Serials Non-Renewals

Decisions about adding and subtracting titles are made by the Content Development Unit (CDU) in consultation with librarians and academic faculty and with consideration of collection needs. Serials may include journals, databases, monograph series, and standing orders.

January - February

The CDU and the Head of Financial Services study the cost of the renewals which have just been paid and the university's apparent budget outlook. Each year, the CDU identifies classes of materials to examine (e.g., journals with a high cost per download and end-of-contract packages). All major publishers receive a quick review to determine the status of the contract and inflation rates. After reviewing available data, provisional lists for potential non-renewals are developed.

Throughout the process extenuating circumstances are considered. For example, department sizes may mean the potential audience is small, the subscription may be unique or support university strategic areas, or the title is needed for accreditation.


The review list and a letter of explanation are posted on the library's website. Comments are then invited. The comment period runs until the end of spring semester.

June - July

Comments from patrons and liaison librarians are evaluated. A provisional list of titles for non-renewal is posted for all librarians to review and respond to the CDU with recommendations by mid-July.

August 1

A final list is made and submitted to Serials Acquisitions in order to begin the renewal process for the next year.

Exceptions to the timeline

If a department requests non-renewals of journal titles (for non-use, no research or curricular interest, etc.) the CDU will review usage statistics to confirm that a title is not receiving use from other departments or that the title is not strategic to university programs. If little value or usage is determined, the title will be considered for non-renewal.

Serials New Titles Requests

New resources can be requested throughout the year by submitting the Purchase Recommendation Form to the appropriate CDU member. Titles with external deadlines (such as those which come up through consortia or have immediate curricular impact) are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Other requests will be reviewed and prioritized in early summer to be considered in the budget for the next fiscal year.

Every effort will be made to start journal subscriptions requested by faculty and to evaluate their use and value after a three year probationary period. The CDU will also review journals requested through interlibrary loan on an annual basis to see whether a subscription is warranted. A web page listing new resources will be posted annually.

How to Track Serials Decisions

Lists of non-renewed and added materials are posted on the library public website. Librarians can see the journal desiderata list and serials review preliminary data, with detailed price and use histories, on the staff intranet.

Title appeals for Serials Non-Renewals

Once titles have been identified as possible non-renewals using established thresholds for number of uses, cost per use, or other considerations, the list will be available for the campus as outlined in the policy and timeline.

The comment period for journals being considered for non-renewal runs from April until the end of spring semester. During that time faculty and librarians can submit comments about specific titles via a form on the webpage. Requests for retaining specific titles need to include how these subscriptions support active research or curricular programs and university priorities, how the title is used in specific classes/departments, accreditation requirements, etc.

The CDU will consider available data and justification before making a decision to retain the requested title.

Approved by Collections Council 01/20/2010
Revised 02/04/2010
Revised and approved by Strategic Leadership Council May 4, 2011.