Scholarly Communication: The Crisis

What is the scholarly communication crisis? It is the loss of access to the scholarly research literature, as the rising cost of journal subscriptions far out-strip institutional library budgets. Each year libraries can afford to subscribe to fewer and fewer journals. Over the last 15 years, the price of research journals has risen over 200% (compare with the Consumer Price Index, up 57% over this same period). Consequently, academic libraries are subscribing to fewer and fewer titles - and slashing book buying as well (see ARL's The Impact of Serial Costs on Library Collections -

Inflation is due to a number of factors; most prominently, commercial publishers controlling an increasing percentage of titles, at the expense of scholarly societies and university presses. Profit margins for commercial publishers typically are at least 20% - with the profits coming from university libraries. Mergers and acquisitions exacerbate the trend.

The current system of scholarly publishing is unsustainable. Unable to keep up with the annual price increases, libraries have no choice but to cancel some subscriptions and reduce book purchases as well.

Efforts are underway to reverse the trend, and there are ways that Ole Miss faculty and librarians can help. Follow the links below to get background information, see what faculty and researchers can do to help, discover what librarians are doing and can do, and explore alternative publishing initiatives that continue to gain impetus.

Origins of the Crisis in Scholarly Communication - concise outline, from Iowa State University.

Actions Faculty Can Take

As an Author, Reviewer or Editor:

As a Society Member:

As as Member of the Campus Community:

As a Faculty Member:

Adapted from the University of Connecticut Libraries.

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