In accordance with the executive order of Governor Whitmer, all University Libraries buildings are closed until further notice. We continue to provide support online for GVSU students, faculty, and staff through our online services.

Collections Review

The University Libraries is undergoing a comprehensive review of our collections to prepare for budget changes in the 2019-2020 fiscal year. This is due to increasingly inflated journal and database subscription fees as well as forecasted university funding reductions. We will continually update the content on this page as we continue this work.

Executive Summary

  • In 2019, University Libraries will undertake a review of current journal and database subscriptions.
  • Some titles must be canceled in order to compensate for the budget reduction.
  • Beginning in January 2019, we will seek input and feedback from GVSU faculty on the collections review.
  • We are committed to working with students, faculty, and staff to build collections that support the curricular goals of the University.
  • A task force has been formed within the Libraries to undertake the review process and make cancellation recommendations.
  • Our goal is to minimize the relative impact this will have on our ability to meet the research and teaching needs of the university.
  • We will ensure that access to previously-owned titles is available through avenues such as Document Delivery, and other resources.


See the Questions and Answers section for answers to common and anticipated questions about this project, its process, and its expected impact. The Libraries will solicit campus-wide feedback during this process; however, individuals with strong concerns can reach out to their liaison librarian with other questions or concerns. University Libraries appreciates the participation of and collaboration with students, faculty, and staff during this period of collection review.



The goal of University Libraries’ collection review is to rightsize spending in alignment with a new collection strategy while supporting Grand Valley State University’s curricular goals. The Collections Review task force, along with the University Libraries' Collections Team and the department liaison librarians, has compiled data on our existing subscriptions to journals and databases. Surveys were distributed in the Winter 2019 semester for GVSU community input. These surveys included a list of databases in a given academic department, with options to rank resources as “highly essential”, “essential”, or “non-essential” and space to give general feedback and comments. These lists represented discipline-specific database holdings, and were not comprised of suggested cancellations. 



November 2018

  • 2018 usage and cost data collected and collated to previous years
  • Internal review begins and library staff notified

December 2018

  • Deans and Associate Deans updated on collections budget
  • University Libraries Advisory Committee updated and survey approach reviewed

January and February 2019

  • Liaison librarians begin outreach to academic departments
  • Faculty surveys distributed and feedback collected
  • Deadline for survey feedback to the Libraries

March 2019

  • Proposed cancellation list distributed for follow-up feedback by faculty
  • Academic Deans consulted
  • Potential focus groups with Unit Heads and Program Directors held

April 2019

  • Deadline for comments on proposed cancellation list

May 2019

  • Final list of all cancellations posted on various communications channels

July 2019

  • Cancellation process for journals and databases initiated

January 2020

  • Cancellation becomes effective; access to titles will be cut off


2019 Cancellations

  • Junior Library's Guild: Subscription expired in February 2019. Replacement resources are available in the print Juvenile collection.
  • Education Research Complete: Subscription expired April 30, 2019. A replacement resource is available in Education Source.
  • OT Search: Subscription expires in August 2019. Replacement resources are OT Seeker and CINAHL Complete.
  • Euromonitor Passport: Subscription expires December 18, 2019. A replacement resource is Business Source Ultimate from EBSCO.
  • S&P Net Advantage:  Subscription expires December 31st, 2019. A replacement resource is Capital IQ.

We have also initiated cancellations on several of our print standing orders and print periodical subscriptions, particularly where we had duplication with our electronic resources. For more information on these titles or any questions, please contact your liaison librarian.

Questions and Answers

Why is a collection review necessary?

University Libraries is developing a new collections strategy in response to increasingly inflated journal and database subscription fees as well as forecasted university-wide funding adjustments. Reviewing our current journal and database subscriptions is the first step in this process to rightsize library collections spending.

GVSU is not alone this situation. The landscape of scholarly publishing is changing the way universities across the world manage their collections. Costs for traditionally-published journals and titles rise year after year at rates unsustainable for many institutions. In the traditional publishing system, authors submit their work to journals for review; if it is accepted, the journal publishes the work at minimal--or no--cost to the author. However, access to those same journals is then sold for thousands of dollars to institutions like GVSU. As it stands now, vendors selling subscription access to highly-regarded journals are able to increase prices at their own volition without regard for the needs of the academic community at large.

What are the guiding principles for the collections review?

While dealing with the reality of budget reductions, we ask how our decisions will ultimately benefit students. In this effort, we seek to:

  • Support the curricular goals of the university
  • Allocate funds strategically to support one-time purchases and ongoing subscriptions
  • Remain flexible to support new programs of study
  • Seek input from the GVSU community to minimize any adverse impacts

When will this process take place?

University Libraries will collect data on potential cancellations throughout November and December 2018. In January of 2019, surveys will be distributed to faculty, with comments, feedback, and suggestions accepted through the end of February 2019. Further review will take place in March and April. The final list of all cancellations will be posted in this guide and through various other communications channels. All cancellations will take effect on or before January 1, 2020, though access to individual titles is dependent upon unique renewal dates and may be discontinued prior to January 2020. Please refer to the Timeline for more detailed information.

When will cancellation happen?

All cancellations will take effect on or before January 1, 2020; access to individual titles is dependent upon unique renewal dates, which will fall between May 2019 and January 2020.

How much will spending be reduced?

At this time, University Libraries estimates that it will need to reduce collections spending by $832,369. This will allow us to rightsize budgets through fiscal year 2020. However, without working or base budget increases, we will see further reduction for fiscal year 2021 of another $305,618. That means from fiscal year 2018 to fiscal year 2021, we will need a total reduction in subscriptions of a little over $1.1 million.

What is the selection process for cancellation?

The Collections Review task force considered all current subscription-based journals and databases. The aim of University Libraries collections is to support GVSU’s curricular goals. The Collections Review task force will consider a variety of factors, including but not limited to cost/inflation of cost, vendor, publisher, usage statistics, and content overlap. For more information, see the section on process.

After cancellation, will it be possible to access past volumes and issues of an electronic journal we previously subscribed to?

In many cases, yes. This depends on several factors, including licensing negotiations between the library and the publishers of journals and databases. Even in cases where the license does not allow us to retain past volumes, most titles will be available through Document Delivery.

Will the library also reduce budgets for books and media?

University Libraries is reviewing all areas of its collection; this may also result in reduced spending on books and media (DVDs, CDs, etc.). If there is a title you would like added to the collection, reach out to your liaison librarian or submit a purchase request form. While we can’t purchase every title, we will carefully consider each request.

What if I need a journal after it is cancelled?

Journal articles can be requested through Document Delivery; this service is free to GVSU affiliates and, in most cases, delivers an electronic copy of your request to your email within a few days.

How can I be involved or help?

Please provide feedback through the survey and your liaison librarian. We want to hear from you!

You can also consider using Open Access (OA) Titles and Open Educational Resources (OER) in your teaching and research. These titles are usually available free of charge to institutions and individuals and support the sharing of scholarship and information. The University Libraries' Scholarly Communications team has more information about our commitment to Open Access and Open Educational Resources.

Contact Us

Contact your liaison librarian with questions about the Collections Review: