500,000 - $600,000 from subscriptions in order to bring the available funds and the cost of current subscriptions into balance. Ultimately, the Libraries will not be able to maintain every title of interest to members of the faculty, staff, or student body, but we can promise that your objections and concerns will be respectfully taken into account in the decision-making process.


What can an individual faculty member do to help?

There are several ways that the campus community can assist the Libraries in addressing this problem:

  • Work with librarians in your subject areas to identify titles whose cancellation will do the least harm. We need the help of faculty and other informed users to make the best possible decisions under the circumstances.
  • 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.