DCUSU condemns removal of Wiley eBooks from University libraries

Matthew Joyce

DCU Students’ Union has said they condemn the decision of Wiley, an educational publishing company, to revoke access to over 1300 of their eBooks from university libraries across the country, including DCU.

These books, according to DCUSU, are “key texts in studies across a range of disciplines”.

In a statement posted on social media, the Students Union said they fully supported the condemnation by the Consortium of National and University Libraries, and the Irish Universities Association Librarians’ Group of the decision.

“Students are facing record costs in attending third level institutions, including the student contribution charge and extortionate rent prices, as well as the general rise in the cost of living seen by society,” DCUSU said.

The Union accused Wiley of “actively contributing to erecting further barriers to education for students both in DCU and nationally”, and also called on the company to overturn the decision.

On it’s website, Wiley lists a wide array of areas which their books cover, from accounting to biology, from education to food science, from nursing and health sciences to psychology and psychiatry.

John McDonough, University Librarian at DCU, said the University’s Library “fully endorses” the position of the Consortium.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with faculties to maximise access to resources for students,” Mr. McDonough added.

Dr. Sandra Collins, a university librarian for UCD, told the Irish Examiner that Wiley’s decision was a “major setback for inclusive access and especially for people with reading difficulties for whom eBooks are critical”.

Ciara McCaffrey, a deputy librarian at the University of Limerick, described the move as disgraceful, adding that the removal of these books at the start of an academic year is a “slap in the face for students, faculty and libarians”.

The Consortium of National and University Libraries said that despite libraries already procuring books on behalf of their respective universities “in good faith and in good time for the new academic year”, Wiley still removed the books “without making any efforts to inform academic libraries”.

A Wiley spokesperson told The College View that they notified ProQuest, the library aggregator partner who works with university libraries, in June 2020, that 1,380 eBooks would “transition out of its Academic Complete online digital library”.

“To allow time for ProQuest to inform its institutional customers about the change and to allow librarians ample time to explore alternatives for their institutions, the transition took place on August 31, 2022,” the spokesperson added.

“Wiley is working to provide solutions to those customers who experienced inconvenience as a result of the transition,” Wiley’s spokesperson said.

Matthew Joyce

Image Credit: William Dunne