FAQs for Licensing Electronic Resource Expenditures by Vendor

What is Cornell University Library’s main goal in collection building?

Cornell University Library’s (CUL’s) goal is to create and maintain fiscally sustainable collections and services that are responsive to the academic needs of all Cornell scholars. Licensing electronic resources, such as journals, databases, ebooks, is an important part of our work to accomplish this goal.

Why share library subscription expenditures?

Every year about 70% of CUL’s over $20 million materials expenditures cover subscriptions to ejournals, databases, ebook packages, and other ongoing electronic resources. As responsible stewards of Cornell funds, we are committed to openness and transparency, therefore we publish as much of our subscription expenditure data as is legal and practical.

Is CUL the first to publish such costs?

No. We gratefully acknowledge the work of a few other North American libraries in this area.

Do all universities pay the same amount for electronic resources?

It depends. Some products have set costs, others are charged by the size of the institution. Yet others have pricing that is negotiable by the subscribing institutions or consortia.

Are subscriptions straightforward?

No. The Library subscribes to well over a million ejournals, ebooks, and databases from thousands of publishers. They are licensed individually and in bundles, either directly or through one of many third-party aggregators or service providers. Individual journals can change titles, change publishers, change distributors, can be packaged into different bundles, can be included and excluded from different packages and access levels, can cease and be revived. All these permutations produce a high level of complexity.

What do these data tables show?

Cornell University Library - Continuations Expenditures by Vendor lists our expenditures by vendor, for multiple fiscal years. Some vendors are individual publishers and others are aggregators or service providers. In many cases, the rows represent different levels of granularity from individual titles to large bundles of titles.

Cornell University Library - Continuations Expenditures by Title lists our expenditures by the title of the resource we paid for, over multiple fiscal years. In some cases these represent a single journal or database. In other cases the expenditure represents a collection or package of resources.

Is this data complete and a 100% accurate?

No. Our complex licensing arrangements make it difficult to present complete and 100% accurate data. This list is periodically updated.

Does the data include Weill Cornell Medicine Samuel J. Wood Library in New York City?

Payments for some medical titles are managed by library staff in Ithaca, others are managed by staff at Weill in New York City. This data table only includes the resources that are managed in Ithaca.

Why are there so many expenditure changes from year to year?

Expenditure changes represent a variety of factors: changing prices for the same products, fluctuating currency exchange rates, different levels of access, a different collection of titles, or the lack of billing in certain years when no new material is published. Who can I contact with further questions? Please contact e-resources@cornell.edu if you have questions about the expenditures. With other questions Cornell faculty can contact their library liaison.