Western Libraries

Canadian Association of Research Libraries' Communique on Journal Costs

February 04, 2016

Written by:  Monica Fazekas

CARL (Canadian Association of Research Libraries) has issued a communiqué on journal costs. The bulletin looks at the pressures that Canadian libraries face regarding the rising cost of journals, such as:

  1. 90-95% of journal subscriptions are paid in foreign currencies, leading to huge deficits when the Canadian dollar is low; 
  2. Research library budgets are steady or declining;
  3. Subscriptions are primarily sold as bundles where only a fraction of the bundled content are leading journals;
  4. Bundles often require a multi-year commitment, giving libraries little control to rework budgets in crisis times;
  5. University faculty require access to leading research in order to fully participate in the research cycle;
  6. A few international publishers own an increasingly large portion of the journal market and are demanding inflated prices.

While the communiqué addresses the impact the declining value of the Canadian dollar has on journal subscriptions, it also looks at rising journal costs over the past few years. On average, academic serials prices went up 5-7% per year, creating approximately a 25% increase over a 4-year period.

For more information, please see the complete bulletin