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A Web Letter from the Office of the Provost - June 2020

By Mary Jane Chew

Libraries announces future plans, Sustainable Scholarship Task Force

This month, Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies will release its final list of journals and databases selected for cancellation following a months’ long evaluation process that included taking feedback provided by the campus community into careful consideration.  

“I want to thank the faculty, staff, and graduate students who contributed,” Beth McNeil, dean of Libraries and the School of Information Studies, said. “Though usage and cost data informed a large portion of our decision-making process, it does not tell a complete story. We needed qualitative data, too, and the input provided by campus was invaluable when making our final decisions.”

The final list of cancellations will be posted online in June and resources will be discontinued on a rolling basis as contracts expire, beginning July 1.

“We embarked on this process in an effort to be good stewards of University funds long before the COVID-19 crisis reached campus,” McNeil said. “But, like every other unit on campus, and like academic research libraries across the globe, we must consider the ongoing and future impact of COVID-19 on our budget and models of operation and we know now that it is highky likely that additional journal and database cancellations will be necessary for FY20-21. My goal is, above all, to create a sustainable scholarship model for Purdue University and for Libraries to be a foundational partner in meeting the information needs of all faculty, staff, and students.”

To accomplish this goal, Libraries will explore alternative means of access to journal articles; move towards a predominantly user-based purchasing model; and review current contracts with publishers and evaluate whether current deals are sustainable for Purdue moving forward. They will also take a hard look at print resources, which are not presently in use and may not be used as regularly in a future that increasingly relies on robust access to electronic resources.  But the Libraries will not be doing so alone.

McNeil has announced a Sustainable Scholarship Task Force that will call upon stakeholders across campus to assist in the review process. “With your help,” McNeil said, “I am confident that we can adapt and move boldly into a future in which Libraries provides a sustainable foundation for scholarship and research here on our West Lafayette campus and wherever our Boilermakers may be learning, doing, and persistently pursuing the next giant leap.”

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