Swets Information Services, the company that managed the Manoa branch of the University of Hawaii’s subscriptions to academic journals, has recently declared bankruptcy. As a result, the university is projected to lose around $850,000.
What Is Swets Information Services?
Swets managed hard copy and electronic subscriptions to over 2,000 academic journals for the University. It filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey at the end of November. The Amsterdam-based company also managed academic journal subscriptions for universities around the world.
The Financial Loss of University of Hawaii
The University of Hawaii had already paid Swets for services in 2015, and the University has applied for $850,000 to be returned. This is the balance of the services, as Swets will not be able to provide services for the remainder of their contract. However, it is unlikely the University is going to receive that money, as Swets has few assets and a wide range of creditors.
The University’s losses could have been worse. It was planning to pay Swets another $2 million just before they learned of the bankruptcy. Other universities have also been hit hard. The University of Missouri at Colombia filed for over $1 million in credits, and the University of Colorado at Boulder filed for over $3 million in credits, among many others.
Financial Loss Effects
The library at UH Manoa has delayed hiring to fill 12 faculty and five staff positions as a result of the loss. It has also cut its book acquisition budget by about $100,000, which is about an 11 percent reduction of that budget.
The University has been experiencing some problems with journal subscriptions. They have negotiated with two companies to take over the services Swets had been providing. At present, almost all of the University’s subscriptions are being fulfilled, with only one or two exceptions.
Swets is likely a victim of changing subscription models and business practices. As more journals are moving to provide an online presence, it is becoming easier for universities to handle their subscriptions.