Freedom of information request for York University eresource costs denied | William Denton | Miskatonic University Press
ab1630's bookmarks 2018-08-25
I’m a librarian at York University Libraries in Toronto. Let’s call me Librarian Bill when I’m there. At home I’m Civilian Bill, and last month Civilian Bill put in a freedom of information request to York University for the amounts the Libraries spent on electronic resources in fiscal years 2017 and 2018. Civilian Bill knew the information exists because Librarian Bill prepared a spreadsheet with precisely those costs. York has refused to release the data. Their response is “withhold in full.” Background: other eresource cost data releases Librarians generally believe that the costs their libraries pay for resources should be made public. Aside from people having the right to know where their money is going (in F2018 50% of York’s revenue came from students and 35% from the province), this is part of the move to making all publicly-funded research freely available online: one tactic is to show the exorbitant and increasing costs of closed subscriptions to journals and the like when it would actually be cheaper to make everything free and open. It’s always been normal for the total amount spent on collections to be public, but now more detailed information should be available: how much it costs to subscribe to JSTOR, PsycINFO, Nature, SciFinder and all the other hundreds of things that libraries pay for annually.