Knowledge for All

The University of Prince Edward Island cancelled their subscription to Web of Science:

This is to inform the UPEI campus community that we have not renewed our subscription to ISI’s Web of Science database (WoS). We realize this is a key research database for many of you and we have taken steps to ensure access to appropriate alternative resources, as well as the WoS back‑files. Late last year we received notification that our subscription price was going to increase by 120%. A number of factors went into the decision not to renew:

‑ a challenging fiscal climate means that we are unlikely to see an increase to Library budgets;
‑ any subscription increase in these challenging times is difficult, but an increase of 120% is simply not acceptable;
‑ we would have been forced to sign a 3‑year agreement, with additional increases in each of the 3 years;
‑ a weaker Canadian dollar would have a significant impact on our subscription costs;
‑ accommodating this level of increase lends credence to the vendors’ business practices and we felt it important to make a statement against these practices (see http://chronicle.com/article/U‑of‑California‑Tries‑Just/65823/ for a recent decision at UC).

UPEI is also leading an effort to create a free and open index to the world’s scholarly literature called “Knowledge For All”. This proposal is currently being sent to various Canadian and international library consortia in an effort to gain support for the project. One goal of Knowledge For All is to ensure that scholars and members of the broader public are no longer disenfranchised by a broken system of scholarly communication. We will provide the campus community with updates on this effort.

It’s interesting to note that it may very well be the smaller universities that make some of these shifts, perhaps clumsily, first because they usually are closer to the economic trends than the majors. I think such is also the case with my own university.

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