MUN cancels 1,700 journals, as national association says libraries in 'crisis'

Laura Howells, CBC News, Feb 08, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Canada's Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) reports that "Journal publishers increase their price by five to 15 per cent each year." This is "compounded by the fact that MUN pays for 85 per cent of its journals in U.S. dollars." The two factors combined make journal subscriptions prohibitive. According to this report, "The Canadian Association of Research Libraries issued a statement Wednesday calling the situation a 'crisis.'" And yet - there are open access solutions. The mystery is why the universities (and especially their academic staff) will not embrace them. Forget about asking publishers to change, and forget about asking for more money to pay for subscriptions. "These publishers make profit margins of up to 40 per cent, since the authors of articles are not paid and online journals cost virtually nothing to reproduce."

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