University “Highly Likely” to Cut Some Journal Subscriptions

University “Highly Likely” to Cut Some Journal Subscriptions

Now I’m being forced to use Wikipedia

Academic journals have been added to the University’s list of casualties after Critic Te Ārohi was told that it was “highly likely” that resources, including some academic journals, would be cut. 

A University spokesperson told Critic Te Ārohi that they could be culling “low-use subscriptions in the area of information resources – books, journals, databases, and electronic book packages.” The proposed cuts are part of a “process to identify potential savings,” though the University has stated that “no decisions have yet been made.” OUSA president Keegan Wells told Critic Te Ārohi that, “Students can always submit on these issues…please”

The proposed cuts to library resources come just a few years after the University allegedly removed their collection of “soft pornography” from the Science Library. The cuts also come in the context of the University’s debt inflation in which “all departments within the University have been asked to make savings,” something which is probably more relevant than the porn thing.

Keegan told Critic Te Ārohi that she was, “Glad to see that staff aren’t being cut," going on to point out the irony of that occurring in a library that has the slogan "it is people, it is people, it is people" displayed. Nonetheless, Keegan lamented that “it is disappointing to see resources like these being cut. Postgraduates will be affected the most by it.”

Gauging the true effect of these changes on students, Critic Te Ārohi spoke to third-year student Charlotte who stated that, “I think there's a level of complex understanding that can only be gained with supplementary research of your own.” She went on to affirm the importance of library resources, expressing that, “the point of uni is to exit as educated individuals.” 

Another student, Nicole, said, “I use the library all the time to look up academic journals.” She suggested every single paper she takes relies on her looking at the library database for supplementary research, with Arts degrees being “pretty heavily reliant on needing to get access to academic sources.”

A fourth-year, Amy, had different concerns, arguing that the limitation of resources could lead to “potential biases of publication, which are enough in themself without reducing access to knowledge.” She argued that the proposed cuts would prevent students from seeing the “entirety of the field so that you can evaluate and find your gaps and find what needs to be explored.” Amy also echoed Keegan’s sentiment about postgrads, saying, “How are we gonna supply our Masters and our postgraduate students with enough knowledge and enough understanding of their field to grow our scientific knowledge?”

In terms of a timeline, the University has stated,  “Any changes made as part of cost savings would not come into effect until next year. So, there will be no impact on library resources this year.” (Critic Te Ārohi has another 100 years left on their degree, so that’s shit). Dire warnings from the student community about the effect of these cuts are supported by Keegan’s assertion that, “if Otago wants to be known as a research based university, resources like these are really important."

This article first appeared in Issue 6, 2024.
Posted 9:12pm Friday 5th April 2024 by Monty O’Rielly.