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WVU Libraries



Budgetary constraints at West Virginia University (WVU) in combination with impending expiration/renewal of “big deal” contracts resulted in the unbundling of three major journal packages between 2017-2019: Wiley, Elsevier Science Direct, and Springer. Unbundling these packages saved the library system a total of $1,441,450. This poster will describe longer-term results of these decisions and how we have continued to adapt to improve access to journals for our research community.


Since the unbundling, the WVU Libraries’ Collections Advisory Committee has closely monitored ILL usage and costs for canceled titles, as well as faculty complaints and requests. An interactive session was held with key department chairs at the Health Sciences Center in early 2020 to obtain their feedback regarding journal access and the publishing landscape. Criteria were established to consider adding back journal titles, including usage prior to cancellation, number of ILL requests received after cancellation, overlapping coverage with other resources, and journal price. New services were introduced to improve rapid access to journal articles. These included cross-training staff to place ILL requests during evenings/weekends, implementation of an automatic ordering feature through Reprints Desk for 552 ISSNs, and implementation/marketing of LibKey Nomad and


Up-to-date ILL statistics will be reported, including numbers of specific titles ordered and total article costs. Usage of Science Direct titles automatically retained in Clinical Key has more than tripled since the unbundling, increasing from an average of 505 uses/month in 2018 to 1,943/month in 2019 and 1,757/month this year. No complaints have been heard regarding its shorter period of coverage. Several journals have been added back based on established criteria.


Journal unbundling implemented by necessity has had positive results. Besides the obvious financial benefits, rapid access to journal articles has improved with adaptations to our ILL service and implementation of new ways to connect to articles.


Presented at the virtual 2020 Annual Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association.



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