Sustainable Scholarship

JMU Libraries is committed to providing inclusive and equitable access to the materials you need for research, teaching, and learning. Our partnerships and spending commitments should align with community needs and our values. While analyzing costs, usage, and growth trends are one component of this work, they are not the only considerations. Evaluating rights retention, licensing terms, and equity are foundational to our goal of a more open, equitable, and inclusive scholarly communications landscape.

Some of our most focused work at the moment involves determining if large, bundled journal subscription packages, often called “Big Deals,” align with our goals and values, and meet community needs. Keep up with the latest developments here.

Our immediate concerns are cost and equity:

  • Equity: Researchers in Virginia (and peers around the world) donate their time and effort as editors and peer reviewers to private journal vendors, only to see their work locked behind paywalls. Most of JMU’s published research is supported by public funds, yet many of our research products are inaccessible to the public. In fact, a great deal of published work is inaccessible to non-wealthy institutions of higher educations – further compounding deleterious effects of economic stratification. This arrangement is fundamentally inequitable and contrary to the mission of a public university.

By the Numbers

Elsevier ScienceDirect (Freedom Collection) 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022** 2023
Cost $410,416.40 $424,780.97 $429,070.00 $223,495.11 $231,317.44 $239,413.55
Rate of Increase 3.5% 1.0% -47.9% 3.5% 3.5%
Increase (actual***) $14,364.57 $4,289.03 ($205,574.89) $7,822.33 $8,096.11
% materials budget 9.4% 9.4% 9.9% 5.0% 5.2% 5.4%
# of Journals in Package 2965 2050 1956 137
# of zero use titles 550 430 368 n/a*
% of zero use titles 19% 21% 19% n/a*

* Complete 2021 usage data not available until 2022.
**Projected materials budget after 2021 based on flat budget.
***Actual increase does not equate to contractual rate of increase due to journal title transfers in and out of collection.

Wiley Online Library 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022** 2023 2024 2025
Cost $196,959.00 $203,853.00 $210,988.00 $218,373.00 $225,797.68 $233,474.80 $241,412.95 $249,620.99
Rate of Increase 3.5% 3.5% 3.5% 3.4% 3.4% 3.4% 3.4%
Increase (actual***) $6,894.00 $7,135.00 $7,385.00 $7,424.68 $7,677.12 $7,938.14 $8,473.97
% materials budget 4.5% 4.5% 4.9% 4.9% 5.1% 5.2% 5.4% 5.6%
# of journals 2,580 1,508 1,514 1,495
# of zero use titles 895 230 235 n/a*
% of zero use titles 35% 15% 16% n/a*

* Complete 2021 usage data not available until 2022.
**Projected materials budget after 2021 based on flat budget.
***Actual increase does not equate to contractual rate of increase due to journal title transfers in and out of collection.

Sage Premier 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022** 2023 2024 2025
Cost $240,447.53 $247,377.63 $264,848.69 $276,766.88 $285,069.89 $293,621.98 $302,430.64 $311,503.56
Rate of Increase 2.9% 7.1% 4.5% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0%
Increase (actual***) $6,930.10 $17,471.06 $11,918.19 $8,303.01 $8,552.10 $8,808.66 $8,613.21
% materials budget 5.5% 5.4% 6.1% 6.2% 6.4% 6.6% 6.8% 7.0%
# of journals 896 1085 1117 1133
# of zero use titles 29 194 225 n/a*
% of zero use titles 3% 18% 20% n/a*

* Complete 2021 usage data not available until 2022.
**Projected materials budget after 2021 based on flat budget.
***Actual increase does not equate to contractual rate of increase due to journal title transfers in and out of collection.

Taylor & Francis 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022** 2023 2024 2025
Cost $259,210.00 $271,847.06 $279,877.55 $279,214.17 $287,590.60 $296,218.31 $305,104.86 $314,258.01
Rate of Increase 4.9% 3.0% -0.2% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0%
Increase (actual***) 12,637.06 $8,030.49 ($663.38) $8,376.43 $8,627.72 $8,886.55 $9,285.31
% of Collections budget 5.9% 6.0% 6.5% 6.3% 6.5% 6.6% 6.8% 7.1%
# of Journals in Package 2608 2183 2041 2226
# of zero use titles 141 314 289 n/a*
% of zero use titles 5% 14% 14% n/a*

* Complete 2021 usage data not available until 2022.
**Projected materials budget after 2021 based on flat budget.
***Actual increase does not equate to contractual rate of increase due to journal title transfers in and out of collection.

Part of a Movement

We are part of a global movement of researchers and libraries demanding fundamental change in academic publishing, with many research funders on our side. While much of our negotiations focus on journal subscription issues, these are not the only source of concern. Monograph publishing and textbook affordability are all part of this landscape. Online textbook availability through libraries is restrictive, as others have noted, and libraries are unable to provide the kind of access that we value for our community. We believe this moment is ripe for action, and we know that working together will make us stronger.