Canada Joins the Fight

In a little update to my “Apparently Nature Doesn’t Nurture” post, it would seem that Canada has joined the fight against journal subscription fee increases. The University of PEI has locked horns with Web of Science over a proposed 120% price increase and as a result has elected to terminate their subscription. The librarian at UPEI who made this decision public is joining the ranks of those who envision a different future and proposes an open database, Knowledge For All, that would be built and maintained by libraries. Personally, I see great potential for such a system to fall by the wayside becoming antiquated and obsolete as budget cuts increase the work loads for the individuals who would be responsible for updating the index. But hey, at least he’s suggesting alternatives and taking active steps to recruit other universities to the project. At the very least this should promote discussion regarding what to do with about this problem.

As the rising costs of subscriptions continue to burden already crippled budgets will researchers at small universities have to pay the price as their institutions are forced to reduce their number of subscriptions? Will this increase the chasm between high and low impact journals? Most importantly, without the Web of Science database how will students and researchers at UPEI obsessively check who is citing their papers on a weekly basis?! I mean, uh…I don’t do that….

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2 Responses to Canada Joins the Fight

  1. Dr.Clank says:

    Why hasn’t p2p sharing caught on with journal articles? An mp4 is the same as a .pdf is the same as an .avi: they’re all just digital files. I’m not suggesting that anyone should actually break the law by posting copywritten/licensed material on file sharing networks, just wondering why it hasn’t happened yet.

  2. missphd says:

    It might be because people aren’t paying for the articles individually, it’s the institution that foots the bill. Most institutions have subscriptions to all the journals that you’d be interested in. Occasionally I’ve had a friend somewhere else look up an article for me if their institution has access to that journal. The more likely trend though is toward free journals, like the PLoS series. These make their money through publishing fees and advertising but then do not require a subscription. They are still peer reviewed and quality of work doesn’t seem to be suffering as many of these are steadily increasing in impact factor.

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