Cancellation of 2015 Wiley-Blackwell Journals.
An important issue for Senate is the Library’s recent cancellation of our subscription to 1,363 Wiley-Blackwell journals. At the January 14 Senate meeting, Acting University Librarian, Barbara McDonald, explained the budgetary rationale for the cancellation, in the context of rising subscription costs and the decreasing value of the Canadian dollar relative to US currency. The need to address the immediate difficulties arising from the abrupt cancelation of these journals was discussed, as well as the necessity of a long-term solution to the exorbitant prices charged by journal publishers. With respect to the issue of immediate relief, B. McDonald indicated that the librarians could identify which Wiley-Blackwell titles are of highest priority and selectively reinstate those specific journals. Such reinstatement, however, depends on the availability of approximately $100,000 in additional funding for the Library for 2014-2015. The University has decided that this money will not be made available to the Library for this purpose.
At its January 15 meeting, Senate’s Planning, Priorities, and Budget Advisory Committee (PPBAC) passed a motion recommending that Senate conclude the current level of budgetary support given to the Library is insufficient to support the academic priorities of the university (e.g. excellence in graduate education; excellence in research, scholarship, and creativity). A second PPBAC motion recommended to Senate that it request additional funding be allocated to the Library’s 2014-15 budget in order to re-subscribe to the highest priority Wiley-Blackwell journals, given that the loss of these journals will result in delayed access to articles, negatively affecting research, scholarship, and teaching. In addition, PPBAC will recommend to Senate that Brock University set in motion and support a long-term plan to move towards appropriate methods of scholarly dissemination in order to address budgetary pressures, improve access to scholarly information, and expand the reach of Brock research. These motions will be presented to Senate in February. Senate’s Research and Scholarship Committee also has scheduled a special meeting to discuss the cancellation of these journals. In addition, the Senate Graduate Studies Committee passed a motion recommending that additional funds be allocated to the Library to reinstate the cancelled subscriptions (or equivalent).
Further on this issue, BUFA has filed a grievance based, at least partially, on Article 32 Facilities of our Collective Agreement, in which the University acknowledges its “continuing responsibility to maintain an environment in which the academic and professional functions of faculty members and professional librarians may be effectively carried out, and undertakes, therefore, to provide a reasonable level of facilities and support services consistent with this responsibility…”, in addition to other relevant provisions of the Agreement.
Brock’s 2014-2015 Budget Predictions. The University’s Second Quarter financial report and its forecast for 2014-2015 was presented to the Senate Planning Priorities and Budget Advisory Committee at its January 15th meeting. The report, as well as specific budget details, can be accessed through this Committee’s agenda on the Senate website (https://brocku.ca/webfm_send/34543). Briefly, the prediction is for a balanced budget for 2014-2015 but this outcome depends on achieving a saving of $2,551,000 through the same mitigation activities that were in place for 2013-2014 (e.g., six-month hiring delay, expansion of the vacation buyback program). The budget projections include an anticipated savings of $4,500,000 coming from the most recent actuarial valuation of our pension and an unbudgeted reserve transfer of $816,000 toward post-retirement benefits liability. The report also identified a number of budget concerns for 2015-2016, including the tuition and grant reduction to the Faculty of Education as a result of Ministry decisions, new operating costs for the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, and possible declines in undergraduate enrolment.
Linda Rose-Krasnor, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Psychology
President, Brock University Faculty Association
500 Glenridge Avenue St. Catharines ON Canada L2S 3A1
Phone: 905-688-5550, ext. 3870