In October 2018, the Library implemented a centralised budget for all subscription resources. This was introduced partly because the majority of subscriptions formed part of ‘big deals’ with major vendors and could no longer be managed as if they were single subscriptions paid for by a departmental budget, and partly to make efficiency savings in the management of the subscriptions by the Library. This document outlines how the transition to a centralised subscriptions budget will be managed to ensure that the needs of all departments are met, and decisions about new acquisitions and cancellations are made fairly.
This policy was written to:
All continuous resources (journal subscriptions, subscriptions to packages with e-book, journals or media content, subscriptions to databases) and large purchases (one-off purchases of single items, packages over £500, and Evidence Based Acquisitions/Patron Driven Acquisitions deposits).
Each year the Library is given a grant for the provision of Learning Resources. The cost of learning resources increases above the standard rate of inflation: for journals and databases this is frequently in excess of 5% per annum. While the Library applies annually in the Planning Round for an uplift to the grant to meet these inflationary rises, it may be the case (as in 2018-19) that we do not receive this uplift.
Currency fluctuations also have an impact on the Library’s ability to meet the cost of its existing subscriptions while also providing funds for new subscriptions and book purchases.
The aim of this process is to ensure that the needs of each department are balanced against each other in a way that is fair and transparent. Historical subscriptions need to be broadly maintained, at least in the short term, if some departments are not to be faced with sudden cuts to their resource provision. This means that any solution will unavoidably fall short of absolute fairness. Nevertheless:
These Criteria will be followed by the Resources Purchasing Group when considering requests and cancellations:
Resources must be a learning resource in support of either teaching or research.The aim is to strike a balance between supporting research and teaching.
Resources may be specific to supporting a group or individual, or may provide support across a number of levels of study and disciplines. The aim is to strike a balance between meeting specific needs and developing the collection generally to provide better overall support.
Usage figures from trials and for existing resources (where available) can give an indication of this, but are not the sole determinant. It is recognised that resources in support of research may have lower usage figures. Usage of a resource will generally be compared with similar types of resources within the same or similar discipline.
New acquisitions should fill weaknesses in our existing provision. Areas that are already strongly provided for will be given less weight. If a requested resource largely duplicates the function or content of an existing resource, it may be necessary to choose between the two.
The resource should be of sufficient quality and performance. If an e-resource, it should be compatible with our IT infrastructure, lend itself to discovery through LibrarySearch, and support Campus-wide access and off-campus access. It should have accessibility features, and ideally the vendor should be able to supply usage statistics. The license terms must be acceptable to the College.
If a print resource, electronic alternatives will be preferred if available in accordance with our collection development policy. The Library reserves the right to stop acquiring, or reduce acquisition of items in obsolete formats.
The Library must operate within its annual grant for Learning Resources. The Library must also ensure that available budget for taking on new acquisitions is used to meet requests from across the departments. The Library recognises that resources in some disciplines are generally more expensive than comparable resources in others: this will be taken into account. Some apparently ‘one-off’ purchases may carry some ongoing costs (i.e. hosting fees, annual updates) and the impact of these will also be taken into account.
Funding for particularly expensive new acquisitions may be applied for through the annual Planning Round. If this is a continuing resource, then the Library will apply for a grant for a permanent uplift or for several year’s funding, unless a cancellation can be made. Requests for such resources are best received by the end of November at the latest so applications to the Planning Round can be made.
In rare cases it may be that a resource is impossible to acquire, despite the Library’s best efforts to do so.
This document was written by Philip Bower, Acting Head of Acquisitions and Journals & Databases Coordinator, and Leanne Workman, Head of Academic Liaison. December 2018.