I was reading our campus newsletter today and noted that one of our chemistry professors has recently had an article published in the Elsevier journal Tetrahedron Letters. Murphy Library used to subscribe to Tetrahedron Letters, but had to cancel it during the great periodicals cancellation project of 1995/96. At that time, a print subscription to Tetrahedron Letters cost the library $5,119. If we were to subscribe to this title today it would cost $13,487 for a print subscription.
The truly exciting thing is that because our level of full time equivalent (FTE) students is under 10,000, we can take advantage of Elsevier’s College Edition package. For less than what we would pay for a single print subscription to Tetrahedron Letters, we get access to 350 electronic subscriptions to Elsevier journals in the health and life sciences – including Tetrahedron Letters and many other good quality research journals.
While this news is exciting, we understand that if our student FTE were ever to top 10,000, this great deal would no longer be available to us. We would lose access to every last issue, every last title. So I’m not upset that the legislature did not fund the growth & access plan for UW-L. Unless the library gets a substantial budgetary infusion (in the range of $150,000 or so), we need to keep our student FTE under 10,000.
Sometimes I feel like a really cantankerous librarian, whining about how my periodicals budget has been cannibalized by extraordinary inflation costs and no cost of living increases from year to year. Lately, though, I get the feeling that I am not alone in my ranting. Please take a moment to read this post by James Council, Dean of Libraries at North Dakota State University on Academic Journals and the Publishers who Publish Them. Council mentions how the “…Max Planck Institute of Germany canceled 1200 Springer journals due to Springer’s refusal to negotiate reasonable prices.” This full story of how an institution just flat out WALKED AWAY from a publisher making ridiculously high profits is available at Peter Suber’s excellent blog, Open Access News.