Collections Strategy | 2022-2025

Donut chart showing the Libraries budget. 44% of the Libraries budget is spent on Collections. 17% of the total budget is spent on Big Deals subscriptions each year.
  • University Libraries is committed to our mission to fuel the intellectual life of the university. We equip knowledge seekers to use information to shape their professions, enhance their communities, and create a more equitable society.
  • Subscription costs have been unsustainable for many years, taking a larger percentage of the acquisitions budget to maintain a more homogenized, less inclusive, and less responsive collection as a result. 
  • We are shifting how University Libraries invests in resources. These adjustments will help us sustainably continue to provide materials to our community in years to come.
  • GVSU is not alone. Libraries all over the world are making difficult decisions about their collections. Large systems like the State University of New York, groups of research libraries in Virginia, and many others have cancelled large subscriptions to redirect their collections spending.
  • You can drive change in scholarly publishing by supporting Open Access publishing and Open Educational Resources.

What’s Happening

In the scholarly publishing market for journal articles, authors submit work for review. If accepted, the journal publishes the work. Rarely are authors, peer-reviewers, and editors compensated for this work. Access to those same journals is then sold for thousands of dollars to institutions like GVSU. Content providers rely on the labor of researchers to cash in on systems of convenience and prestige, selling subscriptions to highly-regarded journals at prices that outpace inflation on any other consumer good, without regard for the impact paywalls have on research, the public good, and the future of higher education. On average, subscription-based resources carry a yearly inflation rate of 5-7% with some demanding 50% or more. This impacts the majority of resources University Libraries acquires and manages. Because the Library's collections budget has not increased for many years, this means GVSU pays more each year to provide the same level of coverage. This is not a sustainable or equitable approach to providing resources. 

Other institutions are grappling with these same issues, and many have already canceled large subscriptions or have renegotiated access including the University of California, University of North Carolina, and State University of New York systems. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) is an advocacy organization tracking dozens of similar Big Deal cancellations as other universities change spending priorities toward more equitable models.  Beyond publishing, content providers have engaged in a decades-long campaign to consolidate and monopolize research infrastructure, impact metrics, search algorithms, and even the faculty hiring process. Our response must consider software platforms and scholarly content.

What We're Doing

Our goals

We approach the collection from principles consistent with University Libraries' mission and values. Ideally, our resources will be more: 

  • Sustainable: We champion the success of every student through investigating, promoting, and publishing in open and alternative models of scholarly communications. We promote the dissemination and impact of GVSU scholarship through our open access fund, ScholarWorks repository, and Open Educational Resources. We recognize sustainability comes from open scholarship as well as infrastructure.
  • Responsive: We analyze thousands of data points to understand the evolving interests, priorities, and stories of our users. We develop the library’s collection through both automated processes and the wisdom of human interventions. We select resources and develop services to challenge the current uncertainty focusing on flexible, accessible, and inclusive resources.
  • Collective: We use the library’s extensive staff and faculty expertise to connect the GVSU community with more resources than it would be possible to obtain through traditional acquisitions methods and limited budgets. We leverage local to global networks as collaborators in student learning, teaching, and research. We recognize the future is shared.   

For a more comprehensive view of University Libraries' philosophical approach to resources, see our Collection Development policy.

Our work and partnerships

University Libraries’ faculty and staff do significant research to create and maintain our collections. We invest financial resources, expertise, time, and labor toward more equitable scholarly communications systems.

  • University Libraries provides access to selected special and archival collections in its GVSU Digital Collections. Our growing digital collections are supported by the open source platform, Omeka.
  • Read more on University Libraries' Innovation Fund award to champion the publication of Open Educational Resources, which saved GVSU students nearly half a million dollars during the 2019-2020 academic year.  
  • University Libraries is a founding member of Project ReShare, an open source platform for interlibrary services and document delivery. 
  • Learn more about our decision to implement FOLIO, an open source platform to better manage the Libraries’ internal workflows, metadata, and resources.
  • We partner with organizations like Our Research, which develops tools in support of open scholarship. 

Library faculty and staff continue to work as advocates from local to global levels to acquire content at a reasonable cost, under terms in alignment with the university's values and mission. In support of that vision, we are proud members of the following projects, consortia, and coalitions.

  • Digital Library Federation (DLF). An international community dedicated to advancing research, learning, social justice, and the public good through the creative design and wise application of library technologies. 
  • Library Publishing Coalition. GVSU is a founding member of this independent, community-led membership association of academic and research libraries and library consortia engaged in scholarly publishing. 
  • Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. SPARC is a nonprofit organization focused on promoting equitable, open systems of research and education. SPARC has a successful record of education for library workers and advocacy for national policy to support open access, open data, and open educational resources. Learn more about SPARC’s accomplishments and goals.
  • Midwest Cooperative for Library Services. MCLS is a consortium of libraries in Michigan and Indiana working on collaborative projects, developing models for group purchasing, providing professional development, and supporting a stronger network of member libraries. 
  • Open Education Network. OEN offers programmatic, financial, and collective benefits so that higher education institutions can develop sustainable open educational practices to support student success.
  • #GoOpen Michigan is a statewide initiative promoting and supporting the use of Open Educational Resources in K-12 education. This initiative, led by the Michigan Department of Education, provides professional development for teachers as well as a repository of OER curated by Michigan educators. GVSU is a member of the #GoOpen Michigan Strategy Team.

How to take action

Funding Opportunities


  • The Open Textbook Review Stipend – review an OER and share your review in the Open Textbook Library to receive a $200 salary supplement.
  • OER Development Minigrant – receive up to $500 to cover costs related to developing your own OER.
  • Remix/Revise Stipend –  receive a $1000 salary supplement to develop OER by combining or adapting existing materials.
  • Open Textbook Authoring Program – receive a $3000 salary supplement for developing an open textbook from scratch.
  • Open Pedagogy Stipend - receive a $3000 salary supplement for projects that engage students as co-creators of OER.

