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….