Motion Requesting that the IUPUI Faculty Council Ask the University Faculty Council to Defer Its Vote on the “Resolution on Journals, Databases, and Threats to Scholarly Publications” until the Fall of 2004.

 

Approved April 6, 2004

By IUPUI FC

 

 

BACKGROUND

 

The Bloomington Faculty Council approved on 2 March 2004 a “Resolution on Journals, Databases, and Threats to Scholarly Publication” which can be accessed at the following weblink: http://www.indiana.edu/~bfc/docs/AY04/circulars/B39-2004.htm. This resolution attempts to address the very serious problem of the increasing constriction imposed on the development of library collections by the rising cost of journals and databases.

 

The Association of Research Libraries has shown that over the past fifteen years or so, while the Consumer Price Index went up by 62%, library expenditures on serials have increased by 210% and on monograph expenditures by 68%. One effect has been that libraries have been forced to decrease both the number of monographs they buy and the number of new serials they subscribe to, even though the number of serials published has increased by about 138%. The average annual increase of scholarly journals is about 9% while that of books is about 3%. There are many reasons for this situation, the chief one of which is the aggressive commercialization of journal publishing, especially in the sciences where big commercial publishers like Elsevier raise their subscription prices at a rate that far outpaces the increase of libraries’ materials budgets. Other reasons include the higher cost of publishing materials in traditional print form, and the pressure on libraries to purchase materials in both paper and electronic form.

 

The impact of this situation is being felt across all university libraries in the nation, and the Indiana University libraries are no exception. Rightly fearing that if nothing is done to counter this negative trend the University Libraries would no longer be able to maintain their collections at the level that is required to sustain research and teaching, the office of University Dean of University Libraries Suzanne Thorin has worked with the IUB Faculty Council Library Committee to produce the resolution referred to above. This resolution calls on all faculty, staff, students, university administrators, and librarians to consider taking a number of important steps, some of which are bound to change our scholarly culture. These steps include, for instance, reviews of serial subscriptions and their use, tougher negotiations with publishers, reduction of duplicate print/online subscriptions, move toward electronic-only access for most serials, support of journals and publishers whose practices are consistent with open access to electronic journals, separation from exclusively for-profit publishers, revision of promotion and tenure guidelines so that faculty publishing in open-access journals be not penalized.

 

After the IUB-prepared resolution was passed by the Bloomington Faculty Council, the UFC Agenda Committee took an interest in the resolution and asked that it be brought to the UFC floor and given a first reading at its meeting on 9 March 2004. As a consequence of that first reading, the UFC Executive Committee sent the resolution to the UFC Library Committee and asked that it be rewritten in a language that would reflect all of the University. In the meanwhile, however, the IUPUI Library Affairs Committee had already begun to examine the complex set of issues that have inspired the resolution. As soon as the Library Affairs Committee learned that the resolution had been approved by the Bloomington Faculty Council, it requested that the matter be not brought to the UFC’s consideration before IUPUI had had the time to study and discuss it comprehensively. Indeed, the matter behind the resolution is not light. It concerns faculty deeply since it calls upon them to reconsider long-established scholarly and academic practices that have consequences not only on P&T policies but also on the very philosophy of scholarly communication.

 

On 25 March 2004, the IUPUI Library Affairs Committee met to discuss the resolution and its various issues. The exchange was rich and lively, and by the end of the meeting it became clear that the Committee was not ready to endorse any form of the resolution, and thus not willing to bring it forward to the IUPUI Faculty Council. The Library Affairs Committee agreed that the matter of the resolution and the issues surrounding it were very important. It is because of their high importance that the Committee decided that it would take the time necessary (1) to get itself much better informed of all the issues surrounding the resolution; (2) to inform the IUPUI faculty of what those issues are and to get feedback from them at several levels (departments, schools, and campus, as the case may be); (3) to study the Bloomington-sponsored resolution in detail, as well as the resolutions that have been passed by other universities around the country; (4) to revise the wording of the resolution in a way that applies to the various constituencies of the IUPUI campus; (5) to submit the result of its work to the IUPUI Faculty Council in the fall of 2004; (6) to provide the UFC Library Committee with suggestions regarding the form of the university-wide resolution.

 

To conduct this action, the Library Affairs Committee has constituted two task forces, one to inform and get feedback from the IUPUI faculty, and the other to work on the resolution. The Library Affairs Committee needs time to perform its duties in a manner that will do justice to the issues at hand. Aware that the resolution might be up for a vote at the UFC prematurely, the Library Affairs Committee presents the following motion to the IUPUI Faculty Council.

 

MOTION

 

Be it moved that any vote on the “Challenge to Scholarly Communication” resolution at the UFC be deferred until after the IUPUI Faculty Council has heard a presentation of the issues from the IUPUI Library Affairs Committee and has been given the opportunity to vote on a resolution that applies to the IUPUI campus, and after the UFC Library Committee has rewritten the university-wide resolution on the basis of the feedback received from all IU campuses.