Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus

Academic Calendars Agendas & Minutes Committees Committee Members Faculty Policy Guide Honorary Degrees Meeting Schedule Senate Meeting Videos Senate Members


Committee on the Library
Report on Scholarly Communication

In 1997 there was a major budgetary crisis in the UIUC Library, which led to the announcement by the University Librarian of a $480,000 reduction in the subject materials fund. This crisis was not unique to this university and the crisis developed over a decade due to growth in the amount of published materials, escalation in the cost of many published materials, and stagnant budgets. The crisis was precipitated by escalating costs of journals, especially in fields of science and engineering, and largely driven by a few publishers. These changes have continued and the budgetary pressures persist despite increases in Library funding. These pressures make it increasingly unlikely that the Library will be able to serve the scholarly needs of this university.

The Task Force on the Future of the University Library (chaired by Law Dean Thomas Mengler) in 1998 recommended that the Library aggressively pursue opportunities to work with other libraries to reduce acquisitions costs. Since 1998 there has been increased discussion of this issue both within UIUC and among other universities. The Library Allocation Steering Committee (chaired by Prof. Scheeline) made a similar recommendation in 2001 and noted that electronic publishing may offer an opportunity for reducing costs and is gaining widespread acceptance in the University. Among universities, principles on scholarly publishing, developed in 2000 and known as the Tempe Principles (, speak directly to this issue. They urge increased use of electronic capabilities for scholarly communication mainly to provide wide access to scholarship, and they address how such publishing can maintain systems for evaluating quality, for archiving, and for protecting intellectual property.

The Senate Committee on the Library has discussed these issues in several meetings. We co-sponsor with the Library a committee on Scholarly Communications (chaired by Prof. Watson). John Conley (a member of SCL) described his experience with electronic communication. Paula Watson (Director of Electronic Information Services) described university library initiatives, including the Tempe Principles and the Public Library of Science. Robert Dodds and Joseph Greene discussed scholarly communication from the publishers' perspective.

The Committee anticipates that the use of electronic publishing will continue to increase and that access to journals will continue to be reduced due to funding pressures. The Committee believes that full access to the published literature is critical for scholarly activities and must be maintained. The Committee would like the Senate to think about the following recommendations:

1. that the Library and the faculty work to reduce costs of journals by applying pressure to publishers,
2. that the Senate engage faculty in debate on this issue in order to encourage the faculty to apply such pressure,
3. that the University encourage alternative publishing models, especially electronic publishing,
4. that the Senate consider the implications of electronic communication to the promotion and tenure process,
5. that the Senate endorse the Tempe Principles.

Respectfully submitted,

Senate Committee on the Library, 2002-2003
Bruce Wicks, Chair
Paula Kaufman (ex officio)
David O'Brien
Winston Akala
Uriel Kitron
Rolando Romero
Lyle Fettig
Michael Madonick
Leslie Struble
Bettina M. Francis
Timothy D. K. Ngo
Terry Weech

Senate Committee on the Library, 2001-2002
Leslie Struble, Chair
Lyle Fettig
David O'Brien
Molly Bench
Paula Kaufman (ex officio)
Catherine Parkin
John Conley
Michael Madonick
Peter W. Sauer
Kenneth Cuno
Michael Murphy
Bruce Wicks