Learn more and apply for these grants at University Libraries' Accelerating OER Initiative

Open Access Publishing Support Fund

Many open access journals cover their publishing costs by charging authors a fee (often called an Article Processing Charge, or APC). The Open Access Publishing Support Fund provides grants of up to $2000 to cover APCs for faculty and students publishing their research in open access journals. Qualifying journals must be indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals, or demonstrate similar evidence of good, transparent publishing practices. Funding is not available for “hybrid” or “mirror” journals.

Unlock Your Impact


ScholarWorks@GVSU is Grand Valley’s open access repository, providing access to intellectual, scholarly, and creative work from GVSU faculty, staff, and students. The mission of ScholarWorks@GVSU is to collect, maintain, and share works produced by Grand Valley scholars for a global audience of learners.  

OER Curation Service

The Libraries’ OER Curation Service provides faculty, on request, with a customized list of potential OER aligned with their courses. Faculty can use the OER Curation Request Form to submit information about their course, including their current syllabus or reading list, and we provide a curated selection of OER to consider. Courses that use OER generally report lower rates of drop, fail, and withdraw rates for students, and have significant impact on success metrics for all students. 

Publishing Services


University Libraries provides tools for creating, publishing, and maintaining open access journals, via the ScholarWorks@GVSU platform. We currently support over two dozen active and legacy publications affiliated with GVSU, including nine active peer-reviewed journals. 


University Libraries publish Open Educational Resources (OER) produced by the Grand Valley community, via ScholarWorks@GVSU's OER Repository and Grand Valley Pressbooks. ScholarWorks@GVSU primarily serves to host completed OER, while Grand Valley Pressbooks includes authoring tools in addition to hosting finished works. All works published as OER must be designed for educational use and affiliated with a GVSU author or course.

University Libraries supported Open Access Initiatives

Open Access (OA) means

Open Access does not mean: 

  • lower quality scholarship, absence of peer-review, or lack of prestige 
  • scholars giving up rights to their own work 

Open Access is the “free, immediate, online availability of research articles combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access is the needed modern update for the communication of research that fully utilizes the Internet for what it was originally built to do—accelerate research.”

In alignment with GVSU’s strategic commitments to Reach Higher, Open Access advances the common good, promotes sustainable practices, and drives the impact of our scholarly and creative endeavors from local to global networks. 

University Libraries invests in a number of initiatives that promote more equitable access to scholarship for members of the GVSU and global communities. 

Waived Author Processing Charges (APCs)

Cambridge University Press Read & Publish

This agreement allows GVSU to access subscription-based CUP journals and also to publish their own scholarship in all CUP fully open access or hybrid open access journals at no charge. Publishing an article openly in a CUP journal costs $0 for GVSU authors and substantially increases the reach and impact of their scholarship.

How do GVSU authors use this resource?

When your work is accepted by a CUP journal, you will sign a publication agreement in which you can select the open access option. If the journal is fully open access, RightsLink will send your article agreement directly to University Libraries for approval. If the journal is hybrid open access, then make sure to select “Gold Open Access.” (See the instructions from CUP.) Library staff approves articles quickly, ensuring timely publication of your work. GVSU scholars can share their research openly, which furthers the exchange of knowledge in the service of society, making more scholarship open on a larger scale. Other universities in this program contribute their scholarship openly as well.

Open Access Books and Scholarly Monographs

Historically, the open access movement has been journal article-focused. These projects strive to make scholarly monographs in book-based disciplines openly available.

MIT Direct to Open (D2O)

MIT Press developed this program to publish all new monographs as open through support from member libraries. This also gives GVSU access to the entire MIT backlist and archives. Through University Libraries' support of this program, GVSU patrons will have access to the entire MIT Press monograph catalog. 

punctum books

A publisher of open access books “devoted to academic and para-academic authors working in any field in the humanities, social sciences, fine arts, and architecture & design who want to publish books that are genre-queer and genre-bending and which take experimental risks with the forms and styles of intellectual writing.”

How do GVSU authors use these resources? 

MIT Press and punctum books operate like any other academic publisher: submission, peer review, and publication. Work with the publisher directly to submit your manuscript and explore their websites for already-published titles.

How does the world benefit from these initiatives?

Early open initiatives have focused on journals and articles, with monographs tending toward closed acquisitions models. Our support of punctum books and MIT Direct to Open is part of University Libraries' recognition that with innovative models, scholarship can be fully open regardless of format.  

Some of the material in this section was adapted from our colleagues at Duke University Libraries, from Duke-Supported Open Access Initiatives. We are grateful they chose to release their work under a Creative Commons license.

How to access things we don’t have anymore

Need something for your research, teaching, or curriculum support? You can suggest a purchase and we'll do our best. University Libraries wants you to have what you need. If we don’t have it, we’ll find it or connect you with alternatives.

In many cases, it will still be possible to access past volumes and issues of an electronic journal we previously subscribed to through post-cancelation access rights. These depend on several factors, including licensing negotiations between the library and content provider. Converting textbooks from print to online has mixed results, depending on the publisher.

The vast majority of canceled titles will be available through Document Delivery. This service is free to the GVSU community and in most cases, delivers a copy of your request to your email within a few days.

You can contact your liaison librarian for assistance locating and accessing resources. 

Contact us

We want to hear from you if you have questions or concerns. Contact Cara Cadena, Head of Collections and Digital Scholarship, at [email protected]. We welcome your questions about Open Educational Resources at: [email protected]  

You can also contact your liaison librarian with questions:

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Page last modified February 6, 2024